The Beginner's Guide to Travelling Alone
Travelling alone. Cool, brave idea – or absolutely bloody terrifying?
Yup – there can definitely be a stigma associated with travelling alone. But we think a lot of that comes from a lack of imagination.
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Sure, travelling alone can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t need to be. And it’s definitely not just for hippies ‘finding themselves’ or losers still living with mum. Travelling alone has something to offer for everyone. If it’s a step you’re thinking of taking, good for you!
So, where to start?
A quick search online will tell you that there’s a number of different types of solo travel and that it’s far from a rare thing to head out into the big bad world alone.
1) Picking a destination
Start by thinking what you want out of your trip. Epic views? Constant party? Endless culture? Killer tan? All of the above? The joy of solo travel means that it’s entirely your call. You know your budget and the places that send your wanderlust into overdrive.
Need a little inspiration? Here are some solo travel destinations which are safe and well set up for solo travel. (They’re also a bit more off the beaten track for bonus travel points...)
The Philippines Chile
Sri Lanka Vietnam
2) Saving money
As with any trip, cash certainly helps when travelling alone. If overcrowded hostels aren’t your jam, It’s also worth costing in the fact that as a solo traveller, you’ll likely need to pay a single supplement for a room instead of splitting it. The worst thing to do is to underestimate costs and end up missing out on experiences because you ran out of money. Because that sucks.
3) Staying safe
Many people’s main beef with solo travel is the safety aspect – especially for women. Most places in the world are really safe, and with a healthy does of common sense you shouldn’t have any problems. Here are a few of our key safety tips for staying safe on the road:
Do your research – avoid being scammed or worse by clueing yourself up on typical tourist pitfalls and the safest places to hang out.
Never have your valuables visible on the go - bumbags are the way forward.
Avoid walking alone at night – well duh.
Dress appropriately for the culture of each destination – it may well be sizzling hot but don’t be the one who rocks up to a temple in shorts and flipflops. Pack light layers to cover up.
4) Be prepared to meet some friends for life
The people you meet along the way will see you at your best and worst. They’re there when you watch the sun come up on the top of the mountain. But they’re also there when you’re swearing you’ll never drink again after too much tequila. When you travel alone you’re free to build pretty strong relationships with your fellow travellers, and it’s awesome.
A great way to meet people is to book experiences, like street food tours, cooking classes, or a walking/cycling tour. On the other side of the coin, if you want some “you-time”, travelling alone is the perfect opportunity.
5) Throw yourself into every opportunity
Road trip? Why not! Mountain hiking at dawn? Sure! Kayaking in the caves? HOLD ME BACK! When you travel alone, you’ve gotta throw yourself at every opportunity. Deal with the repercussions afterwards. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. One thing you don’t want to come back with after travelling? Regrets.
Without sounding totally hippie dippy – travel can change your life. But only if you let it. Being open and friendly will impact your experience for the better. You’ve got to be willing to take some chances, step out of your comfort zone and do some crazy stuff you’d never do at home.
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By Radha Vyas, Co-founder of adventure travel company, Flash Pack
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