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10 tips for planning your first solo adventure


You've never been on a solo travel, but seeing all these women discovering their region and the world makes you feel adventurous.

Ready to face the unknown yes, but where do you start? You've never organised a solo trip before and although the desire is there, you already feel overwhelmed.

Don't panic, here are a few essential tips to organise your first solo travel. Whatever the reasons that push you to travel, here no chance to shirk !

Here I will focus on 10 tips for a first solo travel in France but they can also be used for a trip further afield and can of course be modified according to what you are looking for.

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1. Start small for your first solo travel

When you talk about travelling, you talk about destinations, but how do you choose one? Here are a few tips to help you feel prepared and choose the destination that makes you want to go on that trip.

A first solo travel may involve a certain amount of apprehension. In this case my advice is to start by travelling to a destination close to home, why not in the same region or the one next to it. You will feel less disorientated and if you are really too uncomfortable you can always ask travel buddies to join you or go home easily. 

However, to avoid this kind of scenario, plan to go away for a weekend or just a few days for your first solo travel. If you feel ready to travel a little further, target a destination that combines some of your interests and passions. You'll feel more comfortable in a hopefully familiar environment. 

Once you feel more confident, you will find it easier to try new activities and discover the place where you have chosen to travel. If you are afraid to leave, if you are a bit stressed at the thought of being alone, I advise you to try homesharing and by the same way take advantage of free accomodation.

And to make you feel even more secure, you can find all the women hosts approved by La Voyageuse, available in the different regions of France. A more authentic stay meet women who support solo travellers and adventurers of all around the world.

2.Take time to get organised

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The second tip for organising your first solo travel is to be prepared. Yes, it is indeed very vague... So what do I mean by that? Plan everything you can in advance, suitcase, schedule of activities to do once you get there and potential bookings.

Anything that will help you feel more confident and enjoy your trip with peace of mind. However, be careful not to plan too much in advance so that you won't be disappointed during your trip.

Personally, during my travels, I remain very flexible about my activities and the progress of my stay. Quite useful travel advices! After all, if everything doesn't go as you planned, it's not the end of the world. When you look back on your first solo travel it’s certainly not the first thing you will remember, or you’ll laugh about it.

Especially since you don't know all the possibilities offered by the destination you are going to visit. You will certainly have listed the most touristic activities, but who knows, once you get there, you might meet some locals who will be happy to show you the city and its secrets.

Seize the opportunity, your trip will be all the more memorable and you will have a much less touristy eye on your destination. In case of any problems, relativise, there often are unexpected events when you travel the world but there will always be someone to help you there, a solo trip does not imply being alone all along the trip.

3. Think about mental preparation

"What is she talking about? What does that mean again? How do I mentally prepare myself?" Yes, okay, another rather vague title, I'll grant you that, but let me come up with some explanations! A first solo travel can be quite stressful because traveling is one thing but traveling alone is another, especially as a woman. So to be ready we make sure that in addition to our suitcases our brains are also ready and we approach this trip with envy rather than anxiousness.

Personally, to do this, I start by making a list of all the things that stress me, my potential reluctance to make this trip and what could go wrong. Once this is done, I try to find solutions to what I have written but above all, I put things into PERSPECTIVE. This fear at the very top of my list is not so terrifying after all and this thing that makes me anxious is not so overwhelming. Believe me, you are capable of much more than you think and all these good reasons to go on a solo holiday are still in your mind. 

It's also one of the keys to a peaceful solo journey: trusting yourself. The more confident you feel, the more comfortable you'll be. Your instinct is often right, so maybe it's time to follow it. Sometimes you will even find yourself completely alone and that’s the whole purpose and pleasure of this trip. In case of stress or doubt you are never far away from someone to help you if you need it.

4.Cleverly prepare your suitcase

After the mental preparation comes a preparation that is just as, and for some, even more complicated: the suitcase. I can feel you shaking as you read this word. Ah the suitcase, a wonderful source of stress, irritation and finally resignation and abandonment. So how do you pack your suitcase properly? 

The trick when you go on a solo trip is to pack a small, light suitcase with the bare essentials. You'll be glad your suitcase is as light as a feather when you have to lift it over your head to put it on a shelf in the bus or train. Prepare it with the essentials for the destination you're going to. 

Hiking shoes, swimsuit or ski boots, party wear (you never know), toothbrush and first aid kit are all set. For the rest, you are not going to an uncivilised country, you will certainly find a supermarket to buy the things you’ve forgotten. 

For those who don't even want to pack a suitcase, you can also just take a backpack. If it reassures you, you can make a list of everything you packed  in your suitcase to make sure you don't leave anything behind when you repack at the end of your stay. 

Also remember to make a copy of your important documents or identity papers, so you'll always have a version on hand in case of loss or theft (yes, unfortunately these are difficult things to anticipate). Keep these copies warm in your suitcase or in a digital version on your laptop. For a trip abroad it can be very useful.

5.Make a plan B, C, D...

I am not asking you to have a plan B for absolutely EVERY part of your trip, but especially for your journey. Between strikes, protests or marches of all kinds I am sure that you too have already experienced a delay or even cancellation of transport (SNCF we don't blame you). What could be more stressful than having to find a solution at the last minute to get to your destination. 

My tip to avoid worrying too much about, that is to plan a fallback solution, a plan B (or even a plan C). This way you'll be less surprised if your first option falls through and you'll know what to do to finally reach your destination. This will allow you to feel more in control of the situation and therefore more confident. Say goodbye to stress, it's neither it nor a strike that will spoil the pleasure of your first solo travel!

6.Exchanging with those around you

Don't doubt this, your family will certainly have something to tell you about your decision to travel alone as a woman and even more if it's the first time. So, to stop them making a mountain out of a molehill, talk to them about it. Discuss the trip, your choice, reassure them (and you at the same time).

