Traveling solo for the first time can be daunting.
You’ll get anxious at the first sight of a multi-racial crowd in a bar.
“What do I do?”
“Should I smile first?”
“I feel so alone!”
You’ll likely hit up your good old friends from a different time zone to avoid looking stupid.
On your first day out, you’d probably just take a little walk, observe where tourists are headed, and tail them for a bit.
You’ve Googled everything two months before the trip.
But when your surroundings start to appear unfamiliar, you freak out.
“What am I doing?”
“OMG, they’ve hailed a cab…so where am I going now?”
“This GPS isn’t helping at all!”
But congratulations, you’re finally out of your comfort zone!
A well-planned itinerary is NOT your lifeline to traveling solo.
You may be holding the most thorough route plan.
But it didn’t mention the twists and turns you’ll encounter during the trip, did they?
Someone commented on my Huffington Post article that one must have a stash of cash to be able to travel solo.
Probably, but not necessarily.
You may be ready to burn $70/day on private tours just to feel safe.
But at the end of the day, your road trip won’t feel like a tour de force.
That one thing that you should muster months before traveling solo is COURAGE.
To be honest, I don’t remember being edgy before my first solo adventure.
The minute I sat down on one of those airport terminal seats, I started talking to the stranger next to me.
I was bound for Siem Reap, Cambodia and it was a very early flight.
A fortunate stroke of serendipity…she’s a Khmer! So I got my first-hand travel tips to Cambodia.
Courage is the most powerful passport that can take you anywhere.
Traveling solo is addictive. But it also spells a few risks and dangers, especially for a female traveler.
I was groped by an Angkor Wat guide on that solo trip; catcalled on the streets of Ubud (Indonesia) on another trip.
But none of it has stopped me from traveling solo.
I’m not even speaking solely about courage amid these dangers.
Being courageous in traveling solo includes making new friends, asking strangers for directions, deciding what to do when your flight gets canceled, etc.
Traveling solo means being responsible for yourself.
No moms and dads to call when your travel money starts to run out.
No dutiful younger sibling to book a group tour for you online, when you’re the one who’s physically there!
No best friend to suggest where you should go next.
It’s all YOU!
So now, you’ve picked your destination.
Your passport’s waiting.
You’re about to buy a ticket.
Itinerary to follow.
Question is, are you brave enough?
If you’re a seasoned solo traveler, I’d love to hear about your first solo adventure jitters and wins too! Please do, the spaces below are free for your stories. Thanks!
Sheila, a.k.a. The Solo Tripper. Former news desk editor, full-time traveler, freelance writer.