To some people, the thought of a being a solo traveler is like a nightmare, a symbol of loneliness but to others it’s solace or freedom. Some situations in life force us out of our comfort zone to travel alone. This could be a last minute cancellation from travel buddies, to having a hard time finding someone who wants to go to a particular place that means so much to you, or not finding someone with the financial means to accompany you. It could also mean that you want to spend time with yourself and reflect on life. All these reasons have personally resulted to me ending up becoming a solo traveler.
Even for the bravest of us, traveling solo could initially feel intimidating. How can you make the best out of traveling alone?
Plan appropriately: This is the most rigorous and important detail that needs to be sorted out before traveling. I have decided to explain them in sub sections.
- Attire: Check the weather to know what is the appropriate clothes to wear. If you are going to a rainy area, you’ll want to get rain boots, raincoats or at least an umbrella. The same things applies for cold and warm climates. Also research the country you are going to and find out what is deemed appropriate or offensive. You don’t want to provoke unwanted attention.
- Google: Have an idea of places you want to visit and google map the area. I always google the surrounding area I’ll be visiting to have a visual image of my new environment.
- History: You don’t have to be a history buff or study several volumes of say German history before going to visit Berlin. A general idea of the history will suffice. I felt a little bad when I recently found out that Ibn Batutha, one of the greatest travelers of all time was from Tangier, Morocco. I didn’t know this during my trip to Morocco, so I passed Tangier without knowing the significance of the great events that had taken place. Knowing a bit of the history of a location gives more meaning to your travel.
- Money: Stores or restaurants in some countries only take Cash and others a card would do. Know this before arriving, to avoid any awkward situation.
- Bank: Inform your bank when you are changing locations. When I traveled to Pennsylvania from Ohio, I decided to do some shopping with my card. I swiped it and immediately got a message that my card had been blocked. That was not a fun experience. Plus I didn’t have any cash on me. It took me some hours to resolve that. I had to learn the hard way.
- GPS: Check with your local provider the options you have when it comes to data usage for the location you’ll be visiting. Usually within a country there shouldn’t be any problem. However traveling outside the country could incur massive costs. Decide if you will be data free or rely solely on WiFi. This should allow you plan accordingly for safety and logistics.
- Language– Know some basic language phrases of the country you are visiting. It would make the locals more open to you and ease traveling a bit. Plus learning a language is fun!
- Storage: Have a place to store your photos, videos or important documents. This could be in a hard drive, Laptop etc
- Dua: Finally make Dua (prayer) for a safe and enjoyable journey
To be continued…….
- 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