You’ve made your travel plans and are now arriving your destination. What are some things you need to do to have the best solo trip ever?
- Safety: This is very important especially for a solo traveler. In regards to this situation here is what I advice-
- Research on the stability of the area.
- Keep your family updated by calling, messaging or emailing them
- For women– be careful, some people like to take advantage of solo female travelers. Don’t tell anyone your itinerary or your accommodation location. Avoid going to isolated areas. If someone asks if you are alone tell them you have some friends waiting for you (I know it’s bad to lie but this is for protection). Some people have suggested putting a ring on your index finger to ward off unwanted flirting. I haven’t found a reason to do that yet.
- Scams- Be wary of pick pockets, menu cover schemes and so forth.
- Inform host, hotel or hostel staff on your whereabouts
- Register in your embassy (if you wanna be extra safe)
- Open Mind: I have to admit that as I traveler you are not necessary going to agree or like every aspect of a country’s culture. With that being said, remember that the purpose of traveling is to learn new things. So keep an open mind, be respectful, be polite and pick what’s good from that culture.
- Feeling alone– As a solo traveler, there will be an inevitable moment while traveling that you’d wish you had a friend, family member or significant other enjoying this fun experience with you. This is normal. Don’t feel bad for yourself. Not everyone has the opportunity to do what they want on their own terms. Remind yourself that you are doing this for YOU and no one else. Creating inner happiness is the key to a fulfilling life. Besides that, when in the future, you get busy or you get married or you have children, you’ll definitely be reminiscing on this moment of freedom where you had no dire obligations. So relish on your present, now where you can do absolutely anything you want in your own terms.
If what I mentioned earlier hasn’t consoled you yet, well here’s a good news-Traveling alone doesn’t necessary mean you’ll be alone– You can definitely make some friends along the way. Here are some tricks I’ve used that have always worked for me.
- Meet up groups: There are tons of meet up groups around the world. Check out the website, type in what activity interests you and look for a day people are meeting up for it. This is a perfect way to make friends. Although meet up groups are more prevalent in big cities it doesn’t hurt to search for what’s out there.
- Facebook: This is still a powerful tool for making connections. These days we have friends from all over the world. When you type in a location, you will be surprised to see which friend of yours (or a mutual friend) lives there.
- Local Center: Go to a local center where most of the locals meet. It could be a cafe, mosque (any other religious center), popular location/landmark for example Sol in Madrid, Trafalgar square in London or Times Square in New York
- Talk: Sometimes making friends could be as easy as saying “Hello” or even smiling. Starting a casual conversation with tourists could start a friendship or asking a question for direction. This was how I made hiking buddies during my trip to the Basque Country. The same can be applicable to the locals as well. Most locals like tourists and are willing to help or even make friends. If you are shy you could start off by smiling and commenting on the weather. This could start a conversation.
- Helping: Helping locals or tourists can be a beginning of a friendship. A common trick I use for tourists is when they are struggling to take a picture, I always volunteer to help and more often than not, they are grateful. This could be another way to strike a conversation.
- Walking tour: Most tourist cities have walking tours. You could meet other tourists like you and make new friends.
As a solo traveler taking pictures is one tricky business. Not all of us are lucky with long arms for a good selfie. Don’t fret! There are ways of solving this problem.
- Use a selfie stick
- Get a camera stand
- Take other people’s pictures. 99% of the time they would offer to take yours.
- Ask people to take your picture.
- Eating out: This kind of goes back to the occasional loneliness you’ll feel as a solo traveler. Eating alone in a fancy restaurant reminds us of that sad movie whereby a guy or a girl was stood up . At least to me I used to think that way, that I dreaded experiencing this moment. However I’ve come to find out that it’s not that dramatic. Keep yourself busy by reading a book, writing your experiences in a journal , surfing the web or planning out your next travel activity.
- Don’t forget to have fun!
- Reflect on what you have learnt, how you have changed as person, what you would have done differently and share your experience.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe it has helped you, What are your tips for a solo traveler?
- Plan appropriately: Weather attire, Where you'll be visiting, History of location, Google map the area, Itinerary, Cash/Card, GPS- would you data access to info, would you be connected? Know basic language phrases
- Storage- Phone, Camera, on laptap
- Make Dua
- Location stability,
- Keep your family updated
- Be careful of strangers
- Avoid discreet areas
- Know what scams are predominant in the location
- Inform host/ hotel/hostel your whereabouts
- Register in your embassy (if you wanna be extra safe)
- Trust your Instincts
- Have an open mind
- Try to making new friends
- Taking pictures: Selfie stick, camera stand, Indirectly want someone to take your pics
- Eating out: read book, diary, plan on agenda, surf the web on mobile
- Reflect: what did you learn, what would have done differently, share your experience
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