Advice I Would Give A New Solo Traveler
“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” Aleksander Solzhenitsyn
I didn’t know 13 years ago that when I got on a plane to fly to Europe alone for the first time to visit friends and family that it would be the beginning of my world travels. Looking back, I should have been wearing a sign that said ”I have no idea what I am doing.” Here are some things I have learned in that time.
- Just Go.
- Don’t be afraid. Fear is a powerful deterrent. You aren’t exploring uncharted territories.
- Be flexible.
- Things will be different.
- Manners are universal. Use them.
- You represent your country. Leave a good impression.
- Learn a few words of the language of the country you are in- or at least Thank You.
- Buy travel Insurance.
- Stay hydrated.
- Talk to locals.
- Bargain but do not over bargain. Fifty cents to you may mean a meal for them.
- Don’t rely on technology.
- Pack light. Still working on that.
- Ask for help when needed – even if it is with hand motions and charades. I can turn into Marcel Marceau if I need to be understood.
- Blow your budget on that once in a lifetime experience.
- Eat the food.
- Be adventurous. Challenge yourself. The fried tarantula actually tasted good.
- Don’t think you are super cool because you don’t do touristy stuff. Do it all.
- Travel for longer to fewer places. I rarely go to more than two countries on a trip- usually one.
- Learn how to squat on a toilet. You will need that.
- Always know where your passport is.
- Smile and say hello.-especially if you are an introvert brought up in New York City. This will change your travel experience.
- Don’t be afraid to say No.
- Don’t be afraid to Yes.