For my first experience with solo travel, I booked an organized tour. I wanted to stave off loneliness and have someone take care of the details for me.
Although it’s nice to have everything taken care of, you have to adhere to someone else’s schedule. And you can’t choose your companions on a tour.
Mine comprised a group of heavy drinkers and partyers. We had to stop the bus in the morning so they could throw up from their hangovers. As a teetotaler, I felt a little out of place.
After that initial foray into solo travel, I decided to venture out on my own. I stuffed my itinerary full, leaving me too busy to ever feel alone.
As a result, I missed a lot of the magic of international travel. Seeing sights had became a chore, checking things off my list like daily tasks at a job.
Next time, I decided to do things differently and improved my experience tenfold. Here are the 3 tips for a better solo travel venture.
1. Change the meaning of GPS
First, stop using the GPS on your phone to find your way around. Not only does the app drain your battery, it keeps your eyes on a screen rather than your surroundings.
Try a new kind of GPS: “God’s positioning system.”
Step out each day with a general idea of what you want to see. Then let God take you where He wants.
It sounds crazy but He knows the way better than your phone’s GPS and will take you to all the places you want to see and more.
I wound up in a public library in Dublin where the desk clerk invited me to look at the historic reading room.
The grandiosity of the space took my breath away and I found out later it is a major tourist attraction. One I would have missed had God not been in charge of my day.
2. Resist the urge to overbook
The second thing is to resist the urge to pack your day full of activities.
You may want to plan every detail out of a need for control. But that takes the fun out of a vacation.
You’ve simply created another job for yourself. That’s why people say they need a vacation after their vacation.
When you overbook and fail to check everything off your list (which is common) you feel let down. As though you missed out on something essential.
However, if you go light on expectations, you’ll feel more successful. And come home rested and renewed rather than frazzled.
Instead of running around catching all the sights, stop and breathe in your surroundings. Sit in a cafe and journal your experience. Or take time to chat with a local.Instead of running around to all the sights, stop and breathe in your surroundings. Click To Tweet
There are even organizations that will set you up to have dinner in a resident’s home. Take all the necessary precautions, of course.
Create a theme for your trip
The third tip is to have a theme in mind. A trip to Nashville, for example, would focus on music because it’s known as Music City.
In Dublin, a theme based on literature makes sense because the city is known for it’s great literary tradition.Creating a theme gives you an easy way to avoid overwhelm on vacation. Click To Tweet
You don’t have to stick to a theme religiously. But it gives you an easy way to avoid overwhelm.
When you narrow down your options, you let yourself off the hook if you miss a popular attraction. Most of all, you can relax.
3 ways to improve your solo travel experience
To recap, here are three things you can do to improve your experience as a solo traveler:
1. Use God’s positioning system instead of your phone’s GPS. Have a general plan in mind and then go where the Spirit leads. Keep safe, of course.
2. Leave room for surprises. Resist the urge to pack each day full of activities. Take time to journal or breathe in your surroundings. Spend time with a local.
3. Have a theme in mind. This narrows your options to avoid overwhelm.
Sure, you might miss a few things. But you will enjoy those sights you do see so much more.
And you won’t be rushing off to the next item on your list. This allows you to relax – the main purpose of a vacation – and feel more successful.
Solo travel when done right gives you more than a view of the world. It helps you grow as a person and increases your confidence.Solo travel when done right gives you more than a view of the world. It helps you grow. Click To Tweet