Umpteen times during my college days, the travel solo plans have been cancelled or postponed because one of the friends would back out for some of the other reason. This would always leave my wanderlust enqueued and saddened me.
I never found success in making these friends reconsider. Then one day, upon cancelling of a travel plan, I left by myself. That solo trip planted the travel seed in me, and hence my solo traveling journey started.
I found solo traveling fun and satisfactory, not waiting for others ascent and uncertainty of trip to happen and a form of self-actualization and self-care. I won’t lie, it did scare me at first to travel alone, but then not going at all and not living the life experiences was even scarier.
If you are waiting for someone to accompany you, don’t. Just go.
Allow me to share my experiences with solo traveling, which will help you not only keep the fear away but also help you in planning for a solo trip.
Why Travel Solo!
- While traveling solo, you are never alone. Initially, I was skeptical about the people I will be surrounded by, and the time I will spend with them traveling solo.
However, it turns out that you make friends when you travel alone. You talk, share experiences and learn. People always surround you!
- Solo travel gives you the ultimate freedom. Every day, it’s just you. You wake up early or late, you wander around or plan to go somewhere, it’s what you want, where you want and when you want.
It is the infinite space of possibilities where you explore yourself. You touch your limits and get out of your comfort zone. Want lasagna? Get lasagna. Want to wander? Wander. Want to try zipping line? Try it.
- Going solo is like sink or swim, fight or flight: And you learn the best to survive. Who to talk to, how to be friendly, how to plan and execute, there is a lot you learn?
Hence it is the greatest gift of traveling solo is self-satisfaction. Every travel makes you wiser, confident, a little more independent, and gets you in sync with your emotions and desires.
Utmost Tips While Planning for Solo Trip
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits of solo traveling, which I have discovered, I will share some tips to help you plan your first solo trip:
Be confident and blend in
You are on your own the first time, no doubt it is daunting but exciting too. Keep yourself open to people and experiences; do not be rigid or constricted.
Confident and open postures help you to be approachable to the right people and keep the wrong ones away. Not feeling confident, no worries, fake it until you make it.
Blend in as a local or a regular (not as a foreign tourist) to avoid attracting scammers or looters. Dress locally, eat locally, do not hesitate to ask people, keep smiling and put the tourist persona away. Listen and watch attentively to learn and help to blend in.
Keep your smile handy as it goes a long way, especially when you do not speak the same language. A smile is an ice breaker and usually leads to a great and meaningful conversation.
Clear knowledge of direction
Before you leave your hotel, cross-check and be sure of your map routes and mode of transportation. Don’t worry about the right direction, and automatically you will be directed in the right direction!
Keep your near and dear ones updated where you are going.
Letting someone know about where you are going to highly recommended. Leave your itinerary or brief outline of destinations you plan to travel with the timeline with someone or at your hotel room. You can also let the hotel staff know where you are headed in case the need arises.
Book your stay and mode of transportation in advance. Since it is your solo trip, booking in advance will keep you stress-free and let you enjoy the destination more.
Keep the hotel’s number and address readily available with you, in case you are lost or have some emergency, you can call them and get help or picked up.
Go out and explore, meet new people instead of staying in the room. Wander the streets, walk down the alleys, check and shop at local markets, get a bit lost and ask your way around, explore the non-traditional tourist places i.e. local markets, parks, monuments, food joints etc.
Wandering around might feel lonely at the start, but get yourself engaged in the conversations with people, ask and learn about what next to do.
You will not only get information but will make friends too. Do not restrict yourself – this is the best thing you can do on a solo trip.
It can be stressful being in a new and unfamiliar place. Do yourself a favor and relax. The Idea is to explore and enjoy. Especially avoid the stress of what you couldn’t do.
You’ve made the first step by going solo, take it in slowly, bravely, enjoyable manner and one step after the other.
Solo trips don’t mean budget trips. Financing is an important aspect. When I was in the UK (on sabbatical), and I was like “I need the money now”, nothing stopped me from traveling as I could avail the same day funding from reliable direct loan providers and continue my passion.