Whatever the reason you want to take a solo vacation, you probably have a million questions, like:
Where should you go?
Is the area safe enough to visit alone?
What’s a good amount of time to spend there?
Will you be lonely? Bored? Homesick?
Are you going to need a “vacation” after your vacation?
No matter what thoughts or doubts are swirling, remember: traveling by yourself can be a fantastic experience! Decide to not let fear hold you back from doing what you want, going where you want or making new memories. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and the world around you while meeting people you may have never crossed paths with if you didn’t take the leap.
Just do it
We all have different reasons for needing time off. Maybe the burnout is real. You haven’t seen your hometown since you graduated from high school. That trip of a lifetime can’t wait another year. Vacations should alleviate stress, not add to it. That’s why the distraction of getting out of your day-to-day routine and doing something different can rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. And when you travel alone, you are only accountable to yourself and your timeline. You can be more flexible, change plans on a whim or linger on the beach just a little longer simply because you can.
Where you go and what you do is up to you. Whether it’s off the grid or a glitzy big city, go where you will feel safe. Depending on your comfort level and travel preferences, you might want to consider visiting a destination that you’re familiar with. Whatever you decide, make sure your destination is easily accessible, not too remote and that you can communicate easily with locals. No matter where you visit, you want to ensure you’ll feel secure to be able to enjoy every minute from your hotel location to all planned activities. If it’s your first time vacationing alone, look for places where the tourism industry is vibrant and busy. Find a destination with a lot of experiences available.
Plan A and plan B
Make a plan, then make a backup plan. There’s no reason to stress out when you can schedule activities ahead of time. Take a minimalist mindset. You want to pack enough so you can be self-reliant, but not too much in order to keep mobile—you don’t want too much baggage to get in the way of the fun. Think through the scenarios of your itinerary. Are you staying somewhere that requires you to provide your own towels and bedding? Will there be room service, or do local restaurants stay open late? Are you familiar with check-in and check-out times? Travel can be unpredictable and hiccups happen, yet prepping for the unexpected can keep variables in check and you relaxed. If your plans pivot due to circumstances beyond your control—like a canceled hike due to Mother Nature—you can quickly adapt with a party of one rather than polling an entire group about what they want to do instead.
Meet and greet
When you travel to locations known for tourism, it allows you to mingle with the locals and meet other solo vacationers. Conversations are easier to strike up when people are relaxed and you already have something in common—you’re both interested in the same place or you wouldn’t be spending time there. Local tours are great ways to connect with other travelers while learning more about the location’s history and letting someone who knows the area show you the best it has to offer.
Always let someone know your location
Appoint a contact person that knows your itinerary. Choose someone to text daily—just for a moment or two—to let them know you are safe, sound and having the time of your life. It will make them feel better about your adventure, and it will put your mind at ease if something happens because someone knows where you are. If you’re traveling outside the country, check with your cellphone carrier about data rates, purchasing local SIM cards and if it’s time to buy more storage on your phone.
Above all else, have the best time ever!
Sources: Travel and Leisure, US News and Classic Journeys