One of the greatest joys of travelling solo is you’re completely free to follow your bliss. Exploring without a rigid itinerary can be a beautiful adventure – but a little planning can make the unplanned even fuller. Before you go wherever the wind blows you, plot out these basics, and you’ll set yourself up for a successfully unforgettable solo travel experience.

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Take Your Time

Give yourself plenty of time to explore, or you’ll be in danger of falling into the trap of a rushed or rigid itinerary. Worse yet, you’ll lose track of time thanks to your sweet freedom and feel like things were over before they began. Giving yourself time doesn’t mean you have to have months of travel time to explore itinerary free, however. It just means you need to be reasonable with the time you have. Don’t expect to see all of Europe in two weeks – decide on a few cities, and you’ll have plenty of leeway to come and go as you please.

Get Your Priorities in Order

Travelling on your own means you get to do and see all the things that make you the most excited and passionate. If you don’t prioritize them, however, you’ll miss out on some of the best experiences your personalized trip has to offer. Do your research and list out some “must-dos” in advance. The best part is that they don’t necessarily have to be typical tourist sites – they can be as geeky as you like. Going to the UK? If you’re a Big Doctor Who fan, put the museum in Cardiff on the list. Beatles lovers will want to be sure to explore Liverpool, and Shakespeare fanatics will be in heaven seeing a show at the Globe Theater. Your must-dos can be as quirky and original as you – just make sure you know what and where they are, and make a priority out of making your way to see them as you wander.

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Know Where You’re Going to Sleep At Night

Having everything up in the air is part of the fun, but arriving in a foreign city and discovering that the hostels you planned on dropping into are booked is an unpleasant experience – especially when you’re travelling solo. Even if you have nothing else planned, make sure you have a bed waiting for you at your next destination, especially if you’re arriving in the evening. Spur of the moment adventure is fun. Feeling unsafe is not.

Follow Your Heart – and Your Gut

Feel free to make it all about you. If you decide you hate a city you intended to spend a week in, get on the next bus out of town. If you love where you are and your heart is breaking to leave, linger a couple extra days. Spend hours watching street performers in a park, or spend two minutes at an iconic site you don’t find thrilling. Make connections with new friends and adventure together – or forge your own path. Follow your heart wherever it wants to go, and you’ll find all kinds of happiness on your path. Just remember to follow your gut too. Don’t be afraid to say no to anything – or anyone- that give you bad vibes. Solo travel is all about self-care, so follow your gut to take care of your safety- and follow your heart to take care of your soul.