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Last week we featured a special holiday issue of our travel tips. The tips continue—only this time, we are focusing on the solo traveler’s experience. Traveling by yourself can be fun and immensely rewarding, an opportunity to learn about yourself and your world in a new setting. But it can also be daunting for the inexperienced traveler — read on for our helpful tips.
1. Leave a copy of your itinerary at home. Our agents at Willamette Intl Travel provide itineraries to our clients so they can keep track of all their trip reservations in one place. Make sure you leave a copy of this with a friend or family member at home, so they have a way to reach you, just in case. If you’re a US citizen, you can also sign up with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which assists travelers in case of emergency.
2. Check the map before you go. Check maps and transportation schedules before you leave your hotel. If you have a general idea of where you’re headed, you can enjoy the world around you more. Stop at a food market, wander around fashion boutiques. You’ll find if you keep your smartphone tucked away, the world seems a much bigger and more interesting place. 😉
3. Book a car and driver. When you first arrive at your destination, unfamiliar noises, sounds, crowds of a new city can disorient you. You’re often forced to navigate it all with heavy luggage and jet lag, none of which is fun! To make the process easier, ask your agent at Willamette Intl Travel to arrange a driver to pick you up from the airport and take you straight to your hotel, hassles-free.
4. Have confidence. So you’re on your own for the first time. You may feel nervous, it’s understandable. But don’t focus on your anxiety—focus on your surroundings. Try to take it all in, one step at a time. Adopt a confident, friendly posture when you go walking around. The right people will approach you and the wrong people will avoid you. Don’t feel confident? Fake it until you make it.
5. Blend in. There’s nothing wrong with being a foreigner—but standing out too much may attract unwanted attention. Read and research local customs to understand local behavior. Observe how locals walk, speak, and dress. Learn to listen and watch, and the world will unfold before you.
6. Smile. Smiling goes a long way, especially if you don’t speak the local language, and is the first ingredient in any friendly encounter or good conversation.
7. Relax. Being in an unfamiliar place on your own can be stressful for the first time—but do yourself a favor and relax. You’re here. You’ve made the first step toward a new journey. Take it in, slowly, bravely, one step at a time—and you just may learn about the world, and yourself, in the process.
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