Traveling to an unfamiliar location on all your own can be daunting to say the least; but virtually every solo traveller agrees – it’s absolutely worth taking the plunge! More than just expanding your physical horizons, traveling alone is one of the best ways to learn more about yourself, your fears, your limits, and also your untapped strengths. And with some of these tried and tested solo travel hacks at your side, we hope you’ll feel confident enough to take up the challenge!
Preparation for each location:
While it may sound counterintuitive, being over-prepared is actually one of the best ways to allow yourself room for more spontaneity. If you have a plan B and a plan C ready, you’re likely to feel less anxious about making a detour from your itinerary and have greater freedom to explore those unexpected opportunities that come up. Here are a few key areas to consider:
Have a backup accommodation plan for each night of your visit, especially if you’re visiting a remote location. Every new solo traveller’s nightmare is finding yourself without a place to sleep for the night, but you can put those fears to rest by making sure you have an alternative ready to go. While you’re doing your preplanning, and making accommodation bookings before you depart, it’s a great idea to make notes of other available options in the vicinity. If you plan to stay at a lodge for example, have the contact details for an Airbnb and a backpacker’s lodge in the area too, just in case. This can often come in handy further down the road when you’re likely to find yourself running short on funds and needing to find cheaper arrangements!
Use a moneybelt or similar piece of kit to keep your cash and copies of your documents. A moneybelt is a zipped pouch that you wear underneath your clothes, and it can be a real lifesaver when you get so distracted by the sights and sounds around you that you forget to keep one eye on your valuables! A useful item to include in it is a piece of paper with some key phrases you might need to use if you’re visiting a non-English-speaking country.
It’s also a good idea to only carry copies of your travel documents, and keep the originals in a safe place like the hotel safe whenever you can. It’s not always possible, but it can save you a huge amount of stress and hassle. Keep copies of every document you might need in the cloud too – the easiest way is just to email them to yourself!
Not sure where to go? Start broad.
Have a hankering for an African safari but not sure which country you’d like to visit? Make use of broad-ranging websites like Safari.com that give you loads of options, and start by just browsing and clicking around to see what sparks your interest and gets an emotional response. Some of the best holidays are created around one familiar activity that opens up the door to new and unexpected opportunities – so keep your eyes and your mind open to the possibilities!
Stay as connected as you want to
It’s virtually a given that every solo traveler gets a bit (and sometimes a lot) lonely on their travels. We’re lucky enough to live in an age where it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with loved ones back home, and it’s also a good way to make sure at least someone knows exactly where you are. If you want to stay connected and share each day’s adventures, then make sure to take a portable external battery with built-in charging cords for your phone. A solar charging device can be extremely useful if you’re visiting a sunny clime – and it’s also a great way to impress the locals and fellow travelers alike and even make a few new friends!
On the other hand, this is your adventure – so don’t feel obligated to spend all your evenings uploading photos and updating your social media platforms if you don’t want to! And perhaps most importantly of all…
Have a little faith in yourself.
You might not feel confident yet, but fake it ‘til you make it! Be conscious of your body language and what it’s communicating to those around you. Walk tall and proud, even if all you want is to be back home where you can get a hug from your mom! If you’re naturally shy, then keep an eye out for people who look a little lost too – teaming up can be a real confidence booster for both of you if you’re feeling out of your depth.
Solo travel can be scary at first, but you’ll be amazed to discover how resilient and adaptable you actually are. It’s a voyage of discovery in more ways than one!