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trevi fountain, rome italy

There are almost 200 countries worldwide, and choosing which to visit first can be overwhelming. You may need help knowing where to begin. Fear not, amiga. I’ve got you covered. 

How?

Here are some things to consider when you start researching your first destination. Grab a pen, paper, and your favorite beverage because it is time to let your passions and interests lead the way.  

Write down the answers to these questions below:

What type of experience am I seeking?

Are you interested in exploring historical sites, immersing yourself in nature, experiencing city life, or relaxing on a beach? Determine the type of experience that aligns with your travel aspirations.

What are my interests and passions?

Consider hobbies, interests, and activities that bring you joy. Are you passionate about art, food, adventure sports, or cultural experiences? Choosing a destination that caters to your interests will make your solo trip much more fulfilling.

How far am I willing to travel?

Determine your comfort level regarding the distance you’re willing to travel. Are you open to long-haul flights and exploring far-away destinations, or would you prefer to start with a closer location for your first solo adventure?

What is my budget?

Assess your financial resources and set a budget for your trip. Consider the cost of flights, accommodations, meals, activities, and local transportation. Decide if your budget allows for a more affordable destination or if you can spend more on a dream location.

What is the safety situation in the potential destinations?

Research the safety and security of the destinations you’re considering. Check travel advisories, consult reputable sources, and gather information about local safety measures and precautions. Ensure that the destination aligns with your comfort level in terms of safety.

A note about travel advisories, please consider that the advice is often influenced or modified by political, legal, and economic interests. These advisories are usually issued by Western countries, warning citizens not to travel to countries recovering from the impact of colonization.  

The term “travel advisory” does not always mean you are advised against traveling to a specific country.  

Travel advisories range from Level 1 to Level 4, depending on the severity of the conditions in the country. Level 1 advisories say to “exercise normal precautions,” Level 2 advisories to “exercise increased caution,” Level 3 to “reconsider travel,” and Level 4 warns not to travel at all.

I am not saying you should disregard travel advisories, but you should understand how and why they may be issued and that a Level 1 travel Advisory is not the same as a Level 4.


How accessible is the destination for solo travelers?

Are there solo traveler-friendly accommodations and activities available? Are there reliable public transportation systems?  Consider the destination’s transportation options and tourist-friendliness. If you arrive at night, will you be able to find safe and reliable transportation to your accommodation?


What are the local culture and customs like?

Research and learn about potential destinations’ local culture, customs, and etiquette. Think about your comfort level in adapting to different cultural practices and interacting with locals. Ensure that you respect and appreciate the destination’s cultural diversity.

It’s essential to be mindful of how locals dress and their cultural norms. Some cultures may have specific expectations regarding clothing, particularly in religious or conservative regions. Decide whether you must pack a versatile wardrobe that allows you to adapt and respect local customs while expressing your style.


Are there any specific visa requirements or entry restrictions?

Check if the destinations you’re interested in require a visa or have specific entry requirements for your nationality. Research the visa application process and any restrictions affecting your travel plans.

Are there any language barriers?

For your first trip, consider destinations where you can communicate effectively or quickly navigate with minimal language skills. Alternatively, you can also learn basic phrases in the local language to enhance your travel experience.  

Learn key phrases in the local language, such as greetings (Hello, Goodbye, Good Morning, Good Evening, Good Afternoon, etc.) and polite expressions (please and thank you). Engage with locals in a friendly and open manner, and don’t be afraid to use non-verbal communication to bridge any gaps. Remember, a warm smile goes a long way in any language.

What are the climate and weather like in potential destinations? 

Consider each destination’s climate and weather conditions, and choose a time of the year that aligns with your comfort level.

Think about what you consider to be too cold and too hot.  

If you hate the cold, make sure that the destination that you will visit is warm enough, even in summer. Research the average annual temperature. Many countries have a rainy season where flights are inexpensive, but activities are limited.  


Are there any specific cultural events or festivals happening during my travel dates? 

Research if any unique cultural events, festivals, or celebrations occur during your travel period. Remember that this may raise the cost of visiting a specific destination.


How crowded is the destination? 

Consider the level of tourism and crowd density in potential destinations, as it can significantly impact your experience as a solo traveler.

Some regions of the world are a magnet for tourists during the summer months, which means popular cities and attractions can be extremely crowded. Long lines, packed streets, and crowded tourist spots can sometimes diminish the experience and make it harder to fully enjoy the destination.


What are the available accommodation options? 

Research and explore different accommodation options, such as hotels, hostels, guesthouses, or vacation rentals, and choose one that suits your preferences and budget.


Does the destination resonate with me personally? 

Trust your instincts and choose a destination that resonates with your heart and sparks your curiosity. Listen to your wanderlust and select a place that aligns with your desires and aspirations.

By asking yourself these questions, you’ll gain clarity on your travel preferences, comfort level, and desires, which will help you choose a destination that sets the stage for an incredible solo adventure. 


Once you have written down the answers to these questions, it’s time for the fun part: picking your destination! I typically use websites like TripAdvisor, Google, Pinterest, Instagram, Tik Tok, and other travel blogs.


Look at your list of potential destinations and see which one best matches your criteria. When you finally choose that first destination, watch the excitement grow as you plan your dream solo trip.  


Don’t wait any longer… it is time to make your travel dreams come true.  


Meet Maribel, The Queen of Trips, a survivor who turned her cancer journey into a source of inspiration for fellow travelers. Join her as she fearlessly explores the world, showing that life after cancer is a testament to resilience and the power of living fully.

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