There’s something to be said for the life epiphanies that happen when you are completely alone with your thoughts.

When you travel solo –you change–fundamentally. You become the truest version of yourself because you have no one to impress, no one else’s standards to heed….it’s literally just you and the world.

This is not to say that traveling with others is a bore, but traveling solo is just simply a different experience.

Before you book your ticket for 1, here are 5 important recommendations for solo travel:

1. Have an itinerary – Book as many things in advance as possible. Even if you have a loose itinerary, compile as many dates and lodging, transportation and excursion details as you can into an itinerary that you can leave with friends or family. It is important that someone knows where you are traveling and has contact information in case of an emergency.

2. Always carry identification & Embassy information – You are alone, so it is important to always keep identification on you. I like to carry a photo copy of my passport just in case I run into trouble. I also carry with me the addresses and phone numbers of the U.S. Embassies in the country I am visiting. The U.S. State Department also has the Safe Traveler Program (STEP) in which you can register before you leave home. Registering your travels with the STEP program makes the government aware of its citizens who are traveling in other countries. This is a good idea in light of the global political climate where country relations can change in an instant.

3. Get to know hotel staff– It never hurts to have a few extra eyes watching out for you. Take time to chat with the hotel concierge or B&B owners. You will get good recommendations on things to see and places to eat–and by developing those relationships, your new friends will keep an eye out for your safety.

4. Know the culture – It is important to respect the culture where you are visiting. Do your homework to find out the kind of attire that is appropriate and the social norms in that country. It is always a safe bet to pack conservative clothing and leave the jewelry behind. You want to blend-in — not stand-out.

5. Listen to gut feelings – There’s a reason we come equipped with what many call a 6th sense, or intuition. Like animals, our bodies can ‘sense’ danger or send us signals when something just isn’t right. It is imperative to listen to these gut feelings when traveling solo. If you’re in a marketplace and something feels uncomfortable–get out. If you are walking alone at night and something seems amiss…hail a taxi and return to your hotel.

Solo travel is all about: being smart; being informed; being aware; being prepared and beholding the enlightened “you” that emerges on the other side.