Travel Agent Tells Us Their Top Tips For Planning Your First Solo Trip

If you've ever considered taking your first solo trip, there are a number of reasons why you should finally start making plans. It can be simple to travel alone when there aren't multiple schedules to consider. A solo trip also allows you to spend as much time as you like visiting sites that interest you without worrying that your companions are feeling restless, and it may give you a chance to meet new acquaintances who share your interests. Traveling alone encourages self-reliance, as you make decisions that facilitate your journey through different cities and countries. It also allows time for reflection, reinforcing your strengths, curiosity, and passions. It can be a defining experience that provides you with a better understanding of who you are.

In an exclusive interview with Explore, Victoria Fricke from Vic's Vacations shares several insights about planning a solo trip that she learned from years of working as a travel agent. When it comes to the decision of whether or not to travel solo, Fricke observes, "We only have one life and we only have so much time. Especially if you're contemplating solo travel because you don't have a partner ... don't wait. You can always go back to that destination or on that trip with someone later." Fricke sums up her opinion about traveling solo by emphasizing, "TAKE THE TRIP!" Here are a few of the tips she suggests to make that first solo trip an unforgettable one.

Don't be afraid to take that first trip

Many people believe that they must have traveled a lot before they travel alone. Fricke offers her thoughts on whether this is a requirement. "While you don't need to be an experienced traveler to go solo, I'd say your nerves will thank you if you've at least experienced a different culture/country before," she says. She realizes that this may not be possible for everyone, however. "If that's not an option, I say start simple and easy." Fricke suggests several possible destinations for that first trip. "An all-inclusive resort in Mexico, for example, would be a wonderful first solo trip." This type of vacation will typically include not only accommodations and meals, but it would also provide an opportunity to participate in activities around the area. She recommends Playa Del Carmen and Tulum as examples of destinations in Mexico where a solo traveler could find an all-inclusive vacation spot with plenty to do.

Fricke also suggests, "Work with a travel agent to help ensure you have a resort that's located near a city center." She points out that this type of location will provide you with opportunities to explore on your own while still enjoying the peace of mind that is associated with an all-inclusive vacation. She suggests, "You can leave the resort and get your confidence level up by walking around by yourself, eating dinner alone, getting into taxis, and ultimately just learning to be solo in a different country."

Create a clear travel plan

Another question that many people wonder is whether solo travelers should only return to familiar destinations that they've visited in the past. Fricke responds to this concern by stating, "This depends on how adventurous you are!" She explains that the best way to feel comfortable about any destination comes down to how prepared you are before you leave on your trip. "The key to traveling solo is traveling with a plan and awareness. It's really that simple." She explains why creating a clear travel plan is so important. "Having a plan allows you to think ahead, to budget, and to coordinate your overall experience ahead of time. This eliminates stress and fear when you're in [your] destination."

She describes the benefits of traveling with a plan that is well-thought-out, and she emphasizes how it can impact your choice of destination. "Going to a destination you've been to before makes that planning a bit easier of course, but the adventure of seeing the world requires stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new. Whether you choose to do that alone is up to you." No matter where you decide to go, exploring your transportation options, setting your budget for accommodations, and creating a list of favorite activities can ease your mind and make you feel prepared to explore almost any destination. Building upon this experience will prepare you for other adventures that lie ahead in your future.

Arrange your budget around your accommodations

If you've decided to make plans for your first solo trip, Fricke provides some guidelines as to what priorities you should set while you create your itinerary and start to estimate costs. "Budget is entirely dependent on location — and more so, accommodations." She points out an example of why this is the case. "If you're backpacking through Europe, that's a much different price point than staying at four-star hotels. Create your budget around the accommodations you want to stay in." Fricke also mentions, "Keep in mind, your safety and comfort level need to drive that planning process." As you prepare, choose the type of accommodation that will bring you peace of mind in terms of cost, location, and convenience.

Fricke also explains that the more time you have to plan your adventure, the greater your options will be. However, spontaneous possibilities are bound to arise. "I always say planning farther out gives you more opportunity to save money and take advantage of inventory; but if you're a last-minute planner, there's no harm in getting an idea and taking off!" She points out that there is a lot of support available to travelers who are venturing out on their own for the first time. "Do keep in mind the solo travel community is a very resourceful one, so the more time you have to plan, the more resources and support you can get through Facebook groups, blogs, etc."

Communicate your plans with someone back home

Fricke continues with her list of recommendations for solo travelers by focusing on what she considers to be the most important priority. "The biggest thing for solo travelers (especially solo female travelers) is safety." Many travelers who are considering their first solo trips may be hesitant about how to stay safe when traveling alone, but Fricke addresses this concern by recommending ways to incorporate safety measures into a trip. "I would suggest ensuring someone back at home has access to your location on your phone as well as all of your plans. They need to know where you're supposed to be, when."

Setting out on your own can be a liberating experience, but keeping a trusted friend or family member aware of your itinerary will only enhance your trip — and it can be done with a few simple tools of communication. "Hotel confirmation numbers and dates of stay are a great peace of mind for you as the traveler ... and for those who care about you," she says. 

Fricke also reiterates how important it is for a solo traveler to be organized and prepared. "As I mentioned, having a plan is very important to mitigating solutions prior to problems arising, so plan the trip as best as you can." Thoughtful preparation and communication with a loved one back home will help you feel more confident about your security as you travel and allow you to focus on the sights of your trip.

Be aware of your surroundings as you travel

The time has finally arrived for you to take that solo trip, and you've settled into your accommodations. What else can you do to feel comfortable as you continue on your journey? Fricke has some final tips. "Once you're at your destination, just remember it's okay to post on social media in a delayed way (no one needs to know exactly where you are in real time)." By following her advice, you can share the memories of your trip without revealing too much specific information. "Also, don't advertise to those around you that you're solo. If you're at a bar and striking [up] conversation, no one needs to know you're there by yourself and your hotel is just around the corner," Fricke suggests. It's best to maintain some privacy as you travel solo in order to safeguard your security.

Finally, Fricke suggests paying attention to your instincts as you travel solo. "Last[ly], just be aware. Being aware is the most underrated safety measure you can take while traveling," she explains. "Look around when you're by yourself. No need to be paranoid, but just use common sense ... if something seems off, you want to be aware enough to notice it." Following these tips can make your first solo trip a memorable experience. As you take a chance and "TAKE THE TRIP," as she suggests, you'll become more confident, more intuitive, and you'll create special memories that will last a lifetime.

To find out more about Victoria Fricke, find her on Instagram or visit her website at Vic's Vacations.