Notable Life is passionate about the pursuit of solo travel. We’ve written about the 5 silly solo travel myths that should just disappear and the first woman ever to travel to 196 countries solo (yes, she’s a Millennial). The technicalities of solo travel are quite different than group travel, so Notable Life is inspired to share our favourite practical advice for going it alone:
When you sit down to book your first solo travel adventure, you will be faced with a few new travel details to consider: do you really want to land in your destination alone at 3am? Will you feel as safe and refreshed in an apartment share, or should you reconsider a hotel with 24-hour concierge? With solo travel in mind, her are our 7 casual ways to travel solo without stress.
Book a flight that arrives mid-morning or afternoon
Midnight flights are cheaper but they can make your arrival more challenging. Shuttle buses downtown, or taxis to your hotel and accommodations, are more infrequent in the middle of the night, and arriving in the dark can be disorienting. Arriving mid-morning will allow you to take your time going through customs, exchanging currencies and locating your transportation downtown, or to your hotel. You’ll have time to check in, freshen up and stroll around your new neighbourhood with much less stress if you fly in during the day.
Book a bus tour
Yes, book a bus tour. We know that bus tours aren’t considered the coolest thing to do on a trip but they’re incredibly affordable and efficient for seeing major attractions and becoming familiar with a city. We particularly love hop-on-hop-off tours that make it easy to see an entire city in a day. Afterwards, you can take your time spending full days in specific neighbourhoods you want to know more intimately.
Book a group day-trip
The second you step away from your comfort zone and travel solo, you’ll learn that a million other people are travelling solo too — group trips are a great way to travel solo together with other solo travellers, and give you a chance to meet a friend to share dinner with later on, or meet up with for a day at the beach.
Pack like a minimalist
Packing the bare minimum is useful for 2 reasons: you can easily move from plane + airport to your hotel, and so you can blend in and be a less obvious target for theft. It’s not that everybody is out to get you on your trip, but a huge suitcase and 2 duffle bags make you a more vulnerable to theft than a single, minimalist carry-on.
Act like a local
One of the first things you should do when you travel solo is head to a local corner cafe, order an espresso and watch people-watch the locals. What are they wearing? How are they speaking and moving about? Observing locals will immediately trigger your sense of adventure and give you context for their culture. Even more, you’ll pick up one some cues for how to blend in and act like a local, and there’s no better way to feel “away from home” than that.
Finding yourself away in a new city, along, can feel a little disorienting. Not only will you be in a new place, you’ll be without your security blanket of family, friends and familiar faces. A quick FaceTime or text to your mom and best friend will set you back on track and remind you that your regular life will be waiting for you when you return home, and now’s the time to explore and enjoy a sense of discomfort. It’s refreshing!
Book a meeting
Perhaps this won’t be the most popular tip for solo travel, but it can open up your professional life to a world of opportunities. Do your career a favour and set up 2 or 3 coffee dates with professionals in your field in the town where you’re travelling. Take them for coffee and ask what life is like for them at work, and just get to know one another. You never know, you may uncover opportunities to work together or even for you to work abroad for a year without compromising your career.