You've seen it in movies, seen your friends do it and you could have even possibly done it yourself too! But don't worry if you haven't had the chance to travel solo yet - At the end of this blog, hopefully you would be better prepared to take on the exciting idea of traveling on your own. So let's get cracking!
In the entirety of my travels, I have been traveling solo 95% of the times. With the odd family vacations or a one off-road trip with friends coming off as chance encounters, I have cherished every second of my solo trips. I have had the chance to backpack across the country from the exotic shorelines of the Arabian Sea and the mighty Western Ghats in Southern India, to the beautiful plateaus of Central India, the heavenly pastures of Eastern India, to finally the unmatched Himalayas in the Northern part of the country (Which are more like a backyard for me now).
I consider myself fortunate enough to have had this experience of seeing different shades of the country, all on my own. And with this experience comes a few pointers for you, to help you whenever you decide to take that plunge and travel on your own! 🙂
1. Plan your upcoming adventure well
And not only that, plan in advance too! It's completely okay if you don't want to plan every step of your upcoming travel. But make a mental plan of all the prominent stuff at least. Now, what is this 'stuff' that I'm talking about?
Answering the when, where, how, what can be a good start. Not to forget, take into account your budget too - Probably the most important part of planning well.
Before you head to the next pro tip, it might be worth noting that I offer fellow travelers help to plan their upcoming adventures. Maybe I can help you too? It's absolutely free to fill up the forms - Visit the 'Travel Planner' section to know more!
2. Decide on your destination
"Oh, but silly! Where do you go?"
Packed bags are no fun when you can't figure out where to go. Remember to choose a destination that fits your pocket as well as it fits your aspirations! Talk to fellow travelers, understand what each destination offers in terms of solo travel, and then make a sound decision.
Maybe I can help you choose a destination with a previous blog that I wrote? It has 7 easy tips for you to ace at the task!
3. Accommodation that suits you well
Oh, I can't forget the countless times I have found myself in a stinky room in an awful hotel with noisy people around (Sorry family travelers!)
But I also can't forget the innumerous memories of waking up in cozy beds, in hostels / inns on the edge of the hill, with only the sound of birds taking flight.
Yes, well this is a tricky one. Even with all the forms of booking accommodation through the luxury of our smartphones, we can never really comprehend how the place would actually turn out to be. Well, this tip will take some time for you to master, and will only happen gradually, after a few forgetful memories.
The best way to go about it is RESEARCH. Check out various booking portals and talk to people with any prior experience; and you will be good. I personally rely on Booking.com for 90% of my bookings done online - And almost always prefer hostels over anything else if the place permits. Why? It's pocket friendly and you have the chance to meet some amazing people from across the country!
4. Pack light
This is probably one of those obvious travel tips that sounds tough, but is way easier in reality.
The best practice? Get a rucksack, roll up only the absolute necessary pieces of clothing you need, pack up toiletries, a pair of flip flops, a book may be, and a map (if you travel with one); and you are good to go. You can learn more about travel packing tips with this blog.
Before I started traveling on a bike, I bore the brunt of public buses to travel from one place to another. That is when the importance of traveling light struck me! At the end of the day, you will have to carry your own belongings, so go easy on yourself.
And guess what, you will never need that extra t-shirt, trust me! 🙂
5. Local transit
It's always a good idea to travel with other people when you are on your own. It helps in two ways-
First, it helps you forget that you're on your own.
Second, help is always around. Strangers tend to be helpful more often than not.
Plus, who minds saving a few bucks on pocket-tight trip, right?
If local transit isn't your thing, it's completely okay to hire a cab for yourself - As long as you are making a well-informed decision.
*Pro Tip - For the times when I have hired a cab (which was only because local transport was not available), I will always do these things-
Negotiate well for the charge.
Know the driver well enough to trust him.
Ask fellow travelers around or locals to carpool.
DITCH the option if I feel something isn't right.
6. Safety first
Don't hesitate to ask for help, but don't come across as helpless too.
In tricky situations, it's always easy to learn a few words / slangs in dialect of the place you are visiting. Learning easy words in the local language such as hi, which way, help, hotel, food, water, bus / taxi, etc will come more handy than you expect them to.
In addition, I tend to always carry a swiss knife, a lighter, a med-kit, and a few essential meds with me. However this isn't the norm - You can always make your own safety kit.
Most importantly, trust yourself and your gut - It will lead you out of tricky situation almost always!
7. Make your own routine
Once you have reached a place and settled in, take some time out to plan the next day in advance. For that, you can always go around talking to locals and cabbies to figure out what to do with your time.
It's absolutely essential to keep yourself happy and engrossed when you're traveling alone. And even if that means taking an entire day off and just laying in your cozy little hotel bed, it's completely okay!
Just do what makes you happy, be cautious and responsible for yourself and your surroundings, and I'm sure you'll make the most of your amazing solo-trip!
Here is to hoping I could have helped you in the tiniest of ways to deal with solo traveling. If you are interested to travel with me or are keen on joining in on my journey, you can check out the 'Travel With Me' page to know more. 🙂
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you at the earliest.