Traveling with a group or a trusted travel partner can be a blast, but there's something exciting about packing a bag and starting a journey all on my own. Over the years, I've traveled with too much luggage—and not enough. I've gone on short trips and a two-month venture around the world. I understand some people feel intimidated by solo travel. With an open mind and heart—and a little planning—traveling on your own offers the opportunity to experience a location in a way that is uniquely your own.
The one thing you absolutely need for solo travel
I have tips about what to pack and what to leave at home, but one thing needs to be part of your travel plan: the right mindset. You can prepare yourself as much as possible by learning about the destination you're visiting, including the climate and if there are specific expectations for your clothing. Still, my best advice is to be flexible. Unexpected things can—and will—happen on any trip. With an open, nimble mind, you can smile and lean into your experience, no matter what unplanned events may arise.
Be honest about your packing style—and what it really means
First, I will never be known as a minimalist, no matter how hard I try. I love options. Still, even I have my limits! After all, when you're traveling on your own, you don't have anyone to help you shoulder an overstuffed bag. In May of 2016 I ventured off for a two-month trip around the world. I still can’t remember what I brought, but by country number two—Ireland—I ended up shipping back 75 pounds of personal items. I was tired of both the literal baggage and the exhorbitant baggage fees. I learned to pare down my luggage after that, though I still bring more than some solo travelers I know!
My must-pack items for solo travel
My top tip for traveling solo
Without a doubt, I suggest one major thing to anyone looking to travel on their own. Pack minimally and purchase things along the way. Keep in mind "packing minimally" means something different to everyone. You will run out of your favorite face wash but might discover amazing facial products from another country—or that water works just fine in a pinch.
I lost my luggage during my time in Cambodia. Initially, I panicked. I won't lie. However, I ventured out and bought everything I needed in a street market—down to underwear—which was super fun. To this day I have awesome lounge pants from Cambodia and lovely facial oils from Morocco. Each time I use those things, I remember my solo trips and how adventurous it feels to explore a new place on my own.
What's one thing that interests you about traveling alone? What is a “must have” when packing?