5 Tips for the Beginner Solo Traveler
Solo traveling taught me 2 things: 1) Alone time is fucking great and 2) there are ways to avoid danger (not synonymous with thrill seeking!) and well, personal embarrassment as a solo traveler. Wish it wasn’t from personal experience with the latter but #ithappens. SO, here are some tips..
The “zoning out”
When traveling with someone else, there’s more leniency. I can’t begin to count how many times my travel friend & I were spoken to in another language and afterwards I’d ask, “Did you catch any of that, I started zoning out.” The prime example. And usually it’s when you need bus information or directions. With solo traveling, it’s important when speaking to others, that you focus on what is being said to you. Especially with language differences there’s already a higher chance of misunderstanding so make sure to pay attention!
READ THE REVIEWS. Some hostels are not solo traveler friendly. I mean, many people solo travel to meet people from all over the world, what I’d say is the reason for choosing a “social living” atmosphere. HOWEVER, there are hostels that’ll feel like you booked a private hotel room as socializing isn’t encouraged and everyone keeps to themselves. And well, I can assure you, the breakfast at these types of hostels is quite AWKWARD. Usually I’ll use booking.com, as the site tells you how solo travelers like the place. Also, from not reading the reviews I almost stayed at a Transylvania hostel that had a reoccurring bedbug problem. Safe to say, the few minutes dedicated to research & reading hostel reviews is definitely worth it…
Young solo traveler? To say don’t have a cocktail, beer, or wine is unrealistic, I know. Especially at hostels with different cultures & lifestyles from people close in age; it’s tons of fun going out. BUT, toss out the “alcohol is alcohol” kind of thinking. Because, I can assure you, alcohol is not just alcohol in different parts of the world. Next thing you know, you may end up asking a friend what happened the night before with the thought, “woah, that was stronger than vodka.” Just trust me on that one.
For example, homemade Raki is NOT like vodka & Hungarian Palinkca is basically a black-out inducing clear alcohol (so if you have it, small doses are best!) As a solo traveler, if you go out for drinks, never assume an alcohol you are drinking is similar to one you know…It may look like vodka or tequila but will knock you on your ass sooner than later. My advice? Eat & hydrate if socializing involves going out for drinks. Best tip is to just nurse a cocktail or two the whole night.
Don’t be shy
Solo traveling to meet people? Me too, but I admit, my story making friends as a solo American traveler wasn’t always the best. Even as an extrovert, I still struggled. It’s little awkward especially saying something weird in another language #oops. That’s when you hope others find it endearing rather than offensive…
Real talk though, it’s always easier meeting people at cafes & bars with a squad in your corner. There’s just more confidence to be this fun, outgoing, “I will talk to everyone here” kind of traveler. @SoloTraveler, remember this: you’re awesome. just be yourself. & you’ll leave somewhere friends with everyone.
Embrace the unknown
Normally wouldn’t go hiking? Street Markets aren’t your thing? This is the time to try something new. To start expanding what you’re used to. Planning can be great, but don’t be limited to a time schedule or what you think you’re too afraid to try.
And remember to follow the adventures.