How to Organize Your First Solo Trip
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How to organize your first solo trip? This step-by-step guide was written to help you plan your trip and more importantly to make you understand that travelling solo as a woman is nothing to be scared of or worried about. This post is the first of series of posts about solo female travel.
I know many women dream to travel more and do not find companionship to make these trips happen. Often their husbands are not so adventurous or they just don’t have a friend who is so much adventurous as they are. Not to mention the financial possibilities. And soon or later they end up considering travelling alone.
While I have travelled alone before, it was never for too long and I always had scheduled meeting with a friend at the location. So I never felt really alone. This time, for my two weeks trip to Norway, the plan is to be ALONE. My wish is to spend time face to face to the mighty fjords with myself and my inner peace.
Have you considered solo travel? If yes, here is where to start:
1 – Choose your destination
Research what are the safest destinations for solo female travellers. Start solo travel career wisely and make your first trip to a country known for its safe environment and friendly locals. Another thing to have in mind is to what extent the locals speak English. It is always better to be able easily to communicate if you need help.
Some destinations you may think of are Norway, Japan, and France. For the last one, you will need to speak a little French as the locals know but are not very willing to speak English, for good or bad.
2 – Make a detailed research
After you chose your destination read everything you can find useful about the country. This will help you to create a plan and furthermore a detailed program that you will share your family and friends prior to the trip. More importantly, you will gain a sense of the destination, what attitude to adopt in connection with the local culture, where to go for cheaper shopping and much more practical information that you will not know otherwise.
Another important detail is to list in advance what you want to see and what you want to experience. Prior to all my trips, I do a list of places and activities that I divide into two sections:
- Absolutely want to see/do
- To see or do if I have time/opportunity
In this way, you will focus on the important and will not be disappointed that you couldn’t see ‘everything’ because to see everything is simply not possible.
3 – Book your ticket
First things first. When you have decided the period of your travel, the first thing to do is to book your air ticket. Make your research for low-cost options first (as for me it came out that the ONLY direct flight to Oslo is also the cheapest one). You never know until you do your research. Use my Travel Resources page to make a proper research.
4 – Make your accommodation reservations
Hostels, AirBnb and B&B options may not be your favourite when travelling alone, or exactly the opposite. Depending on your travel style and personality, check the best available accommodations and be careful to confirm their reputation. Sites like AirBnB always have a feedback funnel but the best is to stay at places recommended by someone you know. That’s why always ask friends who have been at this destination where they have stayed and if they can advise you on accommodation suitable for a woman travelling alone.
5 – Invest in travel equipment and/or apparel
Make an inventory of your travel equipment at least one month before the trip. Decide on how you will travel and what will be most appropriate – a backpack, elegant spinner or something else.
Then, make a list of all major items you will need. For my trip to Norway I have decided to travel without my laptop and thus I will need my tablet that was forgotten in the drawers at home for at least a year. Also, think about what photographic gear you will need. There is no way I travel to the fjords just with my phone camera! You see, everything depends on your destination. Just think of what you will need in advance and in details, in order to have time to research the best options before buying new travel equipment.
6 – Make a packing list
Here comes the next step. Make your packing list. As you will alone, you will not be able to borrow shampoo from your friends or use the t-shirt of your boyfriend as a pajama. And if you are trying to travel with as less as possible weight (most probably you do) every item you forgot at home will cause you inconvenience and additional money spent. And we all know that at some destinations that’s not a good option!
Read this post about the Packing List that will save you a lot of time. Check it before making your own; you can also download the one in PDF format included in the post.
7 – Print your itinerary/ make a copy of your passport
Don’t always rely on the electronics. Paper maps are often better than the ones you can use on your phone for the sole reason that you often need an internet connection to use them.
In order not to depend on phone batteries’ levels and other similar situations, print your detailed itinerary on paper and make copies of all important documents – passport, travel insurance, visas, reservations, etc. In this way, in case you lose your originals always can use or show the copies to the authorities and solve the problem faster. (Now it is time to follow my own advice and do these copies!)
8 – Inform your family/friends about the details of your trip
You should inform your closest people about the details of your trip. This meaning – they should know which day where you plan to be and where you will be staying, including the contacts of your accommodation. Give them a copy of your itinerary and notify them immediately if something in your plan is changed during the trip.
To feel safer you can also establish contact schedule with day and time (best every day) and keep a connection with your family or closest friend/s. In this way, they will feel reassured that you are ok and having fun and you will feel confident that in a case of anything happens your people can make immediate actions.
Well, with the right precautions this will never happen and safety tips for solo travel will be subject to a whole other article. For now, just be sure to inform at least one person about your whereabouts.
9 – Take the trip and enjoy your time alone
The best part of all is often the organization period and when we finally reach the moment of departure we are tired and exhausted. Don’t allow this happen to you! There is a reason WHY you decided to go on this trip. There is a need that you try to fulfill. Don’t forget about this WHY and go ahead – do what you dreamed of doing, focus on the places you visit and people you meet. But also keep stoplight on the inner feeling this trip is bringing to you because often we travel for one of these two reasons – to find or to lose ourselves.
Solo travel can feel scary and be challenging for many women. But as with everything new thing, it is frustrating at first and satisfactory at the end. If you still have some doubts if solo female travel is for you, read this article where some of the best travel bloggers share what were the biggest challenges they faced as solo female travelers.
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