The first time I went on a solo trip, I was admittedly nervous. I thought: What would I do with myself the whole time? Would I get lonely? But now, after undertaking quite a few solo trips — many for weeks or months at a time — it’s hard for me to imagine doing it any other way. Any city, even New York City, can be an incredible solo adventure. In some ways, it is even better that way. Here are my top tips for exploring NYC on your own:
Stay in a Hostel
Just like in Europe, there are tons of hostels in NYC, and staying in one is a great way to meet people. Traveling by yourself doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole time alone. In fact, I find that you open yourself up to many possibilities when you travel this way. When I’ve traveled with groups of friends, we rarely go outside of the group to meet people, because we don’t have to. But when you’re on your own, you suddenly become much more approachable. I’ve made some great friends on my solo travels.
Find Events to Go To
Just like in any other city, it’s not super fun to go out on the town in NYC alone. So if you’re looking to meet up with other travelers and locals, I highly recommend tracking down events to attend. Couchsurfing and Meetup are both great resources. Couchsurfing, in particular, will let you reach other travelers, while Meetup is a better resource for meeting locals.
Remember, You Can Do Whatever You Want
The best part of traveling alone? You don’t need to ask anyone else what they want to do that day. If you want to get up early and hit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Natural History Museum, The Guggenheim, and MOMA all in one day, do it! If you want to sleep in late, roll out of bed, and head to the nearest bodega for a bagel and schmear, you can do that too. New York is a great place to explore by yourself because you’ll still be constantly surrounded by people.
It’s Safe, I Promise
While traveling always comes with a level of concern for safety, many women shy away from it because they’re worried about safety. But, especially in this day and age, it is very possible to stay safe and have fun. New York historically had a lot of issues with crime, but it has changed a lot in the last couple of decades. In fact, because there are always people around, it feels safer than a lot of smaller U.S. cities. It might seem like everyone is in their own little world, but people are paying attention and will help each other out when required.
As with any travels, you have to be smart. Stay alert; don’t walk down dark, deserted streets; keep an eye on your belongings at all times; and you’ll be fine. Another benefit is that you can now easily keep in touch with friends and family via social media and update them on how you are. And since your map is now on your phone, no one needs know you’re not a local.
It’s OK to Eat/Drink Alone
When I traveled to NYC, and even when I lived there for a while, I’d frequently take myself out for dinner or drinks. And I swear, you probably won’t be the only one in the place doing it. It’s not seen as weird. Sometimes I’d find myself befriending the bartender or fellow patrons, or I’d just read a book and enjoy my own company. Learn to embrace the peace of it.
Traveling alone to NYC is not only totally possible but can be an incredible experience. With the opportunity to explore as much of the city as you want at your own pace, you can truly experience the glory of New York City.