1. Say yes to new experiences
Most solo travelers are quick to tell you how transformational their trip was. The cynical may find it a little cliche, but in truth, going solo is one of the best ways to learn about yourself. It fast-tracks personal and professional growth by developing self-confidence, communication skills, and cultural know-how. And what’s the secret to unlocking all of this? It’s simple: just step outside your comfort zone and say yes to new experiences. The rest will fall into place.
2. Ditch dining alone
Reserving a table for one isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be (though it can be fun). Even seasoned solo travelers don’t want to dine alone all the time. Luckily, you can swap room service for popular cooking classes like this pizza making workshop in Rome. Not a culinary wizard? Just bring your appetite, and you’ll learn how to make all kinds of delicious dishes with travelers from around the world. And if you don’t fancy lacing up an apron, skip the kitchen and go on a food market tasting session. In Tokyo, for example, you can eat to your stomach’s content on a group tour of the famous Tsukiji Fish Market.
3. Explore however you want
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than discovering a new destination by yourself. It’s one of the perks of going solo. Nowadays, you can enhance such wanders with GPS-guided Vespa tours and interactive games that bring cities to life. However, if you’re looking for a bit of company, you’ll find a wide range of easy-to-join group tours no matter where you’re vacationing. Plenty of cities, like Lisbon and Amsterdam, offer bike tours of their top sights. If pedal power isn’t your thing, take the pace down a notch and join a walking tour. Whatever group option you choose, you’ll learn a lot about your destination while mingling with like-minded travelers.
4. Start chatting with a stranger
People are friendly. Fact. Yet we’re often terrified of starting a conversation with strangers. One of the pros of exploring another culture is experiencing the warm hospitality of locals. The vast majority of them are delighted to see someone show an interest in their hometown. So, when you find yourself propping up at a bar or slamming back an espresso, strike up a conversation with the bartender or barista. Chances are they’ll point you in the direction of gems and tell you to visit that museum you’re on the fence about. Of course, don’t just limit your interaction to those quenching your thirst. Keep an eye out for other solo travelers — you just might meet a new friend.
5. Put on your dancing (and drinking) shoes
Going solo doesn’t mean you have to miss out on nighttime festivities. In fact, cities around the globe offer all kinds of group activities once the sun goes down. In Berlin, you can sample local beers, while Barcelona offers delicious wines to taste. The bar hoppers among you can make instant friends on pub crawls like these in Paris and Hamburg. Joining a tour through the city is a surefire way to make memories you may struggle to remember with new friends you’ll never forget. But you don’t have to have a drink to have a good time. Instead, learn how to dance the night away thanks to flamenco and tango lessons in cities all over the world.
6. Plan your perfect trip
Gone are the days of compromise, as going solo puts you in complete control. You’ll no longer have to smile through gritted teeth as your travel companion drags you to some snoozefest. You’ll get to do what you want, when you want, and for as long as you want. Going solo gives you ultimate flexibility: If you’d like to spend an afternoon chilling in the park, go for it. Your snooty friend isn’t there to judge you. If you want to get active and hike Bali’s Mt Batur, then put on your walking boots. Nobody’s going to kick up a fuss. It’s your trip, your way.
7. Learn when to use (and not use) your phone
It’s second nature to whip out your phone as soon as you enter a bar, restaurant, or cafe by yourself. It’s like a cloak against awkwardness. But here’s the thing: you’re missing the world unfold around you while you refresh your Instagram feed for the umpteenth time. That being said, smartphones are a vital tool for solo travelers. Maps, apps, and currency converters ease the burden of navigating a new country. Renting a pocket WiFi router, like this one in Japan, ensures you can always check for directions when wandering where the internet is weak or non-existent.
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