Solo Travel is a new way of discovering the world and yourself. This mode of traveling has gained a lot of popularity in recent times. I myself have traveled alone to a dozen places in India like Rishikesh, Dhanaulti, Mussoorie, Manali to name a few. It has been a nice experience to travel single and experience all the things from a different perspective. Travelling alone for the first time requires a bold and different mind set up. In beginning, one feels indecisive, nervous and uncomfortable about going alone without friends or family. The thought of going all by yourselves to an unknown place alone can send a shiver down the spine. But with some planning, safety, courage, and passion for going on your own can be an unforgetful experience. It has taught me so much and helped in enhancing the knowledge of the world we live in. So here are some learnings about solo travel that I am sharing with you all.
Planning Your Solo Trip:
Keep it simple: Plan a simple itinerary and don’t make it to tiring by running from one place to another. An attempt to cover places or spots quickly will make you feel tired. Rather make pit stops and enjoy every moment and every little thing of your journey.
Selecting the destination: Go travel alone to a place which matches your interests and liking. It can be traveling to mountains, visiting places famous for their art, heritage cities, cultural spots, beaches and much more.
Research about the place: Before kicking off your journey, search thoroughly about the place you are going to explore all by yourselves. Surf the tourism websites related to the destination and take out all the necessary information about the place which could be helpful to you on your lone vacation. Buy guidebooks and maps.
Pack Light: On your solo holiday, carry less luggage as much as possible so that it easy and comfortable for you to manage. A single backpack or suitcase is enough whatever the duration of your trip may be.
Book Solo Group Tours: There are many travel agencies which organize adventure group tours specially for solo travelers. You can book a solo travel package where you will find many solo trippers like you. Going for a guided group tour can ease off your nerves.
Use Travel Apps: Download useful travel apps on your phones such as a GPS, language translator, Currency converter if traveling to another country and much more.
10 Benefits of Solo Travel:
- Self-Discovery: A solo journey to an unknown place will help you to know yourselves better. You will get to know about your fears, weaknesses, strengths and power. It will be challenging with lots of situations that you might not have been in before. You will have to take decisions yourself and figure out any situation that comes your way. Once you know what your fears are, you will able to defeat them. Doing everything on your own will bring out the best version of yourself.
- Spend time with your soul: It will clean your mind and let you focus on something more meaningful and broad. Away from anything to be bothered about, thinking about others, work, assignments, etc it will give you authority to make the moments about yourself. Usually, we don’t get time for analysing of our inner self and hence having a solo tour will give you the time to talk to yourself. You will forget your worries and will live in the present moment. It is a beautiful part of Solo Travel.
- Freedom: Travelling by yourself will give you the freedom to do things as per your way. You will not be bounded by anyone else and you will listen to your heart only. There are no fights, drama, and arguments when we are travelling single. You are complete in charge of your itinerary and yourselves. You can do whatever you want without any restrictions from others. It gives you the flexibility of everything a traveler requires.
- Make New Friends: While on a vacation alone, you will feel like talking more with locals (though it takes some time to open up freely depending on one’s nature). The best way to enjoy your stay at a place is to talk to the local people, socialize with other travelers around and take guidance about the best places to eat good food, shopping, sightseeing, etc. You will get to meet other solo travellers and some of them might end up being your friend and future travel partners on your journeys.
- Learn from locals: Observe the history, culture, food and music of the place. The more you communicate with the locals, the more confident you will start feeling and ultimately get blend in the local environment. Observe the local people like their way of talking, dressing, thinking, etc and you will get to notice so many new things that you can pen down in your journal or blog. Hence, you will yourselves feel like one of them or want to be in their shoes.
- Save Money: Stay at places that provide good lodging yet safe. Go for hotels that provide bed and breakfast plans or you can stay in camps as well if on a hill station. If you have one of your own, then nothing is better than it. Just pitch it up if on your favorite spot. This way you will end up saving money as well.
