Too often we don't go to places around the world that we want to see because there is no one else to go with. I realized a long time ago that if you are waiting for the perfect eclipse of time and space where everyone has the holiday leave and money to go on an incredible trip, you yourself may never leave your house. About half of my international trips I have done alone. Now some aspects of solo travel I enjoy, like creating your own schedule, not caring about where the other person wants to eat, getting up at the crack of dawn early or sleeping in on your schedule, and other aspects I hate, the boredom of flying alone, the absence of someone in the hotel or hostel at the end of the day to plan tomorrow's excursions, and most of all returning home and not having anyone that knew just how incredible the trip was, from the sights to the smells to the people you met on the other side of the world you came from. But again, low and behold sometimes traveling solo is your only option so here's my tips on traveling solo around the world...
- Book solo if your friends are hesitating. As I am documenting in How To Plan An International Trip, when a trip is 1 year out and no money is due everyone is coming, that can change quickly. If you believe there is a good chance your friends are not going to come, don't wait until they are deciding, book it, they can always join and pay more money if they waited too long.
- Don't be afraid! I especially find more and more women that were inspired by the film Taken, great flick by the way, anyway, you are not going to get abducted in Europe and sold into prostitution. The countries in Europe American women want to visit are usually a lot safer than some of the cities we live in here in the states. Of course things do happen, so always take safety precautions, there are of course countries you should never visit alone due to safety or political turmoil, but Italy and England aren't on that list last time I checked.
- You will not get bored. Yes, I know, your mobile may not work, no facebook unless you hit an internet cafe, oh my God!!! What am I going to do? You will meet people, you will see things, you will sit on a train/metro/bus and realize that being alone is not bad, you will meet other solo travelers as well, or meet locals as being on your own you will not have the benefits of isolating yourself with your own friends.
- Learn a bit of the language. It would be great if you could become as fluent as possible, but just learning the bare minimum please, thanks you's, and sorry I do not speak _____ will go a lot farther than you could imagine. People will appreciate it that you put some effort into visiting their country and learning a bit of their culture.
- Go the hostel route if you can. A hostel is not for everyone, but it's like the mixer of travel, hostels are generally not anti social, and if they are, who cares? You came alone anyway.
- Get ready for that flight. It is hands down the worst part of traveling solo. Luckily.... I covered this in this article!
- People will not find it odd that you came alone. This is a strange stereotype I hear all the time, but trust me, no one has EVER asked me in other countries why I came alone.
- Bring a good book, you will have times where it would be nicer to have a friend there, like a 3 hour ride on a night train, or a 2 hour boat ride island hopping in Fiji, there will be times there is no one to chat with, but that's not often, but have the book just in case... oh and uhhh... .cough cough... buy it off an amazon link on this page so I get commission.
- Connect with home, but not often. If your mobile does work or you have a good laptop with 3g or whatever, make that phone call and say hi to your friends and family back home, but don't be stuck on it the whole time, most international trips for people are a short once in a lifetime experience, you will have plenty of time to talk to your friends when you get back.