Travelling alone can be intimidating for some people, however, it can also be a very rewarding experience. There is the opportunity to experience sightseeing and restaurants as only you would select. There is the opportunity to live by your own schedule. There is even the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends in places you would not have imagined.
So if you think going on a solo adventure may be for you, read on. We’ve compiled some helpful tips that will aid you in getting the most out of your journey, covering the topics that matter the most when you’re on your own.
As you plan your solo trip, your first consideration should be to read traveller reviews of the destination, flight (or other methods of transit), hotel (or other place of residence), and nearby amenities such as museums, shops, and restaurants. You will especially want to keep an eye out for reviews by other solo travellers to see if they felt safe and secure on their trip.
When choosing a place to stay, be aware of the security policies there. What type of access will you have to your room: key, card, or other? Will you be sharing a room with other travellers, and if so, will you have individual spaces like lockers to keep your belongings in? Does your chosen residence have a concierge, and when are they open until? These are just a few things to be aware of.
Make sure you pack items that will help you keep yourself and your belongings secure. A money belt is a good way to keep currency safe with you. Alternatively (and if you are travelling somewhere with colder weather) a jacket with inside pockets will help you store your money and keys. Some travellers recommend purchasing a small dry sack if you are carrying around electronics – this will help keep them safe from the elements. And in case you plan on purchasing temporary ID on your trip, such as a transit pass, it can be a good idea to carry extra photos of yourself – passport size is a good bet. Other items worth considering as you pack are a scarf that can double as a blanket (it’s fashionable and helps with changing weather) and extra sealable plastic bags to prevent any liquids you travel with from leaking on your other belongings.
One thing you should never travel without when you’re travelling alone is travel insurance. In the event of an emergency, you will want financial protection and better peace of mind. Plus travel insurance, like the TRIPs plans from Travelance, are often backed by an emergency assistance company, who can help you with things like finding the nearest medical care facility, and translating information if you don’t speak the local language. Always buy your travel insurance before you leave on your trip, and carry your confirmation of coverage with you. That way, the emergency contact information is readily available, should an emergency occur.
A final safety tip: don’t carry all your valuables in a single place, in case they are lost or stolen. Have some money on your person, some in your carry on, and some in your suitcase or safe, if your place of accommodation has one. You will be glad you divided your valuables in an emergency situation (and if your baggage is lost, see the paragraph above – you can buy travel insurance for that).
When planning a solo trip, take the time to map out places you want to visit, such as landmarks or places to eat. Not everyone likes to travel on a schedule, but if you know your key stops, you can also let your family know where they might find you if they need to. You can also plan to meet up with friends or make new travelling acquaintances, however, it is always safer to do so if you plan the location in advance and let someone know where you will be.
If you like to write a schedule for your trip, don’t forget to leave time for transit between destinations. If you are going to use public transit, look up the etiquette before you board so you know things like how to tip, transfer, or even where to stand when all the seats on a bus have been filled. Every country has its own rules, and other travellers have probably posted their experiences online.
You might also want to consider joining a tour when you plan your trip. Tours are a great way to see the sights of a destination while learning history and meeting others who share your interests. They can even be less expensive than visiting multiple landmarks would be if you did it alone. Some would say, there are some secrets of a country you can only learn from the locals, so look for that local tour to make the most of your journey!
Sharing the experience
We’ve all heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” What better way to share your solo travels with friends and family when you return than by showing them photos you took along the way? It’s important to remember a few things about capturing your memories:
Finally, there are plenty more thoughts to consider before making the decision to travel alone, however, it can be the decision of a lifetime. Read other blogs like ours, and learn about other travellers who have gone solo, to decide if it’s the right kind of trip for you. And remember, travel insurance is especially important when you’re travelling alone. You’ll want the better peace of mind that you will have access to care of in case of an emergency. Just like any other trip, talk to your licensed insurance broker when you’re planning your adventure so you can stay safe and enjoy!