The good people at Howcast have put together a video with some terrific tips for a first time, solo traveler. The video covers everything from picking hotel accommodations to safety measures, and has some really worthwhile tips that may not have occurred to you as you get ready to head out on your own.
Researching your destination is half (okay, maybe only a quarter) of the fun in traveling. Being on your own means you can be spontaneous, but having some idea of how to get to and from places, as well as location schedules (ie if you are dying to see a particular museum, make sure it isn’t closed on the one day you have planned to go to that area) can make your life much easier. A particularly good idea is to use index cards (or electronic notes) to have directions and other information easily at hand—because you really don’t want to have to pull out a map, particularly in low-traffic areas.
Howcast recommends not only leaving copies of your travel documents with someone back home but also copies of your passport and credit card numbers. This is incredibly important if your stuff gets stolen while you are out of the country. It speeds up the replacement process at an embassy, and having the numbers of your credit cards means reporting the theft (and getting them canceled and replaced) is that much easier.
Learning a bit about local custom is vitally important, especially for women. There are places where it is disrespectful for you to wear shorts or trousers-- you must wear a modest skirt or dress. Learn these rules beforehand and plan accordingly. Howcast even recommends setting aside some money to buy one or two things that will help you blend in with the locals, as well as learning key phrases in the local language.
And, of course, talking to the locals is key to really learning about your destination. Howcast recommends eating at the bar of a restaurant, if possible, and trying not to bury your nose in a book or a journal, but instead making yourself appear open to conversation. Some of the best details about food and sights can be discovered this way, and you’ll get insight into the city that is invaluable.
Be sure to check out all of the great tips from Howcast, and enjoy your first trip as a solo traveler!