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Seven Ways to Ease the Stresses of Solo Travel

Seven Ways to Ease the Stresses of Solo Travel

There are a lot of benefits to traveling alone. You don’t have to accommodate anyone else so you can tailor the trip to your own preferences. Spending quality time with yourself means getting to know yourself better. By challenging your comfort zone, you can develop a stronger sense of resilience. The list goes on.

In spite of these benefits, solo travel is not without its stresses. The very thing that makes solo travel great—being completely on your own—is also what makes it more challenging than traveling with a companion. You alone are responsible for your safety, sanity, and enjoyment during your trip.

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Fortunately, a lot of this stress can be minimized with a few simple strategies. Here’s how to ease the stresses of solo travel so you can focus on the benefits.

Plan in advance.

Preparation is a strong antidote to anxiety, so if you’re traveling solo it’s a good idea not to show up in a new locale without a single plan. Instead, research your destination in advance. Make sure you’re adhering to any visa or passport regulations if you’re traveling abroad, familiarize yourself with the geographic layout of the region, make a list of must-see attractions, and develop a general itinerary before you embark on your trip.

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Pack light.

Lugging around a giant suitcase (or several) is stressful for any traveler, but it’s even more stressful when you have no one to help you lift luggage into overhead bins or haul it down subway stairs. Plus, struggling with too much luggage can draw unwanted attention when you’re traveling in a foreign place. For the sake of your back, your mobility, and your dignity, aim to pack light when you’re traveling alone.

Focus on the first night.

The most stressful part of a trip is typically the arrival. You’re tired from traveling and disoriented from being in a new place. That can make finding accommodations very challenging—especially when you don’t have a companion to help navigate. Make it easier on yourself by booking a hotel for your first night before you arrive. Also aim to arrive before sunset if possible. It’ll be much easier to navigate a new city in daylight than after dark.

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Designate backups.

It can be nerve-wracking to travel alone because you don’t have anyone nearby on whom you can call for help. Nor do you have a companion who can help you navigate unfamiliar places or feel safer on the street. You can relieve these anxieties by designating an emergency contact before you leave for your trip. Ask them to remain responsive while you’re away, and keep their contact info. with you at all times. Every day, text them your general plans for the day so somebody has a sense of your whereabouts in the case of an emergency.

Enlist local help.

When you’re alone in a new city, who better to help you get your bearings than someone who knows the city like the back of their hand? That’s the premise behind the reinvigorated interest in concierge services, which exist at hotels and beyond. For example, City CoPilot in New York City offers a variety of services including luggage storage, airport transportation, and discounts on local tours and attractions. Getting a little help from people in the know can be a godsend when you’re traveling alone.

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Keep your phone charged.

When you’re traveling alone, you’re more likely to rely on your phone than when you’re traveling with companions. You’ll need it to touch base with your emergency contact (see above), look up directions, browse Reddit if you feel awkward eating dinner alone, and so on. It’s imperative to make sure you won’t run into any data caps before you leave and that you keep your phone charged during the entirety of your trip.

Bring entertainment.

At first being alone with your thoughts can feel like a sumptuous escape from the daily grind, but the longer a solo trip drags on, the more you risk starting to feel bored. It’s good to be prepared with entertainment in the event that boredom kicks in. Bring along a book or journal, download podcasts or movies to your phone or tablet, or invest in Sudoku books or other brain challengers. These will definitely come in handy on long flights or train rides or during quiet nights in a hotel.

No matter where in the world you’re traveling, these seven strategies will help you minimize the stresses of solo travel. You can focus on having the time of your life!

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Dan Scalco

Director of Marketing

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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