This weekend I took my first solo trip and spent two days, three nights, in San Francisco! Although I travel alone for work every 5 days visiting Sigma Kappa chapters, I was a bit nervous because on this trip I wouldn’t be staying at a sorority house or meeting up with anyone I know. Despite my worries, I ended up having a great time, met some cool people that were staying at my hostel, and learned a few things along the way! If you are considering a solo trip, here are a few things I think you should know based on what I learned:
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t feel bad about taking precautions that will save you a headache later. Before my trip, I bought luggage locks so I could keep my belongings safe while I wasn’t in the room. It gave me peace of mind and possibly prevented anything from wandering off without my knowledge.
- Embrace the unknown. Do what you can to prevent anything you don’t want happening, and after that, allow yourself to enjoy the experience without constant worry. Take it day by day and be okay with changing your plans or discovering something new.
- Make decisions based on what YOU want. If you booked a solo trip, then make sure it is all about YOU! Even if you meet friends along the way, don’t be afraid to branch off if you want to do something the group doesn’t. I took a hike with a group from my hostel and connected with quite a few of them, but when they were all heading back to the hostel I decided to venture to Fisherman’s Wharf and explore other areas alone. I am so glad I did because I was able to explore at my own pace and check out only the things I wanted to see.
- Have travel plans or an itinerary, but be prepared not to stick to it. Before arriving in San Fran, I made an excel sheet of all the things I wanted to do or see, how far away they were from my hostel, and how much they cost. I planned only two specific outings because they had a start and end time and the rest I filled in as I went depending on how I was feeling or who I was with. It was nice to have options because I did the research ahead of time, but I also enjoyed not sticking to a strict schedule to accommodate the times when I wanted to do what the group was doing.
- Be selfish and take care of yourself first. It doesn’t matter if you are in a city with 1,000 things to do but all you want to do is sleep. It’s okay! You don’t owe it to anyone to do something you don’t really want to do. Sometimes I feel so pressured to fill every minute of vacation with something to do. But on my last day in San Fran, I didn’t care that I slept in and spent a considerable amount of time watching Netflix in my empty hostel room because I felt like it. You do you!
- Say hello to one new person each day. You never know who you are going to meet. It’s so easy to judge a stranger before you talk to them, and often times they surprise you and your assumptions are wrong. One thing I have learned from all my travels is that the majority of people are genuinely nice and willing to help you. There were a few times in San Francisco I saw another solo traveler and for some reason didn’t say hi… but looking back I wish I did because who knows, I could’ve met a new friend, learned something new, gained advice or met the love of my life (lol, well maybe not).
- Be considerate. If you choose to stay in a hostel, make sure you are considerate to your roommates and pray that they do the same for you. No one likes being woken up by people being loud in your room, late night or early morning. Regardless, be considerate to others around you in the airport, on public transportation or really anyone you interact with. You will have a more positive experience if you are radiating that positivity outwards so that others can do the same.
If you found this helpful or have any other tips or tricks for solo travel, comment below!