Traveling on your own is a growing vacation trend, and getting your feet wet with a trip to a sunny U.S. destination is a great foray into the practice. Whether it’s the sandy shores of Destin, the Las Vegas Strip or the musical streets of Austin, there are plenty of places to put your solo-travel skills to the test. Follow these tips to make the most of traveling on your own.
Remember Safety First
There’s no reason to be afraid of traveling solo, but you should still be safety-conscious, especially because you’ll be relatively unfamiliar with a new city. Plan where you’ll be staying and thoroughly research your travel destination so you’re aware of any areas to avoid. When you get to your destination, be sure to keep your cell phone on hand, and always stick to well-lit public places, especially when you’re exploring at night. Wherever you go, trust your gut — if you sense danger of any kind or something makes you uneasy, it’s best to leave the situation as quickly as possible.
Traveling is a great way to meet new people and connect over shared experiences. In fact, this is often easier when you’re on your own instead of with a companion. Walking tours, guided excursions and shared lodging spaces are all ideal places to meet other people. You can also use social media to connect with other solo travelers. Often, you’ll find interesting people who are just as eager for connection and conversation as you are, and it’s so much fun to explore with a new friend.
Plan Your Meals
Many solo travelers are nervous about dining alone, but there’s no need to let this deter you from a great meal. When you head to a restaurant, nab a seat at the bar or counter rather than a table. If you don’t have that option, keep a book in your bag; reading while you eat occupies your meal. Opting for a booth or outside table also helps to keep your solo dining experience pleasant. For a different mealtime option, look for cooking classes around the area. These often end with communal dining, and they’re a great way to meet other travelers.
Keep in Touch
Stay in contact with family and friends throughout your trip with regular phone calls and emails. Not only does this alleviate any loneliness you might feel as you venture solo, but it also keeps them up to date on your trip so they’re sure you’re doing well. Before you depart, give your intended itinerary to at least one person, and keep him or her informed about any changes you make along the way.
Traveling solo may mean stepping a bit outside your comfort zone, but the rewards are well worth it. With the ability to completely determine your own itinerary and meet new and interesting people along the way, solo travel opens the door for some amazing life experiences.
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