More and more people are opting to travel solo these days. And why shouldn’t they? After all, the exhilarating experience of traveling independently without instructions from an annoying companion holds charm of its own. On a more serious note, people go on solo expeditions for lots of reasons. Some want to recuperate from a broken heart, some to do a bit of soul-searching, while others just want to cut loose from their mundane lifestyles and jet off to have an exciting adventure. All perfectly good reasons. With air travel so economical these days, we’ve seen people in their 30’s as well as 60’s going on solo trips! Whatever the reasons, you should go on a solo trip at least once in your lifetime. There is something inexplicably thrilling and beautiful about traveling to a place where no one knows who you are.
If you’re planning on taking a solo trip be sure to have a checklist of important travel-related things. Shared by people who’ve extensively traveled alone, here are top 10 tips of paramount importance to be kept in mind while traveling on your own.
- Pack light, pack smart.
So you’re traveling by yourself, but do you really need those 6 pairs of shoes, extra bath towels, innumerable gadgets (more than one camera, ipods, laptops an so on) and all your jewelry? Pack as light as you can to be comfortable when handling your luggage. Try this, pack only the essentials first – toiletries, change of clothes, a good pair of multipurpose shoes, a first aid kit, etc. All these should fit comfortably in a reasonable-size backpack. If you have the temptation to stuff in more things with thoughts like “incase i need this,” or “probably might need this,” instantly dismiss the idea of packing them. Whatever you don’t need, don’t pack. Everything else will be available at your travel destination.
- Plan accommodation wisely.
When you’re on your own, staying at swanky expensive hotels is not really a necessity. Instead, try to rent an apartment or a room at a guest house central to whichever city you are traveling to. Not only will you save more this way but you will also have easy access to local hotspots. You need not worry about safety as every place has its own security measures these days. Always keep someone informed of your whereabouts at all times just to be on the safe side. Keep in touch with friends and family to let them know you are safe.
- Ensure to follow certain safety measures.
Make sure to leave a note for the person you are in touch with at your accommodation about your travel itinerary and whereabouts. Try not to look too much like a typical tourist – backpack and hat on, camera in hand and head lost in a map. Wear regular clothes as opposed to typical tourist attires (for example T-shirts that read “I love New York”) and mingle with local people. A solo traveler with no one to watch his back is indeed a soft target. But that need not always be true. Maintain proper timings such as leaving early in the morning for your sightseeing trip and returning before dark. Keep the above things in mind and you should be perfectly fine.
- Sort out money-matters before boarding your flight.
When it comes to cash there can be no such thing as being overly cautious. Always think ahead so that you’re not cash-strapped and in a difficult position. Using ATMs instead of carrying large sums is a better idea anyday. Keep an emergency fund separate from your regular funds. That way you will have a backup source of funds in case of an emergency. Try to keep you credit card and other such cards separate so that in the worst case scenario where if you lose one, you will still have the other.
- Get good rest and stay sober.
Solo travelers need to always have their wits about them. Enjoy a drink or two but make sure it is in safe company and within limits. Ensure to always have a good night’s sleep before embarking on an adventure to explore new sights each day. If you’re not well rested the sightseeing trip will be unpleasant and in vain. Take good care of your health and have a fun time on your trip.
- Make new friends!
One of the most exciting parts of traveling is to meet interesting people. If you’re the shy type who frets about socialising and is most comfortable in one’s own company, try asking a question as a conversation starter. Asking for help or advice is one of the best ways to break the ice with people. Learn a few words (greetings) in the local language and try using them the next time someone smiles at you. You’ll be appreciated for the effort and make friends easily. Of course this doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind and trust just about anyone. It’s okay to laugh and have fun with newly-made acquaintances, but maybe you should hold off before asking them to watch your money.
- Have your fine dining experience at noon.
It’s always a better idea to have lunch rather than dinner at fine restaurants. The crowd is much less and the cost more economical at this time. You will be able to avoid the noisy hustle and bustle of the evening crowd, when waiters are on full speed to deliver their best to endless customers. This way, not only can you take your time to order and enjoy the local cuisine, you will also have more chances of interacting with local diners.
- Try to explore more on foot.
Apart from being recommended as one of the best forms of exercise, walking is also a great way to explore new places. Where to stop, what to look at and why, it’s all up to you! Walk at your own pace, mingle with locals and get an incomparable sense of adventure as you traverse through lanes and study the nuances of local architecture and culture. Although make sure that you are well-fed and well-rested before embarking on a walking tour of the place you’re visiting. It’s also a good idea to learn how to use local rail networks and buses. It gives you a chance to study and experience their way of transit.
- Click a ton of pictures!
Not that anyone needs reminding, but clicking pictures while on a solo trip is a thrill only solo travelers can understand. Several times solo explorers have been asked if they’re shadowed by professional cameramen on their trips. Yes, the pictures can be that good. With the vast availability of a multitude of technological devices in the modern age, clicking splendid photos has become child’s play. You can make use of any or all advanced gadgets such as phones with self-timers, selfie-sticks, camera tripods, bluetooth remote and more. You can even ask friendly strangers you meet along the way to click a few snaps of, for and with you!
- Have fun!
The most important part when traveling solo is to actually enjoy the trip! Otherwise the entire journey and the efforts put into it will be in vain. Make new friends, speak to locals and fellow travelers, enjoy the food and scenic beauty of the place, click great pictures and don’t forget to laugh and have fun. Take a chance and go on whatever adventure the place has to offer. So push away second thoughts, book cheap airline tickets to take that plunge and travel to an exciting destination all by yourself. Who knows, maybe your trip will inspire others to go on solo expeditions of their own!
Planning solo trips is much easier these days with the limitless availability of cheap plane tickets. People can go from one corner of the world to another without any difficulty. With various agencies offering discounted airfares – be it last minute flights or business class flights – you have the option to conduct a thorough flight search before you book a flight.