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Have you ever made travel plans but then your travel partner bailed at the last minute? What if you couldn't find another traveling buddy - would it sway your decision to go on your adventure?
We think everyone should feel empowered to travel solo and our friend Lynsey of Lynsey Lue Photography agrees! Lynsey is here to share her first solo traveling experience with us plus 8 things she learned along the way. Read on to meet Lynsey and learn how you can best plan your next solo travel adventure!
Say Hello to Lynsey! I came from a traveling family. Blessed with family vacations every year and a mother who always had to find a new place to explore. I was a quiet and naive kid who never ventured far from home. That changed as I pushed myself outside my comfort zones as I grew up. I’m a photographer who loves to learn and travel. I love things that are quirky and unique (my dinosaur cookie jar that I use as a coin bank!). I don’t jump on bandwagons until the bandwagon is so far into the distance that you can barely see it! I have two cats that rule my life. I love shows that make me laugh (Parks and Recreation, Psych, and the Office). I’m a sucker for good love stories (Lorelei and Luke, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, Leslie and Ben). I’m a dreamer. A wanderer. An old soul. I will never stop believing that there is more in this life for me to see!
Before I graduated college, I had the dream of backpacking Europe. I feared that my busy life post graduation would keep me from traveling to the continent that I desperately wanted to explore. I started planning to make my dream come true. After months and months of dreaming and planning, it was all starting to come together. The only problem was, I was having a hard time finding a traveling buddy. For a while there was an interested party but I was realizing that our ideas for this trip were completely different. I wanted to live the romantic backpacking dream, meet all the people, see all the things, and do it on a budget within a month’s timespan. In the end I decided to do the trip solo and I have not regretted it to this day. This was my first solo trip but it was not my last solo trip. This trip in particular would have been completely different had someone joined me. This trip shaped me and I learned so much about myself. In my opinion, everyone should travel by themselves at least once in their lives!
Here are my tips for traveling solo based on what worked for me or what I wish I would have known or changed!
Plan your trip but know that things will change. I planned. Oh did I plan. But the universe tends to have different plans for your trip. In case your first plan changes, have a few backup plans. Choose to not get disappointed. Roll with the punches. It may not go as originally planned but it will still be a story. It’s up to you how you want the story to go! And sometimes your backup plans end up being the best experiences.
Consider other places to sleep than hotels. Hotels can be pricey and very closed off. You’re already traveling alone, you don’t necessarily need to come back to a lonely place. I Couchsurfed while I did my solo trip and it was AMAZING!! I had such good experiences. I searched all the cities that I would be staying in, looked for female hosts (until Rome… I just needed a place to stay!), read their profiles, and contacted them. It’s free, sometimes they feed you, sometimes they show you around, and sometimes they become friends that you keep in contact with over the years! Hostels are also convenient and a great way to meet people. I met and had fun with so many travelers from so many different countries. That memory of sitting around the table, introducing ourselves, and having a Guinness is one that I will never forget! Airbnb is also a great option. Renting out a room is a great way to still not be alone while making friends along the way.
As I said before, my European backpacking trip was my first solo trip but not my last. I’ve used all of these tips for every trip that I’ve taken by myself. Sometimes traveling alone is therapeutic and relaxing. If you’re on the fence about visiting a place because you don’t have a traveling buddy, let me tell you this - you won’t regret going alone.
Tell us, do you travel solo? If so, what other tips would you share?
PaperFinch Travel TIP: Planning your next trip? Start by planning your home away from home here.