Updated: Jan 21, 2020
Traveling solo is a definitely intimidating. You’re in a foreign land and possibly your native language isn’t spoken. The media loves to share the horror stories, not the good ones so our perception might be ill-conceived. So how do you even begin to travel solo internationally? Some might just jump on into it. For myself, I decided to ease my way into it so I will share some ways I prepared myself for solo international travel.
Take yourself on a solo domestic trip
The very first baby step I took into solo travel was during college. I was living with 3 football players during my senior year and they made it to a bowl game in Tampa, Florida so I decided to fly down to support my friends. I flew by myself to an area I grew up visiting each year for Spring Break. Although, this was my first time flying solo I had a friend waiting to pick me up when I arrived and hang out with me while we were there. However, she was the girlfriend of one of my roommates, so I knew I would be on my own a bit while down there. I think this was a good starting point but I wish I would have taken it further and done a domestic trip solo before heading international.
Plan an international trip with a friend
In 2016 for the first time I planned an international trip for myself and my mother. Although this trip was not solo, this was the first time I took charge of the planning process for an international trip. My mom does not travel often so this trip was completely my responsibility. It gave me the opportunity to learn how to plan all the details of an international trip, which of course is very useful if you prefer to plan your own trip and not use a travel agent.
Challenge yourself to a day alone while on vacay
2017 was the year my travels really took a turn. My best friend and I went backpacking through Europe and once again I took the planning reins for the entire trip. Once we were on the trip my friend became sick for a few days in Greece. I refused to let that slow me down so I toured the town by myself for a day. I took myself to dinner and enjoyed watching the sunset on the horizon alone. It was uncomfortable but also incredibly empowering.
Fly internationally to meet a friend
After traveling to Thailand in April 2018 I met a very handsome German man who was the tour guide of our booze cruise in Koh Phi Phi. We hit it off pretty well, so later that year I decided to fly to Germany to explore his country with him. Although he met me at the airport, flying to Germany is about 8 hours on the plane but no affordable flights from Indianapolis so I had to take the Mega Bus to Chicago and fly out, with a layover in Toronto before arriving in Germany. So the experience of flying internationally solo for the first time gave me a taste of what that would feel like if I were to take a trip completely solo.
You’re ready. Take that trip.
2019 I finally felt ready to take that trip. I decided I would go to European countries where English was predominately spoken. I found a great deal to fly to Amsterdam and fly back from Ireland. So I decided to take a three week trip to Amsterdam, London, and Dublin/Galway by myself. I was probably a bit ambitious to start with a 3 week trip solo, I would recommend starting with one week. But nevertheless, I am so happy I did it. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on!
Additional small ways to prep yourself:
- Take yourself to dinner alone
- Go to an event (music/sporting/festival) by yourself.
- Ride public transportation alone (this may seem silly to some, but if you grow up in a rural/country area then public transportation is very foreign)
- Travel to the nearest big city and spend the day exploring