The truth is, everyone you watch (and maybe even feel a little envy toward) traveling around the world right now has had to take the leap of traveling alone for the first time at some point. Now, it’s finally your turn.
Before you hit the panic button (it’s tempting, but just try to refrain), let’s make this imminent transition a little less nerve-wracking and a little more anticipation-building. Here are some tips and suggestions to keep in your back pocket as you prepare for your very first solo adventure:
Don't be afraid to explore. Ipoh, Malaysia by @kal_mare
Pick a place with lots of advice already out there.
Especially before you’ve had the opportunity to travel and learn from those experiences, it’s a good idea to start with well-traveled locations before taking on adventures in the more obscure areas of the world.
Thailand, Japan, Iceland, Germany, Peru — off the bat, these are some awesome destinations to check out. Otherwise, pick the top five places you’re looking to go and do a massive sweep for the details on a range of sites and books. If they end up mostly on websites you don’t trust or there just simply doesn’t seem to be any information out there, congratulations. You’ve just narrowed down your search.
Always make sure your sources are verified to be accurate and have a reputable credibility.
Book hotels in advance.
When it comes to booking your stay, the options are nearly endless. The number one thing to remember: reserve before you go. It’s a huge relief to know where you’re going to be sleeping each night, just ask any world traveler out there.
Hotels, Motels, Hostels, Airbnb, Couchsurfing — there are a ton of incredible resources at your disposal. Use them and use them wisely.
Talk to people.
Know someone that went before you? Ask them questions. You’ll learn from their mistakes and win from their wins. From food to lodging to the best hikes in the area, there is so much to gain from other people’s experiences. Are taxis the easiest way to get around or is there a public transportation method that’s lesser known yet easier? Perfect Q for an insider.
Oh yeah, and write this stuff down. You’ll remember less than you think you will.
Speak with locals. Floating Market, Thailand by @diografic
Know the local currency and how to get it.
Currency exchanges, how not to get ripped off — just a couple things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your pockets secure. Our best advice is to exchange your currency before you head out in the sky. Most larger banking institutions will exchange your currency without a fee or at the very least, a much lower fee than you’d find at those airport kiosks. Not to mention, always keep some extra pocket money. The last thing you want to be is stranded and broke.
Having an account at a bank with international branches is a great idea in case you need something while abroad. And don’t forget to let your bank know you’ll be traveling abroad in case you have to use you card for an emergency.
Comfortable shoes. Seriously.
Look, we’re not reminding you about this because we think we’re your mother. For a lot of first time travelers, this is something that is commonly overlooked.
Many of our travelers suggest bringing two pairs of well-constructed shoes — one for your daytime escapades and one for any special occasions. Versatility is key in finding a good daytime shoe, so if you’re going to have a clothing expense that’s bigger than another, use it here. Trust us when we say it’ll end up saving the day.
Gear up for your hike. Rainbow Mountain, Peru by @mimischorer
Finally, Enjoy the moment!
There’s plenty to think about when it comes to traveling for the first time. Bottom line? Enjoy the moment. Moments now are memories later, after all.