Try This To Help Calm Your Nerves Before Your First Big Solo Trip

Embarking on your first solo trip can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking. The allure of adventure and self-discovery are exciting, but the apprehension about being alone in unfamiliar lands can also be daunting. If the mere thought of solo travel sends shivers down your spine, remember this simple mantra: Practice makes perfect. Instead of diving headfirst into something like a weeks-long voyage through Chile's Atacama Desert, start small and local to acclimate to the solo experience. Traveling locally as practice might be the perfect remedy.

Staying close to home or within your country means being surrounded by a familiar culture, language, and environment. This allows you to experience the independence of solo travel without the added layer of adjusting to an entirely new culture. It's like dipping your toes in the water before taking the full plunge — you get a taste of what's to come without feeling entirely overwhelmed. Consider a trip to another city in your state or try another coast — both will feel adventurous yet also familiar. 

Opting for a day trip or weekend getaway also means there's less at stake. If you find yourself not enjoying the experience, you're never too far from the comfort of your home. This security blanket often provides enough assurance to allow you to truly enjoy the solo trip, knowing you can always head home if needed. Depending on the length and nature of your local solo trip, it might also be worth it to buy travel insurance, just in case.

Local gateway to solo adventures

The success of smaller trips can provide a significant confidence boost. Every little victory, whether navigating a local bus route, finding a hidden gem in a nearby town, or enjoying a meal alone at a restaurant, can act as a stepping stone. With each experience, you'll gain more confidence and skills to tackle bigger solo adventures. Local trips also offer a break from the routine and provide an opportunity for self-reflection. Even close to home, solo travel grants the time and space to introspect, thus improving your mental health and also helping you understand your travel preferences.

Testing the waters with local trips is a more economical way to gauge your interest in solo travel. Without the expenses of international flights, visa fees, or pricey accommodations, you can assess your passion for solo adventures without burning a hole in your pocket. You won't know if you'll like solo travel until you try it, and it's a lot cheaper to do so locally.

Traveling alone is all about being self-reliant and open-minded. You'd be surprised at how different your city or town feels when exploring it solo. Without the influence of companions, you can independently rediscover your surroundings in a new light. Even a simple day trip can throw unexpected adventures and challenges your way — missed buses, closed attractions, or getting lost. Navigating these challenges locally, where the stakes are lower, prepares you for similar situations on larger scales, ensuring you're prepared for more extensive trips.

Stress relief and finding your local travel tribe

Local solo trips can satiate your travel bug, instill a deeper appreciation for your home turf, and make you happier. According to a Cornell University study, the anticipation of an upcoming experiential purchase (like a trip) can significantly increase your happiness levels. Another study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies revealed that 78% of travelers feel a significant drop in stress after only one or two days into their trips. Harness these life-changing benefits by doing some solo local travel practice, even for just a few days. 

Practicing solo travel locally can also be a great way to network with other like-minded travelers in your area. Joining local meet-ups can introduce you to others who share your passion, providing companionship for local excursions and valuable insights for future adventures. There are groups for outdoorsy singles, life-long learner retirees, adventurous women, and more, catering to every travel niche imaginable.

Taking the leap into solo travel doesn't have to mean immediately booking a one-way ticket to a faraway land. Start small, embrace the adventures and challenges of local trips, and slowly build up your confidence and skills. By the time you're ready for that big international journey, you'll be equipped with a wealth of experiences, a sense of robust independence, and a hunger for adventure that no amount of nerves can dampen. Every great journey begins with a single step, whether it's 10 feet away to a local bus stop or 10,000 miles across the ocean.