Woman standing in a city square with her camera

How to Travel Alone for the First Time: 10 Tips for 2022


need tips on traveling alone as a woman?

You’ve landed (πŸ›¬ pun intended) on the right article to get tips on how to travel alone for the first time! Hi, I’m Shelley, and I have been traveling solo throughout Mexico since 2018, and I love sharing tips on how to start traveling alone as a woman — especially tips for first time solo travelers

I became a solo traveler by accident when my travel buddy took a lucrative job offer, and abruptly returned home from what was supposed to be a gap year trip. By abruptly, I do mean abruptly; he took the job on Wednesday afternoon and left on the first flight Friday morning.

Looking back, that was a blessing. Umm… how?, you might be wondering. Well, I didn’t have a long time to be scared, or overthink solo travel; I just had to start doing it, putting one foot in front of the other and beginning my solo adventure!

Though the only way to have your first solo travel experience is to, you know, go travel by yourself — there are planning steps you can take to put your mind at ease before embarking on your first trip alone.

The advice I see most from other solo travel bloggers and on social media about how to travel alone for the first time — is to JUST GO! While the rip-the-band-aid-off strategy certainly works, there are softer ways for first time travelers to ease in.

In this article, you’re going to learn 10 useful tips for how to travel alone for the first time. Ready to get started?! The first tip is all about picking a first time solo travel destination, so let’s get to it.

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

1. Best Places to Travel Alone for the First Time

Keep this in mind: Every place has positives and negatives! Just because there are Top 10 Solo Travel Destination lists out there, doesn’t mean those are your top choices; so one of the first things to consider is — Where do you want to go?

That question is important, as many people travel where they think they should. However, different places have positive points and negative points that are relative to each individual traveler, so you’ll want to pick a place that’s meaningful to you. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Is it easy to visit?

Some countries and regions are easier for first time solo travelers to safely and confidently explore than others. For example, Canada would likely be easier for an American traveler than South Africa or South America, and anywhere else with different languages spoken.

colorful street in San Miguel De Allende Mexico
According to the expat-focused website, InterNations, Mexico is one of the most friendly countries in the world!

2. Is it friendly?

Some countries, like Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia (particularly Bali and the islands), Costa Rica and Portugal, are known for being the most friendly countries. On the flip side, even friendly countries come with some negatives as well.

Costa Rica may be a dealbreaker because of the giant jungle bugs, and Portugal just might not interest you (a completely valid reason, btw). Places like Bali and Chiang Mai in Southeast Asia are a long way from the U.S., and you might not want waste so much time in airports and on planes.

For reference, my Miami to Bali travel time was 30 hours each way (including three flights and layovers), so 60 hours total, or 2.5 days of just travel time! If you only have one week to travel, you might not want to lose 2.5 days simply getting from Point A to Point B.

3. Is it safe?

One of the best tips for traveling alone is to do your research about safety. Some countries are as safer than others, like Iceland, Japan and New Zealand. However, even a safe place comes with negatives as well, depending on your travel style and budget.

Iceland is one of the most expensive countries for travelers, so that might not work. The language barrier in Japan might be so far out of your comfort zone that you don’t feel confident, and New Zealand takes three (often four) flights and about two (maybe three) full days of travel.

solo travel quotes about traveling alone PINTEREST PIN

RELATED ARTICLE πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ 111 Solo Travel Quotes About Traveling Alone to Inspire You

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Where do you want to go?

Wondering, What are the best places to solo travel? You could go back and forth debating positives and negatives of any destination on Earth, as every place has plenty of both. This fact is precisely why the first question in this section was, Where do you want to go?

If you already know where you’re headed — great. If not, make a list of your top 3-5 choices, and then positives vs. negatives column for each where you can compare the trip cost, if you can find cheap flights, the weather during your travel dates, overall safety, etc.

After weighing those pros and cons, pick the best destination for you. Why the emphasis on for you?, you might be wondering.

