How to Prepare for Your First Solo Trip

a blonde girl in a straw hat and white dress snaps a photo of the cobble stoned street and colourful houses of funchal

So, you’ve decided to plan your first solo trip. You’re excited and nervous. People might be sharing their horror stories or their amazing, life-changing experiences and you’re getting a little overwhelmed. Where do you even start?

I felt exactly the same way the first time I traveled alone! I’ve learned a lot since then and wanted to create something to help you get out of your head and onto a plane.

Here’s how to prepare for your first solo trip:

Practice

Being comfortable with being alone doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Build up to it in small doses to prevent being overwhelmed when you leave. Here are a few ways you can try this at home:

  1. Go out for a meal alone
  2. Try an activity by yourself
  3. Take a Solo day trip or weekend away

Choose Your Destination Carefully

a blonde girl looks away from the camera at a british pub in london

A destination can make or break your first experience if you’re already nervous about it. Do a lot of research before you choose and pay close attention to these things:

  1. safety :Particularly for women travelling alone)
  2. language: if you don’t feel comfortable being somewhere that people don’t speak your language, try starting with somewhere that they do. It can ease some anxiety and make it easier to meet people.
  3. easy public transportation: cheap, efficient public transportation means you will be able to explore easier and without the stress.
  4. similar culture: culture shock can be extra overwhelming if it’s your first time travelling alone.
  5. lots of other travellers: meeting new people is a great way to fight the lonely travel blues.
  6. plenty of activities: keeping busy means you won’t have time to feel lonely

Listen to other Amazing Women Like You

Listening to other’s experiences can help you prepare! You can learn from their mistakes, get inspired by strong women and get excited about new destinations.

  1. join an online community: Girls love travel (facebook) is my favourite
  2. talk to friends who travel.
  3. listen to podcasts: Rick Steves ( I know he’s not a woman, but he often features women speakers and has great tips!) and Women Who Travel are always on my list.
  4. read all the books: Get inspired! Read as many memoirs, travel guides and books as you can. Bonus points for choosing ones set in your chosen destination.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Things will not always go as planned, and that’s okay! Preparation goes a long way.

  1. not everything will go according to plan: This was worth repeating. You might get lost or miss the last train of the night, it happens. Mentally prepare that things will happen and figure out how to deal with them when they arise. Breathe, you’ll be fine.
  2. you will feel lonely: Instagram paints a picture that everyone travelling is happy, smiling and adventerous. This isn’t true. You will likely get lonely at some point on your trip. That’s normal. Call someone back home, join a small group tour or just sit in a cafe surrounded by people and you’ll feel better in no time.
  3. buy travel insurance: I can’t emphasize this enough! Saving $100 is never worth risking your life if you were to ever need it.

Travel Apps to Help You

An iPhone with Google maps on the screen being held in front of a bunch of pink roses

Check out the 10 travel apps I can’t live without here.

Have Fun!

woman dances with arms in the air on the beach

Solo travel can be an amazing experience. You will learn things about yourself that you never knew, you will try new things and meet new people. It can be a life-changing experience for many people, but don’t be disappointed if its not for you (that’s okay!) Things may go wrong at some point (and they likely will), but remember that everything uncomfortable is only temporary and will have these memories to cherish for the rest of your life.

Don’t feel fully prepared yet? Check out these other posts on solo female travel:

The best cities for solo female travel

What to do in a place you don’t like

10 hiking safety tips for solo female travellers

10 safety tips for solo female travel

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