Traveling alone for the first time

The most fantastic places on planet Earth are often those that are far away from home. And yes, the scary thing when you start traveling alone for the first time is taking the leap, the first step, the big jump, call it whatever you want, but having the courage to go far away from home when the experience of traveling is completely foreign to us can bring its fair share of apprehension.

The first time I decided to travel alone for the first time was to Amsterdam, where I spent 3 months. And this first time was both very enriching in terms of new discoveries and a bit unsettling, to be honest.

The advantage of traveling alone is being able to choose where and when you go, and for me, that’s something very important. 

I cherish my independence of action, and although I enjoy traveling with people on occasion, I think I prefer traveling alone, but that remains a question of personal preference.

There are a few things that come with traveling alone for the first time:

Autonomy

When you travel alone, you’re not dependent on anyone. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want, without relying on anyone else. In short, pure freedom.

I am not saying that travelling with friends is a bad thing, it’s just that travelling with people comes with a bunch of limitations. 

We are humans and as humans we are all different, thus we have to compose with someone else vision.

If your goal is travelling at the other part of the world for a long period of time you will have to adapt yourself to you friends.

How long they want to stay in a place? Where they want to go? What kind of activities they want to do? And the list goes on and on.

If you are not totally sure, ask yourself : do I prefer being alone but free of every bit of my movement? or do I prefer being with people but make some concessions?

There is no good or bad answers, it’s up to you.

Heightened openness to others

traveling alone for the first time

When you travel alone, you tend to be more open to others in general. 

This is a bit more difficult when traveling in a group because we tend to stick with the group and have less of a need to meet new people since we already have a tribe. 

On the other hand, when you travel alone, you have the freedom to meet new people easily.

If you chose to stay in hostels for example. You WILL meet new people, that’s a fact. That is the perfect place for a traveller looking for like minded people.

Travelling alone doesn’t mean being alone all the time. In fact a huge part of the trip is a human experience, so grab a beer, relax, and socialize with the world.

A golden opportunity to practice a new language

traveling alone for the first time

Yes, traveling to a country is good, but being able to speak the native language is even better.

So when traveling alone for the first time, whether in a hostel or roaming with locals, we always have the opportunity to refine and practice our foreign language skills.

Personally, I loved practicing my Spanish in Mexico. I saw my Spanish level skyrocket in a few months living there.

Of course, it’s always better to arrive in the country with a good base of the language to have something to practice.

Traveling in a different country for a long time with the willingness to learn is hands down the best way to master any languages of the world.

So, guys, start now; in three months, you could have the skills to interact with the locals on your next trip. Worth it, isn’t it?”

Solitude

traveling alone for the first time

Traveling alone inevitably means experiencing solitude from time to time. We may occasionally feel homesick, miss friends, and especially close family. 

But thanks to technology, we can now communicate via video calls on WhatsApp no matter where we are in the world.

Moreover, there may be times when we want to share our experiences with someone when we feel alone. 

But there’s nothing stopping us from finding new friends along the way. In hostels, it’s quite common to meet new people and share part of the journey with them when we’re on the same wavelength.

Safety

safety first

When you travel alone, you are more vulnerable to theft, assaults, and anything else that could go wrong. 

This is particularly true for young girls or women because they may be perceived as more “defenseless” and therefore easier targets. However, it depends on the country you are traveling to. 

There is a clear difference between traveling alone in Madrid and traveling alone in Caracas.

That’s why it’s essential to avoid putting yourself in danger. 

The rules are basic: try to blend in as much as possible by adopting the customs of the country, dressing like the locals (for example, avoiding wearing shorts or any other attire that might categorize you as a foreigner), avoid walking alone late at night or in neighborhoods known to be “dangerous,” and refrain from displaying signs of wealth that could tempt thieves.

Last but not least, don’t appear as a victim or someone lost. Always have a sense of purpose when you walk outside. Remember guys, thieves are looking for someone defensless people to rob, so please, walk with confidence.

In short, danger is real whether you’re a man or a woman, so it’s crucial to be very careful to avoid getting into troublesome or even dramatic situations.

Don’t lose and don’t forget

belongings

When traveling alone, it is essential to pay attention to your belongings to avoid losing the most important things that allow you to travel. Among others, these include:

  1. Passport: If you lose this one, it’s pretty bad, because now you have to go to the embassy of your country and wait. During this waiting time, you are stuck in the country.
  2. Credit cards: Keep your card in a safe place, use it only when you really need. Using Apple Pay could be a could idea to minimizing the use of your credit card.
  3. Driver’s license: If you plan to rent a car, same thing as the credit card, keep it in a safe place.
  4. Mobile phone: You can use iCloud or Google Cloud. If you lose your phone, you will have your photos, contacts, and every bit of data that you can have on your phone, backed up.
  5. Laptop: Same as the phone, back up everything in the cloud.
  6. External hard drive: Same as the the mobile and the laptop, cloud back up.

The main idea here, is to digitalize the most physical things that you can. 

The Airport

When traveling alone, it is vital to pay attention and not forget anything during a new flight at the airport:

  1. Arrive at the airport at least two hours before international flights and one hour for domestic flights
  2. Don’t forget your passport
  3. Don’t forget your ESTA (if traveling to the United States)
  4. Don’t forget you VISA, if needed.
  5. Have a return ticket (they don’t always ask for it, but it’s essential to have a return ticket to present during airport security checks). Alternatively, you can opt for an alternative called “onewayflight,” a website that rents tickets for around 20 euros. It’s a great option when you travel frequently from one country to another without having to pay for a return ticket every time.

Taking care of these preparations will make your airport experience smoother.

Now, let’s move on to the practical aspect, which is actually quite simple:

You need to take the leap!

traveling alone for the first time

I understand that it can be intimidating at first, but I can only encourage you to dive into this vast world to see for yourself what this majestic planet has to offer.

 It should be a thoughtful decision rather than an impulsive one. 

Take time to think about where you want to go, what you’d like to do, and of course, let yourself dream. Dream of new horizons, uncharted territories, and new adventures. 

Like explorers, we will collectively discover the riches this world has to offer and become a little richer each day. 

And we’ll return with our heads in the stars, thinking about our next journey around the world.