First-time solo travel can be challenging. Choosing a destination…planning the trip…figuring out a budget…and staying safe once you’re there. But if you do it right, it’s enjoyable–and incredibly rewarding–which is why so many travelers, myself included, travel on their own.
If you’re new to this type of travel, there’s a book I recommend that could make your experience easier and better. The name: The Solo Traveler’s Handbook (2nd ed.). The author: Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler.
If you’ve never traveled solo, I have no doubt you’ll find this book useful. Janice shows you how to take baby steps as you plan that first trip—and later, how to kick it up a notch when you want more adventure. I think this is important because not everyone is ready to jump right in.
Janice leads you through the basics steps of the solo travel process, from the initial planning stage to when you’re actually at the destination. The handbook covers everything from choosing accommodations and minimizing culture shock to dining out and taking self-portraits.
She’s honest and realistic about all aspects of solo travel. She talks about the many advantages of it and of the rewarding moments–the way you tend to meet people when you’re on your own and the incredible hospitality found around the world. She shares personal anecdotes about her trips and experiences, which adds a nice personal touch.
She also prepares new solo travelers for what can go wrong–scams one might encounter along the way, for example–and teaches you how to spot and avoid these situations if possible. She highlights and thoroughly explains the “priorities of safety: your person, your documents, your money and your stuff.”
This is important for many reasons. Although I often hear people saying, “Anything can happen anywhere, even right in your hometown,” I do believe that a woman traveling solo is more likely to be a target than at home. The risks involved must be acknowledged, considered and prepared for–and Janice does all three.
Twenty pages into this book, I thought, “I wish I’d had this when I took my first solo trip. It would have made it so much easier!”
I also found myself nodding my head, saying, “She’s so right.” I saw myself in her stories, living the same experiences. Entering situations. Taking risks. Not knowing how it would go. And then, things working out well–even better than imagined.
Whether you’re new or relatively new to solo travel, this guide is an excellent resource. It has all of the advice and tips that you need—all in one place–and will undoubtedly help make your first or next trip a great one.
Near the end of the book, Janice says of solo travel: “…the more I’ve done it, the more experience I’ve accumulated, the more extraordinary my travel has become.”
That’s been the case for me, too.
And, I hope–if you try solo travel–for you, too.
Your Thoughts re: Solo Travel
I’ve been a mostly solo traveler since I started traveling 20 years ago, and I absolutely love it. I have more encounters with the locals when I’m on my own and enjoy the freedom to do what I want day to day. It takes time and energy to negotiate with another person and most often, I’d prefer to just make my own decisions.
Have you ever traveled solo and if so, did you enjoy it? If not, why not? If you’re an experienced solo traveler, do you have any advice for anyone new to it? Also, why do you opt to go on your own? What’s the best thing about it for you?