You’ve decided on a destination, you’ve booked your tickets, and you are finally going to do it!! But oh wait, you’re freaking out. You can’t do this anymore, why did I do this in the first place? Fear not, here’s 7 things you need to know before taking your first ever solo plunge in travel.
1. You are never, ever, alone. Sure, it may feel like it at times. Those people in your hostel seem like a tightly knitted group already and you feel like an outsider. Don’t think that. Everyone has been new to a place at one time. Give it time, try to blend in and pretty soon you’ll be partying with them. Plus, more often than not, you can always talk to someone in your hostel dorm room. Sharing a confined space with a bunch of strangers always brings you closer together.
2. Keep track of your budgets. Seriously. Otherwise you might end up cutting your trip short because you spent a lot on booze while partying out or buying too much stuff when you went to the market. You don’t need to itemize every expense you have. You can just write down an approximate amount you spent per day and deduct it from the balance you still have in the bank. To top off your travel fund, grab a few jobs here and there (see our article: How to earn money while on the road).
3. It’s nice to get lost. Seriously. You get to see more things that the normal traveler doesn’t, plus it gives you grips on where you are and how the neighbourhood is. It gives you a chance to feel like a local and not being guided around by tour guides all the time, showing you the ways to go.
4. Be aware of common scams in the country you’re travelling in. Just be aware of what’s happening around you and what scams there are (tuktuk scams, taxi scams, pickpockets, etc) – you don’t want to part with your hard earned money the hard way, right?
5. Note down your prepaid airline flights, accommodation & tours. Preferably in a digital AND print format so you can always look at it for reference. It sucks if you end up missing your flight and paying money to reschedule it, or forgetting you booked a non-refundable hostel room or tour. Also note that you should have copies of your travel information in both print & digital formats.
6. Let someone know where you’re going at all times. It doesn’t matter if you met this cute guy or girl and you decided to follow them throughout their travels – always let someone back home know where you are. You could just send a private message to your family or friends just so they know you’re okay (I do not recommend posting a status – that can get creepy and you may find yourself a stalker).
7. Just have fun. Some people say it’s about the journey, not the destination. Some say it’s the people that make their travels so memorable. Wherever your travels take you, no traveller has said they didn’t have their moments of fun. Travel makes you discover & learn more about yourself. And of course, you get fitter too (bringing that heavy backpack all over the world is a workout in itself). So, go out, and have fun, solo traveler!