Most of my solo travels have been in Mexico. Some statistics, well-meaning (but misinformed) friends and family members all had negative opinions on Mexico. However, it’s where I wanted to go — and now I live in Mexico — so there’s something to be said about going with your first choice.

woman smiling on a colorful street in Sayulita, one of the Best Mexican Beach Towns
Wondering, What are the best places to solo travel? While not everyone considers Mexico, there are many amazing and safe destinations in Mexico — like Sayulita (pictured above).
HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Want to travel to Mexico solo?

After visiting 16 states, I know firsthand that many parts of Mexico are perfect first time solo travel destinations. I teamed up with other solo female travelers on this article, 20 Best Solo Travel Mexico Destinations to Visit, chronicling their personal experiences with solo travel in Mexico.

The truth is, simply being a solo female traveler will garner warnings from people on your decision to travel alone to any country on Earth. Like my Mexico warnings, these will likely come from people who have never traveled solo 🀷‍♀️ Go figure!

Simply put, Mexico was the place for me, regardless of what anyone said. Because of this, you might as well start considering where you want to go, and not where you’re told you should go.

Mexico Podcast about Solo Travel

🎧 Prefer Podcasts? Dream To Destination is a solo travel podcast meets Mexico travel podcast! The episode below is all about planning your first solo trip in Mexico.

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

2. Building Solo Travel Confidence

Practice Solo Travel

Now that you have your place in mind, and you’re super excited, you’ll want to practice for the real thing. After all, if there was any way to get good at something that wasn’t by practicing it, we’d all be doing it that way — since there isn’t, practice is the best way to gain confidence.

To practice, you can start small in your home country by going to a museum or movie solo, or going out dinner alone. Overcoming fear for something commonly fear-inducing, yet smaller than a full solo trip, will springboard you to feeling less scared of your actual first solo trip.

TAKE AN OVERNIGHT SOLO TRIP or short TRIP

If those suggestions all sound easy peasy to you, consider an overnight trip or a solo road trip over a long weekend. The key here is to not sit in a hotel room or at a resort, but to explore, so you’ll want to pick a destination with lots of activities, and maybe even a bucket list item or two.

If all of that sounds like fun to you, congrats πŸŽ‰ you seem to be in a great solo travel headspace, so let’s work on how to budget for you first solo trip.

Woman eating alone at a restaurant & sipping on a glass of wine

RELATED ARTICLE 🍷🍽 Eating Alone While Traveling: How to Overcome Your Fear

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

3. Making A Solo Travel Budget

The bottom line for most travelers, is money. When you’re making a travel budget, the most important thing is to budget honestly and within your own personal means. In fact, this is one of the best things about solo travel: You are the boss of your budget.

You and your budget answer to no one! This is also why it’s easy, though still important, to be honest with yourself about your travel budget. As no one else will see your budget, it’s a great idea to be brutally honest here and even double check it.

Use This Travel Budget Formula

Truth be told, there’s no magic formula for travel budgeting, as budgeting differs from person to person. For some solo travellers, their top priority is fancy accommodations; for others, it’s all about tours and attractions; while some travelers put eating, drinking and shopping in their top spot. 

Because no two travelers are alike, I made this formula so you can just plug in the most important elements of your solo trip!

  • 40% of your budget goes to whatever thing or category is most important to you (ie. accommodations, tours, food, shopping, etc.)
  • 25% goes to your second most important thing or category
  • 15% goes to your third most important thing or category
  • 10% towards non-fun, but necessary, things (like transportation to and from the airport)
  • 10% goes towards purchasing Travel Insurance or putting into your Emergency Fund

If there’s anything I can tell you about travel, it’s this: Something will go wrong, something else will not go as planned and there will be an extra cost you’re not anticipating. This is part of the fun and adventure of travel; not meant to scare you.

However, if you budget for said unplanned adventures with a dedicated Emergency Fund or by purchasing Travel Insurance, you shouldn’t have to spend much extra money on incidentals during your trip.


