11 Things Girls Should Know Before Traveling Alone
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11 Pieces Of Advice From The Girl Who Travels By Herself

Don't think. Just go.

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Travel
Bianca Benayoun

Considering doing a solo trip? Here is some advice to ease your nerves and help you out on your endeavors!

1. Don't think. JUST GO!

This first piece of advice is really about getting over those initial fears. A lot of people have doubts and concerns about traveling alone (which is understandable), but you can't let those get in your way! The best way to get rid of these nerves is to just close your eyes and GO. Traveling alone is one of the most rewarding and valuable experiences I've had. If you allow yourself to get caught up in your worries, you'll never get anywhere. Take that leap of faith; it'll always work out!

2. Hostels are your best friends

This is definitely the best accommodation option for a solo traveler. Hostels are filled with young people who travel alone so it is incredibly easy to make friends. I've met some of the most interesting people in hostels, and I've made long-lasting friendships, as well. Other than that, hostels are usually the cheapest option for accommodation; in Europe, they range from $8 to $25 per night. Keep in mind that hostels will not necessarily provide the most luxurious experiences, but they definitely make for memorable experiences!

3. Traveling on a budget is possible, but do save up!

If you're like most college students, you probably don't have an unlimited budget. If the cost is something that concerns you, many people can tell you that you don't need thousands of dollars to enjoy a trip. You can save money by staying at hostels, couch surfing, taking cheap transportation (bus rather than train), and opting for free activities. That being said, it is important to save up for a solo trip beforehand so that you can be comfortable and safe at all times.

4. If you're going for a short trip, plan ahead!

If your time traveling is limited, you should try to always optimize your time spent abroad. Do your research before traveling! Find out about places you want to visit in a country or city before you go. You don't want to spend half of your time just trying to figure out what to do!

5. If you're going for a longer period of time, don't plan!

Any seasoned backpacker will tell you stories about how they went from place to place without much planning. I've met several people that say things like "I was going to go to Venice tomorrow, but I think I'm going to extend my stay here in Florence instead!" It's a much easier way of going about things and definitely less stressful. Instead of trying to fit in a lot of activities before your last day in a city, you can go at your own pace, enjoy your time, and then book a bus/train/flight to your next destination when you feel like it.

6. You don't have to be alone the whole time!

Making friends abroad is easier than you think. As I previously mentioned, it's extremely easy to become friends with other solo travelers in hostels. Another way you can make friends is through online sources such as Bumble BFF, Couchsurfing, and even Facebook! There are hundreds of Facebook groups, such as the famous "Girls LOVE Travel®" page, which has over 700,000 members. With these resources, it's easy to connect with locals even before you arrive there!

7. Pack wisely!

This is a big one. It is very difficult to pack all the necessary items in a portable suitcase or backpack. My advice is to bring versatile clothing in neutral colors so that you can mix and match your outfits. As for shoes, I can only speak from my personal experience. Last month, I was traveling in Europe; I brought a pair of boots, comfortable sneakers, and flip flops/shower shoes. The three pairs of shoes were sufficient for me! Remember that if you need anything (a jacket, shorts, t-shirt), you can always buy something cheap when you're traveling! One time, I packed a pair of sneakers that had not yet been broken in; so I purchased a pair of comfy walking shoes for only €10. Saved my life!

8. Think about safety

In many countries, pickpocketing is a serious issue. If this is something you're concerned about, you can get a travel pouch (it's basically a small fanny pack that goes underneath your clothes). If there are other kinds of threats in a country you would like to visit, I suggest contacting locals (through Facebook groups such as the aforementioned one, Couchsurfing, etc.) to ask what the risks are and how to avoid it.

9. Learn about the places to understand them better

I always like to read or watch a video about the history of a particular city/country before visiting. Also, I like to read about current events, politics, and cultural values of the place I am visiting. I find that this gives me context of what I am seeing. Try it out next time you're traveling; it will definitely change your perspective on things!

10. Try to distance yourself from tourist attractions

One of the most frustrating things about visiting big cities is the sea of tourists you find at every attraction. Of course, they are unavoidable if you want to visit the Eiffel Tower or Times Square, but I recommend seeking out different experiences. Most big tourist locations do not represent that city/country's culture. If you are going out of your way to visit a new place, you should look for an experience that you cannot find in your home city. Look for local food markets, artisanal bakeries, and small restaurants/bars to get a more authentic experience.

11. Enjoy and take it all in!

When you go away, people always say, "Take lots of pictures!" Yes, this is important! However, it is far more important to see things through your own eyes. Really look at things closely; focus on details that a camera cannot capture. When I'm walking in a scenic area, I like to look around, listen to the sounds around me, take a deep breath, and really swim in my emotions. Every time I travel, I tell myself how incredibly lucky I am to have the ability to have these amazing experiences. But then I remember that I did not have to do much to get to where I am. To travel, it only takes money and passion. Money is the hard part; passion is not. In the end, if you really want to travel, if it is something you really want to pursue, you'll do anything to fulfill your dream.

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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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