Can’t get anyone to take the road less travelled with you? Go it alone but before you do bear this in mind
Whatever your reasons are, traveling solo can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have in life. Solo traveling has personally offered me the possibility of reflection and self-discovery while also being a huge confidence and character builder. Figuring out how to navigate a foreign city, or managing travel plans solo, you learn to be more resourceful and you discover just as much about yourself as you will about the world. Before embarking on a solocation, this is what you should consider:
Practice doing smaller activities alone before embarking on a big solo trip
Travelling alone forces you to embrace independence, loneliness and solitude. Before booking a solo trip, practice doing smaller activities alone such as attending a concert alone, dining out alone or even going on a weekend away alone. This will help force you to enjoy your own company and not depend on anyone else’s company. This will also help you to be in charge of your own decisions and your own rhythm.
Go for function over form
Buy a tiny cross body travel purse that you can put under your shirt to hold your ID, passport; money, etc. separate from your purse or backpack. Cross body bags are prefer-able, since they’re harder to snatch If someone steals your purse, you’ll at least still have money and a way to get home.
Research countries that are safe and suitable for solo travellers and solo female travellers
The idea of travelling solo is equally exhilarating and overwhelming, however, travelling to a country or city that is safe and recommended makes the experience less daunting. Italians, for instance, are known to be chatty and friendly and if you can speak the local language it’s easier to make friends. Tanzania is also common for solo travelling, as the locals are known to be helpful, friendly and accommodating. According to cntraveler.com countries such as Canada, Thailand, Portugal, Indonesia, Japan, France and the USA have been rated some of the top countries for solo travellers and female travellers alike as they’re all relatively safe, their transport systems are efficient and also for their diverse range of activities.
Make copies of important documents
Before you leave, make copies of all necessary documents (passport, driver’s license, airline ticket, visa, etc.) and scan them to your phone, then email the set to yourself and a family member for safekeeping. Give a close friend or family member all relevant information about your flight reservations, hotels you’ll be staying in, and any other relevant information ahead of time. Be sure to keep a photocopy of your passport and emergency contact information in each piece of luggage.
Learn foreign etiquette
If you enter a new place without knowing anything about the culture, you could fall victim to some embarrassing misunderstandings. A thumbs-up, for example, can be offensive in some places. If you’re looking to meet and befriend people, understanding how to communicate with them will go a long way. Another way to prepare for conversations with locals and ensure you don’t do anything tone-deaf is to read up on current events happening where you’re going.
Minimise attention by taking style notes from local women, and try to blend into your surroundings. If you’re visiting a temple, ensure you pack clothes that adhere to the standards and rules of the culture and religion. If you’re traveling to the Middle East, the U.S. State Department recommends that single women wear a wedding ring, as this will deter suitors and over-friendly males.
Decide on your accommodation preference
Decide on whether you would prefer to stay at a hotel, Airbnb or a hostel. Hostels provide a university/school residence-like setting and are a good choice if you are focused on saving money or if you would like to meet and engage with other travellers. Airbnb’s are a good choice if you want to save money but still want a private place to stay and/or if you want to experience the place you’re visiting in the same way a local does.
Consider joining a tour group
Joining a tour group gives you the independence of a solo traveller, but with the safety of numbers, too. It also makes it easier to make new friends than by hoping to strike up conversation at a restaurant. As part of a tour group, your transport can sometimes access areas you wouldn’t be able to access yourself. You’ll be taken to projects you would’ve never had heard of, and have a chance to be introduced to locals like you wouldn’t have if you were travelling by yourself. Joining a tour group is also a great way to reassure your loved ones that you won’t be alone and that there is some-one answerable for your safety.