“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” –George A. Moore
A solo travel excursion is not for the weak.
It is only for those individuals who would dare step out of their comfort zones, explore well outside of their boundaries and seek to renew and reinvigorate themselves. To many first-time solo travellers, the prospect of travelling alone can be intimidating, but once you have tried it, you will find how very rewarding it can be.
Unfortunately, as expected of many solo voyages, travelling all by your lonesome can present unique challenges. These challenges may detract the entire experience and would have you resultantly wishing you had done more. After all, it is only when you get home when you begin to think you should have done several things on the trip which you were hesitant to do while there.
Not to worry though, this is a rather common occurrence among solo travellers. However, making a habit out of hesitation when a chance presents itself can lead you to miss out on experiences that could have potentially been exciting and gratifying in ways you could not have imagined.
In reality, much of what contributes to a successful solo trip depends on the type of attitude you bring with you. Moreover, it is not like you can just plan to visit back in the next weekend as more often than not, solo international travels would take weeks (if not, months) of planning and they cost quite a hefty sum to afford.
To avoid scenarios wherein you would feel like you are missing out, here are some principles to consider:
Expect problems and tackle them creatively
Do know that no matter how much you have prepared for your trip, screw-ups are bound to happen. Sometimes you can prepare yourself in order to mitigate those possibilities, but more often than not, you cannot. Do not worry and do not let it diminish your experience. Instead, expect them and tackle them creatively.
Be imaginative and spontaneous when it comes to conquering surprise challenges. After all, travel is exciting and rewarding because it is an avenue for you to ad-lib and explore abilities you did not know you had. Revel in the uncertainty and be a good sport—not everything has to go your way.
Head off screw-ups before they occur
While there are occurrences that you cannot prepare for, there are some you can avoid altogether. When this happens, ensure that you have tackled them immediately before they occur. Say you chose to book an Airbnb in a Rockwell condo instead of a hotel accommodation, it is best to contact the host beforehand to confirm your reservation and to know whether or not you agree to his or her terms. In this way, you are already prepared.
Avoid being a creative worrier
It is normal to be anxious—after all, it is your first trip, so you would normally be expecting a lot of things to go south. However, while worrying is fine, cultivating pre-trip anxiety with some mentally concocted scenarios is not only counterintuitive; it can be mentally exhausting as well. Moreover, it would only give you unnecessary stress. No trip is perfect and perpetually smooth-sailing, but while it is okay to expect things to go wrong at some point, if it keeps you from having fun and having a full experience, then it can unhealthy. Do not sweat the small stuff (that has not even happened yet). Breathe, relax and do not go on the trip expecting anything to go your way.
One of the most interesting aspects of travel is getting to interact with the locals and immersing yourself in a foreign culture. Unfortunately, if we travel to non-English speaking countries, there can be a communication barrier. As a result, misunderstandings might happen. However, while hiccups owing to linguistic and cultural barriers are to be expected, your single one experience should not dictate how you would enjoy the rest of the trip.
Your single one unpleasant experience should not ruin what would have otherwise been a day full of exciting sights, sounds and flavours. Sure, some locals might try to shortchange you or rob you out of your travel funds, but that does not mean you can no longer enjoy the scenic beach or the beautiful mountainside. One bad interaction does not have to make your entire trip bad, learn to look at the positive note of things.