Planning a little solo travel outside the country? If this is your first time planning a solo adventure, I completely understand how excited and nervous you are. I was once in your shoes, after all.
Before you slap on your backpack and march out that door, though, here’s a small checklist of things you might want to do to ensure a better trip.
5 Ways to Get The Most Out of Solo Traveling
5. Do Your Research.
It doesn’t matter if you’re headed into uncharted territory or a bustling metropolis, it will help to know what to expect when you set foot in your destination. A quick search on Google should give you enough information on things like the local culture, geography, weather and political climate to start with. Oh, and do not forget to check out the local laws, either written or unwritten. People have gotten in trouble in the past for using the wrong gestures or for looking the wrong person in the eye. Did you also know that shaking your head can be interpreted as a ‘yes’ in India?
4. Learn a Bit of the Local Language.
Learn a few words and phrases of the local language and the appropriate situations to use them in. You might be surprised at how much a ‘Yallah’ or a ‘Habibi’ can get people to warm up to you in the Middle East. Also, knowing the language makes ordering food so much easier. Just saying.
3. Know the Emergency Numbers.
It’s very useful to have certain contact numbers on hand that you can call if – knock on wood – you should ever find yourself in trouble. Some of the most important ones to have would be those of your home country’s Embassy/Consulate (stealing passports is a thing in some countries, you know) and the local emergency numbers. If you have friends or relatives in the country/area, make sure you have their numbers, as well. After all, there’s no telling what kind of emergency you might encounter on the road.
2. Meet and Connect with Locals and Other Travellers.
For many people, this is the greatest reward of solo travel: meeting new people. There’s so much you can discover from engaging with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Yes, I’m being Captain Obvious here, but it’s a point that just has to be said.
Being alive during the Internet age has its perks, too, as a slew of apps and websites have now made it much easier for travelers to get in touch with people in their destinations. It doesn’t matter if you’re just hanging out with your host from ‘AirBnB’ and ‘Couchsurfing’ or finding fellow travelers to share in your adventure from ‘Penroads’; you’re guaranteed to meet some cool people on your journey. As a matter of fact, Penroads is the best way for you to connect with international travellers coming in from all over the world – definitely a useful tool to have.
1. Stay Healthy.
Last but not least, take care of your body. Stay hydrated. It’s no good if your mind yells “Onward!” and your body groans “Hell no!”. Find out if you need to get vaccinated before setting off. Carry some basic medical supplies with you, too, especially if you plan on venturing into the wilderness. On occasion, you might have to be careful about where and what you eat, as well.
Enjoy your awesome solo backpacking journey! If you need more tips about Solo Traveling – feel free to message me!
This is a collaborative post with Parag Murali, a Singaporean startup writer. He combines his love for travelling and people into a daily passion for bringing travellers together. ᐧ