First Solo Traveler: Whether you are a first time solo traveler or a little out of practice, taking baby steps can get you moving ahead. Having been a solo traveler since my school days, at one point I found myself getting back in the groove after a hiatus from solo travel. I knew I could not wait to go abroad until someone else was available at the same time to go to the same place on a parallel budget. I surfed the Net and found just the right place for me: “nearby” Iceland. It’s true I made a few false steps as I headed out one February day skis in hand. (I failed to ask when the sun rose. In fact, would the sun rise at all in the dead of winter? By the way, what skiing was there other than via helicopters?) When I think back on my trip, I came up with these tips for new solo travelers and those out-of-practice:
First Solo Traveler
: Time Matters:
Choose a destination of less than 4 hours flight time to reduce both jetlag and costs. This helps if you tend to get jetlag. When you have only crossed one or more time zones, you are more likely to get to sleep. It may take about one day to adjust to each hour so the closer to home you are the easier it is.
Adopt the local time zone. I made the mistake of staying up half the night watching cable news. As a result, I was barely awake during the day. (If you stay glued to your electronics, the bright backlight can throw your sleep patterns off more! Best to have low light and pretty dull reading material an hour before bedtime. You don’t want to stay awake trying to solve your favorite writer’s newest mystery. )
Single Traveler Tips for Your First Solo Trip: Language Counts:
Target a spot where your native language is understood, if not the norm. This may be an imperfect solution. I was pleased to find a local fast food restaurant in Iceland where orders were called out by numbers. After making my selection, I suddenly realized I would never understand when my number was called in Icelandic! Pointing at pictures of dishes can help but yield surprises, too. Sign language may work, too, as I found in a Kentucky Fried Chicken in St. Petersburg, Russia. Google Translate may be the best way to go when all else fails.
Tip 4: Consider the Culture:
Think about cultural compatibility. Many places have informal dress codes that require both men and women to be covered and modestly dressed at all times. In other locations, a woman alone in a café or bar may be unfamiliar to local residents and be uncomfortable for a female solo traveler. I found in traveling alone in North Africa or the Middle East that it worked well to have a large full service hotel with an on-site restaurant. Alternatively, I ask at my lodging the best taxi to take and recommendation for an international restaurant.
First Solo Traveler Trip: Stretch a Little:
Think about your comfort level and how you might expand it.
Make this year the time you dust off your passport and head out around the globe! Don’t wait for others, they will catch up with you! Check out our Single Traveler Tips and, send us your own tips!