Solo travel is more popular than ever right now and with better technology and information available it’s also a lot safer than years gone by. If you’re new to the idea of travelling alone it can seem like there’s lots to consider - and there is! Use our practical guide to prepare plan the trip of a lifetime.
Before you do anything else it’s time to choose your solo travel destination. What’s your travel bucket list? A common misconception is that to complete a solo trip you need to travel halfway across the world for it to count. This is far from the truth. When travelling solo it’s best to choose a location that you’re comfortable with, especially if it’s your first time.
It’s important that you get used to travelling alone before you book your trip. Consider going to the cinema, eating out or touring a museum by yourself to get a feel for it. It’s at this stage where you’ll discover if solo travel is for you. Listen to your mind and decide if you’re comfortable with completing these elements abroad.
Arriving at a new destination can be a little daunting, especially if you have no plans. One of the top tips for solo travel is to have few elements of your trip planned. You can pre book hotels, tours and other attractions and use Google Maps to figure out your commute too.
You might like to pre book these aspects for the initial days and then figure the rest out yourself while you’re over there. Do what best suits you. There’s no doubt about it, having an itinerary for when you arrive will take a lot of pressure off the ‘solo’ aspect of your trip.
You’re mistaken if you think that you’re the only person travelling solo. Lots of people opt to travel alone knowing that they’ll make companions along the way. A good way to do this is by joining group tours. This is your chance to soak up the local culture and history with likeminded people - even if it’s just to ask someone else to take your photo!
Other solo travellers can share honest, hands on experience with you and provide you with tips and recommendations that you can’t find online.
Tip: Another great way to meet people is to stay in a shared dorm in a hostel.
Whether you’re travelling alone or not, chances are you’re packing way too much. Nearly all of us cram our suitcases full of stuff until it reaches the airline baggage weight limits and then use only half the items packed. We also rarely consider the weight of carrying this case around by ourselves.
Make things easier on yourself and pack lightly. Take only the essentials and pack layer able outfits that you can mix and match. Save space for a local phrase book - this you will definitely use!
Tip: New to travelling? Here’s what you should pack for backpacking.
This step is a precautionary method that could save you a lot of stress. It’s good to carry cash as not all places will accept card payment when you’re away. It’s also recommended to bring more than one card with you in case one becomes blocked, lost or stolen. When travelling by yourself it’s important to always have a plan B.
Tip: Sign up for a prepaid card that you can top up as you like and use to pay in the local currency.
Tip: These are the risks you’re taking by travelling without travel insurance.
Now days Data packages are reasonably priced and WIFI is available in almost every café, bar, hostel and hotel. Take advantage of this and keep your loved ones updated on your location and your plans so someone else is aware of where you are and looking out for you. Check in with your friends and family often - even if it’s just to let them know what an amazing time you’re having!
Having the thirst for travel and the self-assurance to do it solo is an amazing thing. Try to enjoy every moment of it.
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