Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
Updated: Jan 2, 2021
My first piece of advice to any solo traveler is to experience your own town as a tourist. That is right, start with where you know, without a far way to go.
Plan a trip to a city or town within an hour or so from your home base. Pick a destination that has activities or places similar to those you wish to do if you were travelling further away from home.
Pick your travel arrangements similar to the one you want to take further afield. If you wish to take a Eurail trip around Europe, plan your local trip via train. If you wish to drive, book a hire car. (Do not think it is easier to use your own car. The lesson here is to experience the same conditions that you would in your longer trip.)
Pack your suitcase with clothes and equipment that you would choose to take on your other trip.
Take a notepad & pen, or a tablet, and record everything you think you need to know along the way. Update the list when you think of it, don’t wait to the end of the day. It is amazing how quickly we forget things when we are busy. THEN, after your local trip, assess your learnings.
Did you need more or less clothing? Did you remember to bring phone and tablet chargers (take along a power converter if you are planning an overseas trip)? Did you remember medication, contact numbers, toothbrush?
What did you take with you that could be left at home? My rule of thumb is to first pack the clothes you will think you need, then take half of them out and put them back in your wardrobe. Is it really necessary to take a hair dryer? You will be amazed at what you don’t need when you travel.
Were you able to carry your luggage? Was it too heavy? Is your luggage in good condition? Do you need to work out how to use the existing lock, or need to buy new luggage locks?
Did you work out how to use toilets when you have your luggage with you?
The lessons are endless, and more valuable to learn when you are close to home, rather than a long distance away. If you are close by, you can always go back home to drop off or pick something up.
The other valuable experience here is that you get to know a bit more about your own local area. People will always ask about your own town or country, and it is a fabulous feeling to be able to show photos and tell stories of the place you chose to live. You may inspire them to come and stay in your area one day.
By taking walking tours in my capital city, eating at previously undiscovered markets, and chatting with other tourists, I learn a lot about my capital city that I never knew previously. Indeed, some of the chats with other tourists encouraged me to visit other areas around where I live. Who knew there was a camel farm and restaurant only 30 minutes’ drive from my home? Me, after a talk with Swedish tourists in town.
Enjoy and smile!