In a few weeks I’ll be heading to London for my very first trip abroad. While I excitedly plan and plot the details, I have to contend with a huge wave of fear and nervousness that overwhelms me from time to time. Not only is this my first trip across the pond, but I’ll also be going alone.
Some of my friends and family think I’m a little nuts. When I told them I was headed to the UK, their first response was to ask whom I was traveling with. When I told them I was rolling dolo, many gave me the “girl, are you crazy?!” look.
Although I know many of you have traveled alone (and even prefer it), I know many more haven’t. So I have a few tips for those of you thinking of taking a trip…even if your friends can’t make it.
Ditch your fears: Buying the ticket was easy. I knew I wanted to see London and I was confident in my decision to travel alone, but when it came time to book my accommodations, I panicked. As I stared at the AirBnB website on Sunday wondering if I was making the best choice, I reached out to my network to get some encouragement. After talking it over and being reassured I’d be ok, I had the courage to book my room. Because after all, I couldn’t let fear ruin my trip. I’d kick myself for the rest of my life.
Know your budget: While traveling alone can be wonderful, often times it’s more expensive. Traveling with friends means splitting the cost of hotels or hostels with others, but when it’s just you…you have to swallow the whole price tag on your own. Be sure to check out lower-priced rooming options such as hostels or budget hotels that cater to solo travelers. Also, know how much money you want to spend on your trip from the beginning and limit your options to that budget. For example, I’d like to squeeze in an overnight trip to Paris while I’m in London, but if I can’t find a cheap hotel, I’ll have to skip it. Know your limits.
Do you research: Even if you’re traveling with friends, researching the best deals and cheapest options is a no-brainer. But when you’re traveling alone, you also need to be aware of neighborhoods to avoid, how to get around, and how to you reach out for help if you need to. While it might sound like a good idea to just figure it all out when you get there and go where the mood strikes you, researching some key points and having a loose plan is never a bad idea.
Have you ever traveled alone? What are your tips for a successful trip?