Woman happy pulling her yellow suitcase through town
There’s no one size fits all for how to travel alone as a woman, but when in a new city and exploring a different culture, Travel Insurance is a must have for all solo female travellers.
HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

4. Travel Insurance for Solo Travelers

For me, this answer is a wholehearted HELL YES! because as they say, you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind. Also, many years ago, someone wise told me it’s bizarre to insure a hunk of metal (our car), and a pile of bricks (our home), but not our body.

I’ll be honest, when I first started traveling solo, I wasn’t insured. However, after years of solo traveling, I wised up. I even have a whole page of this website dedicated to travel insurance, because it’s just that important.

I’m lucky in that I’ve never had to use it, but after seeing other travelers living out their own worst nightmare moments — from having everything stolen on an overnight bus to multi-day hospital stays from food poisoning — I feel like I can’t unsee all of travel’s potential dangers now.

I’ve turned to travel insurance to shut off the part of my brain that worries. From who to contact for help if your phone breaks, to not dealing with a huge hospital bill if your thumb breaks, I let World Nomads handle my problems.

If you’ve done any research about traveler’s insurance, I’m sure you’ve seen World Nomads come up. They are the leading company for travel insurance, and endorsed by many of the industry’s biggest names — Lonely Planet, Eurail, Intrepid Travel, Nomadic Matt, etc.


HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

5. Best Solo Travel Accommodations

Hotel vs Hostel Vs Airbnb

This, like all things solo travel, is totally up to you! Meaning, you don’t have to compromise on your accommodation choice with the rest of your group, so let’s figure out what’s best for you.

Hotel: For travelers who need the option of room service, an onsite gym, an abundance of towels, etc., spring for a hotel. One of the benefits of traveling alone is you can pick a hotel in your budget, and not have to compromise with anyone! Booking.com and Expedia are great sites to book hotels.

Booking.com

Hostel: If your travel accommodations mean little to nothing, and simply serve as a place to shower and sleep, opt for a hostel and save some money. If you’re a little social, but also need your alone time, you can book a private room in a hostel. Hostel World is a great place to find hostels.

Airbnb: Staying in an Airbnb or VRBO lands somewhere in the middle of the two. For me, I opt for Airbnbs, and lately VRBOs, because Airbnb fees have gotten out of hand! Iff you’re about to travel alone first time, you might consider a private room in an Airbnb at a local’s home.

My largest concentration of solo travel years were from ages 36-38, and I don’t really drink and party, so for me, hostels were a hard no. I’m not knocking hostels! They are a great way to save money, and an easy way to be social and make friends. However, for me, they simply don’t work.

I am a pretty textbook introvert (shoutout to my fellow INTJs!), meaning I recharge when I’m alone. One of the things I love about solo travel is getting to choose when I’m social. I also need eight hours of sleep, so the late night party atmosphere of most hostels interferes with my beauty sleep.

Having said all that, many solo travelers opt for hostels for the ease of meeting others in a hostel’s common room. However, as you’ll see in Tip # 7 below, there are plenty of other ways to meet people while traveling solo.

As far as Airbnb vs hotels, I like that Airbnbs (usually) afford you more physical space than a hotel room. I’m also not someone who wants to spend much time in my accommodations, so I rarely even take advantage of all a hotel’s amenities — so why pay for them?!


HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

6. Planning For A Solo Trip

Pick Your Top 3 Things to Do

Out of all my best tips on solo travel, think this one about travel planning might just be my most succinct and easy to implement! In fact, you can conquer solo travel planning in this very simple two-step process:

  • Step 1: Pick the top three things you most want to do, and plan for those.
  • Step 2: For the rest of your trip, have no plans at all.

Besides identifying your top three must sees, plan to do them first. As mentioned, unforeseen things happen while traveling, like you not feeling well. If you’ve done the things you wanted to do on the first few days of your trip, and then you need a rest day, you can easily take one.

πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ Let’s take the example of Mexico City solo travel, so you can see, the planning process doesn’t have to be complicated:

If your things to do in Mexico City list include the Teotihuacan archeological site, Frida Kahlo Museum, and eating at the famous Taqueria Orinoco — then book your Teotihuacan tour, buy your Frida ticket, and Google the best route from your Airbnb to Taqueria Orinoco.

Beyond that, just see where the trip takes you! You will likely meet local people throughout your trip who will lead you in the right direction to discover some hidden gems. If your travel plan includes having no plans at all, you never know what new things you’ll discover.

Teotihuacan hot air balloon ride
One of the coolest group tours ever? A hot air balloon ride over the Teotihuacan pyramids near Mexico City.

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

What is Slow Travel?

Wondering why this only says to pick 3 things, and not make a list of 30 things? You’ve likely heard someone after a trip say something like, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” This is because that person tried — and failed — to do all of the things.

There’s a whole movement called slow travel that I really get behind, and practice for myself. Basically, slow travel allows you to really get to know a place, rather than just attempt to check as many boxes off your list as possible.

If vacations and travel are, at least in part, about recreation, relaxation and recharging — How can you even accomplish that if you leave no time for, you know, recreation, relaxation and recharging!?

Think of the place you currently live; there’s probably even places to see and things to do where you live that you haven’t yet seen or done. Quite bluntly, no amount of time will never be enough time to do all of the things, but if you prioritize, there will never be enough time to do all of your things.

solo travel photos

RELATED ARTICLE πŸ“Έ 6 Epic Solo Travel Photography Tips + 5 FREE Presets


HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

7. How to Meet People While Solo Traveling

My response to the question of how to meet people while traveling solo typically throws people off! For me, an INTJ introvert, I really believe this: It is soooo easy to meet people as a solo traveler — almost too easy.

When you’re solo, you’re less intimidating to approach, meaning more people approach you. This is especially true in big cities, like New York City or London, where it’s more common for people go out alone.

Look Approachable (Smile 😊)

If you haven’t ever done this, go out to eat alone and sit at the bar. You don’t have to order a drink if you don’t want to, but do sit and eat at the bar. There is a very good chance the other people sitting at the bar will talk to you!

This is the nature of bars: they foster communication. The unspoken language of a person in a bar is that they want to meet people. At the very least, you can chat up the bartender or server.

While, as a traveler, this may not be the fellow solo traveler you’re hoping to meet, it will give you a chance to chat up a local. In-the-know locals, as many bartenders are, usually have the best insider intel about the coolest things to see and do in their city.

Woman in a red dress twirling in the street
No matter the places to travel alone as a woman you’re considering, a smile goes a long way and transcends you not knowing the local language.
HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Online Networking for Solo Travelers

Besides the obvious of a bar, cafe or restaurant, you can try online meetup groups, Facebook groups, and even the Bumble BFF app. These are especially great because you can start networking with local people before you even start traveling.

The first recommendation is to hit up your own social networks and see if anyone knows anyone where you’re going. Friends of friends tend to be the easiest and most effective people to online network with.

Meetup.com is also a great way to find people and events from your niche interests. If you’re into acro yoga, there might be an acro yoga meetup, or even an aerial yoga, or sunrise beach kundalini yoga meetup.

Facebook is one of the best tools for online networking. There have been expat FB groups in every city I’ve been in Mexico. Expatriates, or expats for short who have moved to Mexico use the groups to network for themselves, and I’ve regularly seen travelers seeking advice from group members.

To find the groups, just do a search for “Expat groups in [name of city, state, country, region or place you’re visiting].” Request to join a few groups, and start interacting.

Take A Group Tour

Solo travel doesn’t have to mean you must be alone for your entire trip. If there’s a day trip you want to do that’s a little outside of the big cities and there’s no public transportation options to get there, or just seems like it would be so much fun to go with a group — take a group tour.

