Tips on Traveling Solo
There are beautiful places in this world worth exploring, and it’s a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and experience something exciting and enriching. Although making sure your passport is up to date and you got the proper vaccines for certain destinations, here are 10 tips that will make your adventure give you long lasting memories.
Don’t plan everything.
Traveling solo is not just another trip. It has the potential to be a life changing experience. Refrain yourself from having everything planned and allow some space for spontaneity. I met some of my best friends while traveling solo and by just letting things flow.
Learn about the culture, manners and don’ts.
In India, burping means you’re satisfied and signals the host that the you’ve enjoyed the food and are full. If you eat your whole plate and say it was delicious, the host will take your plate, fill it up and expect you to finish it. In Argentina, men greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. Shorts are not allowed in Thai temples. In Ireland, if someone asks you if you want a beer, you’re having a beer. Learn about the culture, do’s and don’ts from where you are traveling to beforehand and the locals will treat you like a local.
Know where you are.
Unless you’re a purist and believe that getting lost is part of the journey, always bring a map. Exploring a city or a village for the first time is one of the most exhilarating experiences of traveling solo. It’s always a good idea in case you find yourself lost in a non-english speaking country. The app Maps.me is another good option, it allows you to download maps into your phone so you can use them offline in case you’re out of signal/wifi.
Saying “Hello” and “Thanks” goes a long way.
Learn beforehand basic words like “hello” and “thank you” in the native tongue. It really means a lot to local people and can open the door to an enriching cultural experience.
Learn something new.
Scuba diving in the Thai islands, cooking Peruvian food, photography workshops in Iceland or a yoga retreat in India. Or all of them! You can sit on the bench while reading a book and it’s all fine. But nothing beats seeking out local guides and learning something new. These new skills will tap into your creativity and surprise yourself of the things you can create on your own.
Stay in hostels.
If you cringed with this title, you probably watched too many horror movies. Hostels create the perfect environment for solo travels. They allow travelers from all over the world to meet each other. There are several websites where you can search for the hostel that adapts to your needs: Eg. hostelworld.com, booking.com, hostels.com, among others. Choose wisely and always hang out in the communal areas.
Couchsurfing.com is a global online community for backpackers, expats and students. The basic idea is to get free accommodation all over the world but it goes deeper than that, couchsurfing is an exchange of ideas and cultures. When somebody hosts you they often show you parts of their hometown you would never otherwise find. Couchsurfing is free to join, but it is recommended that you give a small gift, which could be an act of kindness like cooking a typical dish from your own country.
Take local transit.
If you are going to a non-English speaking country, research how the system works before you get there or ask at your hostel/hotel before you head out. Also, look for passes and special deals for tourists.
Or drink very responsibly so that you can always come back safe to your hostel/hotel.
Be a minimalist.
Whether you choose the train, bus, or plane to get to your destination, live within the limits of a carry-on bag or backpack. You’ll be happy you did as you manage to move around from destination to destination with greater ease. This also applies for long term travels as you can do laundry anywhere in the world.
Now, you’re ready to get the most out of your adventure. Pack your essentials and enjoy your next solo trip!