How to safely travel alone in an uncertain world
What if we love travel, but we wouldn't dare to leave home by ourselves? It can be daunting to even think of going somewhere you've never been without a friend or family member with you. All I ever read in travel blogs are 'must-dos' before you settle down, and they often include a bullet for traveling alone. So why is that no one seems to do it?
Here are five tips to build up the courage to travel alone and to make it worth while.
1. Start your adventure in your own town.
Be a tourist in your hometown for a day. Take yourself on a date, don't go to your typical spots and walk around without looking at your phone. See your hometown as if you've never been there before. Remember though, don't look at your phone while you walk... take a look around and see how it feels to wander by yourself.
2. Find a place you've wanted to go for a long time.
There's got to be somewhere you've always wanted to go. Pick out a place that you would feel safe if you were there alone. For some, it's Charleston, South Carolina, for others it's Dubai. Don't put limits on yourself!
3. Plan specific places to go.
Once you've chosen a destination, find some of the best spots to hit while you're there. Whether it be certain beaches, museums, restaurants or hikes, find them and write them down. Don't stop there though, investigate and document all the intricate ways to get there. Keep the directions in a journal so you can take it with you. (Use pictures and maps as well!)
4. Plan for problems.
Bringing extra money with you while you travel alone will help you relax in tense situations. If you lose your train ticket, you need a late night bite in a decent area, or you want to upgrade to a better hotel room to feel comfortable, allow yourself that luxury. Traveling alone can be stressful enough, so keep yourself packed with financial support. (Not with cash, but money in credit cards.)
5. Don't be afraid to make friends when you get there.
Yes, being safe when meeting strangers is imperative. But there are so many incredible people who embrace lone travelers as if they were family. Find a cafe that matches your style, bring your laptop and get some work done. I've found that working in a bustling place encourages new friends to inquire about what you do. From there, you're able to share who you really are with them and potentially create new relationships that could last a lifetime. Or - perhaps sit at a wine bar before the dinner crowd arrives and befriend the bartender.
Bartenders seem to know all the ins and outs of a town. Start there!
Traveling alone is definitely for the brave. Luckily, you're brave... so don't wait for someone else to find interest in places you've always wanted to visit. Get out there and make life what you want it to be.