Solo travel is scary because it forces you to be in charge of, well, everything as you navigate a foreign country but if you don’t let it overwhelm you it can be a very rewarding experience. If you dream of travelling solo or you’re a first-timer, here are some tips to get over your fear and have the most amazing experience of your life.
Start off with a few days away and build on it
To succeed in travelling solo the key is not to push yourself so much that it becomes overwhelming and you start doubting your own abilities. If you’ve never travelled solo before, start small to build your confidence. Treat yourself to a weekend away somewhere close by. It could be a town or a city in the UK or you could branch out and visit somewhere in Europe.
The most intimidating part of solo travel is stepping into the unknown because it makes you feel vulnerable. Giving yourself the chance to practice your travelling and planning skills a few days at a time will help you feel more confident on the road.
Visit a country without a language barrier
If you’re planning to travel solo for the first time, choose somewhere without a language barrier. Visiting a country with a different set of cultural rules and traditions is daunting let alone getting to grips with a foreign language too. We are lucky in the UK as English is a global language so you have the assurance that wherever you go there’s always someone who can speak it. Even so, as a first-time solo traveller, it’s nice to not have the worry of a language barrier. It will allow you to focus on your other travelling skills and in the eventuality that you do get lost or need to ask for directions, it will be less challenging.
Once you’re more confident with solo travel don’t be afraid to push yourself to visit countries with foreign languages. They provide you will some of the most enriching and rewarding experiences that travelling can give. Learning to overcome language barriers wherever you are is a skill which needs practice like anything else. So when you’re already responsible for planning, safety, finance, navigation and more you can afford to cut yourself some slack with the language barrier until you’re ready and solo travel will be less daunting.
Plan your itinerary well
Fear of taking on the unknown by yourself is what drives anxiety around solo travel. It’s a series of what-ifs from getting lost to safety, missing transport links, running out of money and being lonely. The best ways to tackle these anxieties is to plan your itinerary meticulously because the more you know the better equipped you will be.
If you’re going away for a while have at least the first few weeks of your accommodation booked and try to get all major transport links sorted before you go. Research as much as you can about the destination you’re visiting and familiarise yourself with tourist hotspots. Sometimes the most trodden paths are best because there will always be someone in the same boat close by.
No detail is too ridiculous to research if it helps you feel more calm about your upcoming trip. Of course, no matter how much planning and research you do it will never feel like you’ve done enough. There will be eventualities that you just can’t plan for and things will go wrong. At moments like these, you will be surprised at your own resilience and resourcefulness. It’s an unavoidable part of travelling no matter if you’re solo or not.
Join a tour
Travelling solo doesn’t mean you have to be on the road by yourself. Joining a group tour is a great way to try something by yourself and meet like-minded people from all over the world. If you’re daunted by the thought of all the responsibility that comes with travelling solo then a tour is one of the best ways to get over your fear.
All you need to do is book a tour that suits you and they sort out the rest of your itinerary so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. All the stress of being by yourself in a foreign country vanishes and you will never feel lonely as there will always be someone to get along with. If you have a country in mind that you desperately want to visit but you’re too afraid to travel there alone then a tour is a perfect way to make your dream a reality and yes, it still counts as solo travel.