Solo travelling is a skill, and I am constantly honing it to get the best of my experiences. I am no expert in this field, I am no pro. But I can only give you some suggestions if you are trying to take the plunge into a solo trip, or are already into it and have some questions that I could help with.
Tip 1: Look at the people & the world around, not your guidebook
I research all my trips, I make lists of where to go and what to do too. But when I am on the ground out there, the lists go off, and I just go with my heart. And I prefer to see the world through my own eyes than through my instagram lenses. Looking at the people helps you learn a lot about culture and customs too. Who knows some friendly folk may suggest something really nice you didn’t know about!
Tip 2: Say “Yes”
Nothing is too scary, nothing is too mainstream, nothing is boring. Everything is a new experience, so far as you can draw the line to keep yourself safe. So, go on, say “Yes!”
Tip 3: Learn to meet people
Striking conversations without coming out as obnoxious is an art. Master it. Talk to people at your hotel, at your restaurant. Don’t get over-friendly. You might not want to tell everybody the truth of who you are and where you came from and share numbers. But being friendly could help you a lot at times.
Tip 4: Mind the drinks
You are travelling alone, so you need to be a little extra responsible and look after yourself, because nobody else will. So, mind your drink. Never leave your drink unattended, even water. And, mind how much you drink. If your usual is 4-5 glasses, try to stop at 1-2 if possible, to be on the safer side. In a contingency, you need to be in your senses to help yourself.
Tip 5: Let go of Stranger Fears
All our lives we have been told not to talk to strangers, not to take anything from strangers. But when you travel solo, you bump into a lot of strangers. Even your cab drivers and hotel staff are strangers. Let go of your fears and enjoy the trip. Talk to strangers. But know where to draw the line, know what to say & what not to say. Let your hair down, but not your guard entirely.
Tip 6: There’s travel beyond selfies and sharing
If you take a fewer number of selfies and share them a little less on Facebook, chances are you will get to see something you would otherwise have completely missed out on. Figure out what your idea of fun is and do that. Decide on a particular time in the evening or the night, when you would go up on social media and do all your sharing and chatting, not all through the day every time your phone vibrates.
Tip 7: Do something you wouldn’t do otherwise
I mean this in the bounds of safety. When you travel solo, nobody knows you out there, there is nobody to judge you and nobody to tell your tales to others. So, go on, do something you wouldn’t have done back home. Stare at those airplanes flying by, make a sand castle, shout out on top of your voice, sing, dance, anything!
Tip 8: Always have a voice in the ear
Wherever you go, have somebody who has your back, figuratively. Tell him (or her) where you are, where you are going, what time you expect to be back, all emergency numbers, where you are staying, all your travel arrangements, everything. If that person knows the place you are going to well, even better. That way, if you are in trouble, or you didn’t reach somewhere where you said you would reach, he or she knows it is time to raise alarms.
Tip 9: Carry only as much as you can pick
Mind your luggage. Only pack and shop as much as you can comfortably carry and walk around. Don’t overload. Pack the essentials, leave out the luxuries. See what you can get locally where you are going and pack accordingly. You don’t want to be needing help each time you want to move around. Carry comfortable bags that are sturdy and easy to carry. You can chuck fashion when it comes to this if it interferes with convenience.
Tip 10: Play Safe with food
When you know your system cannot tolerate some things, or you have a sensitive stomach, try to play safe. It is good to experiment with local food stuffs, but keep an eye out for what can become a problem for your system. Talk to the local people and the hotel staff, they could help you with where to get good stuff. Always carry medicines for those curses like vomitting, diarhhoea, etc. And plenty of water is mandatory too.
This should get you going for now. Go on, make your solo trip. Do tell me more about it. And if you have any tips of your own, tell me that too!