HOW TO TRAVEL SOLO
You’ve done the family roadtrip to Florida, you’ve done the all-inclusive with your friends, perhaps you’ve even ventured on something like a Contiki group tour. Next challenge: The Solo Trip. Packing your bags, leaving your itinerary with someone at home, and getting dropped off at the airport/train station/car rental place is particularly freeing feeling. Having just returned from my own solo trip to Iceland, I have some tips to make you feel comfortable.
Don’t underestimate what you’re capable of. Though it is becoming more popular, a large part of what holds people back is comparing their comfort zone to what they see other people taking on. There are varying types of trips you can tackle on your own, so you can definitely find something that suits your style! Maybe it’s a trip to a big city with a complex transit system to challenge yourself, or perhaps you’ll find yourself hiking and you’ll have birds and trail signs as company.
Do your research. Talk to friends, check out travel forums, search hashtags, and the Government of Canada’s Travel website. These places are a great place to find what countries are more solo traveler-friendly (Iceland came highly rated!). You’ll find tips on which countries are safest (something to note if you have been told too many times not to venture by yourself), how most travelers get around (I’ve found that cell phone apps are more reliable than city websites) and maybe most importantly when the peak seasons are. I know what you’re thinking – peak season equals higher prices, which may be true. But it also means you’ll meet more travelers to split cab rides, appetizers, and drinks with.
Don’t feel ashamed if you have to re-evaluate what you thought you could handle. Midway through my solo journey in Iceland, I found myself stuck in a rain/hail/snowstorm that soaked through my winter jacket, which I was wearing at night to keep me warm while I slept in my campervan. I wasn’t due to check in to my hostel until the next night, but knowing I would be too cold overnight, I drove to Reykjavik a day early. At first, I was disappointed in myself for not being able to “tough it out,” but I learned my limits and eventually became proud of myself for acknowledging that I had to change up my itinerary.
November 17, 2017
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