The Full Guide To Traveling Alone For The First Time.

traveling alone with a backpack

If you're traveling, don't feel like you have to bring everything along with you. In fact, some people would rather go without than pack too much stuff. When trying to decide what to take with you, try these tips:

  • Pack your bag early
  • One of the best ways to ensure your travel goes smoothly is to pack your bag well ahead of time. When you do this, you'll have less opportunity to forget things, and you won't need to go back and forth looking for items that you may have left behind. Get everything ready at least two weeks before your departure date, as anything forgotten could make your trip longer than expected. Make sure to take plenty of layers to keep yourself warm in cold temperatures and cool in hot ones.

  • Pack Lightly
  • Packing lightly means not bringing along lots of unnecessary items. If you bring too much stuff, you'll end up spending hours trying to find things when you arrive at your destination. Bring only necessities and then add these as you go along. You shouldn't even need a bag unless you plan on staying longer than a week or two.

  • Take precautions
  • When traveling abroad, especially to countries where security is tight, it's advisable to consider taking measures to protect your personal information. You might want to look into purchasing a prepaid mobile phone card so that you don't risk having your SIM card swiped if your device gets lost or stolen. Consider buying a disposable camera, so that you can capture memories without worrying about losing them or your memory cards. There are many apps out there that allow you to upload your images to social networks easily, so that you can share your experiences while they're still fresh.

  • Personal hygiene products
  • Depending on where you're going, you may have access to public restrooms. So unless your destination isn't equipped with bathroom facilities, you should definitely pack toiletries. Remember to bring body wash, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/brush, and mouthwash. Also, make sure to bring antiseptic cream (like Neosporin) and bandages.

  • Leave some space
  • It's always wise to leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs and gifts, even if you only plan to buy something once you arrive home. If you're planning on staying in hostels and couch-surfing, leaving extra room in your backpack/luggage might help save you from being assigned a bunk bed - or worse yet, waking up in someone else's bathroom.

  • Bring your own toiletries
  • You don't have to bring your entire makeup collection, just enough to cover any special occasions, but it might be worth bringing your favorite shampoo and conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, perfume and nail polish. Not only will you avoid paying exorbitant prices for these products in foreign countries, but you'll be able to use your own preferred brand and scent or color.

  • Know your city
  • If you know where you're going, you'll be less likely to get lost and miss attractions. Research the local transportation system, including public transport, taxis, and private hire vehicles. Also, familiarize yourself with the language spoken by locals; knowing how to say “Please” and “Thank you” will make a huge difference.

  • Be prepared
  • Make sure to carry an umbrella with you wherever you go. If possible, bring along a small folding chair and sunscreen. You never know what weather conditions you'll encounter.

  •  Don't skip meals
  • Going without food for 24 hours is never wise, even if you're only planning on staying at home. Even if you're running low on cash, skipping meals could result in serious hunger pains and lead to dehydration. Make sure you always have water nearby and use it often. A few drops of lemon juice mixed with water helps to boost flavor and prevent sickness. Avoiding meat is also a great idea. Eating a lot of processed foods (like fast-food) and highly refined sugar is unhealthy. However, eating junk food does help satisfy cravings. 

  • Call ahead
  • If you're visiting a foreign country, calling ahead to confirm your reservation is a smart move. Find out where you should stay, what's open, and how much things cost. It will save you money if you know exactly what to expect, and you won't feel lost in unfamiliar surroundings. 

  • Pack snacks
  • When you realize you don't have anything to eat, stop at an ATM and buy something small. Keep them handy for when you need them, and try to avoid buying something expensive unless you absolutely have to. Food costs a lot overseas, so be prepared! 

  • Be safe
  • This should go without saying, but safety comes first. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and carry a flashlight, pepper spray, and/or a cell phone charger if you think you may need them. Keep your door locked, and watch your back while walking around, especially at night. 

  • Choose wisely
  • If you want to visit a museum, book online to ensure tickets aren't sold out. Pay attention to any warnings posted and follow the directions carefully. 

