Updated June 17, 2020.
If you’ve been following me for long, you know solo travel changed my life and made me who I am today! It’s why I started my blog, how I found my self-confidence, and helped me find my passion. I’ve written about solo travel plenty of times, but often I think it helps to know what to expect when you travel. So I came up with this quick list for just what to expect when you strike out on your first solo trip!
1. Expect to Feel Overwhelmed
It’s less overwhelming if you expect to be overwhelmed! Thoughts that may go through your head may be, “I can’t handle this!” or “What if I forget to board my plane?!” or “What was I thinking?!” But seriously, you can handle it! People literally travel solo every day, and they make it through. No matter where you go, people actually live there their whole lives, and they survive! So will you. When you start to feel overwhelmed, just remember that no matter what, you can do it!
Read on: How to Travel Safely
2. Expect to Get Lost
It happens to the best of us! I remember getting lost in Ise City, Japan, where I lived for a summer in college. It was dark, I was hungry, and I had no idea how I was getting back to my apartment! I didn’t even have a map of the town! So I went to a restaurant, got some food, and asked for directions. And I made it! You can, too. Just expect to get lost, know how to read a map, and don’t be afraid to ask for directions! Even if you don’t speak the local language, you’ll be surprised at how much you can communicate with hand motions and drawing on paper napkins!
Read on: How to Read a Map
3. Expect Things to go Wrong—and be Prepared to Roll with It!
Much like getting lost, other things will go wrong, too. Your flight might get delayed or cancelled, your airport pick-up may not show up, or there might be a strike that has public transportation stopped indefinitely! All these things and more are just part of the adventure. Have a backup plan if you can, and if you can’t, just make it up as you go! The one thing that’s off limits is panicking… so don’t panic!
Read on: Solo Travel Mishaps
4. Expect to Cry a Little Bit
I’ve been traveling solo for 14 years now, and I usually end up in tears at least once per trip! It’s not that I don’t like to travel solo, it’s just me. Maybe you’re not a crier, or maybe you’re a big baby. Embrace it! Feel all the feelings. No one is there to see or judge—that’s the beauty of solo travel!
Read on: Confessions of a Solo Female Traveler
5. Expect People to be Helpful
People are nice everywhere. Truly! Solo travel restores my faith in humanity because I always meet people who want to help me, want to chat with me, want to tell me the best local things to do and eat and see. It’s fantastic! You’ll meet other solo travelers, locals your age, local old folks, and people who do or don’t speak your native language, and you will make friends if you want to.
Read on: 5 Reasons to Travel Solo
6. Expect to Find Your Confidence
Nothing has given me more confidence in myself than solo travel. The realization that I can do it, I can take care of myself, and I can make it after all! I would venture to say most solo travelers feel the same. Traveling by yourself inevitably proves your own capabilities—not to anyone else so much as to yourself! And what may be more important than that is the likelihood that you’ll start to appreciate yourself, too.
Read on: 6 Solo Travel Experiences to Have
7. Expect to Love It!
You can absolutely expect to love traveling solo! You’ll come home a changed person with a list of places you want to go next. You’ll tell everyone about it and irritate the very snot out of them, and you’ll love it! People will be jealous, but you can let it roll off your back with your new-found confidence.
Read on: Solo Travel and Responding to Naysayers
Curious for more solo trip ideas, tips, hacks, and inspiration? Head over to my Solo Travel Page!
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