Have you been thinking about a new vacation destination? Many people have ideas, but they’re waiting to pull the trigger because they have no one to travel with.
This may be the first time you have thought about traveling alone or maybe you’re here because you have thought about it and need a little inspiration.
Keep reading and you’ll see some thoughts that stem from one of my experiences with solo travel on a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I sincerely believe traveling alone is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It’s a great time for self-reflection and true relaxation.
1. Keep your phone charged– If you are planning to use your smart phone as a primary source for directions you will be fine. Make sure to research internet capabilities where you are going before you arrive. Google Maps offers the walking map feature, as well as driving, so getting where you want to go is as simple as typing out your destination. Something to keep in mind is if you are in an unfamiliar place you must understand the limits placed on you by your cell phone’s battery power. Pre-plan by carrying a second battery, an external battery bank, and/or a charger. These can extend the life of your trip into unknown territory. I recommend heading to home base once your phone is at 25% if you have no way to extend your battery life.
2. Practice talking to strangers– Embrace your lack of knowledge in the area you’re in. Don’t be embarrassed about not knowing a local language. Use it as fuel for a simple conversation starter. People speak English in more places than you may realize and at a good enough level to help you out. Ask for recommendations local cuisine and don’t be afraid to try the first thing suggested. Ask for popular destinations and things to do. If you ask a local in any area questions similar to these they will usually have an answer. Whatever tip a local can give you will probably be more beneficial to you than what a Google search can show.
3. Time to Walk– Once you have established your accommodations, decide the most important landmarks you would like to see. Now, hopefully you are daring because after you have your ideas, I want you to put on your comfortable shoes and hit the road by foot. There are so many more things to experience if you stop to smell the roses. Sounds, smells, and conversations become amplified. It becomes more than just a tourist ride in a taxi. You can feel what it’s like to integrate into the local society.
4. Stay off of social media– Lastly, based on my personal experience, I feel a disconnect from the world in front of me if I constantly check my cell phone for updates. Before you know it you’ve spent an hour or two staring into other people’s lives or thinking what you should write about your own. You’re on a vacation remember! So put the thing away and remember why you left. I know I may sound old-fashioned for this and I do realize that social media has it’s place. It is a nice feature to be able to update your location, post pictures, and instantly chat with friends. Even though your body is getting a break from everyday norms, I don’t believe your mind gets it if you divert your attention to your phone. Once the trip is over you may not feel as rested and wonder why. So find the happy medium. If possible use a traditional camera for pictures and upload them at night. Make your posts before you call it a day.
I hope I helped sort out some thoughts and questions. Now go plan an adventure for yourself!