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Ask an Ambassador: 6 solo travel tips

Jun 19, 2015 by Jamie Gallerani

Jessica has a pretty impressive travel resume: She’s one of our brand-new Go Ahead Tours Ambassadors, and has seen the world on five international solo tours! (So, it’s fair to say that she knows a thing or two about leaving your comfort zone.) Here, she puts her Ambassador skills to the test and shares her best solo travel tips.

Tips for traveling solo

1. Do your research

“Regardless of whether you’re going with a group or on your own, you have to do your research. I’m a firm believer in that. Get a good guidebook, read it, know what you’re getting into. If you go to another country, knowing a little more about it than you normally would helps you to be more prepared.”

2. Make the first introduction

“Don’t wait for others to introduce themselves to you. Go ahead and take the first step and introduce yourself, even if you only tell people one thing about yourself. Because I made the effort to learn peoples’ names, where they were from, or what they do, I can still tell you one fact about everyone in my group from my last trip. It’s just making that effort.”

3. Look at everyone as friends

“Sometimes people are shy, so of course introducing themselves to people on their tour is going to be out of their comfort zone. But it’s about living in the moment. You’re in another country. You may not see these people again, but you know what? Make a friend for the next ten days. You know, they’re not strangers—they’re just new friends you haven’t met yet! That’s the way I look at it. It’s one of my top solo travel tips.”

4. Learn the language basics

“I was one of the only people on our trip who actually learned some basic Italian, and when I say basic, I mean just survival skills at that point. So, a lot of people would ask me, ‘Will you translate for us? What do they mean?’ I’m not a shy person by nature, but I do think knowing some of the local language helped with forming new friendships along the way.”

5. Roll with the punches

“I don’t like things getting out of my control, but I think the last two times I traveled, I got lost. So, I’d just think, ‘Okay, I’ve gotten lost! What can I find on the way back to my hotel?’ If I need to ask for directions, then I’ve made a new friend in that respect.”

6. Seize the day

“If I don’t have anyone to travel with me, that’s not going to stop me from traveling solo and seeing and doing what I want to do. Life’s too short. There’s too much of this world that I want to see, and I’m not going to let something as small as that hold me back from doing it.”

Do you have any tips for traveling alone (in a group!) on a guided tour? Share your advice for solo travelers on our Facebook page!

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About the author | Jamie Gallerani
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.

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