Everyonce should try traveling solo at least once. It may seem like a scary thought, but it's really not as bad as you think! We chatted with TLC Fun Taiwan host Samantha Brown about why it's okay to travel alone. Check out her travel tips below:
Most people are afraid of traveling alone. What tips can you give to first-time solo travelers?
"I love traveling alone. And I’ve been all over the world and I have never felt unsafe. I think it’s important. When you travel alone, people care for you more. They see that you're alone and they really make sure that you're okay. And I’ve been to seemingly dangerous countries in Latin America and maybe not-so-good parts in Europe and in Asia. And I always tell people, always trust the hairs on the back of your neck. Basically, trust your gut because you will get a feeling if something is not right. And that’s a real feeling. And then you should just leave whatever situation that is."
"I always talk to the hotel when I’m about to leave and go for a walk. I say, ‘Hey, this is where I’m walking, do you think it’s going to be safe? Is it okay?’ And they’ll definitely give me their opinion. And then I’ll just go out for a walk. And if I start to feel a little uncomfortable, then I just turn around and go the other way. I’ve been traveling for 15 years and I’ve always been all right. In fact, I’ve always had a better time when I’m alone because then you meet people. When you’re alone, you reach out to people more and people reach out to you. And it’s in a good way too. So, I highly recommend traveling alone."
Can you name five essential things travelers should always carry with them?
1. "A calling card. I think you should always carry with you a card where your hotel is, especially if you’re traveling internationally and you don’t speak the language. If you get that card from your hotel then you can give it to the driver or taxi driver and they’ll know exactly where you are and they can get you back to your hotel. You should always travel with that."
2. "You should always travel with a phone network."
3. "An eye mask. I always travel with an eye mask because you’re not on the same time as the other people and the sun comes in and maybe you don’t want to get up [yet]. I find [that] an eye mask always helps."
4. "I always bring ear plugs, and that helps with the sound. There [are] times that there are so many announcements made in an airport or on the plane, and if I just wear ear plugs, then it calms me down. It’s not stressful at the airport."
5. "Tennis balls. I carry two of these tennis balls in my luggage now for close to 15 years. Basically, what I do is, I put these two tennis balls on the ground and I will lay my back on them, and then I’ll push up with my [legs] and I’ll roll the ball down my back. And that just works out all the kinks. And then I’ll put them on the front of my legs and lay on them and roll them down my legs, and then I’ll stand on that to work out my arches, and it will give me the feeling of an expensive massage for nothing and I have it right there. Now, mind you, I understand you’re coming from Southeast Asia where you can get a massage for very little money and [that's] amazing. We don’t get that here in the United States. They are very expensive and it’s very exclusive. [That's why] I love it because when I get back to my hotel, I can just quickly have a stretch out and just feel better. So, those are my travel essentials."
What are your top three travel destinations and why?
"I love Cambodia in Southeast Asia obviously. I love Berlin in Germany, and here in the United States, I love Montana. They’re all very different reasons. Cambodia, I love it because of Angkor Wat and seeing something just unbelievable, you know, being built so long ago. And I also the people, as well as the cuisine; the food there was wonderful. I love Berlin in Germany because I feel like the art scene is really vibrant and happening now. And [there are] so many big cities in Europe that you [can] visit, you're really the past. So, Rome, Florence, Paris, there’s a bit of the past that you're trying to capture, whereas the energy of Berlin, and what it is, is happening now. So, I thought that was really exciting being in a place where all the energy is really in the present, not in the past. And then here in the United States, I love the state of Montana. I live in the northeast, in here in New York City. And so, for me to go out west where everything is big, open—they call it big sky country and it really is a big sky and there’s mountains and there are cowboys. And it’s just a part of the United States heritage that I love and [I'm] really proud of."
What is your ultimate bucket list goal?
"Oh, my bucket list is huge. I would love to go to Finland to see the Aurora Borealis, you know, the stars that happen at night. That’s one of my must, must-sees. I would love to go to a safari in Africa. I would love to do a river boat tour through the rivers of France. And I would like to see all the national parks here in the United States."
Fun Taiwan airs every Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. on TLC. (Encores: Saturdays at 12 noon and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.)