Planning Your First Solo Trip: A Guide To Achieving Your Travel Freedom
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Planning Your First Solo Trip: A Guide To Achieving Your Travel Freedom

The first part in a series of steps to getting you out of your seat and into a new country!

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Planning Your First Solo Trip: A Guide To Achieving Your Travel Freedom
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When I was planning my two-month solo trip through Southeast Asia, I didn't really have anyone to give me tips on what they liked and what they didn't about how they planned, so I'm going to give you some advice on how to plan yours! I hope this will give you some courage to go somewhere new, get a little uncomfortable and make some memories!

The length of your trip.

First and foremost, you need to figure out how long you can reasonably travel for. How long you can take off work, how long your school break is, the basic stuff. For your first solo trip, I would say two weeks is pretty good if you can't take much time off because it's not too long and not too short. Although I will say I have met people while traveling who had never traveled solo before and were on a six-month trip. Find what you're comfortable with or what's comfortable with your wallet.

Budget, budget, budget.

Money is going to be the biggest factor for where you go and how long you go for. You need to have enough to pay for a plane ticket there and back, and other transportation within the area you're traveling. Also food, gifts, tours if you decide to do them, and just backup money in case anything happens. Sites like Numbeo are good for figuring out how expensive the living costs in a country are and you can find specific information on an area usually on travel blogs. While most of your trip can be as spontaneous as your heart desires, your budget is the one area that needs to be 100% certain. A tip on budgeting: don't spend all your money on the plane ticket and booking accommodations in advance because on of the most wonderful things about solo travel is how spontaneous you can make your plans, but more on that later.

Pick a destination.

So now that you've set your budget, you need to plan where you're going to travel to. Some destinations are cheaper than others, and you'll know which places are budget-friendly because that's where you'll see a lot of backpackers. Generally, Southeast Asia is a good place to travel, as well as South America and some of Eastern Europe. I would probably stay away from Northern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and even Japan. A general rule of thumb is if your budget is tight, don't go somewhere that's more expensive than where you're currently living.

Figure out the little details.

So this includes renewing or getting a passport, what the weather is like, and if the country requires a visa. Are you bringing one backpack that fits carry-on size or are you checking in bags? Where are you staying your first night? Is your phone unlocked, if not are you going to change your mobile plan? Figure out the little details specific to the place you're going, make a big list of questions and Google them- chances are someone else has already asked them. When I planned my trip through SE Asia, I bought a backpack specific for backpacking that also fit carry-on size limits, but that I could also pack more into if I needed to check it in. As far as phone plans go, I also paid off my iPhone to unlock it and just bought sim cards at the airport when I landed in a new country. I also realized early on that I should just book my first night in a place then find places to stay as I went along- the same goes for travel itinerary. My first night in Vietnam, I met a guy who recommended I go to Ninh Binh, a small village with limestone formations just like in Halong Bay, but instead of the sea, it was just all rice paddies. I was trying to book a bus to Halong Bay but after seeing how expensive it was, I just Googled how to take the local train and went to Ninh Binh, all for less than $10. I had a rough itinerary for the rest of the trip, but I mainly relied on word of mouth from people I met on where to stay or where to visit.

Buy that ticket! Pack that bag!

You've made it past all the hard stuff, now you've mostly just got to buy your plane ticket, and pack your bag! I would also download Uber or Grab and the mobile app for whatever airline you're flying so you can use their mobile ticket and get travel updates. Other than that you're pretty solid!

I'll be making this into a series for solo travel so stay tuned and happy trails!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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