Solo travel is becoming more and more popular these days, thanks to the internet and social media, A lot of young people are venturing out all by themselves to have a taste of some adventure and a means to freshen up their minds and bodies from their regular routine.
I am a solo traveler most of the times, thanks to my introverted nature… I am more comfortable when I am on my own. It gives me flexibility in terms of things like – time management, flexible planning etc.
But I must admit, traveling alone is like a drug (at least in my case, it is)… if you’ve got the hang of it, you might wanna do it more and more, you will love being independent.
Now hitting the road all alone comes with both positives and negatives – surely you will have increased confidence, you will have the luxury to explore places and cultures in your own ways, you will meet new people who are like you.
But if something went awry, generally, you are all dependent on yourself. To avoid any repercussion, you must prepare yourselves beforehand.
Here are some of the points which I follow (in no particular order) when going solo to any place.
- leave your itinerary with friends and family – This is important! leave a complete detailed itinerary with your friends and family and try not to deviate or change plans while on your trip, If you do change your plans while on the road, just update your friends/family about it.
I always tell my parents where I am going and leave a much more detailed itinerary with my friends, the places I will be staying in, the hotel/hostel names etc. If I happen to change my course, I update it on my friend’s WhatsApp group.
- Make a list of items you would be taking with you – While packing your backpack, make a list of gears/items you would be taking and tick-off the items when you pack the stuff. This helps in making sure that you have packed all the important stuff.
for e.g. I have a blog post about the gears I would need on a trek, whenever I go trekking, I check the list and pack my stuff.
- Write important phone numbers on a piece of paper or a diary and keep it with you – Just in case you lost your phone.
- Trust your instincts – That’s an incredible built-in system we have inside our body, trust me, it’s always right. If you feel something is out of place, it usually is.
- Do some research about Altitude sickness – This is when going to high altitude places, either by air, bus or trekking.
- Carry a small knife (if you can) and pepper spray with you and keep them handy – These are for self-defense, check the laws in the area you are going and carry a small, maybe a neck-knife with you (something is better than nothing). If you can’t carry a knife, take a pepper spray.
- Invest in your shoes – Because you will be on your feet most of the time, so those must be comfortable.
- Trim your hand and toe nails – Sometimes when I walk a lot, I feel uneasy if my toenails are uncut, just trim them off or they can cause you uneasiness on the long run.
- Don’t get high/drunk with someone you have just met – Don’t trust anyone too easily, stay on-guard and again, trust your instinct.
- Stay in hostels if possible – Firstly, they are cheaper and you also get to meet some likeminded people there.
- Don’t flash your expensive gear – Use your judgment on where you should take out your DSLRs and iPhones. I have seen people roaming around carefree with their expensive cameras hanging around their neck in Bus stands and some shady localities.
- Learn to photograph yourself – I think I have mastered this one 🙂 I use remote shooting and I have become quite good at it, sometimes I use self-timer also. If you are in a public place and wanna ask someone to click your picture, pick someone who looks like they won’t be able to run faster than you 😉
- Don’t venture outside at night – this is self-explanatory and very important.
- Research on Instagram – Before you go to any place, just search the recent posts under the #hashtag and enquire the original poster about the place, you will get a much clear picture from them.
- Carry enough cash with you – Put some of your cash in your wallet/pocket and put the rest of it inside your backpack/daypack.
- Carry a day pack – I usually carry a 50-liter backpack but most of the times I also carry a small 20 liters pack for roaming around, day hikes etc. I put my water bottle, camera, wallet and other important stuff in it.
- Extra batteries for your gears, chargers, power banks – self-explanatory.
- Again, just for a reminder, keep updating about your whereabouts on a WhatsApp group.
- Stay dry – Check the weather in advance and prepare accordingly, keep your rain gear in check.
- Be smart and pro-active – Don’t put yourselves in situations you can’t get yourself out of.
- Learn Navigation skills – Take a compass and a map with you and learn how to navigate it, if possible buy a GPS device – Now this is for those who are venturing outside the civilization, like the countryside or trekking. When in cities, all you would need will be your cell phone and a good internet connection.
- Choose the right size and type for your backpack – When I bought my first backpack (which I currently use), I didn’t have much idea about backpacks and bought a 50-liter version. It’s of good quality with a good back support, and enough for me, but after stuffing all my gear in, which sometimes includes a tent and a sleeping bag, I am left with zero space, and it does not contain compartments.
So, a 60-liter backpack with one or two compartments and a good back support is the best option. It’s not too big, not too small and will serve the purpose well.
And lastly but more importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself, your own company… go out there, challenge yourself and have fun 🙂