- Learning Curve: Travelling Alone on the road will make you brave, confident and improve your management and decision-making skills. Traveling Solo help boosts your skills and hence your job resume as well. You will learn to solve things that are scrambled up. Though you will be exhausted on doing everything on your own but it will certainly improve your personality and make you feel more independent. Hence, it’s important to take this mode of traveling for once in a lifetime.
- Enhances Creativity: It will enhance your creative thoughts. One can find a new interest in acts like poetry, writing, storytelling, photography, etc. It will help you to nurture your creativity since you are not bounded by your daily routine. New and fresh thoughts will come to your mind which might be life changing for you.
- Eat, Sleep & Enjoy: Have food at casual dining restaurants, cafes or street vendors rather than in fine dining restaurants, so that you feel more comfortable. Eat a variety of delicious food and try out new local cuisines. Rest and sleep as much as you want and wake when you are in a mood to.
- Surprises: The Surprise element will always be present while you roam alone in unknown places. This will keep your adrenaline of experiencing the adventure going. Every next moment will bring up something new with itself. Some other traveler might approach you to have a chat, people of all sorts will cross your path, new places to see, unknown things to explore and much more. That’s the fun of it.
Tips to Enjoy the Solo Vacation
- Mix with the world around: The best way to overcome first-time solo travel loneliness is to talk to people and open up. Get yourselves immersed in the environment of the place. Take initiative to start the conversation with people around. If you are sitting in some cafe, talk to the other diners who are alone or the staff as well. This way you might also end up being friends with them and maybe you can accompany each other for sightseeing around the place.
- Take the path less travelled: If you want to really enjoy the place, get off the beaten track. You will surely find genuine single travellers like you when you go to explore unknown paths or roads.
- Read Books: Take a few travel books along with you so that if you ever get bored or out of plans what to do next, you can read books in some cozy little corner of a cafe, park, riverside, mountain top or elsewhere. It will be very refreshing for your mind.
- Pen Down: Write down your thoughts on your travel notebook or journal so that one you are back you can share your experience with your dear ones.
- Explore everything in detail: Observe everything you can in details about the place you are at. Move slowly, sense the surroundings, experience every little thing and surely you won’t find to fell bored or lonely.
- Wear a smile: Always wear a smile while greeting local people though not unnecessarily. A smile on face and being funny will help you in mixing up with the people around. Keeping a jolly mood will make you feel more happy and positive.
- Book a homestay: If you are getting bored staying at a hotel, look for homestays. They are more amazing. You will feel more homely and the hosts may help you with many things including serving you local homemade cuisines. You can also cook yourselves if you want.
- Boost Yourself Up: If you feel homesick at any time and fell like giving up and returning, just boost yourself up by thinking of the reason you came here. You made it so far and when you will finish your solo trip, your spirit will be uplifted.
- Talk to family/ friends: Call your family and friends to share your experience and feelings with them. You will feel relaxed and if you are getting bored, your mood will be upright again.
Safety Tips for Travelling Solo:
- Carry your identity cards
- Keep your mobile with you always
- Be aware of the surroundings
- Inform your friends and relatives about the place you are going to and share phone numbers of the hotel, guest house, lodge, etc where you will be staying.
- Stay in the center of the town or city and walk in public areas only during the night
- Have a confident look on your face while moving around so that you look like a locale
- Keep local police numbers
- Stay away from sticky situations and trust your gut
- Always keep some extra cash with you along with the plastic money
- Keep your valuables and cash in your pocket or your money belt
- If you suspect any mysterious activity or someone following you, head towards crowded places, a cafe, hotel or a shop and inform the staff there. Call the police immediately if things tend to get worse.
Your confidence will be on a sky high once you complete your journey. The more you make solo trips, the better version of you will come out. Travelling alone for the first time is a daunting & challenging task and sometimes boring too, but in the end, you won’t regret it at all as much as worrying about it while kicking off.
So all the backpackers out there, go travel solo at least once.
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