Let’s stop being scared to go on that solo trip by demystifying Solo Travel one step at a time! You’re over 40 and have never traveled anywhere by yourself? You’re tired of waiting for other friends to come with you? But you’re a bit intimidated and don’t know where to start?
If you’ve been following me you’ve probably already read my blog post about the 7 things you should do if you’re solo traveling for the first time. You can read that blog post HERE Consider this an update and make sure you add these five additional things to your list especially if you’re in the fly 40+ crowd. now let’s get going with your travel plans but,
Do These 5 Things First!
1. Pick a Place Close to Home
If you’re traveling solo for the first time, consider doing your first solo trip nearby! Leaving the state or country for your first solo travel may be daunting so how about the next closest city or town instead for a short trip say a weekend or 4-day adventure? A short airplane, bus, or train trip will make your first solo travel more manageable. Is there a really cool bed-and-breakfast you’ve been thinking about? A really nice spa? A wonderful beach that’s only a 1 to 2 Hour drive away? Use Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia.com or VRBO, or Airbnb.com to find accommodations. A short weekend trip will feel less daunting and still adventurous and prepare you for a longer solo trip in the future.
2. Make a Travel Plan
The more organized your plans are the more confident you will feel about the trip. Itinerary organizers like TripIt are wonderful for putting all your plans in one place. Reminder: Have a plan for how you’re going to get around. Are you going to take the train are you going to get a driver how are you going to get from the airport to your Airbnb or hotel? If driving, what’s the route you will take exactly?
Include all of this in your itinerary. The more organized you are the more comfortable you will feel.
3. Make a Health & Safety Plan
While the fear of abduction is what many women worry about when traveling solo, I am here to tell you that should be less of a worry than getting in a car accident which is the number one safety risk to travelers. Having a solid safety plan is a good way to lessen the anxiety about traveling solo.
Here Are a Couple of Things You Should Make Sure You Do:
i. Make Sure You Have a Designated Check-In Buddy
Give someone you trust a copy of or access to your itinerary. Agree on a daily designated time to check in with them at least twice per day and stick to it! Agree on what they should do if they can’t reach you for any reason. Make sure your check-in buddy is aware of any chronic illnesses you may have or any medication or include this information in your itinerary notes.
ii. Keep a Record of Your Itinerary Using an Online App Like Tripit
Having all your itinerary information at your fingertips will make you more confident about your trip And make it easy for your check-in buddy to keep track of you.
iii. Know Where Nearby Hospitals Are Ahead of Your Trip
Find out where the closest hospital is to your hotel/vacation rental accommodations and include it in your travel itinerary notes. PS: Don’t forget to bring any needed prescription medication (in the original bottle) in your carry-on bag!
iv. Know the Covid-19 Protocols for the Place Where You Will Visit
Is a vaccine and vaccine card required? Are masks required and where and when?
v. Have a Solid Transportation Plan Upon Arrival
How will you get from the airport, train station, or bus station to your accommodations? Booking your transfer transportation ahead of time will reduce anxiety and stress arrival to your destination. For a full guide to travel and safety and security, check out Bald Girl Will Travel: A Guide to Travel Safety & Security for Solo Female Travelers. It is a guide that covers all the dos and don’ts for safe and confident solo travel for women.
4. Make a Budget Plan
Although women over 40 often have more disposable income, create a budget so you have a roadmap of how you are going to spend your money and where.
5. Book a Group Activity or Tour
Doing group tours will make you feel less alone and put you in a position to meet other people who may also be traveling solo. Airbnb Experiences is wonderful as is Viator and Get your Guide. After booking makes sure you have a phone number of who to contact in case anything goes wrong during the tour. For example, I bought a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus ride in Palermo Sicily but got mixed up about the meet-up spot. Because I had a phone number I was able to make a quick call and they were able to find me and get me to the right place.
So that’s my first five things you should do right now if you are solo traveling for the first time post 40 years old.
Of course, these tips are good at any age but they are especially important if you’re doing it for the first time in an older age bracket.
I hope this list is helpful.