Panic. Scary. Excitement. There are many words going through your mind right now when facing the fact that you’re going to travel alone. Traveling alone for the first time did give me many butterflies. The thought of everything would not be right, the scary little word “What If” that always comes, and the sense that what you are doing now is wrong. Nobody ever told me this feeling yet I know deep down I need to do this. In result, I come prepared with reading a lot of articles online/offline, buying guidebooks, asking many people about the country, and check out the tour. I have done several traveling with tours, group of friends, and exhilarating traveling ever is Solo Traveling.
Based on these experiences, I would give advice for someone who’s going to have his/her first experience of solo traveling.
Bring Extra Cash.
Planning your travel budget is important. You do not want to miss that plan excursion or carnival performance right? However, even tough you’ve you’re your budget to the cent, there will something new or unplanned activity or event that eventually can ruin your money plan. A chance to try the latest restaurant in town, the exciting moment of bungee jumping, or want to stay in the coolest hotel/hostel in town?
So, bring extra, extra cash. You would not regret this.
Find out information not only from the official tourism website but from the local blog or social media account. Government or official company website can be great if you want to know in general about a certain country. However, most of the times these sites are not the most updated one. Try searching the local blogs / communities/ social media account as they’re the most expert. Most of these blog would provide contact on how to reach them. Do not be shy they won’t answer because most of them will as a fellow traveler would most likely help each other.
Don’t be Shy.
Saying Hello to a stranger can be very daunting sometimes. Before you say Hello there will be different scenarios playing in your head of what might happen. Lose that thought! Remember, everybody is looking for a new friend. Those solo travelers are just the same like you. Do not be afraid to approach them and introduce yourself. You will realize later that by saying this you would open up to many possibilities.
Pack Light and Smart.
These clothes, that shoe, my favorite books, the gadgets I need to bring and so on. There will be tons of stuff you cannot part with while travelling. At first, you are happy you manage to pack these things but in the end you need to carry this everywhere you go. To avoid carrying this useless stuff you have to pack light. Search information firstly of the country you will go such as the weather, the price, accessibility to buy necessities good, and most importantly the electrical outlet there. When you have all the information, start packing light. Bring only what is necessary and leave those bulky unimportant stuff behind.
Bring Notebook and Pen.
Nowadays where technology is ever-changing it seems comical to think about bringing a notebook and some pen. It is easier to save all your information in your gadget. On the other hand, these manual tools do have the advantage of never running out of battery. You would always write those sudden ideas, doodle while you were bored, or simply become your travel journal. You would never know how handy this tool would be in your journey.
Go with the flow.
Sticking to a schedule is good for some people yet it can cause you pain too. Start thinking that what is important is not the numbers of places or monuments you see but the experience of moving itself. When you’re not being flexible you might lose the chance of crazy yet exciting events (Like the Indian wedding you crashed into!) Give room to many new things that not only broaden your horizon but also give you many new friends.
Try new things. Do not limit yourself.
Fear is your constant companion when you’re traveling alone. Ignore this and remember to be bold. You know you always wondering what it’s like to bungee jumping or the taste of raw Japanese food. Even tough after trying this you would regret it yet you would never regret how awesome and brave you are when trying this the first time.
Save The Contact.
Some of the people you encounter on the road will become lifelong friends. The daily interaction you have with these people sometimes won’t last long. You want to make sure you got their contacts. Email or social media account is an easy way to keep in touch with these amazing people. You never know when you get the chance to visit them in their country.
Be nice but do not let your guards down.
You can always be nice with the new people. Make new friends and have fun. On the other hand, you are in a new territory far from your comfort zone. Even tough you open yourself to new possibilities never let your guard down. There will always be scam artist or that pickpocket with a decent appearance. Make sure your document or money is safe and spread in places this to reduce the chance of losing all your belongings.
Have Copies To All Documents.
In some countries they would accept seeing your reservation via your phone. However, not all city or countries are like these most of the time they require you to print it. Another thing is by always have copies of your legal documents such as passport, credit card, or hotel print out can save you when someone steal your bag and all the important document is in there. By having the copies while you’re traveling this might be a tremendous help when dealing with the local police or agency.
You are not alone.
Traveling is a fun, worthwhile, and exhilarating experience. There are many people and traveler communities that want to meet you, give advice or tips, and help out. Traveling alone can be scary sometimes but you must know there is always someone out there like you. Heading out into this unbeaten path is daunting yet this feeling is completely normal. Remember, after your trip there’s going to be many experiences, happy moments, and lots of stories to share.
In the end, just relax and enjoy the ride!