5 Easy Steps to Plan Your First Solo Trip

Article by Katrina Morrison

Photography by Gracia Cruells

Originally published in SOFU Lifestyle

So you’re considering your first solo travel experience. After careful deliberation, you’re finally giving yourself permission to explore the world alone. Well, congratulations! The hardest part is saying Yes to yourself.

Too often we miss amazing opportunities because we are afraid to go alone.

This year I took my first solo vacation. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never fully committed to. I have to say, my solo trip to Cartagena, Colombia, was even better than expected. Not just because Cartagena is one of those dreamy destinations that we all lust over on Instagram, but because I was in full control of my experience. There was no one to consult or ask for an opinion. My preferences were the only thing that mattered, and my choices were the priority.

Now it’s your turn! Planning a solo trip can be just as much fun as actually taking the trip. Be sure to make time to explore all your options.

Follow these 5 simple steps to begin your journey!

1. Commit to a Travel Date

To be honest, outside of giving yourself permission to go, this may be the most difficult part. Choose a date that is most convenient for you and your family. Put it in your calendar and inform those that need to know. Get your sitter on board and plan for a back-up sitter too—I promise, things will come up, but as long as you’re committed, you’re covered.

Tip: If this is your first solo trip, keep it to three to five days.

2. Choose a Destination

Go someplace you’ve been dreaming about—ideally one that’s been on your list for a while. Cartagena has been on my list for years. It doesn’t have to be international—a drive to a town you’ve always wanted to explore makes a great solo trip. Need a little more inspiration? Check out Instagram #destinations.

Tip: If you broadcast your solo trip to others, they will either convince you it’s not safe or invite themselves to go with you. Share it with only those who need to know.

Safety First! Check the U.S. Department of State for travel alerts for all international trips.

3. Confirm Your Solo Trip

Book your flights, rental car, train or bus ticket once your mind is set.

Carefully select and confirm accommodations. Get something that is totally your style and checks all the boxes on your list. Hotels tend to be and feel safer for solo travelers, and I agree. Private home and room rentals may work best for a smaller budget, but I recommend doing careful research about the host and reading all reviews.

Tip: A Travel Agent is a great resource to help you plan your trip. They can also recommend travel insurance so your investment is protected at every step.

4. Build Your itinerary

If you’re less of a spontaneous traveler, then having a detailed itinerary will come in handy. Think about all the things you want to do on your dream solo trip. Visit a museum, take a historical tour or go on a bike ride were all on my list for Cartagena. Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Airbnb Experiences are great online travel tools for tours, restaurants, and activities.

Tip: Treat yourself to something fun and amazing that you wouldn’t ordinarily do if you were with others. In Cartagena I treated myself to a photo shoot with a photographer I found on Airbnb Experience.

5. Pack and Go!

Very few people are expert packers, so take your time with this step. Create a custom list or do a quick online search for packing lists specific to your destination. Pinterest is a great resource, especially if you’re a visual person. Be sure to include all the obvious items along with medications and extra camera batteries. Limit yourself to one checked bag and a carry-on. You should be able to manage your personal items with little to no assistance.

Tip: You may want to consider leaving expensive jewelry and electronics at home.

Planning your fist solo trip doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, you may find it easier than planning a family or girls’ trip, because your opinion is the only one that matters. Take your time and have fun with the planning process—it's all part of the experience. My motto: Enjoy the Journey!

Katrina Morrison is a wife, flight attendant, and homeschool mom. She is also a Travel Advisor at KM Travel Agency.

Photography by Gracia Cruells (Instagram @cruellsg) 

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