Taking your first solo trip abroad may seem overwhelming and a bit daunting initially. However, with some good planning and sensible precautions, there is little to worry about as 84% of solo travelers are women. Here are some ideas on how to take your first trip alone and overcome those solo travel fears!
City breaks are a good starting point for solo travelers because the infrastructure of a major city makes it simple to navigate even if you don’t speak the local language as most places will have tourist information centers with English speakers available for assistance. You’ll be able to get around without issues if there is a good public transport system in place, and you’ll find it easier to discover local cuisine as there’ll be an abundance of dining options.
If you want to experience different cultures within a short space of time, try taking a trip to Europe where you can squeeze in three or four city breaks in the space of a week. Europe’s strong network of trains and availability of cheap flights make it easy to “city-hop” so you could be eating pizza in Naples one day and strolling by the canals of Amsterdam the next.
Another idea for your first solo adventure is to go on some kind of wellness retreat. If you lead a hectic lifestyle and prefer the idea of total relaxation and rejuvenation instead of jam-packed days of sightseeing, a retreat is a good alternative. You can find these running all over the world and they usually are made up of other solo travelers which makes it easier to connect with people without the awkwardness. Yoga retreats are particularly popular in destinations such as Bali, India, and Thailand, or you can try a spa retreat in Morocco or Mexico.
If you have a hobby or a skill you’d like to improve, a learning-based trip is another option to consider for a solo adventure. From cookery classes to writing and photography lessons, there are trips that cater to many kinds of hobbies, and these courses are usually made up of solo travelers too. If there is a language you have always wanted to learn, most language schools abroad have a short, immersive course designed for travelers, so you can split your time between studying and sightseeing. Popular examples of learning-based trips include landscape photography tours in Iceland, cookery classes in Italy, and tango dancing classes in Argentina.
For solo travelers who want to travel off-the-beaten-path but are not confident about going it alone, joining an organized group tour is a safe option that takes all the hassle out of planning and logistics. Simply show up at the airport and an experienced guide will take charge of potential problems that could occur if going it alone. The only downside of joining a group tour is that you are traveling on somebody else’s fixed schedule which cannot be changed. This can be annoying if you particularly love a certain destination and want to spend more time there. You also have the issue of not being able to choose your fellow travelers, which could also prove disastrous if stuck with particularly irritating people for days at a time!
Create Your Own Mission
Finally, having your own personal mission to complete or a special purpose can help to keep you focused during a solo trip and overcome any potential anxiety. For example, if you want to go to Paris and love macarons, create a mission to find the best macaron store in Paris. Or perhaps you want to visit Tokyo and love photography, then your mission could be to find the most Instagram-worthy spots in the city. The great thing about having your own purpose is that you can create your itinerary based solely on your specific interests.