So you’re now at that phase in your life where you’re ready to take that solo trip, (not there yet? Don’t worry, it’ll come). Either to clear your head after a bad break up, a self discovery journey, a shopping spree or something off your bucket list . And with the general planning which usually comes with traveling with family or friends totally tanked since you’re going ‘unchaperoned’, there is a little extra to be done so you don’t end up stuck in a ‘foreign land ‘ with tears streaming down your face and ‘all by myself’ playing in the background .
So why travel solo?
We spend most of our time with family and friends and even most of our travel and outings are done in their company. There’s no denying the joy of the companionship that comes with but sometimes it can get a little frustrating and devoid of privacy. In our heads we’re constantly playing with the idea of going away somewhere; a solo vacation (a solocation). Why not though? Solo travel goes a long way to improve our sense of self. It’s somewhat of an all round growth process, testing our minds, bodies and spirits and helping us build more in these areas and a whole lot more you’d get to discover on your trip.
Picking the right city
It might look like a great idea to be spontaneous and seeking an adventure and just pack up and leave without prior thought or plans as to what city or town to explore for your solo trip, but as much as that seems appealing it’s not very wise. It should be a point of duty to find places that appeal to the need for your trip in the first place . Are you on a spiritual or religiously inclined trip? On one to explore the differing arts and crafts or just the occasional splurge? You should do a research on cities or towns that meet this need. Keeping in mind your finances, cultures and traditions you can adhere to. Also if you happen to pick out a city that doesn’t speak English as a major language, you should make sure you learn a few phrases like hello, please and thank you. Locals are usually happy when they see you making an effort to communicate in a local dialect. You can always check online for language translators ; https://translate.google.com/
Planning the travel proper
So now that you’ve decided on a destination for your solo vacation and checked out the activities and customs, looking at what means of transportation and rates that best suites your finances is key as well. Google map distances for your overall trip; from your take off destination to the city or town you’ve picked, the activities you’ve checked out beforehand to wherever you might be staying when you get in. Which brings us to the point where you check rates and recommendations for hotels or service apartments or whatever suits your budget keeping in mind that it would be wiser to pick locations around your already planned out activities, saving you time and money. ‘ Tripadvisor’ is a good site to check out for more information on different travel destinations and all that comes with.
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This usually proves to be somewhat of a struggle; deciding what to take along or leave behind. So here’s a trick, pack an outfit per day then check out which of those outfits suits a mix and match and pair them up! So you can actually still eliminate excess luggage but have a new outfit for everyday. At this point I’m positive you have an idea of what to wear and what not to. (You don’t want to attract negative attention).
The plan B through Z
So remember how this is a ‘solocation’, yeah? That means you can’t depend on the family member that always has the goody bag with bug spray or a pocket flashlight or the one that remembers directions. So you’re going to have to do all of this by yourself (yeah, good luck with that.) You’re going to have to consider a couple of things like keeping in contact with folks back at home (I know, alone time and all) but it’s always wise to have family know you’re safe and also aware of your itinerary.
Make sure you have access to the internet at all times if possible. Take more than one device if possible; it would help to cover the aforementioned and also give you an idea of distances between places in the location you picked. If your solo trip is one devoid of devices do make sure you leave notes saying where you went and and emergency numbers to reach.
Take along extra batteries for a flashlight or phone (make sure you actually take the flashlight and phone too 😉 ), power bank, bug spray, mini first aid kit (if possible) and a camera! (very important ). You can replace what you need with my weird list above with stuff that suits your needs and if you’re sure you’re going where you can find a store to get anything you forgot or can’t take along, MAKE A LIST! This is so you know what you need and not go out of your budget.
Instincts are a natural or inherent impulse towards life in general. If you do not vibe with anyone, take the hint and walk away. Better safe than sorry, no? Also you can link up with other solo travelers just in case you need company sometimes. You can google ‘solotravelerblog.com’ for tips on dos and don’ts of solo travel.
Take or watch basic (online) self defense training or better yet learn how to shout ‘HELP’ in the local dialect or language of the place you’ve picked. There are free martial arts and language sites you can always check out.
Lastly, just cos it’s a solo trip doesn’t mean all your photos have to be selfies. So if you’re not taking along a tripod, make sure you get someone you can run faster than to take your photos. Just in case you have to Usain Bolt someone down to get it back.
That’s it basically . So go forth, Solo traveler, into the great adventure ahead!