Are you Ready Traveling Alone? Best Solo Travelers Travel Tips

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Solo Travelers Travel Tips – Are You Ready for Solo Travel?

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Are you ready for solo travel? Here are the best Solo Travelers Travel Tips to consider and start your checklist to help you decide. Have you been thinking about going by yourself? Review this are you ready for solo travel checklist before you set out on your first trip. It covers some of the things I have learned during my adventures. I hope this article will give you the right perspective to tell if you are ready to go it alone.

The Wall Street Journal’s recent article, Over 50? Never Been an Expat, But Would Like to Try Living Abroad, explains how solo women travelers can live abroad today. This article made me think about who and why female travelers go it alone?

Solo Travelers Travel Tips

I found most articles focus on the under 35 crowd. It’s somewhat unusual to be a solo female traveler, past child-bearing years and traipsing around the world. But now is a superb time, more women are traveling alone. Most of the articles I have read are about 26-year-olds and how to actively participate. These ideas are good to read at any age. Actively participating is a must if you are going to have fun. Life isn’t going to happen unless you are present. How do women fiftyish decide, ‘Should I just go for it?’ How do you tell if you are ready for solo travel?

Are You Ready for Solo Travel

It starts with ‘Why?’ Many women are traveling, as an extension of work, alone on treks or with another woman. Now, women 40 – 50 and beyond are going on trips, more because they can. They never had the chance to follow their dream to see the world. I approach the topic from a different point of view. Let’s look at the question to see if you are ready. These are the things that I learned from traveling to 47 countries since 2007. I want to offer my perspective on being ready and what it takes to get ready.

Solo Travelers Travel Tips, Palestine, Solo Travelers Travel Tips

Are You Ready for Solo Travel – Solo Travelers Travel Tips

How to Decide if You Are Ready?

Ask yourself these questions. I call it my ‘are you ready for solo travel’ checklist.

Do you have the time?

  • Is your family OK without you? Are your kids grown? Do you have fewer obligations to pets or children?
  • Are you OK with absence from your friends and key relationships?
  • Are your friendships intimate enough to be able to pick up where you left off when you return?
  • If you are looking for a partner, are you OK knowing that traveling might make it harder to find that particular partner?
  • Are your pets OK with your trip?

Solo Travelers Travel Tips

Solo Travelers Travel Tips, Ramallah, Palestine., Solo Travelers Travel Tips

Solo Travelers Travel Tips – Questions to Consider

  1. Are you OK with the style of the journey that your budget can afford?
  2. Are you OK with setting a budget and sticking to your budget?
  3. How do you handle jet lag?
  4. Are you ready to ditch your expectations? Can you accept that things don’t go as planned?
  5. Can you make a plan or go without a plan?
  6. Are you ready to compromise?
  7. How flexible are you?
  8. Are you impatient?
  9. Can you wait for other people when you want to be doing what you want to do?
  10. If a problem arises are you willing to spend a little extra?
  11. Are you ready to share with another person?
  12. Are you prepared to ask for help, and more importantly, can you accept help?
  13. If you are going on a long trip, what will you do with your stuff?

Solo Travelers Travel Tips, Ramallah Palestine, Solo Travelers Travel Tips

Three travel tests

My recommendation is to start small and try out a few of the options below to verify the water. Don’t do everything all at once. Think about travel as taking baby steps and growing with your plan.
1st Option: Use an agent to help plan your solo trip.
2nd Option: Join a small travel group and use the group plan.
3rd Option: Take a local solo trip to see how you like solo travel. If you love it, it will give you confidence.

Maybe consider one of my recommendations. Try an international or American Tour.  Tour companies can help you plan a reasonably priced solo or small trip with a friend.

Pick the friend wisely. Traveling together can end the best relationships.

How to Build Your Confidence

My first solo travel destination was a jazz festival located a two-hour drive away from my home, in my state. It was fun. Next time, I went further. Now, very few places give me anxiety. I still worry. However, I find that my travel fears lessen over time. I’m not fearless, but I try to be confident. My itineraries are posted here to help you feel confident about your individual travel plans.