In fact, nearly all day trips I took to pueblos (small towns) and sites outside of the big cities, were with groups. While yes, they are pricier than DIY traveling, they also have worthwhile benefits including that you’ll meet other travelers, and often like minded people.

Happy woman on a bike tour with male friends | Overcome Solo Travel Anxiety
Solo travel pro tip: Group tours are a great way to meet new people and make new friends. I’ve had a great time on group trips doing everything from a pub crawl to a free walking tour.

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Solo Travel Photo Swaps

This last tip is also how I’ve managed to be in so many of my solo travel photos. When you’re at an attraction, a museum, a popular site, etc., a big chunk of the other people there will be travelers, just like you. If you see someone taking a selfie, offer to take a photo for them.

Any time I’ve done this, they have offered to reciprocate — and violà, now I’m in my travel photos. More importantly, now the door to conversion has naturally opened with this person. For introverted travelers, this organic conversation starter may even lead to a travel best friend πŸ‘―‍♀️

Woman taking a photo of another woman
Offer to take a photo for someone taking a selfie, as a natural way to start a conversation.

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

8. Solo Female Travel Safety Strategies

Stay Alert at ALL Times

While many want to travel to be able to turn your brain off, I think that only tends to work for the all-inclusive resort type of trip. If your ultimate travel goal is to turn your brain off, not think, relax and sip piña coladas, you might want to opt for an all-inclusive resort.

For everyone else, you’re going to actually need to be more aware of your surroundings than you’re used to being back home. While Is it safe to travel alone as a woman?, doesn’t have a definitive answer, staying hyper aware of your surroundings is a good way to increase your chances.

Think about it: You’re in a new place. Everything is unfamiliar. You’re relying on a map to get around. You don’t know anyone. Is this really the time to “turn your brain off” and chillax? This is the time to activate your intuition to its fullest, and use your best common sense to keep you safe.

Unconditionally Listen to Your Intuition

As I mentioned, the majority of my solo travels took place in Mexico. The United States mainstream media would lead you to believe Mexico is the most dangerous country on Earth. However, I have stayed totally safe. In fact, I feel safer in Mexico than in South Florida, where I’m from.

How is this possible? Easy. I avoided unsafe situations — and I do this by listening to my intuition. Basically, when my intuition said No, it was a No. This was a hard No; not a “No, but let’s see what happens.” πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ Want more solo travel tips for Mexico? Head here.

yellow shoes standing with happy and sad faces drawn on the ground

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ Afraid to Travel Alone? These 5 Powerful Tips Will Help

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Mitigate Your Risks

One way I mitigated (or lessened) my risk of something bad happening was by always taking an Uber home at night. There were nights when my house wasn’t far from where I was, but I still called Uber. Some nights, the weather was perfect and I actually felt like walking, but I still called Uber.

As crimes tend to happen at night, it felt this was a necessary way to avoid being a target, so for me, not walking home alone at night and paying for an Uber did pay off in the long run. Whether its your first time traveling alone or your 50th, this tip is important for all women traveling alone.

If I was walking the streets alone at night, I was a convenient target. For me, risk mitigation meant I took measures to avoid any unnecessary risks I could. I view my own safety as my own personal responsibility. In my experience, no one’s looking out for me, as much as me.

After years of solo travel, I really do believe keeping your wits about you, always listening to your intuition, and mitigating your risks are the keys to solo female travel safety.

HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

9. Quick Tips for Solo Travel Safety

Hopefully now you see that safety is more of a feeling than a fact, as in, we may feel safe, but safety is never a guarantee. However, we can do things that make our safety as close to a guarantee as possible with some actionable travel tips.

Beyond listening to your intuition, here are 10 concrete, general solo female travel safety precautions and measures to take. You can use use these to keep yourself and your belongings safe when traveling alone for the first time.

