Travelling solo is awesome. Tough, trying, and exhausting, but absolutely brilliant. If you ever have the opportunity to go off and explore a part of the world by yourself, I’d definitely recommend it.
I’ve been to Tanzania, India, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, USA, Australia, NZ, around Europe and on a few trips in the UK too. I love travelling alone; it’s the most open way to see the world.
When you go travelling by yourself serendipity comes into play because you’re more vulnerable to it. You need attention, to talk to another human, rather than closing yourself off because you already have a pal to talk to.
Instead of wondering why that stranger is talking to you and your friend, you’re willing them to come over, and who knows what fun that could lead to?
But that’s not all…
Tips for Solo Travel
1. With no one to make the plans for you, or to talk to, take the opportunity to let a place show you what it’s got.
2. You can only really rely on yourself, so sometimes you may need to psyche yourself up to be as mentally strong as possible. Have confidence.
3. Most people, travellers and locals, are just looking for a friend too. Don’t be scared.
4. You need to be open to new things, but always stay on guard too.
5. Sometimes you might need to be rude. When you haggle, when you cross the street, when you backtrack to avoid walking past someone you didn’t feel safe with, or by telling people to go away if they make you feel uncomfortable. Just do it.
6. Your phone is your best friend, so treat it well. Google Maps, Skype, Facebook Messenger – they could be your only link to the outside world. Download Find Your Friends, get a LifeProof Case – do anything you can to safeguard it from the world. If it goes, you won’t just be upset, you’ll be lost.
7. If you feel lonely, book onto a tour. Instant friends guaranteed.
8. Sometimes you will need to force yourself to take part. With today’s lure of technology it can be easy to stay in and talk to your friends from home when you’re not feeling your best. That’s not why you’ve gone travelling. Get out there.
9. Always pay attention and know your escapes in every situation.
10. Don’t get too drunk. Ever. Even if you feel like you’re with friends. Anything could happen that will make them leave you.
11. The best way to make friends is to find a social hostel, and be social.
12. Always let someone back home know where you are. I used a Google Sheet that was shared with my dad and kept it up to date with my accommodation names.
13. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. You’ll be capable of more than you can imagine if you just allow yourself to be strong.
14. However much you think you won’t be the one who loses your phone and you won’t use the insurance, it’s way better to be safe than to be sorry. Paying the excess waiver now will save a lot of upset later.
15. Learning a few words in the local language can go a long way, both for communication and financially, and shows respect for your destination’s culture.
16. Just because everyone goes somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. Be ready to get off the tracks if you need.
17. The world is not as dangerous as the news makes out. Horrible things do happen, but if we lived by the stats we’d never ride in a car in our own country again.
18. You’ll meet some of the most inspiring people when you travel, but don’t forget you’re probably one of them too. Don’t be intimidated.
19. Don’t listen to earphones in the street, or flash your wealth. In some countries owning an iPhone is totally unachievable.
20. Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of, and don’t take advantage of those worse off than you either.
21. The mere fact you’re travelling for fun makes you among the richest in the world. Don’t abuse that privilege.
22. Open your eyes and don’t just hang out with people who are the same as you. Embracing difference and change is how you’ll grow and have the most interesting and life altering experiences.
23. Don’t take silly risks. Wear the helmets and the life jackets.
24. When you don’t know something use the opportunity to talk to someone and ask, don’t just Google the answer.
25. Back up your photos from your phone and camera. This way you’re not too attached to your kit if, for whatever reason, someone demands it from you, or they’re damaged.
26. Some destinations are friendlier than others on the solo travel spectrum. Work out where you belong and, if you’re worried, don’t wander too much from where you’re comfortable (but do wander a bit).
27. Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way.