Plan on ‘hitting the easy button’ whenever possible

The hardest part is planning the trip

  • Planning makes the journey ‘your experience.’
  • There is no right or wrong way to travel
  • Simplicity, price, and value are the most important factors for travel decisions

Solo Travelers Travel Tips, KC, Sa Pa Vietnam Killer Views, Are you ready for Solo travel

Solo Travelers Travel Tips

Planning takes time

  • Remember, there are many roads to Rome — literally
  • There is no fast way to plan a trip
  • Even buying a tour takes time to buy the right one

Here is my advice for venturing into solo travel

  • Start small. Take small steps. Get comfortable.
  • Travel a local trip first
  • Move on to an international trip
  • Learn as you go, like I did

There are no guarantees that my trips will work for you. If you want to use a travel agent to help you, tour companies can be a good value. I like a few tour companies and recommend good ones because I have experienced the bad things.

Have a contingency budget

Unexpected things happen when you are traveling.  You will need some spare cash just in case you need to buy an extra pass, pay an unexpected fee or switch hotels.

Passports and visas

Safety

My trip destinations were safer when I did them. Nowhere in the world is actually safe. Please, always check the security of an area and the religious holidays before you travel. Always check with the American Consulate for current risk assessments. Always register with the STEP Program, if you are leaving the USA. The STEP Program is “The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.” It is a free service to allow US citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

Solo Travelers Travel Tips

The US American Consulate is for any US citizen who has a problem when traveling in that foreign country. Don’t call about silly things. The American Embassy will help if you need a new passport, you have been hurt or need to get out of the country. Bottom line: Register your trip with the STEP Program.

Here are Rick’s suggestions – for you to consider.  Rick Steves – Tips for Solo Women Travelers

Are You Ready for Solo Travel – Use Common Sense

  • Whenever possible, use public transportation
  • Locals are your friends; they will give you local knowledge and help
  • Don’t buy products that are knockoffs — you’ll regret it
  • Do go to the favorite brand(s) discount stores and deals
  • When in doubt, I don’t pursue the situation. That means if my gut tells me no, I listen to my intuition.

If it is probably too good to be true, it’s probably not true

If you feel unsafe, listen to your feelings. There is no harm in leaving an uncomfortable situation. Alternatively, staying could get you in trouble. Therefore, follow this rule: When in doubt, you’re out. Take time to assess the situation. Be kind to yourself. Sounds easy but it can be very hard to do when you are traveling.

Solo Travelers Travel Tips – How to Save money

 Keep a Plan B budget in case it’s needed

  • Contingency funds are for emergencies
  • Carry two credit cards
  • Carry a secret cash stash

Shopping, meals, and accommodations

  • When needed, don’t stress about it, splurge
  • Scrimp on something else
  • Pick an expensive solution from time to time as a treat
  • If it is a high value, get it. You will be on a ‘once-in-a-lifetime experience,’ and many practical items you can buy abroad will last for years at home.

Travel is an investment the benefits are worth it

  • At times, you will have to spend money to solve your problem
  • If you can’t solve your problem any other way, use your contingency fund

Solo Travelers Travel Tips – Resources

Try these articles if you are still undecided:

Live as an Expat Abroad

10 Of The Best Places To Live Abroad – The Huffington Post

15 Best Places to Live Abroad for Expats – Lifehack

Expat Life Abroad – Living Overseas As Expats

Teaching Abroad

Join a small group tour – older article from 2010

Traveling solo as I have done is not for everyone. When you are traveling, you’ll have to think like you are 26 years old again. 

Do you want to do that again? 

Can you do that?

Why travel alone?

Should I go alone?

Can I go alone?

ONLY – You are the final judge.

Be willing to put yourself out there if you want to be successful. You have to be friendly. Are you prepared to be an active participant and to have a few failures to gain some giant life experiences? The one thing I believe is that when you come back, you won’t be the same.

I believe every woman should travel solo or as part of a small group at some point in her life. You just have to find the way that fits you.

Coming Soon

I have some trusted agents, and I’m considering posting their contact information. My advice is to interview the agent carefully and select the right one that fits your needs and personality.

You might want to read 

Copyright © 2019 Capetown-Rio, Inc. USA. All rights reserved. Republishing is allowed only with written permission. All photography rights on this page belong to Capetown-Rio, Inc. and the author. Do you have a question, business proposal, or speaking opportunity? Please contact me here.

Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

13 Comments

  1. Kathy Steine

    February 20, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Michele, river cruising can be wonderful if you fully understand what you are getting. My husband and I took a Viking River Cruise May 2015 from Budapest to Amsterdam. We did a lot of research but missed the fact that the Danube can flood in the spring and be below normal levels in summer. During our trip the Danube was in flood. We had 69 locks to go through and numerous bridges to go under. The river traffic meant long waits for our boat to get through the locks and under bridges. We did not miss any sights. Viking would arrange for us to get off the boat at some town and bus us into the city we were to tour. This did mean long bus rides to the touring cities which we expected to be docked near. My husband gets motion sick in buses and busing made the experience uncomfortable. We had decided on a top deck cabin and not a suite since the cabin location had easy access to the top outside deck. We were counting on being able to sit on the top outside deck and watch the sights as we cruised. We could not get to the top outside deck because it had to be disassembled for the boat to be low enough to get under some lock openings and bridges. Our small room (138 sq ft) became too small which meant we spent a lot of time in the very nice public areas. Viking took very good care of us on very interesting and as advertised tours and feed us very well. We purchased business class airfare from Viking and were disappointed that we were not put on an Air France service from our home town airport, but had to fly to Minneapolis in coach class to get on an Air France business class to Paris. Paris is where we transferred to another coach reservation to Budapest. Our friends took the same Viking River Cruise in July 2015. The river was low and they had to pack up and changed boats (some bridges have shallow depths beneath them). Viking added a free additional tour for the time their possession were being moved and they were very happy with the arrangement. I never felt safety was an issue, however Europe has changed with the influx of refugees.

    • Kate

      February 21, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      thanks Kathy for the great insights!

  2. Michele Bunn

    February 16, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I used to travel a lot for my work, both throughout the United States and internationally. I feel fortunate that I was able to do all of this while on an expense account with a great company! I agree with you about buying knock-offs – you will regret it, but do shop at the local bazaars and outdoor vendors – great local items and friendly people. There are places I would still like to see but many of them seem to be dangerous these days. What do you think about the long boat river cruises? I’ve never been on a cruise of any kind, but would consider the River cruise because it seems more intimate. Do you have suggestions for staying safe on a cruise like this as a Solo traveler? Having lived in Europe, I would rather stay comfortable American style than end up in a European 5 star hotel that is an American 2 star hotel.

    • Kate

      February 16, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Michele, that is a great question. I actually do have some information for you about river cruises. I am going to write some more tomorrow and I have a special friend who has been on the cruise I think you are asking about in Europe. More coming tomorrow. What a great question – thanks for asking. Just don’t stop traveling – we can do it.

    • Julie Lynn Try

      February 16, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      Hi Michele – my parents have taken several cruises and they really enjoyed the river cruise they took, although they prefer the big ships. i will offer some feedback that i remember from their trip, although i didn’t go on it myself. First, they had a bit of an odyssey because of the flooding a few years ago, and their trip was going to be changed significantly because the boats couldn’t travel far on the river. So they actually decided to reschedule, and were able to do so because they had booked it through AAA Travel. (this is not necessarily a plug for AAA, but i will say that if they had booked through the company directly, it’s my understanding that the company’s policy was that they wouldn’t have gotten a refund or reschedule. so good tip #1 is use a travel agent.)
      the second tip is that when the river cruise boats all come to a town and dock, they often put them side by side – meaning if you are on the side where they are mooring, you get a view of another boat, not the landscape. so – pay some extra bucks for a better room. lastly, my dad always says to negotiate the trip first, and then purchase your upgrades.
      They are on a cruise right now, lol, and have never had an issue with safety, but always be smart!
      -jl

      • Kate

        February 17, 2016 at 3:05 pm

        Hi JL and Michele, are you both talking Viking River Cruises

      • Michele Bunn

        February 18, 2016 at 8:13 pm

        Interesting insights to the River boats. I have heard good things about a couple of the cruise companies, but never a word about their refund or reschedule policies – thank you! Also, good to know that you can negotiate the trip – that is important to remember. Thank you so much JL and Kate!

  3. Jennifer Adams

    February 16, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    As a solo woman, my favorite way to safely travel the world is to build with Habitat for Humanity or The Fuller Center. You not only help provide safe secure housing where it is needed most, but you meet the real people of the country you’re in.You are always safe, and there’s usually the opportunity to sightsee before or after the build with others who are on your team. You meet the most wonderful people who end up friends for life!

    • Kate

      February 16, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Jennifer, Thank you for your advice about volunteering. I agree with you about with Habitat for Humanity – I do photography work for them. Habitat for Humanity is a great organization. Tell me more about the Fuller Center. Where did you go with them?

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