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5 Tips for Traveling Alone

Posted on 27 November 2015

By: Erin 

It's not as scary as it sounds. Traveling to an unknown place, not knowing a single soul, and exploring a completely different culture. Ok, so it sounds a little scary...but it can also be a very rewarding experience.

Here are 5 tips to make the best of your solo adventure...

1) Stay in a hostel. Ok, so some people imagine hostels are full of 20-somethings who are partying every night, sleeping during the day, and missing out on all the cultural experiences of a new country. The thing is, you will find those people. But don't be discouraged. You can also find a tranquil hostel full of like-minded people. The most important thing is to do your research and read the reviews of a potential hostel and base your stay on that. Hostelworld.com is a great site to check out the reviews, and if multiple reviews say there's loud music every night and a big bar...I choose to stay away!

2) Be a little selfish. This is your chance to do WHATEVER you want, and you don't have to run your decisions by a single person. Don't get me wrong, I love traveling with compatible travel companions, but there's also nothing like experiences a new city or country on your own terms. Take advantage of your freedom!

3) Talk to strangers. I know you were told not to talk to strangers when you were a kid. Now that you're an adult (in a foreign country), break down those walls and talk with as many people as you can. You never know what a simple "hello" can lead to...whether it's having a life-long friend in a different country, meeting a significant other, or just having an unforgettable 3 days together. The point is, don't hold back and try to get to know other people, even if it is a little scary. The good thing is that you don't ever have to see that person again in your entire life (if you don't want to). But, you don't want to miss out on having a great connection with someone who was just a complete stranger. I've met my best friends at hostels in random countries and we still meet up for reunions across the globe!

4) Trust your instincts. There will be those people who always try to take advantage of others. Be aware, but not scared of those people. Always trust your instincts, and if something doesn't feel right, you should probably pass. One thing I have learned from traveling alone is the ability to read people better and to see those who aren't being authentic with you. Always be polite, but don't feel like you're forced to do something if it just doesn't feel right.

5) Step outside your comfort zone! Yes, traveling by yourself can be a lonely experience. You are in control of how much you want to socialize, or keep to yourself. Take advantage of all the people around you and all the exciting activities you can partake in. Don't hold back and experience everything that you want. At times, it can be scary, but put yourself out there and you may be surprised by the positive attention you're getting.

A solo trip can be a rewarding experience that you will never forget. I backpacked through South America on my own for 8 months. Yes, I was traveling alone, but I never felt alone. The backpacker community is so open and welcoming and I always met people along the way, who I call dear friends now. I think everyone should take at least one trip by themselves. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy your alone time, or what you discover about yourself and other people. Happy traveling!!!

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