If You're Traveling Alone, Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know

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Many people travel alone for a variety of reasons. For some it might be about self-discovery. It can help boost confidence, expand experiences, explore cultures, and it doesn't require you to wait on others' schedules when traveling with other people. In the same vein, solo travel is often pursued for personal growth. It's fun, convenient, and everything about the trip is done on your terms.

Because it is solo travel, however, there are things you need to keep in mind to enjoy your trip safely. "I've been traveling alone for four years now and I've learned a lot about myself, the world and the many types of humans that you meet along the way," travel blogger Justyn Jen writes in a blog for Worldpackers, detailing her experience. "I can still remember the first time that I traveled alone and all the mistakes that I made." Before you travel alone, there are many things to consider to really be able to benefit from your trip in a fun and safe manner.

Share your travel plans with people you trust

First and foremost, it's always a good idea to let someone know where you will be, your possible timeline, or give them updates in real time during your trip. Share information like your itinerary, planned activities, hotel details, flight details, and whatever else could indicate where you are or have been. This is integral just in case you are faced with any emergencies when you are not close to anyone you know. On that same note, share your excursion details with hotel staff so they know when you should be back for extra safety (via Travelers).

If you are traveling abroad, you can also sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, where you can enroll your trip with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By signing up, you will be alerted about any safety conditions in your location. It's also a way of letting the U.S. embassy know your whereabouts and how to contact you in case of an emergency.

Research where you're going

Once you've determined where you want to travel, it is important that you research all that you can about that location. When searching for lodging, try to find places with good reviews. The same could be said about excursions or any other aspects of the trip. More often than not, these reviews can be a really great indicator for not only your hotel or Airbnb, but also the town, neighborhood, or general area it is in. Knowing how to get around town is also an important factor so that you are not getting lost in unknown places (via Forbes).

Create an emergency plan

Anything can happen while you are out traveling alone, although hopefully it doesn't come down to that. You always have to be prepared for unfortunate events such as robberies, medical issues, or accidents, even if they never happen. Wherever you're headed, look into nearby hospitals, police stations, and emergency numbers to call. Learn how to ask for help, especially if it is in the local language you may not speak. Additionally, you should carry an emergency kit with you at all times during your trip. Protect your health and safety in every aspect you can (via Travelers).

Protect your valuables

When traveling solo, you are solely responsible for how you carry your valuables around. This includes your wallet, your credit cards, cash, passport, and your phone or other electronics you may travel with, such as a laptop or a camera. Opt for a fanny pack or something hidden like a crossbody travel wallet that you can hide under your shirt to keep your small valuables as close to you as possible at all times. It is highly recommended that you also get travel insurance for your trip to protect any losses or anything that goes wrong during your vacation (via CoverTrip).

Be open to new experiences

The best part about traveling alone should be the experience you gain from it. Tap into the freedom associated with solo travel and open yourself up to the world. Find local events, such as festivals, to get to know the local culture more. Eat at local restaurants to explore the different flavors of the cuisine. Present yourself as friendly and approachable or strike up a conversation with a local to connect with others. It can be as simple as asking them for restaurant or activity recommendations (via Solo Traveler). Most of all, remember to have fun as you take in these new experiences. Write about it in a journal or take a lot of photos and videos to always remember it.