How to Survive Travelling Alone
1. Proper Mind Set
A solotrip is an adventure of a lifetime. I always remind myself that "Some People wait a lifetime for a moment like this". An opportunity to travel alone just don't happen to other people, some are tied up in their family, work and worst financially incapable.
It's a privilege to have the chance to travel, so make sure to store all these thoughts inside your brain for a wonderful experience.
2. You are not alone
Travelling alone sometimes makes someone feels isolated or a loner. Dinning alone, watching a show alone, joining a group tour alone and getting lost alone is some of things that will surely happen on a solo trip. Change your perspective. Think of it in another light. Take it as a chance to order whatever food you want , join an activity you've always wanted to do that some of your friends finds ridiculous, wake up whenever and however you want, walk at your own pace and just let your hair down. Being alone gives you the time to get to know yourself better, what you want and know how you want it to be.
I also try to chat more often with my family and bond with my friends weeks before my trip to remind myself that they're jealously waiting for me to come back and tell them about my adventure.
3. Mingle with Strangers
One thing that makes travelling alone a memorable experience is the people you meet along the way. A strangers friendly smile, a nod and a simple hand gesture that points to the right direction. If you get lost ask a local for directions, if you need to know what other tourist places around the area you can ask your fellow travellers with a bagpack or wearing a straw hat for some tips. During my first solo trip in Bali,Indonesia all the locals and hostel host was very kind and hospitable to me. The owner of the guesthouse I stayed in Bali also owned a travel tour, because I booked the sunrise tour with him he then offered his guesthouse for free, even the meals were provided. I guess I was really that lucky for my first solo trip.
Interact with people during your group tour. Saying hi or hello will not kill you or if you want your own sweet time then just enjoy the moment as it is.
4. Stay in Backpackers Hotel
This is the easiest way to mingle with strangers and gather some travel information . Most backpackers hostels host solo travellers all over the globe. They're friendly, kind and is more than happy to share their travel experiences.
Majority of my travels I stayed in this kind of accommodations and I always have an approachable receptionists. They provide me tips on how to get to my travel list, book my tours and even my bus tickets. Be kind to hostel staff or even staying in a hotel, they provide you what you need regardless of the money you paid. If you treat other people with kindness they will in return do the same thing. It's great to come of the door with someone wishing you a good luck and to have fun, and even more nicer is coming back to the hostel greeted with a welcome back smile. This small act of kindness means big time when you're travelling alone.
5. Research Research Research
This is a significant part of travelling especially if you're going solo. You need to be loaded with all kinds of information when you're out there alone in a foreign country. Check out cheap accommodations, nearby tourist sports, bus schedules, bus tickets, entrance fee, food and even the culture. Sometimes we tend to forget that other countries has a different culture and tradition. We must at least know some and be mindfully respectful about it. I also research for detours and other spots available around the area in case its under renovation, closed or the place I'm looking for is nowhere to find.
6. Trust your Instincts
Maybe you don't know exactly where you are but if you have that strong gut feeling then go for it. Once I travelled to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam to Mui Ne, we came to a stop and according to my research the hostel is just around that street. I asked the driver and the ticket operator and they confirmed it's still a few kilometres away. I can't contain myself during that time so I asked a few passerby's, indeed the hostel was just a few footsteps away. Maybe that was one of my lucky nights, there are instances and just try not to ignore what research you've done plus the gut feeling.
7. Explore Nature
Go for nature trips, bike tours and field trips. I prefer these kind of activities as being with nature makes me feel at ease. Despite the fact that I'm alone exploring the greeneries, I still enjoy the time being with me, myself and I. Engaging yourself with mountain trekking, or chasing waterfalls gives you a sense of belongingness with nature, a light feeling of warmth and comfort for the soul.
8. Stay Safe
Avoid dark alleys, get back to your hostel before dark, drink moderately and don't take drinks from strangers. A common advice everybody should bare in mind.
Do your research. Research for other routes and detours. Finalize your research by printing a hard copy and duplicate copy on your email and phone notes.
Photocopy your passport, leave one at home and one in your backpack. Scanned a copy of it as well and attached to your email. Having back up documents is important especially if you forgot to place your passport in a waterproof ziplock bag or worst comes losing it during your trip.
9. Watch your stuffs
Keep your belongings near you when buying a bus ticket, going shopping, looking for a certain destination and even just looking around. This is a reason why majority of solo travellers brings a backpack with them. Backpackers can keep track of their belongings more responsibly as their things are always attached to their backs.
When going on tours or around the city carry with you a medium size bag for your things, water bottle and for the unplanned souvenir shopping.
10. Travel light
When I travel alone I tend to travel more often from one place to another. It's better to have a huge backpack along with you than pulling an inconvenient luggage. Travelling light ensures you have all your things in one bag, so leaving something behind will not be an option and most importantly the ease of carrying the weight on your shoulder.
11. Pack your first aid
You will need to take care of yourself so don't forget to bring along a small first aid kit and a few medications.
12. Money change
Have your money change according to the currency where you're going. Looking for a money changer will cost some time. It's also best to have an emergency money along with you, just in case you go over budget. If you're travelling alone there's no one who can lend you some cash along the road so its better to come prepared.
13. Make it the most memorable trip
Do whatever you want to do. Go for things you've always dreamed of. I went for daring things with my first solo trip like: My first ever Sunrise Mountain Trek and My first ever Scuba Diving.
Learn to appreciate the wonders of being alone, be brave enough to stand on your own two feet and see how you grow wiser and more confident during your trip.
14. Buy a special souvenir
This something I do for myself with all my travels. I always make sure to buy a certain memorable souvenir that will remind of my trip , most especially if its a solo trip. I did an extreme reminder of mine, I had it tattoo not exactly in words but in an image form. It also became my first ever tattoo, so many first just for a trip which only meant that my first ever solo trip was an exquisite experience in my memory box.
Lastly, there are a lot of solo travellers out there on their own and they made it. I made it. You can do it. You will make it. Keep that in mind.