Traveling alone can seem very daunting and almost impossible. But if you’re ready to take the plunge, you will realize that it isn’t actually as bad as it seems. While the experience is completely different from traveling with friends or family, many solo travelers found that their first solo trip felt liberating and boosted their confidence.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that traveling independently is completely safe. When you’re in a different country all by yourself, you need to take extra precautions to avoid any kind of trouble. With that in mind, here are some handy travel hacks for anyone who is about to take a solo trip for the first time.
Hack #1: Travel somewhere familiar
You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world on your first solo trip. Even if you want to travel far away, choose a location that you are familiar with. It could be the town where your aunt is staying or somewhere you have previously visited during a group travel. Alternatively, contact a reputable tour agency like Dylan’s Tours beforehand to help you navigate through the unknown city and ensure you don’t miss any must-visits.
Hack #2: Always draft a backup plan
Things are bound to go wrong. Any activity you had planned could potentially get derailed so it’s best to draft a backup plan. Make reservations beforehand so you don’t have to worry about them during your travel. Having a backup plan will keep your vacation going smooth and stress-free. Keep a physical map to mark any landmarks or places you want to visit. Always write down addresses and phone numbers in case you get lost and need to hail a cab.
Hack #3: Maintain physical documents along with digital copies
Saving trees and going digital is noble indeed, but when you’re traveling alone, you don’t want to be taking additional risks. While you should keep your phone fully charged and with you at all times, stay prepared in case your phone gets lost, stolen, or doesn’t work. Along with digital copies, carry paper documents of your visa, passport, tickets, and any other necessary documents on your person. Also, keep a physical copy of the contact details of your loved ones and your embassy.
Hack #4: Stay in contact with close friends and family
Whether you are zipping between cities or striking activities off your bucket list, always let your friends and family members know your entire itinerary. Establish checkpoints (maybe every hour) and communicate to let them know everything is fine. Even if something does happen and you miss a call or two, they can immediately alert the authorities. This way, your loved ones are at ease and you feel assured as well.
Hack #5: Lock your stuff
No matter where you are, thieves and pickpockets are going to be around. So, always keep your bags under lock and key. Instead of opting for the back pocket or a big bag, carry a compact crossbody bag or a sling bag to keep your things safe and supervised. Stay aware of your surroundings and your belongings during both day and night. So, even if you plan to party, don’t drink as much as you might have back home. If you want to remain extra careful, get back to your hotel before sundown.
Hack #6: Behave like a local
Dress down and blend in with the locals. While it’s pretty easy to distinguish between a local and a tourist, drawing too much attention to yourself would likely make you the target of petty thieves and criminals. It would also be wise to never flash your valuables like expensive jewelry or designer bags – just leave them at home. If you’re unsure about where you are, it’s fine to look at a map or ask for help but don’t look clueless or desperate. When traveling solo, confidence is key.
Hack #7: Maintain attainable goals
It may be something small like eating from a particular restaurant or something big like visiting a monument, but revolving your day around particular events will help you stay organized and relaxed. Chalk up doable tasks and work towards achieving them. Plan other activities near that particular place to cover the most area. As this is a vacation, leave ample time to catch up on rest and relaxation.
Hack #8: Stay away from unwanted creeps
Since exploring is the whole point of travel, you are bound to meet different kinds of people. You’ll meet amazing people along the way but you might also come across some shady characters. This also includes the friends you make throughout your journey. Remember that you just met them and you don’t really know them well enough. The best advice in such situations: trust your instincts. If you ever feel uncomfortable, leave the area immediately. Always use your judgement and trust your gut instincts.
Hack #9: Pack light
This is an obvious one but so many first-time travelers fail to do so. Packing light ensures that you don’t get saddled with unnecessary items that you don’t need. You would have the ability to travel faster, lighter, and worry about lesser number of items. Imagine having to take care of just one backpack as opposed to 5 – 6 suitcases. It’s just not worth the trouble.
Hack #10: Relax and enjoy!
Don’t let the above scare you from making your first trip as an independent traveler. These are just some precautions that you need to take to ensure a wonderful adventure. Being prepared for the worst will let you enjoy the best moments of your travel. The most vital aspect is to get over your fear and anxiety. After all, once you face your fears, they lose power and eventually disappear. At the end of your solo trip, you will come out feeling invincible, incredible, and enlightened by your experience. Who knows? It could be the first of many wonderful trips you take across the world. So, just remember to relax, enjoy, and have fun.