Planning a trip alone? Our tips for solo travellers should help you get prepared for your adventure.
After months of hemming and hawing you’ve finally decided to go for it and embark on your first solo trip. Exciting times ahead! Whether it’s for a weekend or a year, travelling solo takes courage and you need to be as prepared as possible. These tips for solo travellers will get you ready for your adventure and help you feel at ease.
Plan your trip:
Travellers are told time and time again that it’s best not to organise a trip too much and simply see where the wind takes you. While you may want to adjust your itinerary slightly depending on who you meet or where takes your fancy, it is definitely advisable to plan ahead as a solo traveller. Sorting out your accommodation and transport for the first stint of your journey will help to ease your mind before you set off. You can relax in the knowledge that, at the very least, you will be able to get from A to B and have a roof over your head. This leaves you with plenty of time to focus on the important stuff when your trip kicks off – meeting new people, embracing the local culture and making everyone at home mad with jealousy.
Meet other travellers:
Solo travel is fantastic because it gives you total independence – you can develop an itinerary that suits your interests and incorporates your dream destinations without having to consult anyone else. The downside of this is that many solo travellers experience, at one time or another, feelings of loneliness. This doesn’t have to be the case. Make an effort to meet like-minded people while you travel and you’ll be too busy having fun to think about what everyone is up to back home. Staying in hostels is a sure-fire way to meet fellow solo travellers. If you’d like to mingle with locals join a Couchsurfing meetup group and discover hotspots off the beaten track. Eat With A Local is also a great website to check out if you want to indulge in some local cuisine while making new friends overseas.
Discover new hobbies:
Remember that book you kept putting down because of a work assignment or that photography project that never took off due to time constraints? Now’s your chance! Travelling solo gives you the opportunity to relinquish old interests and discover new ones. Outside of the 9-5 routine you’ll have plenty of time to focus on yourself and the things that make you happy. Signing up to group activities is effectively killing two birds with one stone – you meet fellow travellers while also focusing on your favourite pastime. Befriend a fellow foodie on that Italian cookery course, be pushed to your limits on that Peruvian trek or get your creative juices flowing on an Indian artists’ retreat. The options really are endless!
Focus on the practicalities:
Minimise the chance of something going wrong by taking all of the necessary precautions before you go. Make sure you have all of the vaccinations you require for your destination of choice. Nasty illnesses such as diphtheria, rabies and typhoid are more commonplace than you’d think and your chances of catching these are much, much higher if you don’t get your vaccinations. You really don’t want to find yourself in a foreign hospital bed feeling entirely alone. While you’re at it, get yourself decent travel insurance that covers all of the length of your trip, countries you will be visiting and any specific activities you might end up doing. This is an absolute must for solo travellers who do not have a support system at hand.
Imagine what it was like for solo travellers before the age of the smart phone, tablet and widespread wifi. These days it’s easy to stay connected with friends and family all around the globe. Record your trip on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so loved ones at home can have a real insight into your everyday life on the road. Make the most of apps such as Backpackr, GonnaGo and Travlrapp to make new friends in the different countries you visit. And there’s nothing like the good old-fashioned blog to let you cement your journey in cyberspace.
Whether you’re making for the tropical islands of Thailand or interrailing your way across Europe, these useful tips will help to take the edge off your upcoming solo adventure. As clichéd as it sounds, travelling on your own will work wonders for your self-confidence and, with a little preparation, you’re sure to have an incredible time. Just don’t forget your selfie stick!
Solo travellers are advised to book an appointment at a TMB Clinic to find out more about vaccinations they may require and to get the best tips about how to travel safely.