Traveling with your family or with a group of friends is good, but sometimes, traveling solo is even greater. When you travel alone, you will learn more about yourself. You will be thrown into situations where you cannot depend on anyone else but yourself. You will discover strengths you probably never ever thought you have. Traveling alone is exciting, but you cannot take away the fact that there are some challenges that come along with it.
If you are planning on finally taking that solo vacation this year, here are our 20 best travel tips for solo travel:
1. Research ahead
Sure, it is easy to get the information on how much the flight would cost you or how much the hotel will charge you for a night, but knowing the cost of living of your destination will prepare you for expenses such as food, other means of transportation, and even entertainment. This will keep you from getting tricked into paying more than necessary as well.
2. Know your budget and prepare an extra
Budgeting is part of our daily lives. It plays a huge part in traveling, too. After planning your itinerary, know how much you would need to spend on the trip. It is a good practice to stick to your budget of course, but it is always best to prepare an extra amount just in case you would like to do some side trips.
You might also meet some locals who would suggest some cool places for you to see that may not be part of your tourist brochure list. It would be sad to pass on visiting that secret lagoon just because it would cost you a few bucks that you don’t have. Chances are it would take you a while to be able to go back, so better experience everything the trip has to offer.
3. Get a travel insurance
Sure, You Only Live Once (YOLO) seems to be a great mantra to live by, but YOLO-ing would be a lot more enjoyable if you have travel insurance. Getting travel insurance means you can enjoy your trip without worrying much about lost luggage or health care.
Travel insurance are not that expensive, and most organizations offer hassle free sign-ups. There are a lot of companies and organizations out there that offer great service, but we highly recommend Travelex, World Nomads, and U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
4. Pack light
Make sure to pack only the essentials. Sure, beautiful places call for beautiful Oufits of The Day (OOTD), but you would not want to carry multiple bags that you would not be able to keep an eye on.
Make sure to research the weather conditions of your destination and the activities that are in your itinerary and base your outfits from there.
5. Bring your own first-aid kit
A lot of travelers forgot this one, but this is part of the essentials. Do not forget your medicine and other first aid items that you may need in emergency situations. If you are on strict medication, carry enough supplies that would last you for the whole trip. Your doctor’s prescription may not be honored in another country, or your medicine may not be available in the local drugstores.
6. Touch base constantly with someone from home
It is good to disconnect from everyone every once in a while, but when traveling solo, it is best to have someone back home who knows your whereabouts. This makes your friends and family at home worry less.
It also makes you a little safer. If you have an itinerary planned. It is best to share it ahead with someone you trust from home, so they can keep track of you in case you bump into some trouble.
7. Keep a card of your emergency contacts with you all the time
Make it a practice to write down your emergency contacts on a small card and keep it with you at all times. This will become useful in the event that you need to contact someone if you lost your phone or luggage or if you encounter some challenges and someone needs to contact your emergency contact persons for you.
8. Bring a monopod or a tripod
Sure, this could be annoying sometimes, but how will you get those Instagram-worthy photos while traveling alone? A tripod or monopod will save your travel album from being nothing but full of selfies.
Taking photos is also the best way to document your experience. You can have these travel photos displayed in your living room or at your office desk to inspire you on dull and uneventful days.
9. Keep a travel journal
If you are not a fan of taking photos or videos, keep a travel journal. Aside from it being both liberating and therapeutic, it will keep you sane during those nights when you’ll feel a little homesick. It is also a great way of keeping your travel memories fresh.
10. Stay low-key
Always remember that even the safest countries still have petty crimes such as theft and pickpockets. Make sure to stay low-key and don’t wear flashy jewelry. Keep your expensive gadgets secured as well. If you leave valuables such as IDs and travel documents in the hotel, use the security vaults or keep your suitcases locked.
11. Stay sober
Mixing with other travelers and locals is a great way to meet new people and establish friendships, but mixing your alcohol is not a good idea when you are traveling solo. You don’t necessarily have to say no to a cocktail or two, but be sure to drink moderately and not to the point of getting drunk and not knowing how to get back to your hotel room.
12. Join group tours
Aside from this being considerably cheaper than booking a tour all by yourself, having company will attract less danger. Talk to other travelers while you are on a group tour.
This is the best way to learn and enjoy your trip more. Who knows, you may meet your new travel squad this way.
13. Don’t be afraid to try new things
May it be food or experience, just do it. Well, make sure first that it is safe though. But the point of traveling is to experience things you don’t normally get to have in your day to day routine. By trying new experiences, you will learn new things. Life is all about living and learning after all.
14. Stay in accommodations with positive reviews
Learn from the experience of other travelers. If the hotel or inn you plan on staying at has low reviews online, maybe you should look for other options.
When reading reviews, look for keywords such as “safe” or “secured.” Also, it is better to book accommodations that are solo-travel friendly.
15. Plan for plan Bs
May it be weather changes, flight delays, or closure of certain tourist spots, make sure to have back-up plans for everything. Nothing kills the excitement in a trip than finding yourself with nothing to do because the original plan had a glitch and you haven’t prepared a backup itinerary.
16. Bring a nice but small camera
If you don’t mind carrying a bulky DSLR, then you can skip this tip, but if like me you prefer a handier one that can still take amazing photos, a GoPro is highly recommended.
The GoPro Hero5 Black is a personal favorite. It takes great photos, is super handy, and takes HD videos that are perfect for your travel vlogs. You can purchase one on Amazon via this link.
17. Download travel apps to get great deals for flights and hotels
There are various travel apps available right now, but we highly recommend Kayak, Momondo, and Skyscanner. These apps can search the whole World Wide Web to give you the best deals, especially if you are planning for multi-city trips.
18. Do what locals do
This is a common saying among travelers and a good thing to practice, too. Eat where locals eat. Ride what locals ride. Go where locals go.
This is the best way to be emerged in a culture that is entirely different from one’s own. This is a great way to enjoy yourself, too. Always keep an open mind, a friendly heart, and embrace surprises that your solo trip may bring.
19. Don’t rush
Don’t rush to end an amazing experience just to complete the activities on your list. Some experiences are way greater than others. So don’t feel bad if you missed the museum tour because you wanted few more hours swimming under the waterfalls. Take all the time you need. That’s the best thing about traveling solo; you are the master of your own time.
20. Less worries, more fun
Worry less. If you have planned and prepared enough for the trip, it is highly likely that it will go smoothly. Don’t spend so much time fretting over what may happen that you will forget to just let loose and have fun.