10 Pro Tips for Traveling Solo

Follow this advice if you’re thinking of roaming alone. And remember, you will be traveling with you, so get to love your travel companion before you set out.
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Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Photo By: Alison Turner

Born to Wander

I was lucky to grow up in a family where I was encouraged to explore. So, when I decided to quit my job in 2008 to roam around the country with my dog, it wasn’t something I feared. I get many questions from people on how to do it. Truth is, I really had no idea what I was doing or what my purpose would be on the road. I just had this idea that I wanted to roam around and see the country. I had a teardrop trailer at the time and spent the majority of the year living in it. It was quite the learning experience and to this day, I consider the first year the most challenging. The following year, I sold the teardrop and traveled with a tent. About four years ago, I upgraded to a camper van. During these years, I have learned a lot about myself and being on the road. Here are a few tips that I wanted to share if you’re thinking of hitting the road solo, too.

How to Budget

Take half the amount of clothes you think you’ll need and budget twice the amount of money. On my first year, I took almost my entire wardrobe and ended up wearing the same shorts, pants and jacket. It was a waste to fill up all of the extra space I had with clothes. Take only the essentials and invest in a warm jacket, rain jacket, quick drying pants, good socks and comfortable shoes. Everything else you can pick up anywhere. Budget more than you think because you will be surprised on how much it adds up and having some padding helps in case you have unexpected problems with your vehicle, get sick, or just want to treat yourself to something.

Follow Your Instincts

Trust your gut. I usually make up the trip as I go along so most of the days that I travel, I don’t have plans on where I will be sleeping that night. I don’t make reservations until the last minute, if at all. That helps me to be free to go wherever I want and not be on a schedule. The downside is that I might be turned away at popular spots but I am happier when it’s not overrun with people anyway so it works out. Because I travel this way, I have stopped to camp at some places that didn’t feel safe. Early on, I would camp anyway and be up all night wondering ifsomething bad will happen. Now I just move along if something isn’t quite right. A good night’s sleep is worth the extra drive.

Share Your Plans

Tell someone where you plan to go. Better yet, let your close friends track you on your iPhone so they can see where you are.

Protect Yourself

Buy bear spray. Don’t just buy it and pack it away. Learn to use it and take it with you on hikes when you’re in bear country.

Be Assertive

If assertive is not your style, fake it. Don’t be nice to strangers if you feel uneasy or threatened, just move along. Women are told to be nice and say “sorry” way too much. If you don’t want to talk to someone, don’t.

 

Protect Your Stuff

Keep your valuables with you. If you want to keep it, keep it with you. I had everything stolen in New Zealand and all I was left with was what I was carrying when I went into the restroom at a gas station.

Do Your Research

Know what to expect. If you are going somewhere, do a little bit of research to know if you will be staying at a camp without facilities, or if there have been problems in the area in the past. Google the campsite, town name, or general area to get a better sense of what to expect. If you know you won’t have reception, plan on it and let someone know that you’ll be there without reception.

Keep Style Simple

Leave vanity at home. I wear the same puffy vest, pants, shorts, jacket, shoes, and beanie hats. Think about putting all of your clothes in a bag that you will have to put on your back for the entire trip. It will change what you pack. Nobody cares how you look or what you’re wearing. Traveling is about seeing what is out there and experiencing the moment. That is what you will remember.

Document Your Trip

Journal and take photographs. It won’t last forever. That is so true when it comes to traveling. Soak up the moment but remember to snap a photo and write down some notes of what you love the most about each day. Being thankful and in the moment helps to keep your mind on the positive.
Remember, you will be traveling with you. Get to love your travel companion before you set out.

Treat Yourself

This time is for YOU. If you want to go out and have a meal, do it. If you want to veer offcourse and go somewhere different, it’s all up to you! Don’t wait for a travel partner to come in your life before you travel. Be your own partner and experience it now ... you will be so thankful that you did. Traveling is the most important investment you can make in yourself.

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