Some people are a little daunted by the idea of travelling solo. Having travelled by myself to a bunch of different countries, it really can be a really fascinating way to explore the world.
When you travel alone you can be in the moment, without distraction, and really soak up all the sights, smells and sounds around you. You’re also more likely to strike up conversations with strangers than you would be if you were engrossed in a discussion with your travel companions.
Travelling on your own can even help to bring a shy person out of their shell. If you visit a non-English speaking country, you get to put your language skills to the test, and it’s this type of interaction with locals that can really add to the cultural experience.
I found that some of the best recommendations of sights or places to eat at, can come from those random and friendly conversations with locals and other travellers. Surely that beats a travel guide book!
Here are some tips to help you organise your next solo journey.
Before you go
- Consider booking a group tour – it’s a good way to get shown the best sites, have a shared experience and meet other people, while still taking time out for yourself when you need a break)
- Staying in hostels is a great way to meet people, especially other solo travellers
- Share your itinerary (flights and accommodation) with loved ones
- Think about how you’ll carry what you need each day – consider a bum bag or cross-body bag so you can keep everything close to you
- Don’t forget travel insurance! Make sure you’re covered for things like medical expenses and lost baggage
On the ground
- When you check in to a hotel, ask for a business card or map so if you get lost, you can ask for directions to get back
- Where available, make use of the free WiFi in hotels and cafes to check in with loved ones – a quick message to let them know where you are, what you’re doing and where you’re headed to next will save them from worrying about you
- Whenever you head out, leave the hotel key at reception – in some countries tourists are targets for bag snatchers so leaving the key behind ensures no one can get into your room
- Lock your suitcase whenever you leave your hotel room
- Keep your passport secure – lock it in the hotel safe or give it to reception
- Don’t carry large amounts of money – often a trip to an ATM means taking out a wad of cash so when you head out, only take what you need and store the rest in the hotel safe
So go on, set aside your fears and give it a try – you never know, travelling alone could be the best tie of your life!
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