The idea of travelling alone can be scary for a lot of people, but most of them end up describing their first solo trip as an almost religious experience. It can be inspirational and adventurous, and you get to be in complete control of everything.
Solo travelling allows you to travel entirely on your own terms, connect with people when you want to or avoid them completely when you wish to be alone. Take in the new surroundings with full attention, travel at your own speed, eat where and when you want to, only do the things that interest you and spend money on things with full liberty.
Of course, going solo has its own downsides like safety concerns, loneliness and higher expenses. But with a little planning and saving, you can overcome all this and have an amazingly fun and challenging trip. Solo travelling is very personal, and you will discover yourself while you’re exploring new places.
Here are a few travelling tips for an aspiring solo traveller.
Usually, the first concern that a solo traveller has is safety. Although safety in numbers is not necessarily real, having a partner makes you less vulnerable to con artists and criminals.
- Stay secure by blending in and not drawing attention to yourself as a tourist.
- Plan ahead and try to arrive during the day.
- Carry your identification in more than one place.
- Drink responsibly.
- Introduce yourself by the first name only during conversations and don’t tell people where you’re staying.
Meet the locals and learn a few words
Interact with the locals and learn more about their culture. Learn a few words of the local language and communicate in the native tongue whenever possible. Learn how to say ‘no’ and the local nonverbal gesture for ‘no’ and this can save you from a lot of awkward situations.
Buy travel insurance
Having travel insurance is even more necessary while you’re travelling solo. Usually, it covers accidental and medical expenses, evacuation or transportation to medical care, lost items, cancelled flights and helps in replacing lost documents. While choosing an insurance to read the fine print and carefully go through the benefits, you will be getting.
Save up and budget carefully
Travelling solo is usually more expensive because you cannot split all the expenses. Therefore, you need to save up before you leave and keep track of your budget. Try to avoid the single supplement by sharing your room or staying at a hostel. Keep a lookout for solo travel deals and offers that can reduce your tour cost. Book solo-friendly accommodations at homestays, B&BS and small inns.
Dining alone can be the most difficult thing to do for some people, but it’s usually not as unpleasant as you imagine.
- Chat with the staff and become a regular at your favourite restaurant.
- Eat at the bar or a counter seat and mingle with other people.
- Bring reading materials that can keep you occupied. This might even draw other solo travellers towards you.
- If you’re on a shoestring budget look out for discounts and vouchers for cheap meals.
- Eat well and stay healthy. There’s no harm in indulging a little occasionally.
Meet new people
Just because you’re travelling alone does not meet you have to be lonely. Solo travelling is actually a great way to meet new people. Connect with other travellers wherever you can, strike up conversations and pick up local tips. Hang out, travel and share meals with short-term friends. But, be careful enough to stay secure. Don’t give out too many personal information and trust nobody too much.
Pack as little as you can so that you can carry your luggage by yourself easily. This way you can save time and money at airports. You can stay mobile and avoid porters, and opt for buses instead of taxis. Fewer luggage will also make you less of a target. Be discreet and don’t flash around any expensive jewellery or electronics.
Take time off once in a while
Pace yourself and stay in whenever you feel like it’s getting too hectic. It’s entirely okay to spend the occasional night watching TV or reading books. If you feel lonely, call or video chat with people back home.
Challenge yourself, face your fears and rediscover yourself in the process. Plan well but also remember to have a lot of fun. Take plenty of pictures to memorialize your trip.