Finding the will to travel alone is not an easy feat for a lot of people. So, if you have found the will, well done! If you haven't, we wrote something pretty convincing about the benefits of solo travel. Read that and come right back here.
If you look at it from the right angle, travelling alone can be very helpful. You see it now, don’t you? Now that you know you want to travel alone, how do you make it happen? How do you maintain your willingness while improving the travel experience, too? Here are our recommended 10 tips for travelling alone:
1. Research important things
Medical provisions and laws, gender and sexuality laws, emergency numbers, data on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) are some of the important information you should have before going somewhere, even if you think you can handle yourself. It never hurts to know. Remember to do this research before — and not during — your trip.
2. Stay at top-rated places
This doesn't mean you should only sleep in the most expensive hotels and resorts in the world. If you're going to a place that's not popular and luxurious, that small lodge (Airbnb, hotel etc,) should have lots of positive user ratings. A place doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to be top-rated.
3. Have a solid but flexible schedule
If you finish something earlier than you planned, for example, you could squeeze in another activity if you assume it’ll take that same amount of time or less. You can also remove activities you don't want to do for significant reasons; it's just better to know it didn't happen because you didn't want it to, not because you forgot.
4. Start your day early
Start your day early so you can be done before it gets too late. Even if you sleep in, let it be because there's provided time for it. It’s not exactly fun — or safe — to be out on your own when it’s almost midnight. That's not even the case at home, let alone a place you're passing through.
5. Let other important people know your general itinerary
This is especially important if you’re prone to spontaneity. You can leave a list of places you’ll undoubtedly go and when you plan to. Also, tell them where you're lodging. This gives an idea of the ground you will (or plan to) cover.
6. Have an emergency contact
Besides the emergency numbers of your destination, there should be someone you can call in case of an emergency. The emergency doesn't have to be inherently life-threatening, as your emergency contact could be that person who can unfailingly send you some cash the moment you need it.
7. Trust your gut
If you're unsettled by a place or person, avoid them as much as you can. If you’re not one to have anxiety but there's an activity that makes you unsettled, don't do it anymore. It’s okay to trust your gut and change your mind, even if it’s an experience you were looking forward to.
8. Take your ID everywhere
Have a means of identification on you as much as you can, even if this involves taking it to the toilet. Thanks to technology, you can have these means of identification on your smartphone, so you can't try downloading a virtual version or take a picture of the physical one.
9. Avoid secluded places
Try not to go anywhere that looks shady, whether you're on your own or following that pretty girl in red. If you're not sure where a path leads (it's not on the map or travel guide), don't take it. Your safety is the most important thing.
10. It’s better to arrive during the day
Yes, I know you’ll head straight to the hotel from the airport, but it's dark. The darkness means creepers can creep and no one will notice. Sunlight and roads full of people are a better, safer option.
To once again reiterate that I’m a very generous person, here's tip number 11, absolutely free!
You have put so much into getting to your destination, make sure to make the most of it, even if you're bummed out about being alone. The best things in life require intention, so be intentional about enjoying yourself.