I’ve learned that if I wait for others, I’ll never go anywhere. Planning trips with friends can be a headache when it comes to lining up schedules, budgets, and destination ideas. Not to mention we all have that friend that ends up bailing because something came up or they just simply can’t afford it. I still love them all, but I had to find a way to build up my solo travel confidence and fulfill all of my travel dreams with or without them.
Ergo, solo travel.
When I began running off on my own the usual response from people would be something as “you’re going….alone?!” and then “aren’t you scared?” “I sure wish you’d find someone to go with you.”
Now I just smile at them and nod. Yes, I am going alone! And I am not sad about it.
Traveling alone has become one of my favorite things and most times I actually prefer to ‘fly solo’ now. If you’re itching to get out there but are afraid to go alone, or want to become a solo traveler, I’m going to share with you 6 simple ways I was able to gain the confidence to go off and fulfill my travel dreams solo.
WAYS TO GAIN SOLO TRAVEL CONFIDENCE
1. CHANGED MY MINDSET
For some reason it is seen as “weird” to do anything alone. People always feel bad for the person dining out alone, going to see a movie alone, etc. Why is that?
Do we ever stop to consider that they like doing these things alone?
I use to be afraid to go anywhere or do anything solo because of this stigma. I always thought I had to have a friend or someone else with me otherwise I’d look out of place. And I know I’m not the only one who felt that way.
Accepting the idea of “alone” was something I had struggled with at first. But once my mindset changed I viewed flying solo completely different! Because honestly, WHO CARES?!
Once you truly don’t care what people think of you, you’ll see that it is like a switch, and all of a sudden you have gained all the solo travel confidence you’ll need. Once you free your mind of societal expectations and stigma’s you realize you can do anything you want! And that includes traveling alone.
2. STARTED SMALL
Once I got comfortable flying solo I just started out with small adventures. This included shopping the malls by myself, eating out at places by myself, and eventually hiking short trails close to home.
Soon I realized I wasn’t the only one out on the trails without a hiking partner. It was actually very common!
With experience comes confidence, so over time I gained even more confidence to do things alone. Eventually I started venturing out further and further and now I’m 100% comfortable driving, flying, and hiking this country all by myself.
3. LEARNED TO TRUST MYSELF
After spending more and more time doing things alone, I quickly learned to trust myself. I believe this is one of the most important things you gain from solo travel.
When there is no one else to consult or help make decisions and it comes down to only you, you need to trust yourself to make the right call. This pertains to everything- planning, unexpected events, emergencies, etc.
You’ll also gain many more skills! There won’t be that extra person to help pitch your tent or navigate without GPS signal. If you trust your knowledge and instincts you’ll automatically gain more confidence in yourself to travel solo.
4. GOT A FURRY COMPANION
If I’m being 100% honest, getting Monty was a MAJOR factor in helping me gain confidence to travel and hike solo. It isn’t just because he is a large, aggressive breed either.
Having a dog by your side makes you feel a little less alone, and somehow that extra comfort does a lot for your solo travel confidence.
Plus, dogs are the perfect companions because they don’t talk your ear off, change your travel plans, or complain about things along the way.
They’re always happy, ready for an adventure, and go along with your plans! That is the perfect travel partner right there if you ask me!
5. RESEARCH BEFOREHAND
I eventually learned exactly what to research before running off on a solo adventure and this did wonders for my solo travel confidence.
The GAIA GPS App became my best friend when I set out for solo hikes in the back country. If you’re ever afraid of going on an outdoor adventure and getting lost, I suggest utilizing a GPS system, even as simple as a phone app, just to be safe.
If you know where you are going and what to expect ahead of time you’ll be less discouraged or afraid of the surprise mishaps that happen along the way.
Another thing I do is research other blogs and adventurers who have done the same things I’m looking to do. It always makes you feel better when you see someone has done it too!
The point is to just be as prepared as you can, and it’ll ease your mind so you can enjoy the ride.
6. CUT OUT THE “WHAT IF’S”
This one could go along with changing your mindset, but I think it deserves a little more attention than that. Thinking about every possible thing that could go wrong will most likely scare you away from doing what it is you want to do.
Yes you should be prepared, but be careful not to overthink things. This also means not allowing outside factors implant unnecessary worries in your head!
Stop reading the horror stories online, stop watching Criminal Minds, and take the worries your friends and family express to you with a grain of salt. No matter how prepared you are, shit will happen. But you can’t let that stop you from living your life!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON GAINING SOLO TRAVEL CONFIDENCE
I know right, you’re probably thinking “that’s it?!” And quite honestly it really is that simple. Changing your mindset and gaining complete trust in yourself will be the hardest parts.
Once you gain experience I truly believe your confidence will grow and you’ll find yourself fulfilling those travel dreams you never thought possible.
As always, please remember to leave no trace when traveling and adventuring!
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