Traveling alone is every bit as diverse as traveling in a group. Explore a city, relax on the beach, ride the rails cross country - or do it all! Some of us travel alone to meet new people or to visit a new place. Some of us travel alone to 'unplug' from our busy lives and regroup. And some of us travel alone because we just want to strike out and see where the wind blows us!
Traveling with friends or family builds stronger relationships, and traveling alone builds confidence, daring, and inspires creativity. It can also be the perfect time to sit back and regroup. Whatever your reasons for considering a solo trip, our experiences have taught us it has the potential to be a truly unique adventure!
Solo travel may seem intimidating for anyone who hasn't tried it before. Most people who haven't explored solo before assume it's more dangerous, too complicated, or too lonely to be worth trying. But at JET we've all traveled independently, and promise that it can be uniquely rewarding. Here are some of our favorite things about kickin' it solo:
It's all about you. How often do you really get to do anything that's absolutely the way YOU want it? There's no one else to consult, no one to negotiate with, and no one but yourself to please along the way!
You won't be alone unless you want to be. Nearly everyone who comes back from traveling solo talks about all the fascinating people they met while traveling. Making new friends while traveling is exciting, and much easier than you might think. There are plenty of other individuals looking for someone to hang out with, and most groups are quick to welcome one more into the party!
It's can be just as safe as traveling with someone. So long as you take the necessary precautions, there's no additional danger in traveling by yourself. You might even find that you're less likely to be hassled than a group because vendors recognize less of a payoff. Check out our 'Tips for Solo Travelers' below!
You'll rediscover yourself with a whole new perspective. The people you'll meet along the way don't know you - they haven't heard your stories, don't know about your aspirations, are unfamiliar with the life you lead at home. Introduce yourself with confidence and be amazed how interesting the world finds you.
Resting is guilt-free. You set your schedule, so feel free to stay up all night, sleep in late, read all day, or get up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise - it's completely up to you, and no one will object or tell you that you ought to be doing something else!
It builds confidence. One way or another, at some point you'll meet something that feels out of your comfort zone...and you'll figure it out. It might mean getting wildly creative or just asking someone for help - but either way you'll learn that you can take care of yourself.
It's good for you. Studies have shown that both getting into vacation mode and spending enjoyable time alone can stave off depression. Obviously doing both simultaneously will be twice as beneficial, right?!
DO leave a copy of your passport and travel documents with someone at home. If they get lost it's a much easier fix if they can just send you a copy.
DO carry a smartphone. You may choose not to use it as a phone, but this device will also be your navigation, your reference guide, and your link to everyone back home. Invest in a heavy-duty case and take care that it stays protected.
DO always know how to get back to wherever you're spending the night. Write the address down and keep it with you in case you need to take a taxi.
DON'T listen to your headphones in the street or flash your wallet. Keep money in different pockets and stay aware of who's moving around you.
DO make sure someone back home always knows where you are if you're planning on moving around. Make a Google spreadsheet with your travel dates and accommodations and share it with a family member or friend.
DO ask for advice. There's no better way to navigate a problem or get the best tips on where to go than to ask the people who live there! They'll be able to tell you which areas to avoid, the best restaurants to try and places to visit.
DON'T let yourself get pushed around. You might feel like you have to be rude sometimes if someone is bothering you. But you have to take care of you - just do it.
DO be open to making friends. Most people traveling on their own will jump at the opportunity to hang out with another solo traveler, so step right up and say hi!
DO consider writing a travel blog. Even if you're no great shakes as a writer, it's a great way to keep track of what you're getting up to on your adventures, and allows people back home to follow along if they'd like.
DO have confidence. You can do this! If you get nervous or hesitant, take a moment to remind yourself just how capable and mentally strong you are. Now get out there!
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