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    Solo Travelers Are Sharing Their Best Tips For Traveling Alone And These Are So Important

    What to know before you go.

    The thought of traveling alone can sound a bit intimidating, but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences. And although we can't all travel right now, we can at least start thinking ahead.

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    If you're thinking of booking a solo trip in the future, there are some important things to know before you pack your bags. I spoke with several solo travel pros who offered their best tips and advice. Let me introduce them!

    A woman packing a suitcase.
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    They are:

    • Kristin Addis, professional travel blogger. 

    • Jason Kraemer, co-founder of Flash Packer. 

    • Dymphe Mensink, professional travel blogger.

    • Leah Page, VP of mobile security and strategic partnerships at ADT.

    • Ingrid Truemper, professional travel and language-learning blogger. 

    • Saurabh Jindal, founder of travel app Talk Travel.

    • Lauren Scott, professional travel blogger. 

    • Carrie Pasquarello, co-founder of Global Secure Resources Inc.

    • Elaina Graham, travel advisor at Global Travel Collection.

    • Kimberly Pong, travel coach.

    • Rocío Haro, tour operator. 

    • David Leiter, professional travel blogger. 

    • Tom Wahlin, founder of Pack Hacker.

    1. Buy an international SIM card prior to your trip.

    A SIM card being inserted into a phone.
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    When traveling internationally, most cell carriers will charge you exorbitantly for roaming and using data abroad. To avoid these charges, Kristin Addis recommends buying an international SIM card once you arrive at your destination that you can insert into your phone. Once you're back home, make sure to swap the SIM card back to your usual one. 

    2. Consider signing up for activities to meet like-minded people.

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    Although a solo trip is about traveling, doing activities, grabbing dinner, and sightseeing on your own, it doesn't mean you can't meet other travelers who have similar interests. "Consider signing up for a retreat or an activity. Maybe it’s yoga, meditation, or something else that you are interested in. That way you have a planned activity with a group of like-minded people built into your trip," says Addis. 

    3. If you're traveling internationally, familiarize yourself with a few basic words in the country's language.

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    "A great tip for traveling alone is to learn some basic words and phrases if you're going to a country where you don't speak the language. This makes it easy to make friends with the locals, which adds a lot of value to your solo travel experience," suggests Dymphe Mensink. 

    4. Be open to sitting with other people while out at dinner.

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    "In many cities, there are communal tables where you can have dinner while sitting next to other people. Through this, you can make friends in the city you are visiting," says Mensink.

    5. Bring a tripod to be your own photographer.

    A woman sitting at a coffee shop with a tripod set up in front of her.
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    You don't need to rely on strangers to take your photo when traveling alone. Mensink suggests buying a reasonably priced tripod and bringing it on your trip. "It's always fun to have photos of your travels. If you're alone, a tripod is a great way to take them."

    6. Capture your travel memories by journaling.

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    "Bring a journal on your adventures. One of my favorite things to gift a solo traveler is a personalized journal for them to enjoy during their travels," suggests Elaina Graham.

    7. Plan out your transportation ahead of time.

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    If you're uncomfortable with the thought of ordering an Uber or Lyft in a foreign place and riding alone, Graham recommends arranging transportation when you're planning a trip. Find out if your hotel offers a shuttle service or if there are public buses in the area. 

    8. Check TripAdvisor for small group day tours.

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    "Small group day tours are a low-stress way to share a fun outing with like-minded travelers. I search for highly rated day tours in my destination on TripAdvisor," says Ingrid Truemper. 

    9. Meet and connect with locals while you travel.

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    "Couchsurfing is a great resource for connecting with locals. You can stay with local hosts, or if you prefer the privacy of a hotel, just use the service to meet up for coffee and a short walk," says Truemper.

    "If you hit it off, most likely you'll make plans to get together again. Large cities also have regular Couchsurfing events where you can join up with locals and fellow travelers at a bar or coffee shop."

    10. Send your itinerary to a family member or friend.

    A passport, travel papers, and a face mask.
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    Travel blogger Lauren Scott tells her readers to send their itineraries to a family member or friend so someone knows exactly where they are traveling and when in case of an emergency.

    "Also, if you're a US citizen, register your trip with the US Embassy online before you go. In case an emergency were to happen, people will know where you are and how to reach you, and the embassy can assist too."