The more you put them at ease with your choice, the more you will be too. Because although we try to detach ourselves as much as possible from the opinion of our loved ones, there will always be a little voice to remind us of this or that fear that they shared with us.

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So the more you talk about it the more they will be ready to let you go and enjoy your trip. Sometimes they will even give you good advice, maybe they will make you think of points you would like to know more about before leaving. Their advice will allow you to do more research and be even more prepared, ready to deal with most situations you might find yourself in. 

You will also be able to find out their opinion on a subject that is bothering you and they can help you decide what you need to pack (yes, mum, I took my sun cream), what you can't miss in the region and how to get there. Don't think of it as a chore, you have to go through it, after all you can't just leave without telling anyone, unless...

7.Have a first contact with your destination

One tip leads to another, so after asking your friends and family it's time to ask travel professionals for more information. More information about travelling alone? Checked! info on the destination and the must-sees? Not checked... So let’s go on the internet, that fantastic tool full of information (sometimes too much).

The trick to avoid drowning in the mass: look for blogs and compare the information. Most authors of blogs rely on their own experiences, so don't take everything at face value, select the advice they give you and adapt it to your own needs.

A particular question? you will surely find a forum that will be able to answer it. And if you prefer to discuss with someone face-to-face, you will certainly find groups with today's globetrotters, ready to meet you and tell you about their trip (whether good or bad).

But be aware, many of the stories will be about a solo trip abroad, which can be quite different from a solo trip to your own country. Even if the main lines remain the same, some advice will be specific to the destination.

Once you've filled up on tips about solo travel, turn to tips about your destination. What are the must-sees? How to avoid overly touristy sites and where to find the small, unusual places? These are all questions that you may have asked yourself and that someone will have already answered.

For those who are not comfortable with the flood of information on the internet, you can always turn to a paper version. Many books list everything you can or should do and see for a particular destination. I am sure you will find a short guide that will answer your questions. If you are practicing couchsurfing, as with La Voyageuse, you also have the opportunity to talk to your contact already on site to get ready for your arrival. 

Finally, before and once you are there, don't hesitate to contact the local tourist office, which will certainly be able to give you good advice.

8.Pause your everyday life

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This is your first solo travel, your very first experience. Whatever happens, it will be unforgettable, but here's a tip to make it even more enjoyable. Break away from your daily routine. You're going on a solo trip, you're on holiday, and the only thing you can do is enjoy it. And to enjoy it, you can't think about work or be hyper-connected. Put down your phone, stop answering work emails, no matter how important they are. You're on holiday, this is your moment. 

Tell your family that you will no longer be available during your trip, explaining to them that it's to immerse yourself as much as possible and that it will make a real difference to your daily life, I'm sure they'll understand. You will have much more fun sharing anecdotes and photos with them when you return, rather than if you tell them about your day every night in detail. 

When work is concerned, I know it's hard. You thought you'd finish that file before leaving but you finally find yourself in the middle of it on Friday at 6pm and super stressed at the idea of leaving it behind. Avoid this kind of situation whenever possible, don't get into big projects or heavy tasks a week before you leave. You'll travel more peacefully if you haven't started the task rather than if you left in the middle of it.

9.Use the support of your loved ones

What does that mean again? Use their support ? What for? Related to the previous point, when you leave you tend to think about your home and everything that can bring you back or stress you. Did I lock the door properly? And my plants, who will water them? Oh dear Tigger, the cat, she stayed outside, I have to go back... Stop those negative thoughts, everything will be fine.

Before you leave, entrust your house to someone you trust. Make a list of things that could worry you during your stay (chickens to feed, dog to take out, ...), nothing too complicated after all. If you have chosen this person, it’s because you believe in his or her ability not to set fire to your house, so there is no need to worry about it. 

For those who would leave their family to escape for a few days alone, don't panic, the children will be fine and will be even happier to see you when you return. Of course, you will miss them, but you must also know how to take some time for yourself and this solo trip is just that. Don't just trust yourself on this trip, trust them, your loved ones, who are perfectly capable of managing without you for a few days. 

10. Enjoy a new culture

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Whether in France or abroad you will experience a new culture and new activities, the traditions in the South of France are not the same as in the North, nor are the activities. So one last tip to help you get the most out of your first solo travel: be open-minded, ready to discover new traditions and activities specific to the destination you are going to. The more you get involved in your trip and your immersion, the more likely you are to come back with great memories of your first solo travel.

Knowing where you're going can also help you avoid certain blunders. Indeed, some words, signs or expressions may be misunderstood or interpreted differently depending on the region. Don't frown if someone points this out to you, on the contrary, learn from your mistake and enjoy the difference that makes this trip unique. 

And to avoid finding yourself in too awkward situations, look for potential big differences with your region before you go there, you will feel more comfortable if the locals don't look at you strangely for something you said or did.

You have now reached the end of my tips to organise your first solo travel. Feel free to compare them with other suggestions you can find and adapt them to your trip. It's over to you to make your own experience.

Need a little recap? All you had to do was ask:
1) Choose your destination and book your accommodation
2) Prepare but not too much   
3) Prepare yourself mentally
4) Pack cleverly according to your destination.
5) Provide a plan B for transport
6) Talk about it with those close to you
7) Do some research on your destination and solo travelling
8) Break away from daily life
9) Trust your loved ones
10) Be ready to open up to new experiences and traditions
And don't forget : ENJOY!

Now that you're ready to set off on your own, you're wondering where to start in terms of destinations? Have a look at this list of cheap destinations to visit in France which will give you some ideas 😉 !


The editorial team:

Whether you are an avid traveller or a first-time adventurer, all NomadSister editors are passionate about travel. They share their advice and experiences with the desire to give you wings!

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