Updated: Jul 16, 2018
There’s nothing like that rush of excitement that you get when traveling solo. Whether you’re in dire need of some soul-searching or you’re just a travel fanatic - there’s a really liberating feeling to traveling alone. But as soon as the high wears off, then comes the challenging aspect of it. Loneliness can play a part, as well as just being disoriented and confused about what to do.
It’s completely expected that you’d want to properly plan out your trip, out of fear of being stuck with nothing to do. But sometimes, it’s better to have no expectations. Being spontaneous can lead to more authentic experiences and more memorable discoveries. It leaves room for exploration, and the possibility of finding off-the-beaten-path adventures grows.
We recognize the challenges that come with traveling alone, which is why we’ve compiled this list of 5 tips for traveling alone in a new city:
1. Unleash your creativity
Writing, sketching, illustrating, or reading. Who said they had to be indoor activities? Whatever your forte is, be prepared to be creative wherever you go. Inspiration can strike at any moment, and you’d hate to be stuck without a way to express yourself. Find a quiet hidden spot at a park, or at the front window of a coffee shop overlooking a busy street. Whatever you’re into. Be creative and let yourself have fun with it. It might even be a great conversation starter!
2. Be Friendly
Hostels are great because you’ll most likely find yourself surrounded by fellow travelers, perhaps even solo just like you. Strike up a conversation at a hostel bar or lobby, you might find some great tips or maybe even make new friends.
For the real hidden gems and “locals only” hangout spots, you’ll have to approach… you guessed it: the locals. Ask the people that work at the front desk, the servers, or even strangers in line at the coffee shop. You’d be surprised at how much people enjoy boasting about their hometown when given the opportunity.
3. Use a guidebook
But not necessarily the guidebook you’re thinking of. We’d recommend ditching the traditional touristy guidebook and going for something more personal. Like your favorite travel blog or an interactive guidebook written by actual locals. Try to shy away from mainstream guidebooks if you want to experience the place as a “local”.
This is where we shamelessly self-promote our “Alternative City Guide: An Activity City Guide For Creative Travellers” (For Jerusalem and Tel Aviv). That can be a great alternative to your basic list of “must see” tourist spots to visit.
4. Start saying “Yes”
When you say yes to things, even if you have to force it at first - you open yourself up to an endless amount of opportunities. When you travel with a group, your itinerary is usually quite predictable. When you travel alone, however, you have the option to be more spontaneous and do unexpected things.
So, say yes. To a dinner date, to a concert by an underground band, to a group hike. Say yes to adventures and to step outside your comfort zone, because that’s where the magic happens. That’s where you truly experience life.
Saying yes to things is scary, but the payoff is much bigger than the fear. Even if whatever you signed up for turns out to not be your cup of tea, it will still make a great story in the end.
5. Do Something New
Doing something new is unquestionably a good way to make your travel experience unforgettable. Having a goal in mind, of stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something you wouldn’t do at home, can take your traveling to the next level. It can be as crazy as paragliding or as ordinary as trying a new food. You can take a dance class, go to a sports event, attend a lecture - the sky's the limit.
The beauty of going through these new experiences is that you’re never actually alone. Any activity you choose is a chance to bond with people over the fun experiences that just ensued. Whether your goal is to make new friends or just have the best time ever - you can’t go wrong with this tip.
Illustrations: Sasha Iudashkin