Solo travel can be wonderful. You don’t have to take a travel partner’s wish list into consideration. You can focus on only the activities that interest you. Sometimes it’s even easier to meet people when you’re on your own. And solo travel is great for building confidence.
But you know what is sometimes a struggle? Packing when traveling solo.
Packing carry-on liquids for solo travel
I admit it, when I travel with my husband, I take full advantage of his liquids bag (we travel carry-on only). He doesn’t have nearly as many bottles as I do, so I pack a few extras that wouldn’t normally make the cut on a solo trip.
You can also share things with a travel partner, like toothpaste, sunscreen, or bug repellent. But when you’re on your own, you have to bring all those items yourself, even if the bottle has more than you’ll use by yourself.
Traveling solo limits you to only that one small liquids bag in your carry-on, and you have to choose your toiletries wisely.
>>See why we love solid toiletries for carry-on travel.
Packing everything you need
Traveling with a partner means you can cut down on duplicates. You can share clothing with your friend or steal your boyfriend’s hoodie on a cold bus ride.
Not so when you’re traveling alone. If there’s something you know you’ll need while traveling, you have to make sure it makes it into your bag. You can’t rely on your friend to pack a cute dress to borrow, and you can’t rely on your husband to remember the bottle opener.
This might mean a few extra things squeezed into your suitcase, but think of it as a challenge to pack lighter.
Packing for safety
Often there is a sense of safety in numbers. If you’re traveling with someone else, there are two of you looking out for pickpockets and checking to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.
But when you travel solo, that responsibility is all on your shoulders. You have to make sure your valuables are secured to reduce the chances of being robbed. You have to make sure you get all your things off the train.
>>Read more about theft-proof clothing for travel.
Carrying it all
Again, I love that my husband will take more of the heavier items when we travel together. But when I travel by myself, I have to be able to carry everything I pack. I have to be in control of my luggage 100% of the time, and this includes dealing with the weight.
It’s one of the reasons I think solo women should travel carry-on only. No one else is going to carry your suitcase up those five flights of stairs. No one else is going to hoist your backpack up into the overhead compartment. It’s all on you.
Technology and solo travel
These days, so many of us travel with a pile of electronics. If you’re with a friend, you can probably cut down on a few gadgets and cords and maybe even share a power strip. Some couples even use one camera or laptop between the two of them.
As a solo traveler, you have to decide how much of that technology you really need. If you run a blog or work from the road, you have to take all the equipment you need. If you love taking photos, pack whatever camera equipment you use. And don’t forget all those cords.
Despite the challenges of packing for solo travel…
…it’s still a great way to go. Even after years of being married, I still take a few solo trips every year. Last year I went to Cyprus and Kosovo by myself, and I have a few ideas for this year.
Solo travel builds confidence. It reminds me that I can actually do all these things on my own. I don’t need a travel partner, even if it is nice sometimes.
I also challenge myself to pack less and less when I travel solo. Since I know I’ll be carrying it all the entire time, I work harder at reducing the weight and number of items that make it into my backpack.
I enjoy meeting new people when I’m traveling by myself. I relish setting my own schedule and doing what I want to do the whole time. And sometimes it’s just fun to know I’m out there exploring on my own and gathering stories and experiences.
So those little packing challenges? Sure, I can handle that.
What kinds of packing challenges have you dealt with while traveling solo?
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