New York, NY, USA

Solo Traveler's Checklist

Friday, June 23



Whizzing through the warm Mediterranean breeze while riding on a navy blue quad, shifting gears as you drove off the scene of James Dean’s classic flick Rebel Without a Cause, you decide that you are feeling in the mood for some gourmet seafood pasta and a glass of local Pino Grigio. Not pausing for a second thought you find yourself turning into the local eatery you order up a table for one and watch the ocean waves push back the minutes of the day.

Traveling solo is the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Many individuals are afraid to travel solo. They can’t even imagine sitting down at a restaurant at a table for one! They die at the thought of what other guests might think about them. This is like living in a prison, where the bars are only seen by, you.

Traveling around the world by oneself, with proper planning and research, will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done. So here are a few things to help you break free from those imaginary bars.



Pick A Destination

Look through travel books, magazines, and blogs to find inspiration for your next adventure. These options will motivate you with images that you can bookmark and save. The best option is to pick a place that you have always wanted to visit. Somewhere, where you know you will enjoy or that no one else is interested in traveling with you too.

If you have many places or what to start small before building up to your ultimate travel adventure, start with a place that looks like your country or speaks your native tongue. This will make a smoother transition after stepping off the plane or train. This will also help with any culture shock or standard of living expectations.

Here are a few countries great for solo travelers: New Zealand, Chile, Iceland, Canada, Greece, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Ireland

Looking for an easy to navigate destination that you won’t feel like a complete fish out of water in. Check the local government tourism webpage to see if there are any national holidays or things going on that might may your transit/ customs times longer. There are also high, shoulder, and low seasons for each area. You can often save a lot of money traveling during the low or shoulder seasons.

Research, Research, Research

After you settle on your destination focus your research on the area and what you can do once you arrive. Download a countdown app and start envisioning yourself in your dream destination. Start looking at your local travel and booking sites for deals and packages. I love using Booking.com, Skyscanner, Airbnb, and many other sites to see how I can get the most bang for my buck.

Go to the local bookstore and wander the travel aisle. Grab a book and a corner and read up. You don’t have to purchase the first book you see, so sit on the floor Indian style and get used to looking a little silly. The whole purpose of this trip is to get you out of your comfort zone.

Consider getting a binder/ desktop file for all of your research. Keep it all in one very visible place as this will help you to keep pushing your research further. The more you know, the more you grow.

Get your travel documents in order: Passport, Visas, Global Entry Card and TSA Pre-Check. Many of these documents take up to 2 months to process. Do not wait until the last minute. The key to solo travel is not to think you will wing it and survive. (You won’t).



Plan

Figure out your cell phone and communication situation. Many cell providers offer international calling features at a fee. Google voice works wonders if you can connect to wifi. Facetime and imessage also allow for free wifi calling and messaging.

Wifi is your friend. Make sure you can find some internet if you need to check in to your flight, hotel, with family. Some countries know this and charge a per hour rate. When booking your hotel check to see if they have or offer a wifi connection.

Research local transportation. There are so many forums and blogs about different countries around the world. Many of these offer insight into traveling around the area via public transit, private car or tour options.

Find out with the local currency and exchange rate is. Determine if you need to take cash with you or if your ATM card will work. The best option is to call your bank to tell them about your travel plans and ask for any information regarding currency exchange. You must call your bank prior to traveling to ensure they do not block your credit cards and cash flow.



Pack Your Bags

Email yourself and a friend or family member a copy of all your documents and itinerary. Then download them to your phone for quicker access abroad. You may not have cell service so having these items already downloaded will ensure you have them when needed.

  • Travel light and I mean light. One carryon bag and one personal item should be all you need to survive.

  • Wear a light coat or any outerwear on the plane to free up space in your luggage and keep you warm on those long haul flights.

  • Don’t bring or wear flashy or expensive things. You will be alone making yourself an easy target if you are covered in Moschino’s latest runway fashions.

  • Bring a power adapter and voltage converter. I found a set for every country at Lord and Taylor’s for under $20.

  • Noise-canceling headphones, earplugs and, eye masks will save you from severe jet lag.