Traveling by yourself for the first time? Here are 4 places to consider

Top Left: London, England Top Right: Paris, France
Bottom Left: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Bottom Right: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

One drunken night with friends, you decide that you all need to go on the trip of a lifetime! Needing to go somewhere exotic like Costa Rica or maybe a Mediterranean getaway? As time goes on, one by one, your friends start dropping like flies. One doesn’t have the money, another can’t leave work, and all of them are too scared to admit they don’t wanna leave their comfort zone. Which leaves you, the lone wolf, packed and ready to go! But you think to yourself, “I can’t possibly go by myself!” I’m here to tell you: you can and you must! Once you have gotten over the initial nerves of traveling by yourself for the first time, it’s time to pick a spot! Here are some of the spots I would recommend for first-timers!

London baby! My first international solo trip spot! I fell in love with London about as fast as I did with the Duke of Hastings on Bridgeton. There is so much to see and do and I definitely did not fit everything in in the short amount of time I spent there. I would recommend staying 3-5 full days, depending on the sights you would like to see and activities you would like to do. There are the obvious things to do such as The London Eye and Tower Bridge. And while those things are a must, I also implore you to find things off the beaten path. I feel like since this was my first trip, I stuck to what I thought I knew. But there is still so much I would love to see and do in London. But one thing you absolutely can not miss is the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace! Also, the place I got fish and chips at was St. James Place by Piccadilly Circus and it was amazing!

Bonjour! Paris is next on the list! Of course, you hear that Parisians are very rude, but I definitely did not get that vibe at all!… Okay, there was one but the good outweighed the bad! There are so many things to see and do in the city, but also amazing things to do outside the city. You might think that you should go to a big, flashy cabaret show, but I would advise going down the road less traveled: go see Au Lapin Agile Cabaret. Au Lapin Agile translates to the nibble rabbit. It was a great show, all sung in French. Outside the city, the places I would say to go and visit would be to go to Versailles and Disneyland Paris. For Versailles, I suggest blocking off 2 days. I spent a whole day there and still didn’t feel like it was enough! You might think traveling by yourself to a place such as Disneyland would not be as fun or awkward, but you can get in those single rider lines and save hours and go on more rides. Don’t miss the catacombs or the Le Café des Chats: the cafe with cats in it! Paris might be the city of love, but to me, it was a city full of wonder and a place to get lost in.

Now for a tropical getaway! The Cayman Islands are a beauty that was not on my radar until an opportunity to go there fell into my lap! Going from wintery Minnesota to the sunny Grand Cayman led to layers being stripped off as soon as I stepped off the plane. I stayed at the Margaritaville Resort. Now, this was not an all-inclusive resort, but I wouldn’t let that stop you from booking your next Caribbean vacay there. It had its own private beach and free bike rentals which I took full advantage of! While I didn’t do many activities when I was there, I know there are a ton of things to do such as Camana Bay and Hell, Grand Cayman. I spent most of the time relaxing at the pool or reading on the beach. I love the beach and trying new things so this is the perfect place to kick your feet back and relax or go out and do a different activity every day!

Last, but certainly not least, Amsterdam is an amazing place to visit if you are traveling by yourself for the first time. To a solo explorer, this city can seem intimidating with all the canals, but I can assure you, it is just in your mind. I know I definitely had my concerns and for the first couple of days, I stuck with sights and places that I grew to be familiar with. I ended up booking a guided tour of the Red Light District and after that, it eased my fears. Also, traveling to the countryside in towns such as Edam and Volendam is a nice escape from the city. One place you can’t forget to go to In’t Aepjen which means In the Monkeys! This is a brown bar that use to accept monkeys as payment. The decor is amazing and the atmosphere is fun and light. Amsterdam is one of those places that you always think about going to, so you have certain expectations and sometimes they are met and sometimes you leave disappointed. When I looked out the window of the plane as the city grew smaller beneath me, I knew I would be back here someday.

These are some of the places that I have fallen in love with over the years. I left a little bit of my heart in each of these locations. Traveling by yourself for the first time can be the most terrifying thing, but it can also be the most liberating and invigorating experience of your whole life. You have to be responsible for yourself, by yourself. You get to choose your itinerary so one day you can load it up with activities and the next you can choose to stay in all day. Taking the first step in planning your first solo trip will be the best move you can make. Don’t wait until someone can go with you, or you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life. Go. Travel. Create your own stories and memories by exploring the world!

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