I’ve been traveling solo quite a lot in the last couple of years, and as time passed, I’ve learned some tricks to make it easier and safer for me to travel solo. In this article, I’ll share my 10 best tips for solo travelers.
Visit a solo-friendly destination
When you’re planning on traveling solo, it’s good to pick a destination that’s solo-friendly. You can pretty much go anywhere you want, but it’s always better if you’re able to meet other solo travelers as well. So pick a country where you’re sure to meet other backpackers, instead of a honeymoon destination.
Don’t be stupid
This seems very logical, but a lot of people think they can do more during travel than they would do in normal life (myself included). I wasn’t very smart during my trip to Peru, I had doubts about doing some sandboarding since I am very clumsy. But everybody was doing it, so I decided I should go for it. And that didn’t go well… If something really goes wrong, you don’t have someday as a back up when you’re traveling solo. So think about what you can do and don’t be stupid.
Buy a local simcard
In many countries, you can buy a cheap sim card with data to stay connected. Sometimes you can buy this on arrival at the airport. It’s nice to have a local sim card when you’re traveling alone, it makes it easier to keep in touch with friends and family and you can also it for navigation. There’s wifi in many places, but it doesn’t always work as great as you want to. When I was traveling to Palawan (The Philippines), I was never able to connect to wifi. Because of the bad weather (a tropical storm and a typhoon), I was happy to have bought a sim card, so I could tell my friends and family that I was ok.
Learn to enjoy yourself
When you’re traveling solo, there probably will be many times that you’re alone. So get used to being alone and learn some things that’ll make you happy. Go read a book, make some puzzles or simply enjoy the view. Make sure you can’t get bored when you’re alone.
Take a tripod
It’s never fun when you went on this amazing trip, and you only can show pictures of the things you’ve seen but you’re never in a picture yourself. That’s why I always carry a small tripod, so I can take some pictures of myself using the self-timer. Sometimes you’ll be able to find other people to take pictures of you (which is also a great way to meet people), but in my experience, the composition of those pictures is pretty bad most of the time.
Travel during the day (if possible)
Personally, I prefer traveling during the day, because there’s so much to see when you’re in a foreign country. It’s also a lot safer than traveling during the night, there are so many more other people traveling as well during the day. It’s also easier to get a connection to public transport when you’re traveling during the day.
Tell friends and family where you’re going
You can go out and travel carefree, but it doesn’t mean that your friends and family are just as carefree about your travel plans as you are. Make sure to inform them about your plans and your global itinerary. If something does go wrong for some reason, they have some idea about your whereabouts.
Meet new friends
When you travel solo, you’re rarely alone, you’ll meet so many people! If you don’t want to, you don’t have to hang out with everyone you meet, it’s ok to be alone. But it’s always a good thing to make some friends during your trip because they will give you tips about the destinations you’re planning to go to. And when you’re not feeling great, it’s nice to have someone to talk to.
Make a back up of important documents
Always make a copy of your important travel documents, like your passport and insurance information. Upload it to a cloud service (like Google Drive) or simply send it to your email address. If you lose your documents somehow, you’ll have a backup.
Listen to yourself
The most important thing when you’re traveling solo: listen to yourself. Only you know how you feel about something and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. The best thing about traveling alone is that you can do anything you want, so don’t do things you don’t want. For example, I planned to stay in this hostel in Cusco for five nights, but during the first night, I decided I didn’t like the place at all. I could’ve stayed, but I would’ve been miserable, so I checked out the next day. It was the best decision of my trip!
What are your most important tips for solo travelers?
Would you like some more tips for solo travelers?
These are a couple of very useful books: