Enjoy this informative travel guest post from Aniya Wells on 4 travel tips for when you skip the group tour and go solo.
Tomorrow I resume the Blogging Basics Series. If you’ve missed them, check out the last one here.
***********************************************************************Solo travel can be fun if you know how to go about doing so.
I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled quite extensively throughout my life, since I was a little girl. Traveling, I can say without hesitation, is one of the most expansive and meaningful experiences I’ve ever encountered. It gives you a certain perspective in a matter of days or weeks that otherwise you’d only acquire after living for decades. If you enjoy off-the-beaten-path traveling, traveling that isn’t micromanaged by a tour group, then it can be quite challenging. Preparation is key. Based on my travels mostly in Russia when I lived there for six months, here’s what I learned:
1. People are more helpful when you attempt to speak their language.
Most people in most parts of the world speak at the very least, passable English. While it’s certainly advantage for those of us from the Anglo-speaking world, it also means that we don’t really have to learn other languages in order to get by. But if you’re traveling, and you make a good faith attempt at speaking the host country’s language, you’ll see how much warmer a reaction you’ll get. I was completely taken aback by how much more willing many Russians were in helping me and befriending me when I tried speaking their language, even though most Russians are practically fluent in English. Even if you mangle the language, try your best. It’ll open up doors for you immensely.
2. Befriending natives and asking them for their personal recommendations guarantees a good time.
You’re probably traveling with a group of friends from home, and there’s often a tendency in group travel to stick to the group. Try your best to branch out and make new, native friends. This enables you to see the city as an actual denizen understands it. What’s more, recommendations you get from natives for restaurants and entertainment will be significantly cheaper than the recommendations in your guidebook.
3. Little towns beyond the confines of a big city are just as (if not more) interesting.
Having traveled to many European countries, I would say that most big cities are more or less the same. Of course, I’m not trying to discount the fact that each city has its quirks, but if you want to see a country as it exists uninfluenced by this sort of standard international culture, go to the small towns. Stay at a bed and breakfast inns. Get to know the people and the places and simply exist for a while in a town completely foreign to you.
4. Always have your wits about you. Don’t ever be alone or with someone you don’t know very well at night.
Traveling is incredibly fun, but it can also be dangerous. I’m definitely not trying to be an alarmist, but it’s important to know that being in an unfamiliar place will always present you with additional risks. The best way to avoid these risks is to always be aware of your surroundings. If a person or place makes you feel uncomfortable, go with your gut and leave. Most importantly, don’t ever be alone or with people you don’t know well trust at night.
Traveling is really what you make of it. You won’t automatically have those “life-changing” experiences that everyone who’s traveled talks about. You have to go out there and seek them. Bon voyage!
Aniya Wells is a freelance writer and blogger whose writing interests are decidedly consumer-focused. In an age in which consumers have access to unprecedented amounts of information, Aniya hopes to help her readers decode this information to make better decisions about online degree programs, personal finance, travel, parenting, health, and more. She can be reached at [email protected].
Thank you, Aniya, for these great tips on solo travel. I appreciate you!
For everyone else, what tip would you add to the list? Tell me in the comments!
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