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Traveling Solo? Avoid These Common Mistakes

Updated on 12/21/2022

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

For many, traveling alone is an exhilarating experience. Peaceful moments allow you to get to know yourself and enjoy nature in solitude. You have the freedom to choose when and where you want to go. You get to be selfish in what you do with each day–a rarity in travel. And along the way, you’ll meet incredible people and see beautiful sights. It might seem daunting being a solo traveler, but it’s worth it.

We’ve done our fair share of solo travel, and now we want to help you feel comfortable doing it too. So we put our heads together and came up with a list of mistakes we’ve made in the past, with lessons you can learn from them when you make the choice to go on your first solo trip:

ydownarrowBeing Uninformed
About Local Cultures

Here’s an easy rule of thumb to remember: If you’re traveling solo, it’s best to blend in. You can do this by doing your research before you go about things like the typical dress and behavior of the people in your destination. It also never hurts to memorize a few words and turns of phrases in the local language ahead of time. Trust us, the locals will appreciate your effort! By steeping yourself in the country’s culture, you can be a respectful and curious solo traveler, and ensure that you don’t offend anyone.

One great option to consider is participating in an immersion program like Voulez Vous Diner, which connects travelers with local hosts and brings them together over dinner. If you want to take it a step further, websites like Warm Showers have listings of people across the world who are willing to host globetrotters for free. These are great options for those traveling solo! The more you understand and immerse yourself in a regional culture with the locals, the more fun you’ll have, so stay out of the chain restaurant scene, and dig into the unique cuisine. Consider hiring a local guide as they are a great way to help you learn even more about your destination through a tour.

ydownarrowNot Having Scheduled
Check-ins With People at Home

When you’re out gallivanting across the world alone, your family and friends back home will likely want to know where you are. And you’ll benefit from keeping them in the loop too – if anything goes wrong. From a missed flight to a lost passport, you’ll be glad to have them on deck and feel less lonely.

You can avoid anxious emails from your parents or partner by sharing your travel itinerary with them ahead of time. Then, let family members know when you’ve arrived at your destination, and update them as you move along the way. Setting up a check-in system will help you and your team back home have peace of mind. Many travelers enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Plan as another layer of safety. Once enrolled for free, travelers have access to nearby embassies and updates on current events in their destination countries in case of an emergency or political uprising.

ydownarrowGoing Without
Travel Insurance

When it comes to solo adventure, travel insurance is absolutely necessary. It offers solo travelers the comfort of knowing they’ll be taken care of, no matter where they are in the world. Every travel insurance policy includes access to a 24/7 travel and medical assistance number that’s there for you no matter what time it is or where you are. From basic questions about re-booking new flights to arranging your emergency medical evacuation back home, it’s imperative to purchase a travel coverage policy before you leave on your solo trip for peace of mind.

Just like how every person travels differently, every policy is unique. If you’re set on bungee jumping, cliff diving, or partaking in adrenaline-pumping activities of any kind, you’ll want to invest in an “adventure” policy that incorporates Hazardous Sports coverage. We’ve broken out the different types of coverage by travel style here.

ydownarrowAvoiding Others

Being a solo traveler doesn’t have to mean being alone all the time. In fact, one of the best things about traveling solo is the opportunity to meet new people. If you’re interested in connecting with locals or other travelers while on your trip, look for tours and accommodations that cater to solo travelers. That way, you’ll be surrounded by other people just like you and enjoy some conversation. Once you meet with other travelers that are on the same page as you, you can forge your own path together. Doing so could cut down your accommodation and transit costs and allow you to build friendships that will last a lifetime.

ydownarrowForgetting to Budget

Save upfront and rest easy knowing that the awesome trip you just took isn’t going to put you in debt. You can plan a trip on almost any budget as long as you take into consideration the following spending categories:

Transportation: This will be your biggest expense. Use apps like Hopper to keep track of flights to your destination of choice. As frequent solo travelers, we know how important it is to make a budget. Without one, you’ll overspend—it’s as simple as that. You’ll get excited to be abroad and every adventure, meal and souvenir will feel like something you have to do or have. We get it…we’ve been there. But, most of the time, overspending isn’t worth it in the long run, and it’s easily avoidable.

Accommodation:This is your second largest expense. There are lots of ways to approach allocation for this section. The best advice we can give you is to be honest about your preferences. If you ask us, you can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep, so save responsibly and budget with your comfort in mind.

Entertainment: Pro tip: Book tickets and reservations for your adventures ahead of time and stick to them. It’s always cheaper to book something in advance, and having a list of pre-paid activities will help you avoid impulsive purchases.

Food: However much you’re thinking about allocating for food, double it. We always underestimate how much we’ll spend on meals, and you’ll want to be able to eat whenever you’re hungry.

Walking around: This is your money for souvenirs, gifts, and whatever else catches your eye while you’re touring the streets. If you need additional money, consider downsizing the funds allocated to this category. In our experience, it’s a lot easier to avoid buying magnets and postcards than more food.

Travel insurance: Prices fluctuate depending on the amount of coverage you want. To get a sense of what you might pay, use our instant quote tool.

Spontaneous Expenses: Consider this category your emergency funds. In this category, the more you put in, the more wiggle room you’ll have to stray from your budget, so we recommend putting any extra funds you can pull together for your solo trip here.

Your first solo travel experience will undoubtedly
be a huge adventure and we want to hear about it!

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