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Katie McCurry | Citizens Bank Contributor
Traveling alone has the potential to intimidate even the most confident of lady bosses, but I am here to tell you: GIRL, you cannot let this keep you from experiencing this wide-open world. Yes, it’s true: I used to let safety concerns and the thought of being lonely hold me back. But after countless solo trips for both work and play, I’ve found that with a little planning and the right resources, you too can nail how to travel alone and love it. Let’s go!
Regardless of why you’re traveling — whether it’s a work conference or a much needed vacation — having a plan in place will give you confidence about traveling solo. That being said, while planning will help you feel like a mighty lioness, there is power in leaving your options open. I try to have my first couple of days well planned (hotel, restaurant choices, and experiences) and then leave my options open to peruse local Airbnb rentals or check out suggestions from locals.
Before I go anywhere, domestic or international, I make sure to look up each destination on my Google Maps app and download the offline map of each destination. This makes getting around so much easier, faster, and more reliable since no Wi-Fi is needed to access the maps.
If my plans are flexible, I like to peruse Airbnb or Hotel Tonight for more exclusive deals on lodging as well as opportunities to meet more locals.
Unless I’m on a road trip, I usually fly or take a train to my destination. Recently, Lyft partnered with Delta so riders can earn Skymiles while using Lyft services. I now take advantage of this rideshare whenever possible so I can earn more miles. I recommend scouring your own transportation apps to see if partnerships exist that allow you to make the most of your trips.
One of the biggest obstacles to traveling solo was knowing whether or not I could stay safe as a female traveler. Well, fear not. I found that the following tips can help you feel empowered while traveling solo — not only on vacation, but also trying new experiences in your hometown.
Rolling a large carry-on while lugging a full travel backpack on the cobbled streets of Rome in the heat of August was a very hard lesson to learn. I will argue that sometimes it’s hard to pack light and efficiently — what if I need heels for X, and what if I can’t decide between outfits for Z. The actual answers to these questions are: you won’t and you shouldn’t have to. To help, I’ve pulled together a few helpful hints on packing more efficiently:
One of my worst travel experiences happened because I didn’t properly notify my bank and credit card company that I was traveling internationally. It was maybe a case of everything bad that could happen did, but it left me feeling very much out of luck.
I traveled to the Bahamas for a conference and was lucky to have most of my expenses taken care of in advance. What I did not plan for was getting my phone stolen and then not being able to use my debit or credit cards because I didn’t receive the notifications sent by my bank. I was in a cab on my way to the airport and put in a situation that no woman wants to be in while traveling alone. In order to avoid this crazy mix of unfortunate events, always make sure that you:
Finally, I want to address the elephant in the room: those who think, and maybe fear, how lonely solo travel might be. I had the same thoughts, so you’re not alone (pun intended). Solo travel gives you the benefit of independence as well as a chance to meet new people you may not have been able to while traveling with friends or family. I know the introverts reading this are skeptical, but it’s as easy as striking up a conversation with your seat mate on the plane, asking the server at the corner cafe about local attractions, or simply saying hi to people also taking in the art exhibit, concert, or outdoor festival you’re attending. The power of being able to make decisions about what’s on your itinerary each day is priceless; you won’t look at solo travel the same after your first go.
Traveling solo can be life changing, not challenging. With a little planning and the right tools, you can enjoy new experiences and adventures. So, ladies (or gents), jump in and take the leap. Use Instagram to get going and start visualizing your first solo trip; then take the next step of setting up travel. You can always change your mind; taking the first step is usually the hardest part.
Planning a solo trip? Opening a separate savings account made it easier for me to set aside money for my excursions. Learn how you can do the same by clicking here, calling 1-877-360-2472, or visiting your nearest Citizens Bank branch.
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