With the title of “Chief Wanderer,” it’s no surprise that I spend a lot of time exploring cities around the world. What may surprise you, though, is that I often journey solo. Some people may find this lonely, but for this adventurous spirit, it gives me the chance to manage my work and get in some quality me time. Traveling by yourself whether for business or pleasure brings lots of pluses, along with considerations that you should account for long before you board your flight. Here are my top five tips for your next solo adventure:
Always trust your gut - This is my barometer in life, but especially with travel. Be aware of your surroundings and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. Don’t be afraid to step out of elevators, leave restaurants or any other action your gut is telling you. It may seem embarrassing but remember that you’ll likely never see these people ever again! How freeing is that? There’s truth in the old saying, “better safe than sorry.”
Eat like a local - Clamoring to the familiar during international travel can be tempting. Instead, ask the front desk clerk or bellman where he or she goes to eat local food. This will keep your experience more authentic and rooted in true culture. It can also save you money! I try to push myself on each trip and taste something I’ve never eaten before. The result can be good or bad, but that’s for another post!
Pack the essentials - Packing light makes both domestic and international travel much easier, and that sentiment should apply to your day trips and outings. I usually carry my life in my purse, but that changes when I’m traveling. I take my smallest purse with a few key items: two credit cards to ensure at least one is accepted, my driver’s license, my phone, and local currency that does not exceed 50 Euros, Dollars or Pounds. I like to keep an extra form of identification like my passport, cash and other credit cards in the hotel safe.
Be prepared - For my international travel, I never leave home without a good book, my headphones and compression socks. TV monitors on the planes can stop any time, so a book is a must-have backup. Headphones block out the excess noise on the plane like that baby crying or the people around you who seem to talk way too loud. And I can’t say enough about a good pair of compression socks. Longer flights can make your feet swell, so consider purchasing a pair and look for one with a fun design (you can pass on those outdated white ones).
Be open - Experienced travelers know that the unexpected is bound to happen. A missed flight. A stolen passport. A closed museum. But the glory of travel is that your experience is what you make it. Unforeseen events are an opportunity to pivot and experience something greater or more worthwhile. Come prepared but leave gaps in your itinerary to explore that out-of-the-way café or hidden beach. See where your journey takes you and who you’ll meet. Even when you travel solo, spontaneity and flexibility can lead you on a better path than you could have planned.
I hope these tips help foster the best experience on your next adventure, near or far. Wander on!