  • Share your experience
  • Don't forget to share your tips and experiences with others! Posting pictures of your trip helps others plan their own trips and provides valuable information for future travelers. 

  • Use apps to take care of business
  • There are plenty of helpful travel apps available today that can make your life easier. Apps like Google Maps, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Yelp, and Facebook allow you to find reviews and ratings for different places. These apps can also suggest restaurants, hotels, attractions, and activities based on your location. 

  • Stay organized
  • Be sure to write down everything you need to bring. You should also create a checklist before your trip to remind you of items to pack and things to check off once you arrive.

  • Avoid talking to strangers
  • Don't talk to anyone unless they're family members or people who you know well enough to trust. Otherwise, steer clear of strangers.

  • Dress Appropriately
  • The weather conditions are going to vary depending on what time of year you're traveling. Pack appropriate clothing based on the season; heavy materials for winter trips and lighter ones for summertime excursions. You don't want to get caught unprepared!

  • Have a sense of humor
  • Sometimes, even though we may feel nervous or anxious, it helps to be able to laugh at ourselves. While it might seem silly sometimes, laughing can help you relax, and make you less likely to panic or freak out. Don't let anything become serious or stressful; remember that you're doing fine, and everything will work out.


Top 5 Benefits Of Traveling Alone

  1. You Can Have More Time To Think
  2. Traveling alone means you have less people around you, therefore there's more time to think about things you don't want to talk about or even think about at all. There's no rush to finish something in order to get somewhere, and then there's nothing else to do until you reach your destination. When traveling alone, you may take more time to look back on what happened during your trip, and to reflect on everything that happens.

  3. You Are Not An Object
  4. When traveling alone, you are not someone's object or someone who they're afraid of losing. You're not the responsibility of anyone else. So when you travel solo, you get to decide whether or not you want to stay or go. If you decide to stay longer than planned, it's nobody's business but yours.

  5. You Don't Have To Compete With Anyone
  6. You have no competition while traveling alone. Sure, if you plan well and you're prepared for any situation, you could meet some great people along the way, but if you're going to meet them, they'll find you eventually anyway. And if they didn't, then you never would've met them in the first place.

  7. You Get To Choose Your Own Schedule
  8. No one gets to choose their own schedule. But when traveling alone, you get to choose whenever you want to wake up, sleep, eat, drink, and work. No one can tell you otherwise. So if you need to leave early for a certain destination, you can do so without having to explain yourself to anyone else.

  9. You Are In Control
  10. Whenever you travel alone, you are always in control. No matter how bad your day was, or how good it was, you can always change it by changing where you're going or how you're getting there. Whether you use public transportation, rent a car, or fly, you are still in charge.

What are the disadvantages of traveling alone?

Whenever you decide to travel alone for the first time, there will be advantages and disadvantages. Below we go over some of the disadvantages.

  • You are alone

It's hard to find someone who shares the same interest and hobbies as you do. Traveling alone means not having anyone to share those experiences with. Even if you have a friend back home, making friends abroad isn't always easy. When you travel alone, there's nobody to call your roommate about your crazy nights out and tell him/her how much fun you had while he/she was sleeping. And even though it may seem like you're spending time on yourself, you aren't really, since being away from everyone makes you realize just how precious human connection is.

  • Money

Traveling alone comes at a price, money wise. Sure, you could go on a budget and make sure that you don't spend any extra than necessary, but what happens when you need to get something? Well, you either have to buy it on your own or pay someone else (like a taxi driver) to take you where you want to go. Not only does this cost you more money, but it could also get pretty annoying when you've already paid for your entire trip!

  • Safety

When you travel solo, you never know what might happen on your journey; whether you'll run into thieves or pickpockets. If you don't feel safe, you'll end up staying somewhere you don't want to stay. If you're afraid of getting robbed, you should definitely make plans to meet people while you're out.

  • Privacy

When you travel alone, you're exposed to a lot of things. Your privacy is constantly put in jeopardy because there's no way to keep prying eyes away from you. Unless you live near the beach or a major tourist spot, you won't be able to hide if you're carrying a big suitcase.

