If you’ve been debating whether solo travel is for you then keep reading. I have been in the same boat and the choice I made is one I don’t regret.
While it can seem like a daunting task, I assure you the reasons to do so far outweigh the potential cons – especially if you follow my formula for traveling on your own.
What is that formula, you ask?
Whom Do You Follow Online?
I think this is an interesting question to ask yourself as it relates to online communities.
The majority of events, fairs, and meetups have an online presence. We’ve talked before about how to find places for local travel.
Once you’ve found an event, you may say, “I’m not going to know anyone there.” In many cases, you’d be right. However, to break past the fear of traveling alone, you want to start thinking about whom you follow online.
An event, fair, or meetup publicized online should have an existing community behind it. Otherwise, the event organizer wouldn’t be making a cost-effective decision to run the event in the first place. The individuals who put these events together usually charge to attend, so if they’re doing that, they’re monetizing they’re existing audience. What you want to do is think about which communities you belong to online.
Have you connected with any of those people or developed a friendship with them online? Have you ever met them in person? Do you know the individual organizing the event? This will give you a chance to meet them in person and alleviate the fear of not having anyone to mingle with.
Finding A Travel Companion Through Solo Travel
You’re scratching your head with this one, right? All these events have a handful of brands that attend. Have you looked at the event site to see which of those brands are attending? Are you a big fan of any of them?
This is your travel companion. While you may not be personal friends with the people behind the brand, you still have something you can relate to. It will give you some place to hang out while at the event. You’ll have something you’re passionate to talk about and you know the people behind the brand will appreciate it and reciprocate conversation. On top of that, you could wind up developing personal friendships with these people outside of the event you’re attending.
Now that you have this “on-site friend”, you have your companion, but you’re not relying on anyone. This means that you’re still free to do what you want at this event without asking someone you’re with: “Can we do this next?” This is a major perk of traveling by yourself. You get to do everything on your terms.
Traveling To The Right Event And Location
Getting a clear idea of what event and location you’d want to travel solo to will take some brainstorming. You’ll want to make sure you’re going someplace you’ve always wanted to visit, but also has an event you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about the event or the place, you’re not going to have a good time. You don’t want a bad experience to affect your perception of solo travel.
The best place to start is by asking yourself: “Where do I spend most of my time online?” Ask yourself questions like: “What groups do I actively participate in on Facebook?”, “Who do I find myself continuing to interact with on those pages or groups?” “Who’s the person behind it? Do you know them?” If not, get to know them. It will give you even more incentive to travel to their event.
By traveling solo to the right location, you’re also saving money. There’s nobody else that you need to budget for.
When you pick the right event, you’ll reap the benefits of cheaper hotels and transportation to and from the event. This holds water if the individual putting the event together has built a large enough community. When this happens, businesses (like the hotel industry) want to reap the benefits of all these customers flying in. The event organizer may negotiate a special deal with these hotels and provide you with discounted rooms. Finally, if you’ve never used Uber or Lyft for transportation, the event organizer may be able to work out deals for getting you to and from the event. If you’re really lucky, a shuttle could even be provided.
The Number One Challenge Of Solo Travel
While the idea of traveling solo can be a scary thing, it can also be a crippling one. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a challenge. If you let it consume you, you’ll never allow yourself the opportunity to travel by yourself. The fear will dominate your desires and you’ll never move forward. That’s why I’ve been sharing these travel hacks with you to overcome this fear and prevent excuses.
First, you need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re willing to do that, then just maintain an “I’m going and I’m going to enjoy myself” mentality and never look back. The bottom line is after you complete your first solo travel experience, you’ll be more inclined to do it again.
As we mentioned, choosing an event in a place that you’re passionate about is key. This alone can be the saving grace that gets you out of your comfort zone. If you have no interest in where you’re going and what you’re going to do, letting your fear win is much easier.
If you’re not sure the best time to fly solo, I recommend your first time be for a weekend trip. Find an event held on a Saturday that runs through Sunday. This way you can fly out Friday night and fly back home Sunday night. You don’t want your first experience of solo travel to be too overwhelming. We want you to feel compelled to embark on your own again. We’re taking baby steps. Starting small as we’ve talked about before will ease you into solo travel.
Why Can These Travel Hacks Work For You?
The reason I’m recommending solo travel to you is that I experienced solo travel in the same manner outlined above.
In 2013, I had decided to visit Seattle. I had always wanted to visit the city and I like the west coast in general. Number two, an entrepreneur whom I followed was putting the event together. The entrepreneur, Chris Pirillo, was putting together an event called VloggerFair (now retired). I had followed his work online since I was in college and even interviewed him for my podcast at the time.
The people in the community were great and after missing out multiple years on Gnomedex (since retired), I knew I needed to get myself to VloggerFair. While I never attended Gnomedex (a poor college student at the time), I was now finally ready to head to the Pacific Northwest.
I enjoyed my visit to Seattle. All of this was possible by participating in a community I was passionate about. When I checked the event website, I saw a company called Throwboy was going to have a booth there whom I worked with in the past. At this point, I knew at least two people who were going to be at the event. This made it a lot easier for me to travel solo.
Connecting With People At The Event
I arrived at the location, chatted it up with Chris, and talked with Roberto of Throwboy. All in all, I had a great time. I even had the pleasure of running into a few others I didn’t expect to be there whom I followed online. Following people online and interacting with them makes it easier to travel solo. You never feel alone and through engaging with others, you’ll be more than just another attendee.
Chris worked out great deals with the hotels in the area, a shuttle to get attendees to and from the event, and a free Uber ride to the airport. All of this within the course of a weekend. I flew to Seattle on a Friday night and returned on a Sunday night.
This is why these travel hacks can work for you. They worked for me. Now I want you to give it a go yourself. Take a chance on yourself and step out of your comfort zone. If you still feel hesitant or have questions, that’s perfectly fine. Add your concerns in the comments below and I’ll respond to you.