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7 Steps to Create Your Perfect Trip Itinerary as a Solo Traveler

7 Steps to Create Your Perfect Trip Itinerary as a Solo Traveler

You’re ready to start traveling solo, but the one thing holding you back is how to plan out your trip? Maybe you’re used to the girl’s trip, and you have that one Type-A friend who creates the itinerary for everyone. Maybe you’ve done group travel where an organization or company plans out your visit. Perhaps the thought of handling the daunting task of planning is overwhelming and maybe a little scary. 

Solo travel can be a big task to take on. Sure, you could be super spontaneous and just book your flight and see what happens. However, having a plan can feel safer and guarantee that you’ll have a good time. Here are seven steps to plan your perfect travel itinerary that will put your traveling worries at ease.

Step 1: Set an intention or goal for the trip

You might be thinking that your goal is to have a good time, relax, or experience a different culture. But let’s get specific. Are you solo traveling because your previous group trips led you to do things you really didn’t want to do? Do you need some time to yourself and decompress from the stresses of life? A travel intention can be: wanting to achieve a greater sense of self, stepping outside of your comfort zone, expanding your taste buds, or being able to fully disconnect from your daily life. By setting a goal, you are sure to get the most out of your trip.

Step 2:  Based on your intention, choose a destination

This can be a little tricky. You probably have a bucket list of places you’ve been dreaming about. An easy way to decide is to refer to your intention. Will a certain destination help you meet your goal? It can be helped to have a top three list: one place you are dying to go to, and second and third options just in case things don’t work out with the first destination. In addition, when you are looking into a destination, check the exchange rate to make sure the place fits into your budget. 

Step 3: Check for the big 3: weather, safety, and COVID-19

Nothing is worse than expecting to spend a week basking in the sun on some sandy beach only to arrive in the middle of the rainy season. Checking the weather conditions is a must. Contrary to popular belief, the Caribbean isn’t all sunshine and coconuts. Many destinations have a wet season where the weather can consist of nonstop rain, storms, and bugs.

On top of that, check to make sure the destination is safe. There are many factors to consider when you are thinking about safety. Things to look for include:

  • What is the current political state of the country?
  • What are the crime rates?
  • Is this a popular destination for female travelers?
  • How open is the country to tourists?
  • What is the diversity of the country?
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Lastly, you’re going to want to check for everyone’s least favorite virus, COVID-19. Find out how the country has dealt with the COVID over the past two years. Has there been there an increase in cases in the last 6 months? What are the restrictions for entering?

Once all of the technical work is done, you can start planning for the fun stuff.

Step 4: Research things to do

Obviously when searching if there are mountains to climb, clear blue-water beaches, and the best places to get a fried fish, search engines are super helpful. Along with websites like Tripadvisor, these sites help you scratch the surface. However, if you want a bit more than a tourist experience, you’ll have to dig deeper. Read some travel blogs such as Hey Ciara, with guides for North America, Europe, and Africa, along with Atlas Obscura, which features attractions that are cool, hidden, and usual.

Now, that you know where to look for cool things to do, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Book tours early.
  • Consider transportation, how you are going to get to and from a certain experience.
  • Investigate any additional costs.
  • Find out the best times to visit.
  • Consider booking experiences with local companies that give back to the community.

Step 6: Don’t over plan 

Once you’ve planned out the 10 things you want to do over five days, take a moment to reflect. Does your itinerary allow room for spontaneity and flexibility? Allow yourself to explore or aimlessly wander around. Sometimes the most exciting things happen when they’re unplanned.

Step 7. Keep an open mind

When you arrive, you don’t have to do everything on your list. Along with this, not every experience will be what you expect it to be. The most important thing in planning is to keep an open mind. This might mean you’re a little more patient with yourself; this might mean you try traveling by train instead of a plane. Keeping your options and your mind open will help you create your dream trip.

Bonus tip: You can use search engines to help you create your itinerary. Check out the video posted on Lifehacker that shows you how.

If you’ve not done it before, starting to travel solo is a big change. Planning out your solo trip can be exciting. You decide where you go and what you do. You have all the power. Make sure you use that power wisely and intentionally.

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