11 Things I Wish I Knew Before Traveling Abroad By Myself

via girlscene.com

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!

Nadia Zamani

Nadia is the content writer/travel blogger for AirportParkingReservations.com and currently resides in Los Angeles. She has an undeniable love for traveling and tries to travel to a new place every couple of months. You can contact her at nadia@parksleepfly.com with any questions or blog requests.

  • http://aboutstayinghappy.wordpress.com Taylor

    Love this! I hope to be traveling abroad next summer and cannot wait.

    • Nadia Zamani

      Thanks!

  • Ralph Brando

    Great article really enjoyed it …I’m glad everything turned out for you and you were safe …I give you credit for being so adventurous…love your articles are you on any other boards?

    • Nadia Zamani

      Hi Ralph,

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I am also on http://www.parksleepfly.com/blog/. It has relatively the same blogs but some other newer ones as well. Hope you enjoy!

  • http://worthammaryanna@yahoo.com Maryanna Wortham

    A female teacher friend and I are traveling to Italy for two weeks in September 2014 and in Paris for three days. We will be in Rome ,Florence, Venice, Milan, Sorrento, and Amalfi for two nights each. We will be on a tour, but breakfast and a couple of dinners only are included. Do you have suggestions for eating inexpensively in any of these cities as well as Paris? In Paris we will be on our own but have a hotel reservation and the flight. Anything you can suggest would be great. Thanks.

    I enjoyed your blog.

    • Nadia Zamani

      Maryanna-

      I would suggest eating at small cafes and small vendors on the street to avoid eating costly meals. Also, avoid eating at more touristey areas, the restaurants in those areas tend to be very expensive. Good luck and safe travels!

  • Kennerh Brennen

    I think this item should include a few sentences about the basics of safeguarding one’s valuables – both physically and mentally. We may know about money belts etc but as Americans we are very trusting and naive about security. Not to be paranoid, the fact is that in other countries opportunism to prey on tourists is much more a part of the culture than here. It is important to be mentally and physically prepared to protect one’s valuables.