1. The first week will be tough because of the adjustment to a new country.
2. Homesickness is normal and will happen occasionally.
That’s why there is Skype and Viber. When I first arrived to Florence, Italy, it felt strange and unknown. I had never traveled anywhere by myself and the farthest I lived from my friends and family was 60 miles. I was thousands of miles away and I was scared and I didn’t know one single human being.
3. Those feelings will pass.
After a week, I felt more familiar with the area I was living in and I became more social with other travelers I began to meet along the way.
4. PACK LIGHT.
I didn’t need all my t- shirts and jeans and 50 pairs of sandals. I had to lug a 50 pound suitcase up three flights to my apartment. I didn’t even use half the clothing or shoes I had in there. I ended up leaving my suitcase in my apartment and traveling to wherever I needed to go with an extra pair of pants and some toiletries. You can buy most things in the country you are traveling to.
5. Save up money because things can really add up. Since I was in Europe, my food and other needs became pricey.
6. Arrive at your destination during daylight hours and call your hotel to book a room.
When I arrived in Florence, it was around 10 PM on a Sunday night. Everywhere was closed and there was only one man walking his dog. I went to the hotel I had booked and realized that it was closed and on top of it, my phone was dead. I don’t think that I have ever been in such a helpless situation. Luckily, there were some men hanging around by the hotel who offered to take me to another hotel. This was one of the scariest situations I had ever been in my life, but I had no other choice to get into the car with them. Thankfully, they turned out to be very nice people and took me to a hotel where I was able to book a room. All in all, what I learned is to always arrive in the city you are staying while it is still daylight and make sure to book your hotel by calling them. It is obviously very dangerous to get into a car with random people in a foreign country, yet I did not have much of a choice at the moment.
7. It will get lonely. There were times that I felt extremely lonely (mostly in the beginning) and I just wished I had some company. After a couple of weeks, I stopped associating being alone with feeling lonely. I was alone and I loved it. I could do anything I wanted and I felt free.
8. Learn important phrases before traveling abroad. I went to Italy knowing only how to say hello, goodbye, and thank you.
9. Prepare to get lost.
Always have a map handy, but really the only way to learn the ins and outs of a foreign area is by experience and by getting lost.
10. Act confident.
The taxi drivers will try to rip you off by going the long way if you seem like you don’t know anything. People on the streets will also take advantage if you seem lost.
11. Know that the feelings of loneliness and fear will eventually leave because you are in a beautiful country surrounded by an amazing culture.
Do you have any experiences traveling abroad alone? And what would you recommend to people who are about to embark on a solo trip? Let me know!