11 Solo Travel Tips for Traveling Alone

Travelling solo is a mixed bag of emotions. There are times when you feel all alone or even bored. Then there are times, when you feel happy, there could be moments that scare the crap out of you. All in all the question is "Do you want to do it? Do you have a solo travel resolution? So, what is solo travelling in real sense?

Well, when a person truly plan their travels completely alone, loves to travel alone so that they can explore in their own free style. They actually avoids company and enjoy being free and despise co-travelers.

They may bump into many like minded travelers during the course of his journey, spend few days with them but this is not what they had planned at the first place. And when they return back home from such self planned, self undertaken trips, they feel accomplished, confidant and determined. That is true solo travel. A solo traveler loves their own company and wants to see this world in their own capacity without any help from others.

Does your New Year resolution is to exercise more seriously? Then it fits perfectly to go for hiking and trekking trips which are increasing in popularity. Concept hotels have everything from tennis, healthy food and yoga. The modern, urbane traveler always looking for new adventures that enrich the mind. Train journey through Canada, tiger safari in India or drive through California?

Cold shock, interrailing, buddymoon and DNA tourism. Travel Trends for 2020 is environmentally friendly and active where we prefer to return home as a better version of ourselves. What trend does the best for you? Have you thought about replacing the journey to the sun against a DNA-trip that takes you to your roots? Or go on a retreat where neither Internet or books are present?

The prime mover behind this year's trends are self development, greener choices and unique experiences - we want to be inspired, learn more while traveling more sustainably. Here is what you should know.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails, Explore, Dream and Discover."

- H. Jackson Brown

Understand what solo travel means:

When someone talks about solo travel, it doesn't mean that you need to set a fixed departure itinerary with a travel agency, go around tourist spots and come back. I really don't know what to expect from that type of a trip. Of course, you'll have fun visiting a new place and experiencing their culture, But will the trip change something within you?

Will its impact stay with you forever? I'm not sure. So first, you need to understand the difference between a vacation and a solo expedition. A vacation is just what I described above, Book tickets with a travel agency, set a fixed itinerary, staying at a luxurious hotel, go around and see places with tourist guides and relax away your worries.

See what solo travel is about? It's about traveling to not only a place but traveling to the people of the place, traveling to the stories of the place, traveling to the culture of the place. Sail away from the safe harbor.

So, go for it, Be it a place which is at an hour's distance from your city or somewhere which is countries apart! Try being on your own, interact with locals, understand their lifestyle, take public transport to navigate, try local delicacies and find inspiration that motivates you to take a step closer to your dream.

Of course, you need to do proper research about the place you are going to. Maybe get a hold of a few important phrases in the local language or a few important customs and gestures. It will certainly help you if you learn some common phrases in the local language. Phrases like ‘Please’ or ‘Thank You’ or phrases for asking for direction will help you commute easily with the locals.

And yes, do make an itinerary but don't saturate it with tourist spots and famous destinations. Take time to research. Find places that have stories to tell. Find people who can connect with you.

Get inspired by the differences you will find in the daily lives of people in a new place and learn to get familiar with a strange new place. So yes, do get that cliched selfie at the Taj Mahal. But don't forget to have a chat with many locals who see the Taj every day and find out how Taj looks through their eyes! Voila, you have your solo travel basics sorted!

solo travel tips for traveling alone

What to Expect from Solo travel?

1. Feel awkward

Well, sometimes you will feel awkward for the first few days or hours in your solo trip.. If you have never watch a movie all by yourself or have never eaten alone in a fancy restaurants. Then I suggest you to try them out to feel the level of awkwardness, just to check whether you are ok with being solo or not.

2. Feel liberated and free

In a solo trip, nobody has any idea about the kind of person you are - you will have to experience this to fully understand how liberating this can be. You will feel liberated and free. You have no pressure, you can be who you want to be. You can be the girl silently sitting in a corner with a book or may the someone bubbling with energy who can't wait to start a conversation.

Positive vibes. When you decide to travel alone, your fearful attitude about the world being a dangerous place automatically takes a backseat. Since, You go to a surrounding different than where you live daily. And you wander, you become less suspicious of those who look different than you. At times, you form even stronger bonds than those who look like you.

3. The right destination

Not everywhere in the world is going to be safe for a solo female traveler, so you have to pick your destination carefully. I have visited a whole heap of different places over the years, where I traveled to Europe for 3 months, volunteered in Italy, got certified in scuba diving in Sri Lanka while traveling solo.

