I spent the first half of November traveling solo around Bali. It was magical, blissful, invigorating, and rejuvenating. I love to travel and while there is something so special about traveling with a friend, partner, or family and getting to create and share memories together, there is something really empowering and relaxing about traveling solo.
I know for many people traveling solo can feel a bit overwhelming. I’ve gotten many messages on Instagram along the lines of “You’re doing that alone?!” or “I could never do that!” If traveling solo holds no appeal to you, read no further. But if it’s something you’ve thought of doing but aren’t quite sure if that’s too far out of your comfort zone, keep reading, I’m sharing my tips for making traveling solo accessible and most importantly – FUN!
I’ll start with saying I didn’t wake up one day and decide my first solo trip would be halfway around the world to Bali. I’ve been traveling abroad since high school when I decided to take Spanish for a year so I could spend the summer in Cadiz, Madrid, and Seville. In college, I went abroad twice, first to Australia and then to Copenhagen, and since then I’ve traveling both throughout the States and abroad as much as my bank account and vacation days allowed. Getting comfortable traveling takes time, and like anything, the more you do it the easier and more natural it becomes.
Leading us to tip 1: start small. take a day trip to a nearby town you’ve been wanting to visit. wander around, take yourself out to eat, see the sights of the place. Then maybe take a weekend trip a few hours away, then maybe fly to a different state, etc. etc. Whatever feels accessible to you right now, start there. As you get more comfortable traveling in general and on your own, expand your horizons and the distance you go.
No matter where I am traveling to I like to have a plan in advance and do a bit of research. The less I know a place, the more I prepare. For Bali this meant reading up on the culture a bit, reading blogs to find out what other people enjoyed or didn’t, searching for restaurants, researching hotels and Airbnbs, and noting all the sight seeing or activities that I wanted to do. There is so much information out there in the digital age, with a bit of patience and time you can find everything you need to know! Once I have my favorites I save them in a list on google maps. These points stay available even when I don’t have service so I am able to navigate to and from places without worrying about roaming or Wifi. Before I leave I have a rough outline of what I plan to do each day. This also helps me to fit more in because I’m not spending time on my trip trying to figure out where to go or what to do. Tip 2: Do your research. Pin your favorite places.
Contrary to Tip 2, Tip 3 is to deviate from the plan as necessary. A plan is great but so is spontaneity and being flexible. Opportunities may arise to do something new or you may feel incredibly jet lagged and taking a nap sounds way better than a strenuous hike. Let your plan provide the framework, from there go with the flow. Traveling is your vacation time after all, the less you worry about changes along the way, the more you will enjoy your time.
While you’re traveling solo, keep in mind that that doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. Tip 4: ask for help! If you need a recommendation of where to go or how to get there, just ask! Hotel concierges and Airbnb hosts typically know the area well and can provide great recommendations of where to go. Or ask a stranger. I’ve only had positive experiences with asking people. Be kind, courteous, and grateful, but definitely reach out when you need to!
Tip 5: Be safe; Trust your gut. I operate on the theory that all people are good people and that the universe will keep me safe. That said, no matter where in the world you are traveling, the later you are out at night and the more you drink, the more likely you are to get into an unsafe situation, get lost, etc. When I’m traveling solo (and honestly really all the time) I’m back home early and avoiding the club scene. If going out & drinking is something that you want to include in your travels, be mindful and careful just as you would in any city. Along with some caution, trust your gut. If something doesn’t sit right with you – listen to that, don’t do it. I’ve canceled Airbnbs and plans because something felt off to me. There might not be a concrete reason but if my gut tells me no, I head that.
And lastly, make the most of the time to yourself. Not only does this mean you get to determine what the day holds for you, but it’s really precious time to take to reflect, journal, meditate, and simply be.
Have other questions about traveling solo? Leave them in the comments and I’ll get back to you 😽