Traveling alone has become somewhat of a trend over recent years. People are choosing to head off to brand new countries and pastures all alone in an attempt to ‘find themselves’ or simply gain a new perspective on the world and go home with exciting tales to regale their friends.
However, going traveling solo isn’t something you should just dive into head first without doing your research first. These tips for solo travellers should help you to have the most amazing experiences while staying safe:
Tips For Solo Travellers
Save More Money Than You Think You’ll Need
Having some money saved is so important for solo travellers. While it’s true you can travel on a shoestring budget, having more than you think you’ll need will help you to have a better time as you’ll have peace of mind. Take into account your flights, accommodation, food, souvenirs, and anything else that will apply to your trip.
As a solo traveler, you’re going to be doing a lot of moving around. You’re not going to want to carry your whole life with you every time you go somewhere new. Pack light. Take less than you think you need. Don’t pack anything ‘just in-case.’ It may help in certain countries to purchase clothing there rather than taking your own, so you fit in rather than stand out like a sore thumb.
Find Places To Cut Back In Your Budget
Even if you have a ton of money saved, you don’t want to squander it. You want to spend more money on the rich experiences, and less wherever possible, So, where can you cut back in your budget? When it comes to eating, food on the lunch menu tends to be cheaper as it’s earlier in the day, rather than going out for dinner. Street food is also cheap and amazing, but make sure you go to a street that is highly populated, as the food will be fresher!
You could even cut back in your budget by staying in hostels or by couchsurfing. Do your research before deciding on accommodation so you know you’re going to be safe!
Plan Your Route Out Roughly Beforehand
You don’t have to have all of your plan set out in stone. In fact, that can suck the fun right out of it. Instead, plan your route out roughly beforehand. Start by booking your initial flight, but try to remain flexible so if you fall in love with a place or meet new friends, you can easily change your plans.
Arrange A Time To Contact Family/Friends Back Home
Make sure you stay in touch with your family and friends back home. They’ll worry about you more than you think, and you want them to know you’re safe. Set a time each week perhaps for a Skype call or a quick phone call. Many places you visit will have internet cafes.
Leave A Note In Your Room
If you’re going somewhere alone or even with a friend you’ve just met, it’s a good idea to send a quick text to family or leave a note in your room.
Don’t Wear Your Finest Clothing/Jewellery
Wearing your finest clothing and jewellery can leave you open to pickpockets, thieves, and scammers. Not every place is like this, but you will attract attention to yourself. Do your best to blend in, unless you want lots of questions and people pushing you to buy things from stores and stalls, even if you’re just walking by!
Always Take Out Insurance
You never know what might happen. Whether you’re planning on going snorkeling and skydiving or simply laying on a beach, travel insurance is imperative to your trip and peace of mind.
Consider Making Money On The Road
If you’re worried about running out of money on the road, consider making some while you travel. If you’re planning on staying in one place for a while, it can be a good idea to get a working visa and any other necessary licenses and trying to find bar work, or something similar. Alternatively, you could work from your laptop if you have certain skills. You could design logos and websites, or even write content for people while you travel.
Don’t Wait To Find Airport Transportation and Taxis
After traveling for a long time, you don’t want to spend any longer hanging around airports than you need to. You want to get to where you’re going as quickly as possible so you can make the most of your trip. Book your airport transportation in advance and plan your taxi trips and you’ll reduce stress, time and money dramatically when you arrive in a new place.
Download Helpful Apps To Your Portable Devices
There are so many helpful apps that can make your trip more enjoyable, so look up some apps that may suit you and download them to portable devices beforehand. There are apps that can tell you where to eat, apps that can give you different routes, and even apps that can help you to communicate with people who don’t speak your language.
Make Friends With Other Travelers
Chances are, you’ll meet other travelers while you explore. Of course, it’s up to you whether you want to make friends with these people or not. You can simply chat with them and ask them about their experiences – you don’t have to stick with them or start doing things with them unless you really want to. It’s always worth engaging in conversation with other travelers, as you’ll more than likely learn something new and exciting about the place you’re visiting, and get another perspective.
Alternatively, if you’re going out and would rather not be bothered, take a book with you. This will help when eating alone especially.
Don’t Forget To Speak To The Locals
Speaking to the locals can really help you to enhance your trip too. They may be able to tell you about some hidden, untouched beach or some other unspoiled spot that hasn’t been discovered by tourists yet. You might end up meeting their families, making friends for life, and being shown other cool things in the area! Locals in most countries will be happy to help a traveller and give them advice.
Are Things Different For Female Travelers?
Many people still believe that it’s dangerous for female travellers to go solo especially, but this is completely false. It’s perfectly fine for females to go travelling alone, providing they take the same steps as outlined above. There may only be minor differences. For example, cultures in certain countries expect women to be married, or always accompanied by a male. If they see a woman travelling alone, they will ask lots of questions, and this can freak you out. It can help to have a story prepared when you are asked ‘where is your husband?’. Usually, saying he is sick or has gone to a different stall/store will help.
Also, be prepared for having your picture taken (because you look so different to what they’re used to) or being stared at (perhaps you have a bright hair color). This can happen to both sexes, and no harm is usually meant by it.
Above all else, be prepared to spend a little more on your safety when it comes to your budget. For example, arrange to arrive at a new destination by the light of day rather than going on a bus/taxi/train by night. You’ll be more aware of your surroundings and likely feel much better about the situation.
Enjoy your travels!