It’s amazing to see how people around me inspire my posts and this is one of them. Summer breaks are starting for most of us, and I’m getting mails on solo travelling. The whys and the hows, the dos and the don’t.
So I don’t have to repeat myself and cause I’m born lazy like that, I’m writing a post to foward to whoever who asks :’D
1. If you’re young (or Asian) you probably have parents you have to get permission from.
This is the TOUGHEST part, I promise you it is. And there’s no way around it. You just have to start slow, appear confident ( I mean you better be because if you’re not sure about this, why would they allow you trodding off alone?). Listen to everything they’ve got to say, and this is the most important part, include them in your planning. Let them know your iterinary, let them change your plans and give them full authority to decide on how much money you’ll need for your trip.
Just remember, the first one’s a milestone for you, but it’s also one for them. Treat them the way you’d like to be treated if your kids asked the same of you. Show respect, show responsibility, and most importantly, tell them you’ll update them everyday and safety is your priority.
2. Take baby steps
Your first solo trip will be something you’ll remember for a lifetime. It’s utterly soul changing, and you will feel overly ambitious about it. And that’s okay. Just remember to not get carried away. What I mean is, don’t book an open-ended month long trip to India, or any country you don’t speak the language of. Don’t include a 21 day hike if you’re not physically fit. Be sensible.
This is more of a favour to yourself. If you go overboard the first time and find yourself in a difficult situation, chances are you’ll be afraid of travelling alone again, and the word ‘solo’ will scare the living daylights out of you. You wouldn’t even want to watch a movie solo again. Kidding. So do something you know you’re comfortable with, something you’ll enjoy.
I find food trips to be quite the nice introductory trip. I mean if you don’t like eating then, sorry mate, you need help.
3. Go somewhere near.
This is part of the baby steps again. When travelling closer to home, you gain familiarity (language, culture etc) and it’s a comfortable starting ground. It takes the pressure off when you know that if things go out of hands, you’ll just be a short bus ride away from home, instead of you know, being on the other side of the world.
4. Check yourself into a nice reputable hostel, and always book the first night’s accomodation.
This is so you know you have somewhere to head to after you arrive in the bus station/ train station/ airport. Go to a well known one, so there will already be people there. There’s nothing sadder than going into a hostel and finding out that you’re the only one there. Happened to me once, still recovering from it.
ALWAYS get the instructions to your hostel ready beforehand because these transport hubs are where a lot of people get scammed. I absolutely loath taxi drivers that come up to your neck often with lies and a ridiculous fee to bring you to your place.
If you don’t have a plan after landing, you might get overwhelmed and succumb to their assurance. Then you can go ahead and rip a hole in your wallet cause you just got scammed honey. Welcome to budget backpacking, every dime lost is a crime.
Don’t skimp so much on the accomodation the first time. Yes, you’ll only be sleeping and bathing in it, but sharing a room with 10 other people takes some growing into. Rush into it and you’ll be put off hostels for life. Which is sad cause I find that hostels are the best plce to meet new people, share crazy stories, and find people travel together (only if you like em!) Also, people do some pretty crazy shit in dorms when they should be doing it in a private room. So if you find yourself on a dorm bed that’s suddeny shaking, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
5. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a stranger.
We’re humans, we’re social things. Backpacking solo is how I perfected the art of talking to a stranger, and gained confidence. Share stories, share travel plans and share a few laughters. If no one wants to talk to you ( I really don’t think this is even a possible senario) try the receptionist. They’re paid to entertain you.
6. Safety always comes first.
That selfie you can take with the great white shark while diving with an uncertified divemaster will be really cool. For your obituary.
Always remember the promise you made back home. Get back safe.
7. Have fun.
As always, with every single adventure you have, enjoy yourself. Learn, grow as a person and always give back.
These are not the rules of travelling, cause there really isn’t a single right way to do it. These are just some of the few thing I wish people told me when I started.
So I penned it all down. If it helps at least one person, I’ve done my job.
Happy travels, and honey, stay safe