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We all have the memories.  Pictures of us and our closest girlfriends lounging on sandy beaches in Bermuda or partying till dawn in Ibiza.  As Clutch women it goes without saying that we all have great groups of girlfriends to share our lives with and some of our fondest memories are of things we did and places we’ve been with our girls.  However as we get older and life moves us each in new and different directions, it gets harder and harder to spend that quality time with each other.  Does that mean that life ends and you just sit at home waiting for schedules to coordinate?  So many women (and people in general) are afraid to travel alone.  They worry about the stares they will get from strangers or how they could possibly have fun in a new country without their best buds.  Truth is, real women travel alone!  Sure it’s great to have your friends along to share the experience, but traveling alone can open your eyes to so many things you didn’t know about yourself and can be even more fun than traveling with a group.  Life is way too short to miss out on all its wonders sitting around waiting for other people to join you.  Here are some tips on how to see the world all by your lonesome….and love every minute of it!

Safety First!

Make sure you thoroughly research the countries you plan on visiting!  Safety comes first, especially when traveling alone, so make sure you’re aware of what’s going on in the country, what areas are safe/unsafe for tourists and write down local emergency numbers.  Also, plan your travel arrangements in each city so you’re not at a lost on how you’ll be getting around.

Go Where The Fun Is

Sure vacations are about lounging and relaxing, but don’t get tempted to stay at that exclusive resort in the middle of nowhere just because it has a great spa.  You can spa at home!  Pick a hotel in the heart of the city so that you’re close to all the tourist attractions, local nightlife and trendy restaurants.  Being in the mix will ensure that there is always something for you to do and see.

Don’t Listen To Your Mother, Talk To Strangers

Most people hate traveling alone because they feel they’ll have no one to talk to, but they couldn’t be more wrong.  Talk to the woman shopping in the vintage store you find in Spain or the group of guys watching football in the pub in London.  You might find that these people are tourists just like you or better yet locals who are friendly and more than willing to give you insider tips on how best to enjoy their hometown.

Do As Locals Do

Tourist life is great, but one of the best ways to truly enjoy a solo vacation is to live life as a local.  If it’s customary for locals to drink espresso and eat pastries everyday at 3pm, find yourself a cafe and join in.  If locals usually ride the trolley around town, hop on.  Experience the country through their eyes and you’ll walk away with a whole new appreciation for their way of life.

Get Lost

Don’t be afraid to travel off the beaten path.  Take the train to the last stop or walk through a town aimlessly, you never know what you may find that can make the experience a memorable one.

Live In The Moment

Try not to plan every single moment of your vacation.  Force yourself to do and try things you wouldn’t otherwise.  Take in a street festival and try new foods or partake in a local custom.  Live the experience without the confines of time and most importantly TURN. THE. PHONE. OFF.  Twitter and Facebook will be there waiting for your updates when you get home.

Do you like to travel alone? What are some of your solo travel tips?

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  • zhazha

    thanks for this article, clutch! i LOVE to travel and started traveling alone in 2008. with all the expectations that women have to be so many things to so many people, it is absolutely glorious to just.be.yourself, especially in a new and exciting setting. here are some more tips:

    1. if you’re nervous about that first solo trip, work it into a group trip. take 1-3 days of the group trip where you go off by yourself. my first solo joint was like that: i went to koh samet, my sis went to chiang mai, and my other homegirl stayed in bangkok. we all met back up 4 days later in bangkok and compared notes. amazing!

    2. make sure your solo trip includes at least one activity you have ALWAYS wanted to try!!! for example: flamenco classes, skydiving, exploring an island via moped/scooter, standing on top of a volcano, seeing ur favorite artist in concert, getting your hands and feet covered in henna. whatever works!

    3. do your research. get familiar with online travel communities and ask questions. its fairly easy to find some local contacts through those forums that you can email in a pinch.

    4. be completely in love with yourself the entire time!

  • Sharon

    I use to have a traveling partner but she has been sick for a few years and is under hospice care. So I have been traveling alone. I took a cruise to Alaska and loved it. I met 2 brothers who I ate with on occasion but basically I went on shore to experience how the
    various shopping, museum. I make it a point to enjoy myself. Other friends of mine just want to go to the casinos, and or to places they have already gone. So I venture by myself and love. I’m always aware of my surroundings for which I pay attention and stay focus. As first I didn’t want to travel by myself for fear, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. We got to live our lives even if it is by ourselves.

  • Norbs

    I have been to London, Greece, Turkey and Nigeria (lagos) all during my 40s. Its time to renew my passport!