I’ve traveled alone before. In fact, the majority of my travel is just me, myself, and I. I’ve traveled internationally before last year; back in 2014 I moved to London for four months, I went to Brazil when I was fourteen. Both of these trips involved me at least meeting up with people once I got there or going with a group.
At the end of last year, I went to India by myself – the first time I traveled internationally, to a place I have never been, knowing no one, and going alone. The biggest draw of traveling by yourself is the that the entire experience is one big learning curve. I don’t want to take that away from anyone planning a trip. I also don’t want to overshare. When you’re taking a trip of that caliber, it’s important to learn about yourself and not everything needs to become #content.
BUT. I do have some simple tips and little tricks for keeping your sanity while navigating airports you aren’t familiar with, going places by yourself, and how to get the most out of your trip.
1. The unexpected will happen – so have cash. Yes, that’s my big takeaway for “the unexpected will happen to you.” Ominous, isn’t it? This is one of those things that I’m going to let you figure out for yourself. The “unexpected” completely depends on you, the scenario, and where you’re going. But – everything doesn’t always go to plan. You’ll be fine, you’ll adapt, and you’ll learn about yourself.
But for the ‘WTFohmygodI’mgoingtodie’ moment, have cash in the local currency. Presumably, enough for a taxi back to your hotel (AirBnB, Vacation Rental Home, spot under the pier, whatever).
2. Minimize your capacity for err – keep your passport and credit cards in separate places. When I traveled, I went back and forth about having a traveler’s wallet that combined all of my documents in one space. I was eventually warned against it by my friend, who cautioned that if that got stolen – there goes everything. No passport, no credit cards, etc.
Minimize any potential damage by keeping them in separate wallets, compartments, etc. If one gets stolen, you’ll still be in a better place than if you were missing every important document you own.
3. Take a journal. Shit happens when you travel by yourself. A lot of it happens in your head. You’ll want to write it down. That’s all.
4. Don’t feel bad if you aren’t there to make friends. Before I left on my trip, a lot of people (I mean, a lot of people) weighed in on their thoughts about my plan to travel by myself. One of the most common adages, however, was “Oh, what a cool opportunity to meet people!”, “You’ll make new friends!”, etc.
If you make new friends while traveling – that’s amazing! It is a cool opportunity. For me, that wasn’t the goal. I was going to be alone and get a little lost on purpose. I wasn’t interested in meeting new people or going to every happy hour in sight. That’s the benefit of traveling alone. You can do whatever the f*ck you want.
5. Be gracious to yourself. One of the unexpected struggles that I had while I was on my trip was constantly worrying if I was “doing it right.” Was I going out enough? Was I doing enough ‘things’? Was I going to have some sort of insane eat-pray-love experience? Although the benefits of traveling alone mean that you set your itinerary, I found myself doubting my own itinerary-setting-skills. Just a few days in, I had a breaking point where I was worried I wasn’t “doing it right.”
There’s no way to “do it right.” Be gracious to yourself and your mental state while you’re traveling alone. It’s unexpectedly hard and not that easy. You might have moments of panic – even if you love being alone (hey yo!) – because being alone on the other side of the world is a totally different experience. Embrace the unexpected. Be kind to yourself. Trust the literal journey you put yourself on.
M. F. Husain. A series of his works are at the Art Institute until March 4, and I’d recommend it. ✨… https://t.co/XQ1unSNancFollow
I love going home for a weekend because it consists of my mother asking for the tea on shady comments I’ve made onl… https://t.co/5FVkpW96f2Follow