    11. Beware of pickpocketing, and invest in an anti-theft bag.

    A hand reaching into the pocket of a backpack to steal a wallet.
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    "With fewer eyes on your belongings, opportunistic thieves can make quick getaways with your valuables. Invest in an anti-theft daypack bag to keep your gear secure. Locking zippers, RFID protection, and anti-slash material and straps should be standard in your daypack," says Jason Kraemer.

    12. Lock up your valuables in a safe in your hotel room.

    A hand entering a code into a hotel safe.
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    "Only carry essentials with you when you're out and about, and leave anything of value (your passport, jewelry, or large sums of money) locked in a safe at your hotel," advises Leah Page.

    13. Join Facebook groups for solo travelers prior to your trip.

    A group of hands holding smartphones in a circle.
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    A great way to prep for an upcoming solo trip is to join a relevant Facebook ground. "While I enjoy my own company, some activities are more fun and affordable with others. There are many Facebook groups that allow you to connect with other people who are traveling where you're going. I've made great friends this way," says Cali O'Connor.

    14. Play it safe by making several copies of your travel documents.

    A hand holding travel documents.
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    "Carry a few photocopies of your passport and other travel documents. You may need them at the most unexpected places to prove your credentials," suggests Saurabh Jindal. It's always a good idea to keep photos of important documents on your cellphone, or upload them to the cloud so you can never lose them. 

    15. Take advantage of offline maps when you have bad cell service.

    A hand holding a smartphone with a map on the screen.
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    In the event that you lose cell service while traveling alone and you're unsure of how to navigate an unfamiliar area, Jindal suggests downloading an offline map. Apps like Google Maps give users the option to download an area on the map in advance so that it's saved to your smartphone or tablet to use whenever you need it. 

    16. Be aware of the type of wire you're using at public charging stations.

    A green cable plugged into a USB outlet.
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    If you're out for the day and your phone needs to be charged, public charging stations are great, but Carrie Pasquarello advises solo travelers to be careful about which wire they use at these stations. "Only use a charging cable, not a data cable. They look alike, so make sure you check on the status when you buy a charging cable." Data cables can dangerously expose your personal information depending on where you're using them. 

    Pasquarello also suggests that travelers be leery about connecting their phone to hotspots. "Look for hotspots that use passwords. If there is no password, ask for the hotspot's name so you don't accidentally log onto a cybercriminal's hotspot. Also, make sure to turn off your auto-login. You only want to connect to the hotspots you actively choose."

    17. Save those social media posts for after you leave your location.

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    "When it comes to solo traveling, I always recommend never posting in real time. Since you're able to tag locations and post where you are, you never know who's following you. As a solo traveler, it's always best to post after you leave the location to be safe," says Kimberly Pong.

    18. Carry cash with you, but only as much as you need for the day.

    A hand holding Australian currency.
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    When traveling, it's easy to want to keep all your cash on hand, but in order to protect yourself from pickpockets (or even your own urge to spend all your cash in one day) Rocío Haro suggests only carrying as much cash as you need each day and leaving the rest in your hotel room's safe. 

    19. Start off with a solo trip around the state you live in before going international.

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    "Start out small. Do some solo traveling around your home state for a few days to get some practice. It's good to acclimate yourself to traveling alone before you solo travel in another country," says David Leiter.

    20. When using public transportation, travel during the daytime instead of at night.

    A woman riding public transportation.
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    "Travel by day. This one isn't a hard rule, but in some places it's definitely smarter and safer to arrive at your destination during the daytime. Whether it's an airport or a train station, if you arrive during the day you'll be more alert, there will be more people around, and you'll be less of a target," advises Leiter.

    21. Do research on your destination's customs before packing your suitcase.

    A wide shot of the Vatican during daytime.
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    "Be sure to look into the customs of wherever you're traveling. For example, St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City has a dress code that requires upper arms and knees to be covered, and they can deny you access if you don't follow the rules," suggests Tom Wahlin.

    "If you know the dress code ahead of time, you won't have to scramble at the last minute to buy extra clothing from a street vendor. Little preparations like this will make your trip a lot smoother. Plus, if you look like you know what you're doing, you may be less likely to fall victim to scammers who are looking for tourists."

    Have any solo travel tips not mentioned here? Share them in the comments!

    Disclaimer: This article was written to provide future travel recommendations or suggestions. However, it’s important to keep in mind your own health, community health, and COVID-19 exposure risk.

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