Traveling alone has many benefits. As scary as it may seem, I encourage everyone to travel alone at least once. Traveling alone will be the scariest, most liberating, life-changing experience of your life. Some of the concerns people have when traveling alone are safety concerns, boredom, loneliness and many more. When it comes to safety, you should know that most personal safety problems come from being alone at night or getting intoxicated. Certainly, you can avoid putting yourself in such situations.
When you travel alone, you will be a master of your own time. You will be able to do what you want to do and when you want to do it. It will improve your problem-solving abilities as you will figure out nearly everything by yourself and you will be more open and available to connect with others and make new friends.
Here are four (4) practical tips on how to overcome the fear of traveling alone;
1. Before you travel, spend time discovering your desired destination:
The internet is your friend. There is hardly any information you require that cannot be found online. Search travel forums, find out what to expect and what to avoid, and read reviews from other people who have visited the same destination. Some suggestions are TripAdvisor and of course, The Wakaholic.
2. Once you arrive, join a group tour:
Make this one of the first things you do – like the next day after you arrive in the city. I always recommend walking tours – some of them are free with options for tipping your Tour Guide. Doing this tour will help you discover your destination and ease in quickly. You will get the opportunity to ask the tour guide questions about the destination and also connect with other travelers especially solo travelers.
Most of the friends I made from my travels were people I connected with on a group tour. Be open and friendly and you will attract the right energy.
3. Ensure You Have Enough Money:
‘Enough’ here is relative. You already know yourself, your taste and your preference, therefore spend time discovering your desired destination and ask questions that will guide you in determining how much money you should have with you. Do not travel with cash only, have other options and access to funds such as debit or credit cards.
Now, why do you need enough money? It will give you confidence and make you worry less. If things get tricky or dangerous, you can opt for a taxi and shun the train or bus, you can eat where you want without going the extra mile to go find cheap food, you can pay to join any sightseeing tour of your choice, you can stay right in the city center and not worry about cheaper accommodation outside the city center. Money answers to most things.
4. Opt for a Hostel rather than a Hotel:
First, you should assess what inconvenience you can handle. When I started traveling, I use to dread sharing my personal space, I still do. Notwithstanding, there were times I had to share so I could save on accommodation/tours, meet other travelers and also because I didn’t want to be alone. But, you should assess what inconvenience you can tolerate.
Hostels usually offer a unique experience, but with a bit of inconvenience. It is affordable and great for connecting with other travelers. Pick a decent hostel, avoid ‘party hostels’ (unless this is your thing), and opt for a private room if you don’t want to share your space. You’ll still enjoy your privacy while being able to share communal areas and connect with other travelers. This is the greatest advantage of choosing a hostel.
Have you traveled alone before? How did you overcome the fear of traveling alone? Did you enjoy your trip? I would like to read about your views or any related questions that you may have, in the comment section.