Traveling alone is taking two journeys in one. Not only are you taking a trip, but also there is freedom in stepping away for some rest and relaxation on your own. There are many benefits to solitude, and this time of year often finds people wanting to travel solo to escape from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also commonly referred to as “seasonal depression.”
And while traveling alone can be extremely cathartic, it is important to always be mindful of your surroundings to stay safe. Here’s a mix of tips for solo travelers that will maximize safety and fun:
- Get off the grid. Everything and everyone in our world is hyper-connected and it can be exhilarating to purposefully and consciously carve out time for just you. Unplug from social media, phones, email and basically anything that needs charging. Take in new sights, smells and tastes of a different world; even if it’s just a new neighborhood down the road. Become fully present and ask yourself what you can learn from this experience.
- Keep in touch online. “Drop by Internet cafes to socialize with other travelers and send a few emails updating loved ones on your itinerary. Always let at least one person know the location of the hotel you’re staying at, as well as the next city you’ll be stopping in,” suggests U.S. News & World Report.
- Write down everything. Write in your journal every day and it will help etch the memories in your mind so you remember them once the trip comes to an end.
- Meet the locals. Traveling solo can be the best time to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Even if it’s a fellow traveler who happens to be going to the same museum that day, make conversation. Don’t forget that it’s not wise to brag about traveling alone, however. Keep conversations with total strangers broad and lighthearted without giving away too much personal information.
- Embrace the moment. It can be scary but try always saying yes (within reason) while traveling and let the endless opportunities continue to grow. Become your own best friend. Drink coffee at a table for one with a good book. Picnic alone on the beach at sunset.
- Mind your drinks. You’re bound to find yourself at many a bar while traveling in a foreign country. “Some travelers swear by only ordering unopened beer, as these can’t be tainted with any unknown substances,” explains the U.S. News & World Report. “If you plan to imbibe, order sealed beer, or watch the bartender make your drink and then guard it like you would your passport.”