New year, new life and new hope.
It’s that time of the year when we all feel joyful, excited and positive about the next 365 days to come.
Deep inside us is a burning desire to finally make things happen – be it in the form of a business venture, new found love or in my case, packing my bags and setting off in another travel adventure this year.
I remember my first ever solo trip. It was something I was terrified of at first, but knew I needed to do. Admittedly, I had a lot of doubts especially with a few people telling me that it was a bad idea. Despite all the reminders from concerned families and friends, I had such strong urge, so I went alone and found out that all my apprehensions about traveling solo were dead wrong. At the end of the day, it turned out to be the most memorable trip I’ve taken to date.
Through the whole experience and after spending time with myself, I realized why some traveling solo myths were wrong and I wish I knew them sooner. Here’s why:
5. Traveling solo requires breaking the bank
Traveling solo is a life-changing experience. It’s incredibly rewarding to meet new people, get acquainted with different cultures, taste new cuisines or simply breathe in an unfamiliar city.
Good news is that it doesn’t even have to be expensive! Careful planning is the key – from subscribing to airline alerts about seat sales, to sticking to public transportation to dining where the locals normally eat.
Another go-to trick is to travel during off-peak season. This would mean cheaper flights, cheaper accommodations and the chance to see places at a less hectic time of the year.
4. Traveling solo will turn you into a member of the “Lonely People’s Club”
“I want to go on a solo trip”, I told my sister. She stared at me unamused before finally asking, “What’s the punchline? You’re joking, right? That’ll be sad.”
Well, I wasn’t. Truth be told, I was scared at the mere thought of not having someone to do sight-seeing and take pictures with. After all who wants to travel thousands of miles and eat the famous Banh Mih at the streets of Ho Chi Minh by herself?
Thankfully, I came to realize that being alone makes you more confident and outspoken. I made small talk to the nice Vietnamese couple serving coffee in the sidewalk and heard about their inspiring love story. I shared a table with a friendly Australian lady who happened to be backpacking around the world. She shared some of the funny experiences she had, and we found ourselves laughing our hearts out. Moments like this make you see the world in a different light.
For all of us to share our brightness with the world, we all need to build a healthy relationship with ourselves. Traveling solo will teach you that there is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company.
3. Traveling solo is boring
The beauty with solo travel is that you are the boss of your own trip. You might have some downtime and it can get boring – only if you want it to be. A good friend of mine who has been backpacking for years now advised that traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be by yourself the entire trip. There are a lot of different ways to combat boredom like hanging out in your hostel’s common room and chatting with your fellow travelers. Or join a day’s tour or yoga retreat where instant potential friends await.
Likewise, the thrill of being in a totally new environment is incomparable. I got lost a few times during my first solo trip, but everything turned out to be just fine. Figuring out the street signs, the train schedules and even where to find the best Pho in town is entertaining, frustrating and rewarding at the same time.
2. Traveling solo means you’re single
Gone are the days when traveling by yourself means you don’t have a significant other. Or worse, you’ve just been on a break up and you’re mending a broken heart.
While traveling solo can give you the clarity and time for self-reflection that you need, it doesn’t entail a break up or a life-altering experience for you to make it happen.
In my opinion, one of the main reasons people don’t travel alone is that they’re afraid of what people will think of them. I know people who are in relationships who still travel solo every now and then. Why? Simply because they want to! Despite having partners, they still appreciate the benefits of spending time with yourself and having a blast while doing it.
1. Traveling solo will put you in danger
As they say, those who fly solo has the strongest wings.
There’s a big world out there waiting to be explored but you must be extra careful. There’s always that big “BUT”.
But it’s too risky. But it’s too dangerous. But terrible things could happen to you especially if you’re a woman.
What I learned is that if you travel responsibly, exploring a new place can be just as safe as wandering a familiar city at home. Cliché as it may sound, you’ve got to be your own best friend. Trust yourself and your intuition. Listen to your voice of reason, and just walk away from anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
A lot of my friends think that I was unbelievably brave for going on a solo trip despite the news and known risks. Honestly, I was scared but I believe that all I need to do is to be smart to avoid danger while having fun.
As a solo traveler, it’s important to do your research in advance. Make sure to update your friends and family back home about your travel game-plan. In today’s digital world, traveling has never been more convenient especially with ground-breaking innovations such as Smart’s RoamFree app where you can easily check in your flights, reserve and confirm hotel accommodations, book rides, sign up for local tours, and check out top food spots, among many others. It allows you to take full control of your trip whenever and wherever you are.
Simply download the app on Google Play Store if you are an Android user, or App Store if you have an iOS phone. Once abroad, just turn off your phone’s WiFi and turn on your mobile data roaming. Then, activate your free access via Smart’s Data Roaming Manager. Open the app to access your accounts on various partner sites and services – without worrying about data charges.
Moreover, managing your online activities and data usage have never been easier with Smart’s Data Roaming Manager – a one-stop portal that lets you buy data roaming packs, and keep track of your data charges while on the go. It pops up when you open your mobile browser, such as Google Chrome or Safari, after turning on your mobile data and data roaming and turning off WiFi. It’s available to all Smart Prepaid and Postpaid subscribers traveling in over 130 countries.
As another year unfolds, we get another shot to make things right, be bold and live the life we’ve always wanted.
This 2018, conquer the year ahead and break up with fear. Embark on that solo trip you’ve always dreamed of.
Are you ready to go on a solo adventure this New Year? Share your stories with us and comment below.