A Guide to Traveling Solo

I've done quite a bit of solo travel. It was a bit scary at first, going someplace new without knowing anyone. But once I decided to do it and go on an adventure by myself, I realized traveling solo was not that bad. I have traveled domestically and abroad on my own and have figured out a few tips on traveling solo.

bri rinehart; solo travel

ONE | Preparing for your trip

Before you leave for a trip on your own, make an itinerary with everything you'll be doing and where you'll be staying. Give it to one or two people that you'll be checking in with so they can contact someone if they don't hear from you. Hopefully they won't need to check in on things - but it's better to be safe!

A few other things for your trip:
Purchase travel insurance! This is helpful if you get into a bind while you're in an unfamiliar place.
Know which hospitals / medical centers will take your health insurance
Research the norms for the place you're going to. If you're staying domestic, it's not too different, but if you're going abroad, find out what is okay / not okay
Only take what you need for the trip! Take your basics and a couple pairs of shoes. If you forget something, you can always buy it there - plus it'll be a cool souvenir! 
If you're abroad - know where your Embassy is!

TWO | Be aware of your surroundings

You're probably thinking - "duhhhhh" but hear me out on this one. You may get caught up in the thrill of being somewhere new and not really paying attention to your surroundings. Always be cautious of where you are. Don't be on your phone or wearing headphones while walking around. That not only distracts you from your surroundings, but you may also miss out on some really cool things that are happening around you. You're traveling to experience new things. Don't miss out!

THREE | If you get lost...

If you happen to get lost while you're exploring, don't panic. I know, I know. Easier said than done, right? You don't want to bring attention to yourself that you're lost and out of place when you're by yourself. Freak out internally then search for a safe spot to pop into. Find a local café, go to a restaurant, bakery, etc. Take a few minutes to order something, sit down at a table, and figure out where you're going. If you're looking for directions on your phone, you'll fit right in. If you're abroad and don't have wifi, it'll be the perfect opportunity to connect and figure everything out.

FOUR | Engage with the locals!

If you're traveling to a new place, you'll want to engage with the locals. See what their culture is like compared to what you're used to. Learn where non-touristy spots are. Find out what food you should try that you can't get back home. Most locals are willing to talk to you  - be friendly!

FIVE | Eating out

Not everyone likes to get a table for one when dining out. I get it, you look like a loner. My solution? Sit at a the bar when you're eating out. You'll be able to meet the people around you and the bartenders are always fun to talk to. 

SIX | Pub crawls

This may seem like a weird recommendation of something to do while you're traveling alone, but hear me out on this one. You go on a pub crawl and you get to meet new people. I went on a bar crawl while in Dublin {at the suggestion of my friend!} and it was one of the best moments in my trip! Not only do you get to see a variety of bars you most likely would not have popped into on your own, but you also get to make some friends. 

SEVEN | Tours

While you're traveling, you're most likely going to book a few tours along the way. If you're staying in one spot and making day trips to other parts of the country, I highly suggest booking through a company. During each trip I met new people and even walked away with some new friends {are you sensing a friend theme yet?}. You don't have to drive everywhere, admission to different attractions is generally included with the price of the tour. It's a win-win.

bri rinehart; ireland; solo travel

OVERALL

The point of traveling somewhere new is being able to experience new things. Whether it's sightseeing, trying the local cuisine, meeting as many new people as you possibly can... you're going for the experience. Start in baby steps with traveling solo. Go on a day trip to somewhere close by. Then go for a weekend trip domestically to see how you do. Then, when you're ready, go abroad. Be mindful of where you are and soak it all in. Traveling is wonderful - don't let the fact you may have to go on a solo trip hold you back. You won't regret going to a place you've always wanted to go to. Heck, you may be surprised at what you learn about yourself while you're traveling.