No matter the occasion, traveling is always a good idea. As you scroll through Instagram, you may have noticed more posts about solo trips or even seen an influx in Youtubers vlogging about their experiences; Taking a solo trip is on-trend. The idea of traveling solo isn’t foreign, but at one point, it was an anomaly. However, solo trips are starting to become increasingly more popular amongst young adults, specifically women.
LaPaige Clark recently took the plunge and went on her first solo trip. As an avid traveler, she’s visited many places like Africa and Dubai with friends and family but never explored the idea of traveling solo until now. Dealing with the non-stop stresses of working as a licensed practical nurse in a pandemic, planning a wedding, and not wanting to wait on others’ availability to plan a trip encouraged her to take some much needed “me time.” Thus, Clark booked a four-day solo trip to Negril, Jamaica. She advocates that “everyone needs a mental getaway, whether it’s a road trip by yourself or a walk on the beach. You have to take some time for yourself.”
Now that traveling is slowly making a comeback, more people are itching to get out and explore the world in ways they never felt before. If you’re on the fence about taking the plunge, here are some tips that can help you finalize your solo trip decision.
Do: Do Your Research
Your safety is the number one priority and concern, so researching the area that you are visiting is imperative. Try to locate the popular and public places, activities, and restaurants, so you have a general idea of where you’d like to visit. Clark recommends booking through a trusted travel agent with solo tripping experiences or familiarity. Read reviews. Watch Youtube videos. Express your concerns with your travel agent before you book.
Don’t: Give Out Excess Information
When you’re traveling, you’re going to meet other people, and therefore don’t want to overshare your information. Try to redirect questions that are too invasive. It’s a good idea to have a few prepared answers to general questions you might receive, so you aren’t overly exposing you’re a solo traveler.
Do: Give Yourself a Curfew
Of course, it’s fun to be out and about. But when you’re traveling alone, it’s a good idea to return to your room before nightfall so you’re not out late by yourself. Clark says she prefers to wake up early so she can take advantage of daylight hours. Also, try to keep in mind the timeframe of any excursions you book.
Don’t: Feel Obligated to Fill Each Moment with Activity
Exploring the area is a part of solo tripping, but one of the ultimate luxuries of traveling alone is that you can live in the moment without having to accommodate anyone else’s plans — your only focus is yourself. Traveling is a form of self-care. Be open to trying new things, but also remember to take some time to relax and don’t get fixated on sticking to an itinerary. Bring a journal. Plan out events. Watch movies or dance to music. Utilize your time alone to recollect how you see fit.
Do: Be Aware of Your Surroundings
While staying at an all-inclusive resort is ideal because everything you need is accessible on site, Clark does recommend switching your patterns. For instance, instead of visiting the same breakfast spot and sitting by herself every morning, she would occasionally switch it up by trying different places. Remember to always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Also, try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
Don’t: Be Fearful – Solo Traveling Builds Confidence
Walk with confidence. “Solo traveling isn’t for the weak,” Clark jokes. Her Jamaica trip was something that challenged her limits, and as someone who was once sheltered, she now walks confidently knowing that she can “go anywhere and do anything by [herself!]”
Her advice is simple: “If you’re considering a solo trip, do it. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Don’t live in fear.”
Although an international trip like Clark’s might feel too intimidating for a prospective solo traveler, there are plenty of places near Jacksonville where you can test the waters. Amelia Island is about 40 minutes away with a stunning beach and historic feel. And if you’re itching to go a little further, the Silver Springs State Park in Marion County is about an hour and a half away and brings nature and peace together in one place, making it a great choice to start your solo trip adventures.
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