  • Loneliness

Being away from home and family doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be lonely. However, when you're traveling alone, it feels like you're the only person in the world. Even though you may have planned to visit a few places with friends before leaving, you probably won't have many people around when you actually arrive. The best way to combat loneliness is to plan ahead. Make sure you have a list of friends or relatives you can contact while you're away.

  • Security

You may think that nothing bad will ever happen to you while you're traveling, but unfortunately, this isn't always true. While some countries are safer than others, you're still putting yourself at risk. There are times when people become angry or upset and they're willing to harm you. In order to prevent these incidents, you need to be aware of your surroundings and use common sense.

Why Traveling Solo Is A Social Experience

  • You don't have to worry about being bothered by people

You're on vacation, where do you want to go? How does it matter if someone asks you questions while you're enjoying yourself? You'll never be bothered by anyone during a solo trip. You won't need to worry about getting sick or feeling lonely. All you need to do is enjoy yourself and forget about everyone else except yourself.

  • You get to know new places

When traveling alone, you get to explore new places and meet new people. You get to experience things you wouldn't have experienced otherwise, learn new things, and expand your knowledge base. When you travel with people, you just stay at the same place and talk about the same stuff over and over. But when you travel alone, you get to experience different cultures, traditions, foods, customs, and people.

  • You connect with nature

Solo traveling gives us a chance to reconnect with our environment. We can enjoy the beauty of nature without any distractions. And we get to take in everything around us, including the smells, sights, sounds, tastes, and textures. By doing this, we can truly appreciate what's right in front of our eyes.

  • You get to relax

It's hard not to think about work after a long day at the office. Whether you're working at home or out in public (in case you don't have anywhere to go), you can easily end up stressing out about things at work. However, when you travel solo, you have no responsibilities besides yourself. You can completely disconnect from work, let down your guard, and focus only on yourself.

  • You find my own entertainment

There are so many things to do in cities these days. There are cinemas, theatres, museums, parks, amusement rides, and restaurants. If you're bored, you could always visit one of those places. But when you travel solo, all you need to do is choose something you'd like to do. You can read books, write letters, watch movies, listen to music, paint, draw, play video games, or practice yoga. You can even try some new hobbies!

  • You make memories

Traveling gives you the opportunity to build lasting memories with friends, family, and loved ones. When you travel with others, you spend most of your time talking about what happened yesterday instead of looking forward to tomorrow. So when you travel alone, it gives you the chance to reminisce about what you did last week or month ago.

  • You make new connections

While traveling with friends, you might become close enough to them that you feel obligated to hang out with them constantly. You may develop a routine with them and become comfortable spending time together. But when you travel with someone, you realize that you would rather be alone than be stuck in the company of someone you don't care for. When you travel alone, you make new connections and meet new people.

Stay In Touch With Family At Home

Social media apps are a great way to stay connected with family while at home. There are many ways to use social media apps to keep in touch with loved ones. You could send pictures of what's going on around the house or ask them about their day. Use these different apps and let everyone know how much you care!

  • Skype

Skype is an app that lets users make free video calls over the internet. You can use it to chat live on your computer screen or share videos with friends who have the same service. You can even call landline and mobile phones worldwide without incurring long distance charges.

  • WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a messaging app where people across the world connect via text messages instead of calling each other directly. You can message anyone in the world for free and they get your message instantly. You can send images, voice notes, stickers, and live location updates to others. There is now an option to call another contact.

  • Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger lets you talk to your friends and family just as you would on Facebook messenger. You can send text messages, picture/video attachments, and emojis. All these features help you stay connected to your friends and family.

  • Instagram

Instagram is a popular photo sharing website where users can upload high quality photos to share with family and friends. You can choose to post only to certain groups or publicly. You can then view photos from all the people you follow. You can comment on and like other posts.

  • Pinterest

Pinterest is a photo-sharing social network where users can pin pictures to boards. On Pinterest, you can follow specific topics and boards to keep updated on all things related to the topic. You can find inspiration and ideas for DIY projects, recipes, fashion trends, travel destinations, and more.

