How often have you traveled in your life? If you’re young, you’ve most likely only traveled with your family or friends—never by yourself. Traveling solo can be nerve-wracking and bring about many uncertainties: what if you make mistakes? What if you get lost? What if something goes wrong and you’re nowhere near home?
The first thing you should do is calm your nerves. Solo travel seems daunting, but it doesn’t have to be scary if you prepare yourself well in advance. Once you’ve decided to travel alone, you should consider where you want to go; not all places are equal for solo travelers. You’ll need to find somewhere you feel comfortable going by yourself, so it’s vital that you do your research before booking any trips.
Look for a country that has a large tourism industry. These countries are generally more foreigner-friendly than those with a small tourism industry and often have systems in place specifically designed for travelers to use, making it easier for you to explore the country confidently. Visiting a high tourism destination also means you’ll stand out less, have transportation systems at your disposal, and give you the opportunity to befriend fellow travelers.
You’ll also want to consider the local language of where you plan to travel. What languages can you speak? Look for countries where you won’t have to worry about communication barriers until you’re more comfortable with handling language barriers.
Before traveling, you’ll want to make a travel plan to follow during your time away. How are you going to reach your destination? How are you going to get around your destination once you arrive? Can you handle navigating an airport by yourself? Ask yourself these questions (and more) while creating a plan to help ease your travel experience. Do your research well in advance to figure out a rough outline of your trip.
You’ll also want to take extra time to prepare yourself before stepping onto your plane. One of the most important things about solo traveling is that you feel safe and comfortable no matter where you go; this will ease your travel experience and lessen your stress or anxiety about traveling solo. A smart idea is to buy traveler’s insurance before you leave, as your home insurance won’t cover you when you travel abroad. This insurance will cover theft and injury while you’re abroad; while no one plans for those things to happen, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Finally, always stay connected with friends and family and keep them updated on where you are. Get a local SIM card when you land in a new city or country to help you navigate your destination easier, save you money on international travel expenses, and help keep you from getting lost. Cellular data will let you access a map, call an Uber, and keep yourself safe while traveling. It’ll also let you keep in touch with people back home to let them know what you’re doing and where you are—this is especially important when traveling solo as a woman, so check in daily.