5 things to do while traveling solo

by Stacy Austin
haps Magazine Korea

As any traveler can tell you, traveling alone carries its own benefits and disadvantages. For some people, doing activities by themselves are as easy as putting on a pair of socks. For others, it’s a highly daunting task and could cause anxiety just at the mere thought.

Even though I am an only child, I can’t say I enjoy tackling activities on my own. I am not one to eat at a restaurant or sit in a movie theater alone. I don’t particularly enjoy striking up conversations with strangers, either. Being alone in a city definitely forces me to get out of my comfort zone – and perfect the art of taking selfies. While this, at times, can feel unpleasant, the end result is a great feeling of accomplishment.

So without further ado, for those of you venturing out into the world alone, I offer up a list of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling solo.

1. Plan anything.

This is a time to be selfish. Wake up as early or as late as you like. Hell, have a nap mid-day if you want. I like to write down directions and mark-up maps for my daily agendas. Again, if I get lost, I have no one else to lean on, so I pay extra attention to navigation details.

Along with this, eat anything. No peer pressure to eat more or less. I can be as adventurous – or not – as I want with my food choices. It is also much easier to stay on budget while traveling alone. I don’t have anyone to awkwardly explain my poor previous spending decisions to while chowing down on a meal purchased solely from a convenience store.

2. Talk to strangers.

Even though I am an extrovert, I don’t love doing this all the time, but the majority of the time I really benefit from it. You’ll learn so much more from talking to those around you than what you can find on the Internet or in a travel book. On buses or at hostels, locating fellow travelers can make this easier, but it can also be a great benefit to talk to locals. Not only will you get updated information about your surroundings, you’ll also get a different perspective on life and the world around you.

3. Think about short and long-term goals.

Sitting in silence, alone with your thoughts, can be a good thing. I like to make to-do lists, not dictated or persuaded by my everyday life.

4. Catch up on (or start) written correspondence.

Traveling alone triggers a lot of memories for me. I think of people I wish were with me. I also think of people I may not have thought of in a long time. Also, sometimes I think of people that have upset me in the past. I write all of them letters. I tend not to actually send out the letters to the people that upset me. Writing those letters can be therapeutic and offer some desperately needed closure, though.

5. Start planning the next travel adventure.

This may happen when you’re thinking about goals (see #3) and it will definitely be benefited by talking to fellow travelers (see #2).

Studies have proven that anticipating a trip makes you even happier than being on your trip or reminiscing about it afterward. I take this as scientific backing to always be planning my next trip. I hope you feel the same.

You can read more from Stacy at www.stacylaughs.com.

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