  • Google Hangouts

Hangouts is a video chatting application released by Google. You can use it on desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs. You can either use online webcams or download third party software if you want to add additional devices to your conversation.

Let Someone Know Where You're Going

If someone knows you're going somewhere, they'll be able to keep an eye out for you. Leaving a note to let them know where you're going and when you plan to return is also helpful. A text message works well if you aren't near a phone. Even just leaving a quick voicemail gives people the opportunity to contact you if something comes up along the way.

What Type Of Experience Are You Looking For?

Do you want adventure? A unique cultural experience? Or maybe you just want to relax, unwind, and enjoy a beautiful destination? While traveling doesn't have to mean doing a lot...there are some things that you may not want to miss while traveling. Here is our list of top 10 things NOT to miss while traveling!

  • The Local Cuisine
  • Not only does food define a culture, but it defines a place. When traveling, don't pass up the opportunity to try local dishes. Not only is it fun to try something different, but it's also a great way to connect with locals in that area.

  • A Unique Cultural Experience
  • The best thing about traveling is that there are so many places to visit around the world. But, if you're only going to travel somewhere simply because it's a popular tourist spot, then you're missing out. Find a place that you've never visited before and make memories!

  • A New Adventure
  • Many people think they know everything there is to know about their city, state, or country. But travelers often find themselves discovering new adventures along the way. Why not plan a road trip to a nearby town or state? Visit a museum or historical landmark that you've never been to before.

  • A Relaxing Getaway
  • If you're looking for a relaxing getaway, look no further than your own backyard. Whether you're staying in a vacation home or renting a condo, having a house or apartment close at hand allows for some much-needed down time. If you're visiting family, consider staying in a hotel room where you can walk right outside the door and take advantage of a balcony.

  • An Unforgettable Event
  • You cannot always control what happens when you travel, but you can control how you react to those events. Don't let anything ruin your mood, good or bad. Keep your chin up.

Is Solo Travel A Good Idea?

We have become a society where we feel that solo travel should not be allowed at all times. We think if someone wants to travel alone they should only do so when it's safe to do so. However, we should also take note of what our ancestors did and how they traveled; they were often traveling long distances and going through unsafe places without anyone else knowing. 

So, what is it that makes solo travel dangerous? Well, it is simply the fact that we might not know the area very well. Since we are traveling alone, it's hard for us to ask questions and find out things about the area we are visiting (asking questions is usually not recommended). When you ask a stranger for directions, it just tells them that you do not know the area well.

In some instances, there are certain routes that are known to be unsafe, but since we don't really know what those routes are, we end up taking them anyway. So, we are putting ourselves in danger because we didn't research enough. Another thing that makes solo travel dangerous is that we don' t know anything about the surrounding area. If we are unfamiliar with the area then we might get lost easily and eventually get stuck somewhere that is unsafe.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

The first step to getting out of your comfort zone is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You have to be willing to try things that you may not normally do. If you don't like hiking, then take a class at a local gym. If you don't know how to swim, then enroll in a swimming lesson. If you don't enjoy fishing, then join a fishing club. The point is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something new. Once you start doing these activities, you'll realize that they aren't scary at all. In fact, they're fun and exciting.

Don't Give Details Of Your Accommodation To Strangers

Be careful who you share where you live with. There have been cases of people stealing credit cards and using them at hotels under their name without permission. If someone asks you about your place of accommodation and you don't trust them, say you're staying somewhere else.

Don't give out personal information over the phone unless you know exactly who you're talking to or the business is well knwon to the public. You could be giving away valuable details about yourself, such as your address, date of birth or phone number, to a scammer.

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Conclusion

Traveling alone for the first time can be stressing. But, if you follow all the tips and rules I talked about earlier in the article, it will be worth your time. Many people that you see on an airplane or cruise are traveling alone for the first time. You might not be the only person who is on that flight and excited about your trip. Stay calm, you're prepared. Enjoy.

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