Sage advice for solo travelers from our favorite sustainable travel influencers!
Solo travel is one of the most rewarding experiences. You get to build an itinerary around exactly what your heart desires. We asked some of our favorite sustainable travel influencers for their sage advice for solo travelers. Here are their top 10 tips.
1. Arrive during the day
“It’s always best to plan your flights so that you arrive during the day. This way you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the area when people are around. In my opinion, it’s worth the price difference no matter how tempting it may be,” Devorah Walker of Walk With Ms. Walker says.
2. Designate a "backup" in case of an emergency
“Since I usually travel alone, my dad is my backup on everything in case of an emergency. He has access to a Google Drive that has copies of my scanned passport, credit cards, insurance card, and other important papers for my house and car. I also added him to my checking and savings accounts, and he has all of my passwords. I share all of my flight and hotel itineraries with him too, so at least one person has a rough idea of where I am,” Brianne Miers of A Traveling Life says.
3. Set clear intentions for your trip
"Having a clear intention provides parameters that will simplify decision-making and prevent brain-drain. What you hope to do and what you hope to get out of it. Adventure? Relaxation? Education? It's important because we need our brainpower to travel consciously since our world is currently set up in such a way that sustainable choices are often the less convenient choices to make," Bonnie Culbertson of Earth Regarded Travel says.
4. Research local laws and culture in advance
“Learn and respect the laws and culture of wherever you’re traveling to. Research, learn and be mindful to not assume that the world operates just like home. There have been too many unfortunate cases of those jailed abroad or participating in culturally ignorant behavior. When you’re traveling solo and you violate a law or disrespect a culture, you have no allies to bail you out,” Yoli Ouiya of YolisGreenLiving.com says.
5. Learn some of the local language before you travel
“Whenever I travel, I aim to learn at least some basic words of the local language before I go, with apps such as Duolingo. I've found being knowledgeable of the language on the ground useful for both getting me around new destinations and making me feel safer traveling alone because I know enough to understand the situation I'm in and be able to communicate with local people,” Steph Dyson of Worldly Adventurer says.
6. Make sure your phone has service
“Get a local or international SIM card with Internet access: This helps a lot, especially when you don't speak the local language or get lost,” Elaine Villatoro of Live More, Travel More says.
7. Utilize reusable menstruation products
“If you haven’t switched to a reusable menstrual cup yet, you’re missing out! Never buy another box of pads or tampons again. Practice using a menstrual cup at home to get the hang of it and then bring it with you on your next trip,” Ashley Renne of Hey Ashley Renne says.
8. Turn to social media to make travel buddies
“Joining local Facebook groups will help you make friends and connections within the community. It's also a nice opportunity to see and do things with people you might not want to do solo,” Tara Tadlock of Silly Little Kiwi says.
“As a solo traveler, I recommend checking out Facebook groups and trying to connect with like-minded people before I visit a destination. I use groups like Girls Love Travel or Pebble Pod,” Malou Morgan of Skip to Malou says.
9. Eat in restaurants and cafes owned by locals
“Spend your money supporting local businesses and putting money into their community. This is a great way to meet locals who are enthusiastic about you trying their traditional food and learn more about their culture whilst traveling. Try to avoid international food chains like McDonald’s where your money doesn’t enter the local economy,” Charlie Marchant of Charlie on Travel says.
10. Connect with locals
“As a solo traveler, you can gain great insight into a place and culture simply by connecting with locals. During my travels, I seek out social enterprises, businesses whose core values revolve around the positive social and environmental benefit of the local community, and through discussions with founders or employees, I find myself becoming informed and educated on local developments, with insider tips on the nooks less-traveled, Bianca Caruana of The Altruistic Traveller.