Traveling the world can be exciting, adventurous, entertaining and, sometimes, scary. The latter is no reason to stay home, however.
If it’s not your style to join a travel group and have everything organized for you, that’s OK. With a little planning, you can safely traverse the city sidewalks and wilderness trails of the world.
“I suggest taking a truly solo trip for the exhilarating experience of feeling independent, free to wander, and open to seeing for yourself what’s around the next corner,” travel journalist Patricia Doherty wrote for Travel and Leisure.
Here are some of her tips to make your trip safer and easier:
Do your research
Once you decide where you want to go, start researching flights and hotels to find the best arrival times, locations and prices.
Although some travelers prefer to play it by ear, Doherty recommends reserving a hotel room for at least the first night.
“We all arrive a bit tired, and it’s pleasant and safe to have a destination to start with,” she wrote.
You should also research tour groups. Doherty booked a tour of the Vatican Museums through City Wonders, allowing her to meet other travelers. The group also had access to a no-wait entrance, which was even faster than the “skip the line” tours.
Try new things
This doesn’t mean you have to become an adrenaline junkie. Instead of bungee jumping or zip lining, consider a cooking or painting class.
“In London, I visited the posh Burlington Arcade, one of London’s most historic shopping destinations,” Doherty wrote. “A Beadle in a delightfully British uniform greeted me with a bit of information about the arcade. From there, I went to cosmetics boutique Code 8, where a personalized lipstick shade was designed and created for me.”
Make a list
After doing your research, you’ll realize there is a lot to see and do in your chosen destination. Making a list of them will help you prioritize the “must see” from the “would like to see.”
A list will also help you organize your sightseeing based on location. If there is a museum and a restaurant in the same area, you can grab a bite after seeing some art.
Carry a phone charger
Your cellphone can be used for more than taking photos as you explore a new locale.
You can research a new restaurant, translate signs, call an Uber or use GPS to find your way around. You can also contact the U.S. embassy if you run in to trouble.
You can do none of those things, however, if your phone battery is dead.
Be sure your phone is fully charged before leaving your hotel, and tuck a charger into your bag in case you need a boost.
Carry local currency
There are many things you’ll want to do — try street food, tip hotel staff, buy from small vendors — that will require you to pay cash.
You can go to a bank or exchange office before you leave, or use an ATM once you arrive. Airports usually don’t have the best exchange rates, so try to avoid them, if possible.
With enough preparation, you should be able to travel the world with confidence to meet new people and have memorable experiences.