Solo travel isn’t for everyone. In fact, I’m one of those people who isn’t especially fond of it. However, I also am one of those people who wouldn’t stop myself from going somewhere just because I couldn’t find a partner in crime to go with. It’s hard to find people who have the ability, flexibility and want to travel to the same places at the same time as you, so sometimes, solo travel is a must.
However, solo travelling doesn’t need to be intimidating. Naturally, we like to be with people that we know, especially when we’re doing something brave like going to a new country, but travelling solo can bring all sorts of its own benefits.
Here are some tips to ensure you have the best time while on your solo adventure.
Stay in hostels
One of the biggest fears of solo travellers is how they are going to meet people, and staying in dorm-style rooms in hostels can be an excellent way. Even if you aren’t too fond of sharing a room with someone, getting a private room in a hostel can have its benefits too. Hostels are made for backpackers, and you’ll meet plenty of people who are also travelling alone. They also often have regular social events at and outside of the hostel which encourage interaction with other guests more so then when you stay in a hotel and stick to yourself.
Bring a book
I often find that eating can be the hardest part about travelling solo. I’m just not a fan of sitting in a restaurant and eating alone. However, trying food while travelling is so important to me, and I don’t want to be restricted to eating in my hotel room or from fast food joints. I find that bringing a book or magazine with you when you head out for a meal can make you feel less uncomfortable. You’ll have something else to do other than eat and stare into space.
Fake it until you make it
There’s safety in numbers—however, that doesn’t mean being alone is completely unsafe. When travelling solo it’s important to use common sense and trust your gut. I also suggest faking it until you make it. When you look confident, like you know what you’re doing and where you are, you appear less vulnerable. Plus, you’ll feel more confident and less scared to be out exploring on your own.
Pack a selfie stick or tripod
A common issue with travelling solo is the question of how you are going to get great travel photos, with you in them, while you’re alone. It can get annoying to ask strangers to always take your photos, and sometimes there’s no one around to do so. I suggest taking a selfie stick or tripod with you. You may feel a bit silly using them at first; however, you won’t head home realizing you have no photos of you on your trip. Some of my best photos were taken with a selfie stick!
Be aware of scams
Educating yourself before you leave on your trip can be valuable whether you’re travelling alone or with a group. There is so much information online about every destination that you can make yourself aware of things to watch out for in the country you’re visiting. For example, when I went to Thailand, I was told it was common for locals to tell you streets were closed and you couldn’t walk down them, only to try and show you a new route, which leads to their friend’s stores. Knowing this in advance, when the locals approached me, I knew right away that they were trying this scam. This gives you a one-up and makes you feel more confident!
Arrive during the day
A new place can seem intimidating when you first land at the airport, but it can seem even more intimidating at night. A city can look entirely different at night versus during the day, and when you’re jet-lagged, culture-shocked, and a bit out of your element, arriving during the day will help you feel more confident. If you can, try to be strategic about when you arrive into a new country.
If you immediately think of solo travel as intimidating and lonely then you are going to have a sour taste about it. The truth is, solo travel can be lonely and intimidating if you make it that way. Instead, embrace it. Embrace that you can do what you want, when you want, and that you are independent enough to travel to a new place all on your own! Solo travel can be empowering—and travel, solo or not, can be life-changing if you let it.
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