So, you’ve decided to take your first solo trip? It’s an exciting time, but your mind might be racing with all the things you need to do and pack before you leave.
You’re always going to want to focus on these things, but when you’re traveling alone, there are no margins for error. You don’t have a travel partner to fall back on, so you’re going to want to be prepared.
Things to do before your first solo trip
Here are a few things that everyone should do before their first solo trip.
1. Choose your destination wisely
If you’re traveling alone, especially if you’re a woman, choose a destination where you’ll feel relatively safe. There are many places you’ll want to avoid as a woman or minority, so do your research before you choose your destination. Also, check your local government’s travel advisory warnings to see if your destination of choice might be flagged for any reason.
2. Prepare your documentation
If you need to get a visa, this is something you’re going to want to handle well in advance of your trip. And if you’re traveling out of the country, you’re definitely going to need a passport. And here’s a reminder that you’ll need a birth certificate to get a U.S. passport, so be sure to give yourself enough time. If you need a replacement birth certificate, this can take an additional two weeks.
3. Make a communication plan
Communication is extremely important when you’re traveling alone, and you should never go it alone without a plan. Decide before you leave whether you’ll use your cell phone and get an international plan or whether you’ll use another method. You can get a burner phone overseas or rely on email. Just be sure one person knows where you are at all times and knows (within reason) when they might hear from you.
What to pack for your solo trip
As a solo traveler, you’re probably going to want to pack light and check the weather forecast before you decide what to bring. And when in doubt, layers are always a good idea.
But when you’re traveling alone, you’re going to want to take extra precautions to ensure you blend in. Solo travelers are more vulnerable, so you don’t want to call attention to yourself. Before you even pack, research what the locals wear. If there are cultural standards, you should know and try to mimic them as closely as possible. Individuality is a great thing, and clothing is a fantastic form of self-expression, but you don’t ever want to risk your safety.
With that said, you don’t have to buy all the latest fashions from the area. Just be sure your outfit is culturally appropriate and doesn’t stand out too much.
And it’s wise to pack some OTC medications, like Immodium, Advil, and Benedryl. Probiotics are great for keeping your gut healthy too, so these are an excellent addition.
Also, if you’re headed to a foreign land where the language is foreign, pack a translation book. Even if you feel uncomfortable, it’s almost always better to try speaking the native language than to ask the locals to speak yours. It’s just polite.
When you’re planning your first solo trip, there’s a lot to consider. But remember, it’s an incredibly fun time with endless possibilities ahead of you. Just be sure to follow the tips outlined here, so you’ll be prepared for your upcoming trip. Bon Voyage!