Solo travel has always been my favorite form of travel. I believe it can really build character and strength in a person which is why I highly recommend doing it at least once. Solo travel is not as easy as just packing up and going though— there are a few things that you should know if you are about to start planning your first solo trip. Here are a few basic tips for you which I have used myself to ensure a successful solo adventure!
You’ll only realize the weight of the things you’ve packed when you have to take your bag with you to the toilet. With no one else with you to watch your bag while you quickly run to the bathroom, or quickly run to the store to buy a snack, you’ll be forced to take your bags with you, so you’ll want to have a lighter pack.
Download Offline Maps
Before you leave the wonderful land of available WiFi, download the map of your destination. You can do this on Google Maps or download the app Maps.Me. For both
Write Down the Address in the Local Language
Take a business card from your accommodation or have someone write down the address for you. In order to avoid any miscommunication between you and your taxi driver or if you need assistance in getting back home, having the address in the local language will
Learn the Local Language
Not only is it more polite, but it gives you more of a connection to the local people. The locals really notice when someone makes an effort to speak their language. Simple “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Please”, “Thank you” work well. Throw in an extra “Excuse me” and maybe a few numbers and you’re good to go.
Whether you love podcasts, listening to music, watching movies/tv or listening to audiobooks, download them before you’ve left WiFi-land. Since you’ll be alone, you’ll want some extra entertainment on those long plane or bus rides. Speaking to your neighbor is always a good idea, but not everyone wants to talk, so keep these with you and you’ll forever be entertained.
Don’t Drink (Too Much)
Drinking like it’s your 21st birthday in Vegas is not recommended while traveling solo. If you’re going to
Join Facebook Groups
There are so many amazing Facebook groups out there that help solo travelers plan their trips and provide support when assistance is needed. It’s also a great way to meet up with people who might be in the area at the same time as you. I’ve met a few people just because of Facebook groups. Search for ones that are specific to your needs (solo female traveler, digital nomad, backpacker etc) or your destination (Southeast Asia, South America, etc).
Buy a Power Bank
My phone has died in the middle of me trying to find directions while wandering a new country and it’s the worst. My Google Translate lives there, my directions live there, my address lives there (if I didn’t write it down), basically a lot of necessities. A power bank keeps your phone charged for situations like these. Mine will charge my phone up to save times, but there are different options out there.
Hint: I use RAVpower power bank (below) which will charge your phone over 6x.
Establish a Routine
If you go to the same coffee shop every day or eat at the same restaurant, the staff of the locations you visit will start to recognize you and even look out for you. Especially if you are kind to them.
Embrace Being Alone
There’s nothing wrong with a little alone time. You get to enjoy the things you want to enjoy, you get to do whatever you want for however long you want, it doesn’t matter. You are the boss of your own actions and you don’t have to answer to anyone. Embrace it. It’s empowering.
Remember That Every Part is an Experience
Good or bad, impactful or not, everything is all a part of the experience. Everything that happens to you, you’ll be able to retell to your friends and family back home. Your train was late? Typical [insert country where trains are always late]. A crazy man started yelling at you in the street for no reason? Can’t wait to tell mom about that one. Even if at the moment it doesn’t seem spectacular, the words “When I was traveling through [insert fun country] my train was late, and we were exhausted” will come out of your mouth one day and you’ll remember that you’ve lived a good life.