And I have found the majority of destinations would be safe for solo travelers. Destinations like The Maldives, which I found can be done on a budget[2], are little slices of heaven. Perfect for getting some ‘me time,’ learning yoga, adventures like scuba diving, and feeling safe. Do your research before you pick a destination, so you know it’s going to be okay as a female traveling on your own.

4. Trust your gut

When you’re traveling alone, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to trust your gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. Humans are born with a really keen intuition, and we tend to know if something is too good to be true. If someone is offering you cheap drinks in a rundown looking bar, there’s probably a reason for that.

If you meet a stranger and they seem a bit too friendly, perhaps there’s a reason for that too. Not everyone is out to get you, but definitely keep your wits about you and trust your gut.

5. Stay connected

Finally, another crucial tip is to stay connected with friends and family while you’re away. Let them know your plans, give them the details of where you’re staying, and check-in with them once in a while. If you keep your loved ones in the loop, then everyone will feel more at ease. They will feel more comfortable knowing you’re safe and how you’re getting on. And you’ll feel more comfortable knowing that someone is there to check in with, just in case.

6. Freedom

Growing up, freedom is something we look forward to and traveling unescorted is an obvious key to achieving that. It's like the perfect ticket to independence. Traveling on your own lets you create your own schedule and live by your own rules. The obligation of the following someone is off your shoulders and without the restrictions imposed by another person's presence, you can do things at your own comfortable pace.

If this doesn't sound like heaven, then I don't know what does! So isn't this the freedom you longed for? Then go get it by taking your first flight off!

You get the chance to explore this world. Eventually, you will see that everybody is different. When you listen their stories and experiences, you will be amazed. How people are living and surviving with great difficulties. And you feel a sense of gratitude for your life. All of a sudden your own problems become tiny.

Interesting Reads: How to Travel the World

7. Breaking through the stereotypes

They said, "It's dangerous, you'll be bombed if you go there." Yet I met the kindest, most humble people there. They said "Are you crazy? You'd be robbed or even worse, you'd be harassed if you travel to that place." Instead, I got the best hospitality, met some wonderful people who treated me with the utmost respect and with them I found a home away from home.

They said, "Solo travel is unsafe." Yet all the credits for the person I am today are because of my solo travels, it made me kinder, stronger, braver and generous person. Today we live in a world ruled by the internet, with news filled with hate and social media filled with visual content.

I travel to give my soul the liberation of finding a non media defined perspective of the world and to be inspired by it's different cultures, people and the local lifestyle. I try not to listen to the negative voices around me instead I sail away from the safer lands and away from the influence of people I know to re-discover myself. Every time.

Interesting Reads: 15 Reasons to Travel While You're Young

8. Self-discovery is the Solo traveler Jargon

When I move away from the comfortable grounds and get away from the influence of people I know, I re-discovered something new about myself. That's simply because when you have a friend, family or anybody you know around you, you start to behave similar to them and even your thoughts get aligned with theirs. I personally give this to the fear of judgment.

So when you don't know anybody and start fresh connections you will be 'you' and that's when you truly understand who "you" really are.

Interesting Reads: How to Start A Journey Of Self-discovery

9. Learning

From learning to navigating in an unknown place and cracking hacks, to understanding basic words of a new language and organizing skills you will grasp a lot. Self-acceptance and making peace with yourself is one of the most important insights you will receive. You will also learn to take great pictures of yourself using timers, tripods, GoPro, taking help from strangers and what not.

Solo travelling can be scary sometimes. There are days on my solo trip when I feel scared and tell myself that I had made a stupid mistake by choosing a solo trip. You will be lonely, every now and then, you will want to talk to someone who understand you. All those random conversations with absolute strangers are great.

10. Become a Better Person

You may ask how. And the answer is so simple that you already know it. When you see that people across every nation are just like you, they are humans and nationalities, religions, race, cast creed, you will realize that there is no place for hate.

When you encounter acts of kindness from strangers when you share a meal with a family that you don't belong to that's when you will realize how wrong you were when you judge someone by their appearance or what they wear and when you feel compassionate for a community which is not in your hometown. You regain immense faith in Humanity and you become a better person. You become more empathetic and less judgmental.

And yes in between all this you will have a lot of fun.

11. Have strong belief in your instincts

The worst things happen when we ignore the hints that our guts tell us. If you think it's getting darker or the streets are getting deserted, time to go back. If a cab driver seems to be creepy then skip taking it. If you think someone is talking to you or behaving in a way you are not comfortable with then think of immediate escape plans. Staying safe while traveling is better than being sorry.

These are just a few must safety precautions to keep in mind. But there will be permutations and combinations of situations which you will have to handle on your own. But it's worthwhile:)
Kalyan Panja