Those who have taken a solo trip often describe it as a life-changing experience that they will never forget. When you are alone, you get to discover not just new cultures and traditions but more about yourself too. You might find yourself picking up a new language or hobby that is not common in your home country.
Of course, things can be very different when you are out there alone without your family and friends to fall back on. It takes plenty of courage to blend into a completely new environment that you are not familiar with.
Going solo means that there are also many opportunities for things to go wrong but with some preparations done beforehand, you minimise the chances of getting into an unexpected and unnecessary predicament. If you have been thinking of planning a solo trip for yourself, here are 8 Tips For Planning Your First Solo Trip.
#1 DECIDE ON THE DESTINATION OF YOUR TRAVEL
If this is your first solo trip, chances are you may feel uncomfortable to step out of your comfort zone. It helps if you choose a destination where you are able to speak the native language of the people there. Not only will you be able to understand what is happening around you, you can also ask for help from the locals directly.
#2 CONVINCE YOUR PARENTS WITH A PLAN
It’s great if your parents are supportive of your decision to travel alone! Female travelers may face the issue of parents who are unwilling to let their daughters travel alone. Understand that your parents are concerned about your safety and you should share your plan with them to assure them that you know what you are doing.
Give them a rough idea of your route, have the emergency contact numbers of the host country saved into your phone and let them know who you will be meeting up with over there.
#3 PLANNING FOR YOUR ACCOMMODATION
We cannot emphasise how important it is to choose your accommodations wisely. With plenty of options from hotels to Airbnb and guest rooms, you may find it a trouble to read through the reviews. However, it is a necessary procedure if you do not want to end up staying in a shady place located in a dark alley, or with questionable hosts.
Do not simply go for the cheapest hotel you can find as the location may not be ideal. Instead, choose to stay somewhere near the main road where it is safer and closer to eateries.
#4 PACK LIGHT
It is going to be a hassle to bring your luggage around if you are travelling to more than one city during the trip. If possible, carry just a backpack on your shoulder. Otherwise, choose to pack only light weight clothes and do not bring unnecessary valuable items such as jewellery as they add weight.
You should look for travel-size toiletries to bring along.
#5 SIGN UP FOR GROUP ACTIVITIES
There are plenty of interest groups you can take part in or one-day tours that you can sign up for. Check out their social media accounts or web pages which will provide you with all the information you need.
This is how you get to meet like-minded travellers along the way who can share more about their experience and journey with you. Also, it may be safer for you to travel in groups in certain places you are not familiar with.
Be confident to strike up a conversation and introduce yourself as most people will be delighted to make a new friend.
“A solo trip doesn’t necessarily mean a lonely trip. You may be traveling by yourself, but there will be a whole bunch of fellow globetrotters and locals you can hang out with if you just put yourself out there and be open to whoever comes across your path.”
#6 KEEPING IN TOUCH
Always make it a point to call or drop a text to your family from time to time. It is only natural for your parents to worry when they are not able to receive a response from you to indicate that you are safe.
It can be something simple like snapping a photograph of the food that you are enjoying at the moment and sending it to your parents or letting them know that you are back in the hotel at the end of the day.
#7 DRESS APPROPRIATELY
Places of worship are deemed as holy grounds that are very much respected by the locals. It is offensive to wear revealing clothes in these places or generally in countries that hold deep religious views. Always be sure to research on the appropriate dressing you should be wearing so you wouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb. When in doubt, go for long pants and skirts with tops that cover your shoulders.
A key to staying safe is also in your dressing. One way to blend in with the locals is to dress like them to avoid the attention of thieves or even rapists.
#8 STAY STREET SMART
Stay vigilant throughout your trip and be well-informed about the place. Carry your guide book with you so you can refer to it in times of doubt; or even better if your phone has data so that you stay connected.
If you need to ask for help from a stranger, seek from a family or people working in a restaurant. This is also the time to trust your gut feeling. If you have a bad feeling towards someone or a place, walk away to a crowded street. Be smart and don’t fall for tourist scams.
Ready for a new year of travels and adventures? Here is the list of Singapore’s Long Weekends in 2017 should you want a break without utilising your annual leave.
About the writer:
Julee is a staff writer for ladyironchef. She is an advocate of travel and hopes to visit Iceland someday. She enjoys having a good conversation over tea and a slice of cake. There are two things in the world she cannot live without—food and humour.