The thought of solo travel can be daunting, and this has stopped many people from actually doing it. But while travelling alone requires you to be more careful and vigilant, it does come with some perks, like the liberty to choose what to do and where to go, taking photos as many as you’d like for the perfect photo print to go on your wall or album, and the self-discovery that many people experience when travelling solo.
If you’re about to embark on a solo journey, here are a few tips that hopefully can help with your preparation and travel.
- Research and plan beforehand
Everybody does research on the internet before they go to new places, but when you’re planning to travel alone, set aside ample time for thorough and meticulous <planning. In addition to researching the accommodation, destinations, places to eat, and routes to get to these places, make sure you have the information for the local emergency numbers, average prices for basic necessities, average fare to get from point A to point B, and any other information for backup plans.
- Book in advance
When you do your research online, you have the chance to compare the prices and offers of the things in your destination, so take advantage and make your choice before your trip. From accommodation, tours, to airport transport, if possible, book in advance. It will give you the security that’s much needed when you’re travelling alone, and it’s also a good way to avoid getting ripped off. It’s always comforting when you know things have been arranged when you arrive in a new place. Sometimes, it’s also a cheaper option if you pay online as you don’t have to deal with currency exchange.
- Travel light
Whether you’re travelling for a short or long term trip, you don’t need more than 15 kg of clothes and supplies. Pack light, as it will help make everything easier, and you can move more quickly and efficiently. A carry-on and a backpack or cabin-size suitcase should be enough. If you stay for a long time in a place, you can do a laundry at your accommodation or at a launderette.
- Be friends with your alarm
Since you’ll be alone, you’ll need to take care of everything by yourself. Set your alarm for crucial things, just in case you fall asleep. For example, if you have a long layover, set your alarm 15 minutes before boarding time as a precaution. If you have a tour booked at a certain time, set an alarm an hour before, just in case you forget about the plan.
- Exchange your money before your trip
If possible, exchange your money at home, or before your trip. You’ll have done your research for the place with the best exchange rate by now, and it’s good to have cash ready with you on the journey just in case you need it for an emergency. Avoid exchanging your money in places like airports or other tourist destination areas, as the rates won’t be good (in fact, they will be really, really bad).
- Learn the local language
Wherever you go, it’s always useful to know the basics language and important phrases. The locals always appreciate tourists who make an effort to learn their language. Of course, you don’t need to be an advanced speaker, but words and phrases like,‘thank you’ or ‘do you know where to go to the station?’ will be helpful.
- Look confident
Predators target vulnerable people, so try to look confident, even if you’re feeling intimidated or completely lost. Download the offline version of Google Maps and Google Translate before your trip. You won’t always have the internet, and just in case there’s nobody to ask, you’ll be equipped to guide yourself until you can find someone to ask for advice.
- Check up regularly with someone back home
As a precautionary step, it’s useful to regularly check-in with a person back home, so they know that you’re fine. It’s also a good idea to share your itinerary with them to let them know your whereabouts.
- Make friends
One of the advantages of travelling alone is you’ll get the courage to get out of comfort zone. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to new people, travel is where you get to try new things. Hang out in the common room or lounge of your accommodation to converse with the fellow travellers, chat with the locals, and open conversations. More often than not, this will lead to the sharing of travel tips and amazing stories, or the hidden gems in the area. If you’re lucky, you can join the fellow travellers for group discounts that are sometimes offered for tours and entrance tickets.
- Document your travel
You might experience the adventure alone, but that doesn’t mean the stories don’t get to be shared. As you don’t have anyone from home to reminisce about the adventure with, documenting your travel is one of the most valuable things to do. Whether you use your phone camera or a more advanced digicam, take photos, and write little notes of interesting or amusing things you find in a particular place. When you get home, print your photos and share the story with your loved ones, and one day when you want to look back, all you have to do is flick through your photos and be transported back to those places.
At the end of the day, just remember to have fun and embrace the moment. If you’d like to preserve your travel memories, visit www.photojaanic.com to bring your best moments into your life.