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  • Δέσποινα Λιμνιωτάκη

Life is a journey but solo travelling is about destinations as well

They say that life is a journey and not a destination but, as far as solo traveling is concerned, destination is a key factor to creating a lifetime experience. In this chapter, I am going to stress the importance of your doing a thorough research before embarking upon a dream trip. Unless you are an experienced solo traveler, you might want to check out a few tips that will save you energy, money and emotional labor. it is important that you make a plan that suits your individual needs, makes you feel safe and comfortable and minimizes any risks that you are not yet ready to face.

There are literally thousands of blogs, travel sites, coaches, memoir books and real-life acquaintances who have tried solo traveling that can answer your questions and limit down your worries on a future trip. Do not hesitate to benefit from their wisdom and ask every question that comes to mind, even if you think that the answer is simple and straightforward. I understand that every situation is different but after some time you will see a pattern and a meaningful connection between seemingly unrelated pieces of information. Stay close to what people have said and take their tips seriously. Safety comes first – improvisation and spontaneity come with maturity and wisdom.

Book anything that is bookable in advance: that means that you should decide on certain lodging and google search streetviews and places to map your route. While you are at it, you could also lookup places of social interest such as cafes, breakfast lounges, pubs and other spots where you can meet people and have fun alone or in the company of fellow travelers.

Bear in mind that your first solo trip does not necessarily have to be to the other side of the globe. It can be a road trip in your own country, a caravan holiday or a glamping adventure. It may not sound as exciting as setting up a tent in the middle of some desert but you will discover a lot of things about yourself and the things you are ready to accept and move on as opposed to full-blown discomforts and limitations you have not been aware of. You do not have to debate everything in one go. You can conquer your world one baby step at a time.

Find an accountability partner. “Invest” in them. Accountability partners are those people who can coach and cheerlead you throughout the trip and also those who will learn your itinerary by heart, help you in case of trouble, send you money if need be or call security in extreme circumstances. You need passionate but also realistic partners. Avoid negative people, scaredy cats and, generally, people who cannot understand what such an experience means to you.

Traveling on your own does not mean disappearing off the face of Earth. Have a contact number available for emergency communication and even several contact numbers in the case you know people that live close to your preferred destination. You may also use these contacts to organize get-togethers for when you feel lonely and would like to consider entertainment opportunities.

Plan your finances and also save money for when you come back. You don't want to be stingy on your trip because experiences are enriching but you can make efficient decisions around spending money. Check for reward programs, use credit, compare prices in advance. Enter group tours when sightseeing and whenever tickets cost less. Also, check for “experience” activities because they combine socializing with learning and hands-on work: three in the price of one!

Take things slowly. Dedicate a lot of time and even months to researching before executing. Be patient. Your first solo trip should be as perfect for you as possible – why? Because it will be the introduction to many more wonderful journeys to the center of your heart.


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