Since I travel weekly for work in the states, it has become second nature for me to travel alone to all different cities (my favorites being San Francisco and Seattle). Fortunately for me, throughout the years, I have created a supportive network of friends and business associates all over the U.S. which makes me feel like I have a little piece of home in each city I travel to.
Now as much as I am accustom and confident with traveling alone in the states, traveling internationally is a whole different story. I recently went on an amazing trip to Italy where I met up with a group of solo travelers. On my way there, crossing the Atlantic solo was initially a huge fear of mine. I couldn’t help but think of all the worst case scenarios coming true and then being across the ocean and not having that support or easy access to people I know scared the sh*t heck out of me. Thankfully, I was able to conquer this fear by finding the best of both worlds, traveling solo, but meeting up with a group of strangers to connect and have a good time with in Italy.
I found this company called FOR THE LOVE OF TRAVEL. FTLOT services are for busy professionals in their late 20s and 30s who have the passion traveling and looking for authentic experiences and wouldn’t be caught dead with the usual “travel guide”. They plan everything (except for your flights), the hotel accommodations, adventures like Truffle hunting in Italy and making real Italian pasta… I really know how to cook!! They also help you create new relationships bonds with people who share the same passion for travel as you. (PS for those of you wanting to know a little bit more about the lovely Tara Cappel, who is the mastermind behind this amazing company, check out the Coffee Chat I did with her a few weeks ago).
Whether you just want to go on a quick weekend getaway to a nearby city or you want to venture out even further, like to Europe, there are some great tips that I have that will not only make your travel easier but lots more enjoyable.
Don’t let the fear of being alone stop you from traveling and seeing the world.
Top ways to feel safe and be excited about traveling alone:
Start out by joining a travel group that resonates with you – just like FTLOT, the people I met were all professionals from different industries from medical to entertainment. It was fun learning and meeting new people. The best part was how we bonded over all our delicious dinners together… almost every dinner with my new friends had me laughing so hard that I could barely breathe.
Do your research on hotels. Make sure to stay in a safe, well known area. I highly suggest checking out the reviews of the hotel you are planning on staying at, on at least 3 different sources.
When it comes to transportation, read the profiles of your Uber drivers (choose Select or Black) and cancel if you get a bad vibe from the number of stars they have or what it says on their profile.
If you’re using public transportation, check out the stops of where you’re heading and do some research to ensure you’re taking a reliable route.
ALWAYS know your surroundings.
If you’re traveling to a foreign country, know key sentences or download Google Translate on your phone.
Pay attention to where you’re heading and remember signs as you’re traveling on a bus, train or Uber – you can always use the Notes app in your phone.
Whenever you are in your hotel room, stay safe and lock the doors.
It’s helpful to know where the nearest hospital, police and/or care facilities (pharmacy) are.
Make friends with the concierge.
I like to connect with the concierge when I’m traveling in the states, they are reliable resource to help make your visit an enjoyable one.
While you’re out and about meeting new people (other travelers) and go with your gut. If you don’t have a good feeling about someone, don’t ever ignore that feeling. Most people are friendly and when they travel they are more open to having conversations with strangers because it’s out of their comfort zone. So don’t be afraid to engage with a stranger, just trust yourself in the process.
For the Love of Travel was a great choice (btw I’m totally not getting paid to “promote” them, I just genuinely loved my experience). I felt safe and trusted with how everything was taken care of for me during my visit to Italy. I highly recommend trying out one of their trip – they have some cool trips coming up in 2018 (Greece, Italy, Isle Holbox, and more)!!