I am kicking off a new series of solo travel interviews to inspire you to start the journey of traveling alone! If you’re afraid to travel solo, then read on. These wonderful individuals have the world at their fingertips because they made the step to travel and not wait for others to accompany them. If it’s your first time traveling alone, this solo travel interview with Samantha will help equip you with the confidence to travel solo!
Samantha McIsaac is our guest writer for this post. This is what she has to say about her traveling alone experience and how it all started for her. She takes us through her solo journey in this special interview!
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🤎 Get your FREE Solo Travel e-book! Gain confidence in traveling this beautiful world solo with my 14-page ultimate solo travel guide. It covers how to get that solo travel picture, how to meet friends and way more! It has great advice especially if it’s your first time traveling alone.
About solo traveler Samantha!
I grew up in a small town and was always very hungry and curious to learn about the world. I have a lot of energy and a big personality, but I love spending quiet time by myself as well. I also enjoy going for long walks and rugby. Travel has taught me so much. Right now my goals are to remain present, continue to foster positive relationships and continue my reflection on my journey.
I traveled to almost 50 countries in 5 years while in school but now with covid and working my career job, I go once a year if that. I’m trying to take covid seriously and enjoy exploring NYC in my spare time.
What Inspired Me to Start Solo Traveling
I had never left the East Coast of the USA and at 20, as a sophomore in college/ university, I did study abroad in Fulda, Germany. This was a village, and I wanted to see more of Europe. Also, the program had a lot of logistical issues and major parts fell through with administration so I left often to see other countries. The first place I visited completely on my own, making all my own plans was from Germany to Rome, Italy. I realized I LOVED solo travel! I’m actually going back to Italy for my golden year birthday!
During my first solo travel trip, I was so scared. I cried every day in Fulda, Germany. I felt like a fish out of water and then I just decided to go to class minimally and explore and I loved it. Now I look at Fulda nostalgically even though it was difficult to be so far away from friends and family at the start. We didn’t have a way to contact home because of the issues with the program and my lack of understanding of how my SIM card worked or international plans. I tried a payphone but it cut out. The experience helped me grow so much, and even if I felt I wasn’t ready at that time, I was.
What Stopped Me From Solo Traveling Earlier
I didn’t understand if I had the autonomy to solo travel if I wanted to. I also never really thought about it. My world was small and I never dreamt of faraway places until I jumped out of my comfort zone to study abroad. I was looking for new experiences and realized I loved to travel!
My Favorite Solo Travel Experience
Rome, Italy was my first true solo trip, no study abroad program waiting for me, just my own agenda and vacation. I bought a dress and took myself out, ate a whole delicious pizza, and drank house wine in an Italian basement restaurant. A happy group of Italians asked if it was okay that they smoke cigarettes. I said yes and they were so happy to be with their friends. I was so happy to be there. The waiter loved that I loved the food. It’s my favorite solo travel memory. I fell out of my top bunk at the hostel that night when I went to use the bathroom because I was a little tipsy, and I’m still in contact with the American girls I met in the hostel dorm. We explored the Vatican the next day. One lives in the same city as me now.
👉 Read this dedicated blog post on traveling to Italy alone
How I meet people when I solo travel
I am constantly meeting friends when I solo travel! Staying in hostels is a really great way to ease into meeting friends while solo traveling. Group tours are another way. Great ways to find tours are through Viator or Get Your Guide! I also made some friends in my study abroad program. I always make friends and some stay in contact. I can’t wait to see them again! Covid put things on pause but I know I will meet up with those I stay in touch with them. I feel the least lonely when I travel solo.
My advice to start traveling by yourself is to first enjoy time by yourself at home. Covid made me think about this a lot. I go on a lot of solo adventures in NYC now and I love it. Leave your phone at home sometimes. If you have that sense of adventure and peace then you’ll enjoy solo travel! And you’ll make friends if you want to.
How I save money when traveling solo
I worked 3-4 jobs throughout most of my travel time while in school, stayed in hostels, bought groceries while I was there, didn’t drink a lot or go clubbing, and booked promo flight deals on holidays. I wish WowAir was still kicking! They had great competitive rates with Norwegian. If you’re leaving for an extended amount of time, a way to save money is to sublet your place or end your lease (speak with your landlord and understand landlord-tenant law in your area for that). I have so many tips and tricks.
My top safety tips for solo travel
I won’t let the idea of hypothetical dangerous situations abroad keep me from going. I didn’t feel safe growing up in my rural hometown and now in NYC safety is always an issue. I deal with safety issues all day every day so I can deal with them abroad too. That being said, I am perceived as a white feminine woman so I have a lot of privilege while traveling. Traveling internationally for holiday itself is a privilege.
Do Your Research
Do research before you travel and think if it is worth the risk. If you’re queer or POC, you should connect with other queer or POC people in travel communities that can tell you about their experiences in certain destinations so you can make a knowledgeable decision.
Hold others Accountable
Speak louder to the men about holding other men accountable.
Drink with Caution
Keep your wits about you in any drinking situation, but women usually are a bit more aware anyways.
Be Aware of Pickpockets
Men please stop keeping your wallets in your back pocket and have more awareness when drinking abroad. I’ve seen so many pickpockets stacking up wallets from drunk men.
Write out all Your Travel Details
Write out every single travel detail in a notebook. This includes flight numbers, itineraries, hostels names, addresses, numbers, and emergency contacts. This will help when your phone dies and you need to ask for directions. Do it in the native language and English alphabet if it’s an option. Also, print out all of this information as well as travel insurance info and create a packet and give it to a trusted friend or family member.
Get travel insurance!
I always get travel insurance as I’ve been frazzled by some situations. Once a man picked me up when I was standing on a concrete thing on the street taking a picture. I didn’t know him and then he dropped me, and I hurt my ankle. I’ve learned to get travel insurance (SafetyWing is a good option for insurance) because I’ve fallen a few times on trips, sober, just from all the adventure activities and walking I do. Traveling solo or with a group, you have to take precautions.
A big thank you to Samantha for sharing her travel story. I hope you feel inspired to start traveling alone!
📞 Still afraid to solo travel the world? Then book a 1:1 coaching call with me and I will help answer your questions so you can travel this world in confidence!
For more reading, you may also like these:
🤎 FREE 14-page solo travel e-book!
📸 Best Camera Gear for Solo Female Travelers
👩❤️👱♀️How to Meet Friends Traveling Solo
♀ Best Places for Solo Female Travel
🍴Tips for eating out alone
🇮🇹 Traveling Italy Alone
🤫 Travel Secrets & Tips
📞 Book a 1:1 Coaching Call with me on Solo Travel