Travelling alone can seem like a scary and daunting experience and admittedly it’s not for everyone.
Travelling alone can seem like a scary and daunting experience and admittedly it’s not for everyone. But, if you are one who does chose to travel alone you’ll find it is an exciting, unforgettable and addictive adventure.
Here are 15 tips for the first time travelling solo….
- Follow backpacker trails: it can make excursions and accommodation cheaper, and they attract independent travellers like yourself.
- Stay in hostels: Hostels are a great way to meet fellow travellers! Large dorm rooms and communal areas are very sociable and make it easy to meet new people.
- Stay alert at all times: Obviously you can’t stay awake through a 30 hour bus or train ride, but make sure you have all your valuables on you and don’t leave your bags unattended. Even if you put your bag down to take a picture or take a swig out your water bottle, put your foot through the loop of your bag…better being safe than sorry.
- Use common sense: stick to well-lit, busy streets and try to arrive at destinations in daylight when possible.
- Be extra careful when drinking alcohol: locals target travellers, especially in the evenings when everyone’s had a bit to drink. If you are taking valuables out with you, think about investing in a bum bag for under your clothes…you’d rather feel a bit uncool than wake up without your camera and passport.
- Dress appropriately: respect local customs and adopt a suitable dress code-e.g. Don’t wear short skirts and sleeveless tops in conservative cultures.
- Make sure you have your money and credit cards in different places: If everything is in your wallet and you have it stolen or you lose it, you’re pretty screwed; especially without a travelling companion to lend you money.
- Keep someone at home in the loop of where you are: If you have been really organised and decided where you are going and staying then give someone at home a copy of your itinerary. If you are a little more laid back and want to see where you end up; make sure you check in with someone at home every so often and let them know where you are.
- Try not to look like a tourist: in some countries it’s not really possible to not look like a tourist but just try and look like you know what you’re doing. If you are walking down the street alone looking at a map, you look vulnerabl.
- Eating alone: is often a fear when travelling alone for the first time. Choose a lively café or bar with lots of people, consider sitting at the counter; you could get chatting to someone. Take something to read whilst your waiting for your food or people watching is always fun!
- Trust everyone and no one: this seems a bit sinister but your new best friend you met at the bar of the backpackers’ hostel could be a conman ready to rob you later-so relax and make friends but always be wary.
- Be assertive: if you don’t want to do something or don’t feel comfortable in someone’s company, politely excuse yourself-trust your instincts!
- Use lockers in hostels: Again you don’t know who you can trust and although the majority of travellers will just be looking for a good time like you, it has been known for travellers to steal from other travellers. So if you are provided with a locker, use it!
- Do your research: Don’t arrive in a country not even knowing the capital of it. Get a book from the library before you go and jot down some places you’re interested in going. There are lots of websites too, like www.travelfish.org for South East Asia. You’ll feel a lot more confident if you have a rough idea of where you want to go and what you want to do.
- Most importantly relax and enjoy yourself: You’ve probably planned this trip for months, some of you years and, worked your butt off to afford it so just have a good time! The great thing about travelling alone is the freedom to go where you want to go and do what you want to do; you don’t have to think about anybody else, so make the most of it!