Nurse First Travel Agency provided this article.
Traveling solo can feel incredibly empowering because everything is in your hands. It can also feel terrifying because, well, everything is in your hands. Traveling alone has huge benefits, as you will gain confidence, learn problem-solving, and ultimately learn more about yourself. But for those with trepidations, don’t worry. These tips will cover everything you need, from logistics to mindset, to make the most of your solo trip and travel nurse assignments.
Get Into the Mindset
The more you know, the less afraid you will be. Every fear can be reframed as an opportunity to grow.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone gently. Pick up a conversation with a stranger on a bus or in a cafe, practice appreciation for dining alone, and spend a few days wandering by yourself instead of with a tour.
It’s less about the worst-case scenario happening and more about how you will handle it. We can’t control external factors, but we can choose how prepared we are.
Preparation is Key to Safety
One of the main ways you can make yourself feel safe in a new city is by knowing the transportation system well. Research what options are available, if Uber or Lyft is prevalent, if you should adopt a curfew hour, and reserve extra money for taxis in the evening if necessary.
There are many Internet hacks for keeping your valuables safe, including getting RFID wallets so thieves cannot scan your bank card information, money belts that store cash inconspicuously and using zip ties to make your baggage less accessible. Travel blogs are full of these little-known tips, so dive in!
Travel insurance is a must for those who want peace of mind. It covers medical emergencies, trip interruption/delay/cancellation, lost baggage, adventure sports, and more. Give your family a copy of your itinerary and an emergency plan for if they can’t contact you. Download maps offline and always carry extra data and a battery pack in the situation that you get stranded.
How to Make New Friends
If you’re feeling lonely, try to see traveling solo as an advantage—you’re way more likely to make new friends than if traveling with a friend or partner. There are so many ways to meet new people, experiment, and see what works for you.
- Couchsurfing isn’t just for couch surfers. The app also features meetups with fellow travelers in your vicinity.
- Groupon events, Airbnb Experiences, and food tours are a great way to connect with like-minded people over an activity.
- Instead of working from a cafe, go to a coworking space to increase the likelihood of social interactions.
- Look into homestay arrangements, inns, and B&Bs. Although hostels can be less than ideal for professionals, you can always book a private room. Some hostels have their own bars and cafes, so even if you aren’t living there, take advantage of this opportunity to meet other travelers. People who stay at hostels tend to be especially open and sociable.
Know-How to Balance Your Needs
We often forget to schedule rest days, but they will help you enjoy your trip so much more.
Every now and then, it’s a good idea to give your routine a reset. Cook yourself a warm and nourishing homemade meal; keep your space tidy just as you would if you were at home. Journal and jot down some of your favorite moments in the city so far. It’s okay to keep that Netflix subscription while traveling!
Most importantly, have some valuable facetime with loved ones. It’s not always about making new friends; nourishing our current relationships is just as important, and expressing our affection while apart can greatly deepen a bond. Remember, you can also reach out to your traveler advocate if you need help with anything.
The beauty of being a travel nurse is that you’re not just a tourist during your travel nursing contract. You get to stay long enough in a city to actually do things twice and develop a routine.
Embrace the Unknown
Planning for spontaneity is an oxymoron but accurate for travel. Nothing develops resilience and hones your intuition like traveling solo. When your support network is in a different timezone, you will often have to make decisions by yourself. Embrace this, for it will strengthen your trust in yourself.
When something unexpected happens, take a deep breath, laugh at the awkward moments, and tell yourself that even the bad stuff makes for a memorable story later. Remember that this is what traveling is about. Not checking things off a list, but all the things that happen outside a checklist.
Do you have any tips or advice for fellow travel nurses when traveling solo? Comment any tips you have for new travel nurses or those just starting out traveling solo below.
If you are a new travel nurse or looking into becoming a travel nurse:
Travel Nurse Guide: Step-by-Step (now offered in a PDF Downloadable version!)
Mary Zhou is an Outreach Coordinator for Nurse First, a travel nurse agency. Nurse First was founded by and is made up of a team of former travel nurses who saw a gap in the industry and decided to fill it. Since 2017, Nurse First has helped thousands of nurses find the right fit and dream destination for their next job. We prioritize transparency so that nurses know exactly what to expect. We currently have over 100 active travelers and are trusted by over 3,700 healthcare providers nationwide.
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