1. Crossbody Bag (Anti-Theft Purse or Backpack): Use a cross body bag instead of a shoulder bag, and keep it at your side or on your chest, instead of on your back. Better yet, opt for an anti-theft purse or anti-theft bookbag.

Having a strap that must go over your head to come on and off, makes a snatch and grab theft near-impossible. If the bag is tucked under your arm or on your chest, it also makes it near-impossible for someone to slip their hand in and steal something.

2. Your Belongings: Take your purse or book bag into the bathroom with you, rather than asking a cafe or bar neighbor to watch it. 

Much like Tip #3 below about never putting your phone in your back pocket, this one is also a bit inconvenient. However, it also works to not get your stuff stolen! If you want to make sure your belongings remain with you, then keep them with you at all times.

3. Phone Storage: Don’t ever put your phone in your back pocket. Ever! While this is arguably the most convenient place for it, it’s also the most convenient place for someone to steal it from, especially if you’re on a crowded bus, metro or train station.

Think of it this way: It takes some extra time to keep putting the phone inside and then taking it out of your bag, admittedly. However, these extra seconds pale in comparison to the time and money you’d have to spend replacing a phone.

Besides the time and money, think of all the headaches that come with buying a new phone in a foreign country. A lost or stolen phone is a surefire way to ruin a trip, so avoid ever putting your phone in your back pocket.

woman getting her cell phone pick-pocketed
Besides the phone, don’t put any important documents, like your ID or credit card, in your back pocket.

4. Cell Phone Safety: Don’t pull your phone out in a giant crowd surrounded by a lot of people, and/or if the vibe feels sketchy. 

Remember, your intuition is always right! If something feels unsafe, it is unsafe. If you feel like the situation is too hectic to pull your mobile phone out, then walk to another street that feels less chaotic, sit down on a park bench until you get your bearings back, or take a quick break ‡

5. Take a Cafe Break: If the vibe feels sketchy where you are, it’s a good idea to duck into a cafe for a second until you get your bearings.

Take this time to do all of the things: Eat a light snack, fill up your water bottle, use their bathroom, jump on the WiFi, put on lipstick, etc. You can even listen to your favorite song or read an uplifting blog while you’re waiting for your uneasy feelings to subside.

6. Leave Labels at Home: That’s right, don’t wear flashy clothes or jewelry. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but the less flashy you appear, the less attention you draw to yourself, the more you go unnoticed.

Keep in mind that even wearing a casual T-shirt from a high end brand with their logo prominently displayed all over it, can be considered flashy in some parts of the world. The moral of this story is pack light and leave your Gucci at home.

RELATED ARTICLE 🧳 Packing List for Mexico: Outfit Ideas & FREE Printable Download

7. Wallet Safety: Keep some cash in your pocket, or in the side pocket of your purse, so you don’t have to pull your whole wallet out every time you need to pay. You can also open your wallet inside your bag, instead of pulling the whole thing out.

The idea here is to minimize the time your whole wallet, cash, debit card, credit cards and all is out in the open. If you’re just grabbing a quick snack on the street, or buying a small souvenir in a crowded market, don’t be an easy target for a petty thief.

8. Get a Local SM Card: For safety, you always want to be able to make calls, send texts to friends or a family member back home, call an Uber, use the Google translate app, etc. If you won’t have cell service in the country you’re visiting, invest in a local SIM card.

mexico sim card

πŸ‡²πŸ‡½ Traveling to Mexico? Head here for Mexico SIM card tips.

9. Maintain Some Mystery: If you’re casually chatting with a stranger, you don’t have to tell them every single detail about travel plans. It might be good to keep things like your last name, where you’re staying, your nighttime plans, etc., to yourself.

10. Travel Insurance: Want to put your mind all the way at ease? Just as you would insure your car, home and body, you can also insure your solo trip. I recommend World Nomads, as do many other travel bloggers, tour guides and travel guides.

Their travel insurance plans cover bodily injury, as well as a lost phone, luggage, cancelled flights, medical emergencies, etc. In fact, I believe in travel insurance so much, I have a whole page on my site dedicated to it.


HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

10. How to Feel Comfortable Flying Alone

Have you ever heard of catastrophizing? Basically, when we humans do not have a mental picture of how things will go or turn out, tend to assume it will be a catastrophe; hence the word catastrophizing

Here’s how catastrophizing works: “When we catastrophize, we actually do two things: first, we predict the worst possible outcome; second, we assume that if this outcome transpires, we won’t be able to cope and it will be an absolute disaster.”

The thing is: you are more than capable of coping with situations you’ve never coped with. This even applies to flying alone for the first time. Since you’ve never done it, you’re likely assuming a horrible outcome. However, flying alone isn’t much different than flying with a partner.

Mental Comfort

woman on a plane looking at her phone
If it’s your first time flying alone, use this handy checklist: βœ”οΈBook βœ”οΈHeadphones βœ”οΈCharged Phone βœ”οΈHoodie

You’ve (likely) already flown on a plane; you’ve just never done it this way. Since you’ve already done it, you have some tools in your mental toolbox you don’t even realize you have.

For most people, having a travel buddy means someone has your back. If you’re solo, you simply have to figure out your own personal ways to do that for yourself.

For many travelers, they want to put in their headphones and peacefully wake up in their destination. If this is you, download some podcasts, playlists, movies, meditations, etc. that make you feel calm, positive and empowered.

These will help you in those moments you want a travel buddy to reassure you that everything’s ok. Beyond your mental comfort, let’s next talk physical comfort.

Physical Comfort

Woman on empty airplane with neck pillow on | how to travel alone for the first time
This was a flight in January 2019 BC (Before Corona), with my trusty Memory Foam Neck Pillow.

You’re going to want to wear comfortable clothing and shoes. The airport security may make you take your shoes off, so opt for an easy on/off pair that doesn’t have metal buckles, so you don’t set the metal detector off.

Since planes tend to be cold, have your sweater in your purse or carry on, and not packed away in the suitcase. Speaking of purses make sure you bring one that zips all the closed, as you don’t want anything spilling out under your seat during the flight.

For extra comfort, some people like one of these best neck pillows for travel. Personally, I never fly without one anymore. They have been a game changer for me, and I can now comfortably sleep sitting up. Beyond physical comfort, let’s look at some electronic comforts as well.


HOW TO TRAVEL ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Tips for Long-Haul Flights

For international, and long flights in general, you’ll want to have distractions — and lots of them! The easiest is a book because it will never run out of batteries, though many swear by their Kindle, noise-canceling ear buds, and the other electronic distractions.

Do remember to download everything you want to watch or listen to before the flight. Also, fully charge your external battery, and bring any necessary chargers with you, and an external battery.

DOWNLOAD BEFORE YOU GET TO THE AIRPORT

While planes have WiFi more and more nowadays, it’s not exactly 5G in the air! Also, WiFi is usually not free, in addition to not being fast. 

If you have a Netflix account (Wait. Does someone not!?) make sure you download the movies to your phone, laptop or tablet before you even get to the airport. Much like the plane, don’t assume the airport has good and/or free WiFi either.

If you’re more of a podcast person, why not download a season or two of your favorite podcasts. The way I see it, you never know what you’re going to feel like listening to, and since they take up virtually no phone space, go nuts with the podcast downloads.

If you just want to watch the in-flight entertainment, remember that most plane have the old fashioned 3.5 mm headphone jack. You can buy a converter so the headphone jack works with your phone.

You’ll also want water and healthy snacks with you as well. While they have these on planes, you’ll want to be as self-sufficient as you can. 🌱 Note: If you’re traveling outside of North America, you might not like the airplane food they provide.

Speaking of being self-sufficient, remember that you are in control of how you feel. If you find yourself uneasy or moody, just focus on your breathing, and remember this isn’t a catastrophe — it’s just a part of the adventure that is traveling alone.