Your first solo backpacking trip is always a little bit scary. And so is your second. And your third. And your fourth. And…okay, you get it, solo traveling takes a lot of courage. Here’s the top five fears every solo traveler has to conquer at some point in their travels.
Airports and train stations
Let’s face it, the scariest part of solo traveling, is, well, the travel! Airports, buses, and train stations seem to be notorious stomping grounds of pickpockets and evil-doers, and with bags strapped to your back, and all your valuables on you at once, it’s easy to feel uneasy while traveling from between cities or countries.
Fear-squashing tips: Don’t ever travel at night, and when you arrive in a new station, quickly find a bathroom. You’ll be able to decompress and plan your next steps in private without looking like a clueless tourist in the middle of the station!
Eating alone is something that seems scary at first but turns out to be really nice in the end. Although the hostesses may be shocked to hear you’re dining alone, it is less uncommon than you think.
Fear squashing tip: Know that no-one is paying attention to you. You are free to eat in peace, read, journal, do your own thing!
Going out by yourself
Exploring the nightlife of a city can be a ton of fun, but for a solo-traveler, there are some risks.
Fear squashing tips: Try to stay in hostels to find people who will go out with you. If you can’t though, always get to places on the early side, and only stay if you’re comfortable. Stick to bars close to where you’re staying, and try not to drink too much, and especially not past your limits.
Ah, loneliness, when spending too much time with yourself really starts to get to you.
Fear-squashing tips: Facetiming friends and family from back home is a great way to stay connected with others. Also, try to stay in hostels and hotels with common spaces. Always be open to connecting with new people you meet along the way.
Solo traveling comes with tons of decision-making. When to eat, where to sleep, when to leave; all of these questions pile up and can be exhausting to deal with everyday.
Fear-squashing tips: Try and plan your days in advance so it doesn’t feel like you’re deciding a million things each day. Also, give yourself time to veg a little too. Just because you’re abroad doesn’t mean you can’t relax with a nap or Netflix binge (or both)!
This summer, Jessica roamed through many winding French streets in search of three things: white wine, red wine, and rose. With just a single phone power bank and absolutely no understanding of the French language, she found just what she was looking for along with many, many croissants. Her adventures ranged from trying to get a French SIM card from a man who spoke no English, to air drying in a towel-less hostel, to even lugging her 40L Osprey pack up a 3 mile mountain hike to get to her AirBnB in a French vineyard. After her trip, she’s found a profound new love of lavender, macaroons, and waking up before noon. The only thing France was truly missing this summer was Jessica’s cat, Gerty, who she missed very dearly throughout her journeys. She saw The Great Sphinx of Tanis at the Louvre, but it just wasn’t the same. Jessica is currently planning her next backpacking adventure to Greenland and Ireland, where she hopes to find out just how many ways you can cook a potato.