A Self-Doubter's Guide To Taking Small Steps Towards Solo Travel
When it comes to expanding your worldview, few things are better than traveling solo. They say that everyone should travel alone at least once, and for good reason. When you’re in a new place with only yourself for company, you’re more likely to take notice of your surroundings. This is also a fantastic test in getting to know yourself and how you cope out of your comfort zone. As women, especially, this is incredibly important. How can we prove our strength to others, after all, if we don’t test it ourselves?
When it comes to jumping into solo travel, many people go in at the deep end. We’ve all got that one friend who went backpacking for six months. Or, perhaps you know someone who went volunteering in the depths of Africa. Either way, few people who travel solo start small. It should come as no surprise, then, that those of us who struggle with shyness rarely make it with solo travel. We’d love to, but mingling with locals and making our way around various countries just isn’t on our cards.
The issue, of course, is that shy people actually stand to gain the most from traveling alone. As well as facing fears, it'd allow you to build confidence in your ability to cope no matter where you were.
The good news is, you don’t have to jump in at the deep end like your more confident friends. In truth, there are plenty of small steps you can take to start your solo travel journey. And, we’re going to look at them here.
Take weekend trips
This may seem incredibly anticlimactic, but the best thing you can do is start out with weekend trips. If you’ve only considered booking a stay somewhere for a week or more, is it any surprise that you haven’t done it yet? You’re probably flooded with fears about not liking it once you get there. The best thing about a weekend trip is that you only book that hotel for one night. You know, no matter what happens, you’ll be back in your bed after that short stay. And, that can help to kick-start you into actually making that reservation. Of course, you will need to stay a little closer to home for this to work out. But, there are plenty of weekend options in the U.S. which could work here. Why not book into one of the many hotels in New York, for instance, and see how you cope with a busy city setting? If you live in the city already, go the opposite way. You could look into trips in Alaska instead. Here, you can face yourself without loads of other people around. Either way, this is a short opportunity to see how you would cope alone. And, the chances are that it’ll go much better than you’re expecting.
Build yourself slowly
So, you’ve had one weekend trip, and it went well. Surely now you’re ready to book your ticket to Thailand? Only, something’s STILL stopping you from clicking ‘book’ on that hotel website. In truth, that’s because you’re still trying to jump ahead. Weekend trips are fantastic practice, but you’re still skipping ahead of yourself. You still have small steps to take, including longer trips close to home. Why not try five days to a week in another state to see how you get along? If you fancy taking things further, you could book into somewhere like these vacation rentals in Outer Banks. While part of North Carolina, this 100 mile stretch of islands are separate from the mainland. A stay here will at least create the illusion of being offshore. If it’s not too far for you, you could even take a trip to Mexico. That way, you could experience a new destination without going too far from your comfort zone. Throughout trips like these, you’ll be able to rest easy that you can head home at a moment’s notice. That knowledge alone could ensure that you take the plunge and book up here.
Travel with acquaintances
If your nearby stay goes well, you’re ready to take to the sky and visit the destinations of your dreams. To put those last remaining nerves at ease, though, you might want to travel with an acquaintance. This sounds strange, we know, but there is a whole load of reasons this is a good idea. If you were to travel with a friend, it’s unlikely you’d get the benefit of that solo experience. And, that’s an essential part of your process. But, you might not yet feel confident enough to head out entirely alone. By booking onto a flight with a friend of a friend or someone you only vaguely know, you’re sure to feel more at ease. Make sure that, before you head off, you both agree you’ll do your own things once you arrive. Then, you can rest easy in a solo experience, knowing there’s a friendly face around if you struggle at all.
Only do what you feel comfortable with
Of course, we can give you all the tips in the world, but you should only ever do what you feel comfortable with. Everyone progresses at different stages. It may be that you need to take a few long trips close to home before you feel ready, and that’s fine. You might never feel confident to head to a country in which you can’t speak the language, and that’s okay, too. Take the time to find your middle ground. You need to push yourself to get anywhere here. But, going too far could leave you uncomfortable, and will ultimately knock your confidence rather than build it. So, if something makes you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself why. Is there anything you can do to work around that feeling, or is it set in stone? If the latter, leave that idea to the side for the time being. Only you know what you’re ready for, and you’re obviously not prepared for that yet.