Best Travel Tips for Solo Travelers
There is nothing that beats the joys of traveling solo around the world. It gives you the freedom to make your own decisions and lets you enjoy traveling at your own pace. Solo travel also comes with its own set of challenges. Even if you are traveling with friends, some things are common. These tips are specially for those who are traveling without a company and will aid in rewarding you with the best travel experiences of your life.
If you are traveling alone, you should ensure your safety at every step. Get travel insurance, for sure. Install apps such as Find My Device or bSafe, to notify friends and family of your location and the real-time status. You can also keep a copy of your travel itinerary at home so that they know about your travel plans and routes. Keep emergency contacts ready in hand with you at all times, and if possible, make a hard copy of all your contacts, and keep it with you.
Keep your identification cards
Traveling alone means that you carry your identity with you at all times, and that means all your identity cards are ready whenever a need arises. You will need them at entry points and most certainly while checking in a hotel or guesthouse. Toll booths also ask for identity cards. Always make it a habit to keep ID cards at hand and within easy reach, without you having to fumble your bag every time you need one.
Learn to read the map
Reading a map is critical if you are traveling solo, whether it is physical or digital. You should also have a physical map with you when traveling. If you are well versed with navigating through Google Maps or Google Earth, then you should know at what time will you cross that river bridge, or whether to take the right or left turn at bypass roads or on the highway. Studying maps is a skill that can practice only while traveling.
Mingle with the locals
Locals are the best acquaintances when you are traveling solo. They are great at giving directions, pointing out possible hurdles on the road, or directing you to the best tourist sites. Ask locals and don’t be afraid, for they know the place better than you. Locals are also best to know the culture of the place, and you could also learn a local lingo from a local. Make friends with them, and who knows? They may even ask you to stay with them!!
Learn to cook
While you may not have the ability to make a 5-course meal, you should at least know how to cook a decent meal on a makeshift stove. You will not always find that street-side shack, or restaurant may be closed. You should then have no option but to buy some essential ingredients, or ready-to-eat food products, and make a quick meal. A portable camping stove is a boon for solo travelers. Learning to cook becomes a necessity when hiking or camping.
Carry all your essentials
When you are traveling solo, make a list beforehand of all the things you will need. That will make a long list, and may include even petty, unimportant sounding things like the handkerchief. Keep this list in your backpack. Medicines, first-aid kit, cash, passports, credit cards, railway tickets, addresses of hotels you’ve booked, mobile chargers, maps, torchlights, printed itinerary, sim cards, camera, it may include all of these and more.
Make technology your friend
Traveling solo means that you rely on your gadgets for so many things. GPS navigation, checking traffic on Google Maps, installing a translator app, currency converter, travel guide of destination become essentials for a solo traveler. Practice on them for a while before you start on your solo journey. Learn to play around searching and installing related apps. Learn which app is used for Apple devices or Android devices, and which the most popular ones are.
One thing that a solo traveler should always avoid is getting drunk. It is no problem if you are a teetotaller, but if you do drink, try to be as sober as possible. Getting intoxicated can lead to a whole range of problems. If you must drink within your limits. Taverns or pubs can be nasty places too, mind you!! But they can be the friendliest also if you don’t drink too much.
Know everything about the destination
Research well before you leave for your destination and know all about it. You should know about the nearest medical store available from your hotel, or which is the best tourism site in that place. Modes of transport to reach that destination and within that destination, what is the culture like, restaurants, cafes, best local food, languages spoken – these and many other details about the destinations which you are going to are essential for a solo traveler.
Learn a new skill
A new skill will add the charm of the destination, and let you mingle with the locals. It could be a cooking class, or a pottery workshop, or a language course, it will help you get more enriched. Learn what the handicrafts that are made are, or the cooking methods used. It helps to be curious about the place you are visiting. Ask locals about it, and find it out from the internet.
Don’t pack your itinerary
Traveling solo need not be a hectic affair. You, after all, want to enjoy being alone and soak in the magic of the destination you are visiting. It makes sense to keep some time free, when you are not going about visiting monuments, or dining out in a restaurant, or hiking that mountain. Being alone and having nothing to do at all, actually recharges you and freshens you up, so that you are ready for the next adventure.
Traveling solo can be made more productive by offering a helping hand to someone, or finding some extra work. You can volunteer at a farmhouse, or take up a job at a local café. Homestays are great for volunteering, and you get free meals too. Use your skills, use some of your marketing skills and you can end up offering your expertise to a local cause.