“When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.”
SOLO TRAVEL!!! I think the quote above just explains right about what solo travel is. People all over the world travel solo to find themselves, to discover what they are or to take a break from the busy life we all have, but for us in India, it is a very different concept. Our parents, especially when it comes to girls, tend to get worried to send us out on our own (because come on, “Indian parents always worry!”). But I think everyone should take at least one solo travel trip – it changes you!
I took a few trips on my own and initially, I was scared and a little hesitant because, you know it’s a new place and what if something happens, or what if I get robbed, what if I get bored or lonely! The biggest challenges of traveling on your own are actually taking the decision to go and to finally book your flight, and pack your bags. The truth of solo travel is very unlike to what most people think, and it can also be completely different than even you imagine.
Traveling by yourself helps you open up and helps you look at every thing from your perspective. You make your own decisions; you make your own mistakes. You make new friends and you learn to be more confident and get comfortable being with yourself. It helps you understand yourself and that is something we all need. If you are taking your first solo trip, here are a few solo travel hacks you should keep in mind:
1. Select your location carefully. Do your research and find out whether the places are safe enough and women friendly.
2. Download guide books, apps of that country. There are quite a few available, especially for solo travellers.
3. Talk to people around you. When you travel alone, take up the challenge to reach out, be extrovert and strike up conversations with strangers. You might feel odd initially, but it helps when you travel alone. You make friends at all the places you go, you learn about how different people actually are.
4. When it comes to accommodations, choose a friendly area. I wouldn’t suggest a 5-star hotel because you won’t find people to interact there. I would suggest to find accommodation in a hostel, local homes, small inns, or bed-and- breakfasts facilities.
5. While booking flight tickets, make sure you book them in a way where you reach your destination in daylight and not the middle of the night.
6. Sign up for group activities like cooking classes, group bike tour, snorkeling expeditions, etc.
7. When you travel solo, you tend to meet a lot of people. Take a leap of faith and have faith in people. I won’t say start trusting everyone blindly, but trust your instincts and listen to them.
8. Whenever you head out from the hotel, make sure to have the essentials; hotel business card in case you get lost, copies of your passport, insurance, and a few contacts just in case you lose your phone.
9. Always have a map of the place you are in and if you get stuck somewhere, take help from the locals.
10. Dress conservatively and do not wear a lot of flashy jewellery or carry expensive cameras or gadgets.
11. If someone is bothering you, be rude or a little noisy and take help from anyone else around you. If something doesn’t feel right, get out of there.
12. Take an organized tour when you first start to travel solo.
13. Learn the local language. I won’t say you should know the language in and out, but it helps to know the basic words.
14. Pack a book along, so on any lonely day, you have a companion.
15. Take lots of photos, not just photos of things around, but even yourself.
16. Stay calm at all times. In case of an emergency or in case something doesn’t go according to your plan, don’t panic.
17. Give your travel itinerary to your friends or family, someone who could check up on you.
18. Take medicines in case you fall sick. Be careful in what you eat and maintain your fitness routine (include yoga or a jog every day).
I’m sure everyone reading this article is really motivated to take at least one solo trip. So comment below and tell us about the places you would like to go and explore.