Congratulations on making the decision that you are comfortable enough to do your own thing abroad!
The first step is to figure out what kind of trip you want to do and what your priorities are. Is your priority to relax, catch up with friends, see the sites?
When I travel alone I like to find a central “hub” to stay in then do day trips out from there. Once I have seen all I want in that area, I move to my next place (if I have one) and repeat. This saves you from constantly changing rooms and spending a lot of time “traveling”. Look for day tours, busses, trains or rent a car to get where you want. I don’t like to waste time so I usually book a day tour in the morning and leave my afternoons/evenings open to do whatever I want and explore the city. I’m a big fan of street food and night markets so this works well for me. Also, many cities don’t have much going on in the morning so traveling to a destination allows you maximize your time. If I know I’m going to have a late evening then I leave the next day free to explore the city.
A few booking/money saving tips:
1. Most major cities have a city pass of some kind and/or a hop on hop off bus. I’m a big fan of both. For starters, the bus will usually take you anywhere you want to go for a flat fee for the day. You hop on going whatever direction you need and ride the loop. The city pass gets to into museums/attractions free or at a discounted rate. **note museums usually have a restroom near the entrance. Many places do not have public toilets. So this can be a great way to save yourself from wasting time searching.
2. Day drips. Many tour companies will offer day trips to popular destinations (similar to excursions on cruise ships). Shop around because not all day trips are created equal and read the details. You can usually find one that is going where you want if not, then it’s time to do it yourself. You can book it yourself by hiring a taxi or car service to go where you want. The farther you go and the longer you are gone the more it will cost you. You can also rent a car and drive yourself if you really want to be adventurous. 😁 But if there is something you really want to see and it’s off the beaten path, don’t skip it…just work it out.
3. Alternate modes of transportation. When booking your own trip look into different modes of transportation. Sometimes it’s easier to fly but the train offers incredible views or sailing makes for an incredible day out on the water as well as getting to your destination. Look at commuter trains/flights/boats and travel like a local rather than a tourist at a fraction of the cost. *check out first class…sometimes it’s cheaper to travel like a local in style than to travel like a tourist. 😁 first class often has larger seats, WIFI, more comfort and service and better food and drinks. So don’t limit yourself.
4. Food! Do not eat at large worldwide chains while traveling. Eat local. Look for places with long lines of locals waiting to eat there. The food will usually be cheap and amazing! Eat on the go from street vendors. If it smells amazing it will probably taste amazing. Ask locals what their favorite is and give it a try. Also, always have snacks in your bag for travel delays. They happen. When they do you will be happy you have snacks. Last tip…eating on the go can be messy/sticky. Buy a pair of chopsticks in a “case” and learn to eat with them. You will not need to worry about if your hands are clean or where to wash your hands on the go.