Adventures beyond our hometowns are always filled with ravishing experiences. From the places you go to the people you meet, the art of exploring benefits our life beyond entertainment — it provides stimulation for our mental and emotional health. And this includes traveling alone!
Solo trips are becoming the new getaway for men and women who need to disconnect from their everyday lives in order to reconnect with themselves. Whether it’s a weekend visit or a round-the-world expedition, traveling alone is known to promote a new level of inner harmony that includes stepping outside of your comfort zone.
But is it safe? Where would I go? What would I do? Where would I stay? How can I budget?
I hear your concerns, but don’t worry — this article will answer all of your questions, comments and concerns so that you can behold the power and freedom of going where you want, when you want and how you want to discover who you are, with yourself!
Is It Safe?
When traveling alone, you want to make sure that you are responsible enough to not only stay alert and attentive, but also up to date on your strengths and weaknesses. Journeying to another state, let alone another country, isn’t for the careless. You have to know how to balance between relaxation and restraint. And when I say restraint, I don’t mean preventing yourself from actually indulging and enjoying the vacation, but simply setting boundaries going in.
According to Janice Waugh, writer for Solo Traveler Worldwide, safety begins before you leave home. If you’re fairly new to this type of travel or have always wanted to visit someplace but didn’t have anyone to go with, then looking up testimonies from people who have can help ease any anxiety that may come with the idea.
“I finally decided I shouldn’t be held back just because no one could travel with me, so I booked a camping safari in Tanzania!” exclaimed a reader of Solo Traveler. “I learned that I’m much more self-sufficient than I thought and that traveling alone can be fun and very rewarding. Now that I know I can travel alone and be just fine, I feel like the possibilities are endless.”
Doing your research on where you’re going before you go is the first thing that should happen before you start planning your trip. “Knowledge protects you from the danger of misinformation, unsavory individuals, and/or naively wandering into an unsafe area.”
And speaking of where you’re going, where you choose to go for your first destination is important. “It can make the difference between a successful, confidence-building first trip with a future of many more solo trips, or one with mixed results,” explained Waugh’s article, “First Time Solo Travel: Tips for Newbies.”
First-time voyages should be where you’ll have easy access to people who speak your language. It’ll be easier to navigate around, which will give you a sense of comfort in meeting new people. If you reside in the United States, here are some suggestions of where you can go and what you can do:
- Create craft cocktails at William & Graham.
- Explore the local dispensary culture.
- Hike Mount Falcon.
Key West, Florida
- Cruise the island by bike or hike the area’s immaculate nature reserves.
- Kayak with Lazy Dog Adventures on Stock Island.
- Visit art galleries, such as Galleries on Greene, to admire internationally and locally recognized art.
San Francisco, California
- Find your fortune at the iconic Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Chinatown.
- Take a tour of the city by historic cable car, with stops covering a lot of Cali ground.
- Enjoy a taste of the city with a food tour on North Beach.
Hotel or Airbnb?
With all this bouncing around going on, you’ll want to have a comfy place to stay at the end of all your morning, afternoon, evening and nighttime endeavors.
To determine which lodging situation is better, you have to know what kind of living accommodations would be the best for you and for your trip.
You want to compare and contrast the general standards, safety protocols and local experiences of your lodging arrangements as well as the length of your trip. Why?
- Standards: “Most hotels are subject to the same standards of classes and star ratings, so you have a generally good idea of what to expect upon arriving to your stay” — whereas Airbnbs have a broader range of standards regarding amenities, accessibilities and even sleeping arrangements.
- Local Experience: It’s already a hotel’s job to make sure that their guests are getting an “at home” experience. But with an Airbnb, “you have a deeper insight into the ways that local people live on a daily basis, regardless of if you book a room within someone’s residence or book an entire place to yourself.”
- Length of Your Trip: How long you stay will determine if it’s smarter and cheaper to rent an Airbnb versus a hotel room while traveling alone. “It is generally less expensive to stay in an Airbnb than a hotel.” You have a better opportunity for a discount through the host of the home if you choose to stay more than one week, on top of direct contact with the host for any pre-booking questions or special concerns you may have.
This brings me to the last tidbit: maintaining your financials! Here’s a friendly list from Lonely Planet Writer Nora Dunn’s article on “How to Solo Travel on a Budget”:
- Avoid single supplements.
- Choose tour companies wisely.
- Check different deals pages for discounts.
- Book early or even last-minute.
- Call, ask and follow up.
- Travel in the “shoulder season” — between spring and autumn.
And there you have it folks, your ultimate guide on traveling alone! I bet I can guess what you’ll be doing this summer.