I went on my first "Solo" international trip to Aruba a couple of years ago and wanted to share some tips.
1. TRY TO PACK LESS AND TRAVEL LIGHT
Only pack the essentials, buy the less-needed stuff on the go. Sometimes you end up not using the less-needed stuff even once.. and there will be no one to help you with that extra weight, so it’s a better idea to buy it as you go when you need it. I packed tons of makeup and only used my lipstick one evening for a white party I attended. Don't worry about the makeup, just have fun!
Pick a bar/restaurant/café inside your resort/hotel or somewhere locally and visit it daily. The staff and other regular visitors will start to recognize you and you can make temporary friends. This will also help you in getting insider local advises and tips. I have my some great connections during my travels, I stay in touch with most of them, and I always have someone I can reach out to when I visit again.
3. USEFUL INFORMATION
Always keep useful information such as address, phone number etc. of the place where you’re staying at just in case you ever forget. Store this information on your phone or on a piece of paper and always carry it with you so you don’t have any problem asking your way around.
4. TRAVEL APPS
Download travel apps to travel solo with ease. Some of my favorites are Tripit, Around Me, TripAdvisor, Maplets, XEcurrency and MESH
5. GROUP TOURS
Sign up for group tours to meet other people. You might find people with something in common.. and believe me that’s all you need to break the ice.
6. STAY CONNECTED
Download Skype//WhatsApp etc. to stay in touch with friends and family back home. Very useful when you feel lonely and just want to talk with someone you know.
7. DON’T BE SHY
Ask people questions or just ask them to take a picture of you, most people don't mind....some will even ask "Hey, can we all take a picture together?." You can learn a lot about the place your visiting from locals (most things you won't find online) this works best for me because I enjoy hanging with the locals and sometimes go off the beaten path and really get a feel for the culture and people.
8. TAKING PICTURES
If you don’t always want to ask others to take pictures for you, Get a GoPro. You can capture a LOT in one frame and GoPro photos are 200% cooler than photos taken from a normal camera. They also have great selfie sticks with tripods and remotes. Drones are great too, but keep in mind there are some places where drones are prohibited.....Cuba is definitely one of those places!
Avoid fast food if you don’t like dining alone. Go to a café or a bar where the atmosphere is more laid back and chilled, making it easier for you to meet new people.
10. DON'T BE AFRAID
Solo travel gives you a chance to listen to your gut and control what direction you want to head. It allows you to reflect on your decisions and discover more about what makes you, you. Spending even a minimal time in solitude will allow you to embark on an inward journey of self-discovery
11. If you ever plan a trip with a travel group, check to see if they have a roommate matching program, this is a great way to meet others and cut some cost.