Tired of missing out on travel opportunities because the members of your squad don’t have the time, money, or desire to go? If so, now’s the time to start planning your first solo trip. Here are 10 things you should know.
1. Research Research Research
The success of a solo trip often hinges on the amount of research and planning that you do before hopping on the bus, train, or plane. While your entire itinerary doesn’t have to be plotted out before you leave, think about booking your first two nights of accommodation, transfers, and planning your first day of activities. Being prepared for all eventualities will alleviate any stress or fears you may have about the trip!
Photo by Getty Images/Blend Images
2. Do The Free Walking Tour
Walking tours are a fantastic, healthy way get familiar with your destination. We highly recommend doing the tour on your first day in town-- it’ll give you a good idea of how the city is laid out, tour guides often provide tips and tricks for how to best spend your time while there, and if you’re feeling lonely, there are ample opportunities to mingle with other travelers.
Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto
3. Stay in a Hostel
Traveling alone often means there’s nobody to split the cost of a hotel room with. If you’re on a tight budget, staying in a hostel is a much more wallet-friendly option. Furthermore, hostels are a great way to meet people if traveling alone is your fear. Not keen on sharing a room with strangers? Many hostels offer private rooms, so you can benefit from the social aspects of hosteling while having a space all to yourself that’s cheaper than a conventional hotel room.
Photo by Getty Images/EyeEm
4. Connect with the Local Black Community Online
As much as traveling is about experiencing new things, sometimes it’s nice to be able to connect with fellow brothers and sisters in the places we visit to feel more at “home” while abroad. Online groups for black locals and expats have exploded in recent years, and serve as a great starting point for getting information and answering questions specific to the Black travel experience.
Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto
5. Bring Enough Makeup to Last You While You’re Away
Depending on where you travel, buying foundation or lipstick in your color will be difficult, if not impossible. Most makeup brands cater to the specific demographic of the country they’re in, even if they are an international brand like MAC. This means that in places like Hong Kong, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything darker than the average Chinese person’s skin tone. As such, make sure you bring enough supplies to last you for the duration of your stay!
Photo by Getty Images
6. Protective Hairstyles are your Friend
Stick to hairstyles that require little to no maintenance while away: styles like wigs, hats, cornrows and ponytails are clutch when you’re traveling. After all, who wants to spend time fussing with their ‘do when they could be out exploring?
Photo by Getty Images/Hero Images
7. Don’t Compromise Your Safety to Prove a Point or to Save Money
You should never put yourself in harm’s way to prove a point or save a dollar, especially when you’re traveling by yourself. Invest in your safety. Spend the extra money to take a taxi or an Uber after a night out, and always stick to well-lit, highly trafficked areas when you go sightseeing.
Photo by Getty Images/Mint Images RF
8. Try to Blend in as Much as Possible
Remain inconspicuous and look busy-- appearing to be a local, or at least someone who is familiar with the area, will cut down on hassle and harassment from locals looking to pick you up or hoping to make a quick buck. Wherever possible, adhere to cultural norms like covering your hair in Islamic countries. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!
Photo by Getty Images/Cultura Exclusive
9. Keep Your Friends and Family Aware of Your Whereabouts
With free wifi being abundant and great number of mobile plans being widely available, there’s no reason to not keep your family and friends up to date with your whereabouts. Think about forwarding them a copy of your itinerary before you travel that lists times, dates, locations, and where you’ll be staying. Be sure to briefly update them via social media, text, or Whatsapp every day, especially if your plans have changed in the interim.
Photo by Getty Images/Caiaimage
10. Limit Your Alcohol Intake When You Party
Sampling the local nightlife shouldn’t be off-limits when you travel alone. However, since you’re by yourself you should be extra vigilant. Alcohol can severely impair your reflexes and judgement, so if you’re planning on “turning up” with the aid of alcohol, make sure that you drink responsibly.