It might sound scary at first, but there’s nothing more liberating that hitting the road solo.
Yes, solo travel. You’ve heard about it before no doubt, but there’s an art to solo travel, one that goes far beyond travelling with someone else.
Travelling solo creates a different experience and is one of the bravest things you can do.
Times have changed of course, and with the power of social media you’re never too far away from a fellow solo traveller. But still, to make the decision you’re hitting the road on your own for the first time is a big thing and you should be applauded for it.
Whether you’re going out alone for the first time to Southeast Asia or you’re an experienced traveller still happy to hit it solo, let’s take a look at the ultimate list of tips for solo travel.
Be Open To What Comes Your Way
This counts for meeting new people, taking all-of-an-instant decisions, trying new experiences – just go for it.
You won’t be in any more control of your life than you are now. No-one is to tell you why you shouldn’t, if you want to do something just do it. You are free.
Get To Know Your Strengths
Are you someone who enjoys a big city, bright lights and full of action in somewhere like Bangkok?
Or are you someone who’d prefer a more scenic, quieter location like in Sapa, Vietnam?
It’s easy to bow down to expectation or recommendations but not all of them are for you. If it’s your first time, you should try everything once if you have little idea, but after that be in the surroundings you cater too. Get to know your preferences and your strengths.
Book Yourself Into A Hostel
It’s common knowledge now but if you want to meet new people on the road to share your journey with, there’s no better place than to stay in a hostel.
You’ll meet like-minded travellers, many like you who have whisked off on the road to see the world. Hostels are for ALL ages for adults so don’t worry about what people might say back home. Book yourself in, get to the lounge area, say hi to someone as you check in and within no time you’ll have new international travel friends.
Get Up Early
Seizing the day is important when you’re solo travelling. It’s up to you to see what there is to see. Go for a walk with your camera or for a run around the block.
Look, learn and get used to things. The more you’re putting yourself out there the more luck you’ll bring to your travels. Forget sitting in the lounge on WIFI waiting for something to happen, go make it happen!
Lift Your Head Up
Glaring at your smartphone can be seen as a defence barrier if you’re in an awkward spot. Knowing someone else will message you on the other end is comforting and it shows others someone wants to chat with you. Apart from the odd socialising via Facebook travel groups, get off your phone! Lift your head up, have a beer at a bar and make conversation.
Some of the best discussions in your life will come from complete strangers and potentially some of the best people in your life you will meet on the road. Solo travel is encouragement alone to chat to people and seek new adventures, so start doing it!
Go Off The Beaten Track
If you’re a real heart adventurer who loves exploring into the unknown you should definitely venture off the beaten track. Popular destinations are amazing but taking that extra step into a country more raw and ready really tests your solo travelling skills.
You’ll become hardened, you’ll become experienced and you’ll learn very quickly. There will be times of loneliness and perhaps worry but that’s what it’s all about. Solo travel isn’t meant to be easy. The times of being unsure make the times for being in your element even sweeter.
Keep A Record
Everyone seems to want to become a first-time blogger these days but you can always keep a record of your travels in photos instead. Use Instagram to document them or even just keep them for yourself.
This is your trip, your experience so it’s something you should treasure for years to come. Go to place that interest you, not others and get them backed up to your MAC.
Remember, You’re Not The Only One
It might seem daunting and back home, hanging out with yourself may feel awkward but when you travel it’s completely different. There are many other people like you, brave enough to not wait around for friends and go see experience their dreams.
Solo travel creates many small wins, from just getting to your accommodation without detours or finding a small street food stall missed by others. Solo travel reinvents you and everyone else who are doing it too.
Everything is Experience
When you experience solo travel, let’s be frank, this isn’t a vacation. You are surging into the unknown world alone so things won’t always be smooth sailing. Whether you’re crossing borders at night or alone on a night train in India, things get real. But everything is experience. You become stronger for it, you learn from it and you definitely grow from it.
Solo travel gives you pros and cons, ups and downs but that’s the beauty of it. The cons give you unique life experience and an incredible amount of independence. Whilst when the pros do come back around, they feel better than ever.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
You might want to split the costs of a taxi fair to the airport or you’re keen to jump on part of a tour group, just don’t be afraid to ask.
Once you’ve got that out of the way, you’re free to mingle with the other travellers and there’s no doubt people will be intrigued by your story. You can’t be a successful solo traveller without asking a thing or do, being shy won’t get you far.
But Trust Your Instinct
If you don’t feel right about something, don’t only use your brain but trust your gut feeling too. This will point you in the right direction more often than not. Be on guard but leave some windows open. Things will be new, sounds, smells, voices and surroundings.
Take a deep breath and think clearly. This is the best time of your life but it’s down to you to keep on the right path. If you don’t want to do something then don’t, but don’t let that deter you for doing something spontaneous.