Solo Travel Soon? 10 Practical Tips to Guide You
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.— Mark Twain
There’s a whole lot of bravery required in traveling the world solo especially if you’re doing it for the first time. If you are really determined to venture out on your own, then you need to believe in yourself first. You should not let fear hinder you.
Yes, traveling alone to a new place for the first time might seem dangerous, but it’s not really as scary as what everyone thought. But before you take on the challenge, here are some practical tips for first-time solo travelers.
Choose the tourist destination you're most comfortable with.
There are certain places that are easy for solo travelers to navigate with while there are also places that are a bit overwhelming for first-time solo travelers. Therefore, the first thing that you need to do is to research places that are safe for solo travelers, especially if you’re a female.
This will also depend upon your personal preferences. What may be an ideal place for others may not be something that you fancy. The important thing is to choose a destination where you will feel safe and comfortable.
You do not have to be somewhere far if you’re not yet comfortable. Perhaps, you can start off with traveling in a place within your country and once you’re comfortable with traveling on your own, you can eventually venture somewhere outside the country.
But if you really want to explore tourist destinations abroad, then go for the most popular. Many people have visited these places so you will find lots of valuable information online whether in travel blogs or vlogs. This way it will be easier for you to visualize what to expect when you go on tour in that country.
Plan as early and thoroughly as possible so you have peace of mind.
Planning is everything and that’s especially important if you’re traveling on your own for the first time. You should also have a backup plan. Remember, you’re in this on your own so you won’t have anyone to rely on when things don’t go well according to plan.
First, draft an itinerary. What are the places you plan to visit? How are you going to visit these places? How are you going to reach your hotel coming from the airport? When creating a plan, picture yourself out like you are already traveling. If you need to take public transportation, take note of the bus numbers, etc. Download mobile applications that can help you during your travel like Google Maps.
Never ever forget to write down the emergency numbers of the government authorities of the country you are going to visit. You may need them when unexpected situations arise so keep a copy and give one to your loved ones too.
Pack light at all times so as not to stress you out during the travel.
It’s always tempting to pack more than you should especially for female travelers. But if you want to travel comfortably and conveniently, you should learn the art of light packing. Come up with a list of things that you believe are necessary for your trip.
If you believe that the list is just too long, evaluate the list and see if you can take some items off. As for your clothing, you don’t need to bring your entire wardrobe with you. Consider the fact that you may actually end up shopping at the place where you’re going so you don’t really need to bring that many clothes!
Try using rolling backpacks too so you won't waste energy on carrying a travel bag. Whenever you feel tired, you can just convert the bag into a trolley and when you need to go as quick as possible to your next destination, then you can just carry it again as a backpack.
Stay connected with loved ones so they are well-informed.
In this day and age of the internet, traveling solo has never been easier and safer. Make sure you get in touch with people back home and update them about your whereabouts. This should be easy especially since most places these days offer free Wi-Fi, such as in the airport, hotels, cafes, malls, and other public places.
If you’re traveling outside the country and want to be online at all times, consider getting a local sim that comes with a data package. In most countries these days, there are free sim cards given to tourists at the airport and you just need to pay for the data.
Socialize with your fellow travelers to avoid loneliness.
Traveling solo can get lonely sometimes. Therefore, try to socialize with fellow travelers. Don’t hesitate to approach people at your hotel, coffee shops, and other public places to have a small chat.
Look for other solo travelers who seem friendly and see if you can have a good conversation with them. This is also a great way to gather tips and advice, especially from seasoned solo travelers. Of course, it’s also a great way to gain a friend!
Another way to socialize with people is to join group tours and cooking classes. In some countries, there are free walking tours where you get to join other tourists and explore the city with a local guide. So take advantage of these so you won’t get lonely on your trip. This is one of the best ways to have an enjoyable solo travel.
Be mindful of the people around as you are new to them.
Sure, socializing is good, but you can never be too trusting. Always follow your instincts if you feel something is wrong. For instance, if you are out partying with new groups of friends, and you’re offered a drink, you may want to think twice about drinking especially if you’re a female. There are instances of female travelers getting drugged so you have to be careful with who you drink and socialize with. If you are a female solo traveler, you might find this article helpful, Tips for Women Traveling Alone.
Keep an eye on important things like travel documents.
Remember that as a solo traveler, you could be a potential target for theft so you have to always keep a watchful eye of your belongings. Always keep your passport, money, credit cards, and other valuables with you at all times. When traveling on an overnight bus or train, wear a belt bag where you can keep your valuables.
That way, if someone reaches out to your bag while you’re sleeping, you’ll wake up immediately. Above all, try to avoid wearing expensive jewelry when walking the streets and avoid displaying your expensive gadgets in public places.
Avoid becoming the center of attention especially in streets.
Traveling solo is not really dangerous, however, you’re often more vulnerable when you are all by yourself. So try to blend in as much as you can. Research about the local customs of the country you’re visiting so you will know how to act and dress up.
If you’re visiting conservative countries, try to dress as modestly as possible. Wear the same type of clothing that locals would wear. That way, you will not attract the attention of scammers who are out to victimize gullible tourists.
Politely ask someone to take photos or videos of you.
One of the challenges of traveling solo is in taking photos of yourself. The key is in politely asking other travelers to take a picture of you. As much as possible, look for people who carry an expensive SLR camera with them to take a photo of you.
There’s a good chance that the person knows how to take great photos so use that to your advantage. Also, since the person owns an expensive camera, it’s unlikely that he or she will run off with your phone!
Choose your accommodation wisely so you have a good rest.
It’s important that you book your hotel as early as possible. In fact, this should be done during the initial planning stage of your trip. Some travelers book 3 to 5 months ahead of time. Others book weeks before. It just depends on the season, especially during summer vacations and long holidays.
Look for hotels that are easily accessible. Is it somewhere near a train station, airport or a bus station? Is it near to the points of interests, landmarks or events you're going to check out?
Has there been any solo travelers who stayed at that place and how was their experience? Is it near a food establishment? Most importantly, is it located in a safe neighborhood?
The list goes on. Do your research well. Reading travel blogs is not enough though. You have to check out reviews from travelers who have stayed in the hotel. Be very patient. Do not just compare hotels in terms of prices and amenities, but the comfort and peace these accommodations can give you as a solo traveler.
So what are your plans on your next travel?
Traveling solo is not really as difficult as it seems. So if you’ve been longing to travel the world yet you can’t find someone who can join you, go ahead, and do it on your own! Do not ever let other people hold you back from living your dreams! So book your ticket now and make sure you keep in mind all the practical tips above.