The number one thing you need when you’re traveling solo is confidence. YOU CAN DO THIS! But you don’t gain confidence overnight. Confidence is a result of encouragement, knowledge, practice, and support. And this article is going to help you with all these components of confidence!
When I talk about confidence, I’m not talking about the confidence you need for public speaking. I’m talking about the confidence you need to have in yourself, your decisions, and your instincts.
You might already have mastered some of these strategies, or some of these strategies might not work for you. And that’s okay – that’s why I’ve listed so many of them. The path to confidence is different for everyone, but it’s a journey you don’t have to take alone.
So here’s how you solo travel with confidence!
Practice. You can practice for solo travel! I’ve got the Best Strategies For Practicing Traveling Solo before your trip. I show you how to practice everything from eating alone to planning trip logistics. You’re investing a lot of time and money into your solo trip, so make sure you also invest in preparing yourself!
Don’t Listen To Other People. I’ve been a solo traveler for a decade now, and I’m still met with skepticism about this choice, sometimes even from friends and family. Some people don’t think solo travel is safe (which isn’t true if you follow these Solo Female Travel Safety Tips). Others feel a solo travel experience can’t be as fun or rewarding as traveling with others (which also isn’t true).
People who don’t travel alone make incorrect assumptions about solo travel. So don’t listen to these people! They don’t know what they’re talking about, and you don’t need their fears and negativity in your life.
You don’t owe a single person an explanation for the way you travel. Your travel experience is for and about you, not someone else.
Do Your Research. Choose The Right Destination For Your First Solo Trip. Then spend a lot of time researching your destination – currency, conversational phrases in the local language, how public transportation works, any clothing requirements for women, climate, do you need any vaccinations, how will your phone work there, etc. You DO NOT want to be figuring these things out as you’re arriving.
Play To Your Strengths. If you don’t like the cold, then don’t book igloo glamping in Finland as your first solo trip. If you don’t like trekking, then don’t hike to Machu Picchu for your first solo trip. Save these more-out-of-your-comfort-zone experiences for future trips when you’re more confident traveling solo.
Think about what you like to do and choose a destination that will let you do it. If you love wine, then visit a wine region. If you love sailing, then go on a catamaran cruise. Doing things (at least for parts of your trip) that you already know and enjoy will make you more confident and comfortable.
Plan The Majority Of Your Trip Ahead Of Time. For beginner solo travelers, I recommend having at least 75% of your trip planned and booked before you arrive. Booking the majority of your trip in advance allows you to disembark from the plane, or depart your hotel, or arrive at your luxury experience with confidence because you already know where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and what to expect.
Booking most of your trip ahead of time also allows you ample time to read reviews and compare options. Properly vetting your accommodations, transportation, and excursions will give you confidence in your choices when you arrive.
You will need to make A LOT of decisions when you travel solo. And even if you’re a naturally decisive person, continually making unilateral decisions without the safety net of anyone else’s input can be overwhelming and stressful. So, do yourself a favor by making as many decisions ahead of time as possible.
Don’t Worry About Making A Mistake. You will mess up on your solo trip – I still make mistakes! Not everything will go to plan. This is a reality of any kind of travel. So don’t lose sleep over what could go wrong. All you can do is plan and prepare as best you can. And when something does go awry, then you’ll deal with it when it happens.
Because here’s the thing, IT’S NO BIG DEAL IF YOU MESS UP. Sure, it’s frustrating to have a tour canceled; it’s a bummer when the weather is terrible; it’s infuriating when you miss the last train and have to hail an expensive cab. But none of these are the end of the world. And these types of things can only ruin your trip if you let them.
There’s no need to be angry at yourself for messing up because it happens to every person who’s ever traveled. And there’s no need to be embarrassed. So what if you show up to the wrong tour and you get some eye-rolls or side-glares? These people don’t know you, and you’ll never see them again. Forget about them and get back to your fantastic trip!
Trust Your Instincts. Don’t doubt yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable, then remove yourself from a situation. If you show up for a tour and it seems sketchy, then leave. Don’t worry about lost money or being rude. Your safety and comfort are worth far more than money or someone’s ego.
Arrive At Your Destination During The Day. You’ll be a lot more confident disembarking your plane, train, or bus when you have plenty of daylight and time to get to your accommodation. Arriving at night is more stressful, makes you feel more rushed, and doesn’t give you time to orient yourself to your new destination properly.
Your First Activity Should Be A Walking Tour. After you’ve settled into your accommodation, do a guided walking tour on your first day. This will help you familiarize yourself with your neighborhood and the significant landmarks of your destination.
I recommend a guided tour instead of a self-guided tour because a local guide is going to give you recommendations and helpful tips about navigating your destination. This is valuable information you’ll want to have to confidently stroll out of your hotel the next day knowing exactly where you’re going.
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This article about solo travel with confidence is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this list about solo travel with confidence are entirely my own. Some of these links in this guide on how to solo travel with confidence are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.