At some point in time, it happens to everyone: you’ll have to travel alone. Maybe the prospect of this excites you (in which case, you might want to read this post), or maybe you find it terrifying. Maybe you don’t have any strong feelings about the subject. Regardless, if you’re on this post, you probably want some advice for your first time travelling on your own. These are our top 5 tips…
1. Be well prepared.
On my first big solo trip, I had loaded my phone up with about 50 albums from Spotify. In the end, I only listened to one. But since my biggest form of stress relief is to put my earbuds in and centre myself, I wanted to make sure I had any music I might want to listen to. Following a written list for packing also helped the process go smoother, because the risk of forgetting something became smaller. My list was detailed – I didn’t just say “nice pants” because that can lead to decision-making stress when you’re at the final hour. I wrote down each piece of clothing exactly, and packed my bag more than 24 hours in advance.
Remember to check the forecast for your destination when packing!
2. Set up a time to Skype home on your first day.
And make sure the person/people you’ve selected to Skype with are RELIABLE. This may not be for everyone, and some people might find it harder to adjust to being away if they hear from home. For me, however, my biggest anxieties come from not knowing if everything is okay at home. Skyping on that first day really helps to ease the worry that something bad might happen while I’m away, and then I can enjoy the rest of the trip without needing to check in (as much).
3. Talk to other people!
Whether those people are your well-seasoned traveller friends, your family, or a professional counsellor, talking about your fears and anxieties with other people can be a great way to put them in perspective and work through them. Other people also have their own coping strategies for travel anxiety, which you can adopt (if you haven’t already).
4. Set (achievable) goals.
Depending on how much stress you’re feeling, the first day away may seem overwhelming and you don’t see much of your new city. That is perfectly okay. Don’t go overboard when making a list of everything you need to do, because it can be stressful to try to fit too much into a short period of time. Pick 2 or 3 things you really want to do, and schedule a day/time to do them. Completing even one thing you really want to do can definitely help your motivation and confidence, and it doesn’t even have to be a big goal. For me, the goal is to take public transit: once I’ve taken the bus/subway/tram in a new city, I’m immediately more comfortable. So, I try to do that as soon as possible.
Taking the bus in Amsterdam
5. Start with smaller trips.
If you’ve never taken a weekend trip by yourself to Montreal, or New York, or Seattle, try spending a few days away while closer to home! The comfort of knowing you’re physically closer to home (or at least, not across an ocean) can help make things a little easier when you are travelling on your own. Then, you can work up to bigger trips!
In the end, it’s really not that big a deal. Everything you worry about before travelling ends up being just a worry. It’s so beyond easy to make friends and meet new people, so you won’t be alone for long!
Ready to take your first big trip? We’re ready to help, every step of the way! Find your next destination at travelcuts.com.
Written by Deanna Gregorio, Brand Specialist at travelcuts.