12 Tips for Traveling Solo

A day hike above Manang Valley in Nepal - Ice Lake, Bhakra, Nepal

photography by: Simon English @ Unsplash

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Solo traveling is becoming more and more popular, not just due to pandemic effects, but also because of those discovering their need to take a break from everything and have some quality alone time. If you never traveled on your own but always wanted to, these tips might help you find the courage, and if you are a well experienced solo traveler, maybe you'll get a couple of new ideas. These are some tips that will make your travel safer and more enjoyable.

1. Social media

We all love to post those Facebook pictures and Instagram stories. Everyone loves the likes and the instant love, but while you are traveling on your own and don’t want any unwanted stalkers, it’s best to be extra careful. When you are at the most spectacular place taking your best selfie or boomerang story, wait until you leave to your next stop before posting it for the world to see.

Don't post your pictures right away, wait until you arrive to your next destination

photography by: Steve Gale @ Unsplash

2. Invest in your backpack

While on the road, carry your important belongings in a backpack, preferably one made with sturdy material so that no one could tear it open while you fall asleep on the bus or just taking a nap on a patch of grass. I also recommend getting a backpack where the zipper is located near your back. It may be less comfortable when you have to pull things out of it, but it is a lot more protected, especially in crowded areas. Also, when you are visiting a well packed area, try to wear your backpack on your front instead of on your back.

Yosemite National Park, United States

photography by: Luke Pamer @ Unsplash

3. Tuck your passport deep in your bag

Never leave your passport at the hotel. Always carry it on you, hidden at the bottom of your backpack or in a special zipped compartment. Also, make sure you leave a photocopy in your luggage back at your BNB, and a picture of it on your phone and E-mail.

4. Get a local sim card

Many countries offer local sim cards for that are valid for an entire month, and they are usually much more affordable than using your provider’s international package or than getting an international sim card. Just make sure your phone is open to international cards, and get your local sim around town or even at the airport (although it is usually more expensive there). Local pre-paid sim gives you the option to use your phone without worrying about extra fees and charges that you didn’t expect and just ease of mind. Research ahead of time and check where to get a local sim card at your destination.

photography by: Brett Jordan

5. Credit card or cash?

I’m not the kind of person who likes to wander around with a money belt or other hiding solutions. I prefer to carry a small amount of cash on me, just in case I need some, and use my international credit card to pay whenever it’s possible. If I am traveling to a not so credit card friendly country, that’s when I’ll get larger amount of cash money, converted beforehand to prevent high fees.

6. Don’t use the hotel's safe

Speaking of money or other valuable belongings, I never store them in a hotel safe. Despite its name, I feel like it is one of the most unsafe places to keep your valuables. It is always best to have it all on you, and if possible – don’t bring them to your trip at all. If you absolutely have to leave things in your accommodation, hide them in a secret compartment inside your suitcase or other creative hidden places, but of course, not in plain sight.

7. Travel light

actually, I use this tip regardless of the way I’m traveling, by myself or with others. I am always traveling light, with the minimum essentials. I find that you can always get anything locally if needed, and you can also use it when you go back home – making it the perfect souvenir for yourself because you know it’s something you need and will use. Traveling light makes everything so much easier, from luggage weight to time wasted on this most hated task of packing and unpacking.

photography by: Anete Lūsiņa

8. Use google maps

google maps allows you to download maps of a chosen area in advance to use offline, so you can track your way even with no cellphone signal. Wandering around and discovering new places while getting lost can be super fun, but it gives me peace of mind knowing I can always find my way back with no problem once I’m ready to go back.

9. Have music playlists, books and movies

while traveling alone, sometimes you need a break from doing any activities. Some streaming apps let you download tv shows and movies ahead of time so that you can watch them offline, and  for book reading you can choose from so many app options to see what works for you. Different book apps makes it easy to read on your phone and you can adjust the brightness and text size to make it comfortable for you even if you are not used to reading that way. Alternatively, you can use audio books if you prefer. Of course, the old and good method of printed books is a good option, it just makes you carry around some extra weight. Music playlists are great for the outdoors, and I usually create unique playlists for different trips, as a way to create my own memories.

Listening to music in Province of Como, Italy

photography by: Alex Blăjan @ Unsplash

10. Talk to people

Traveling alone makes you go out of your comfort zone. If you are an introvert and don’t usually hit a conversation easily, this is a good way to start. Regardless of that, it is always fun to meet other travelers or talk to locals and get to know new cultures and new people.

11. Bring a journal

I am not someone who keeps a diary or writes a journal. I always wanted to be, but realized  I am too self-conscious about it and could never read it again. However, whenever I’m traveling I have to keep a notepad of some sort. That’s when my truly good ideas and thoughts pops up, and I have to document them. One of my favorite activities in a trip is to find different places to sit down and write my thoughts. the notebook doesn’t have to be fancy, but it has to be with a real paper and pen.

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12. Stay alert

Let yourself soak the atmosphere, but always keep an open eye and be conscious about everything happening around you. It is best for your safety and also for being present in the moment, letting yourself truly appreciate your experience. It’s okay to talk to people and ask for help, of course, but try not to look too lost or confused so that others won’t take advantage of the fact that you are in an unfamiliar environment.

And most importantly – have fun!