Traveling has become an important part of our lives – we travel for pleasure, for business, and in order to get to know the world as well as ourselves a bit better. There are people who can’t imagine traveling alone and there are those who think that solo trips are the best thing in the world. No matter what group you belong to, there will come a time for you to travel alone, and it’s always a good idea to know some useful tips and tricks which will help you stay safe and have a great time.
Visiting other countries might be fun, but it’s certainly less so when your neck, back and feet hurt from your journey. Sleeping with your head on your backpack is common, but you should also have a small traveling pillow in your possession. This way, you will find it easy to take a nap pretty much anywhere – on a plane, bus and train alike. A small blanket is also a good idea but it can be bulky, which is why a good traveling pillow is a must. There are even traveling pillows with memory foam and inflatable footrests so you can find the position you’re most comfortable in and try to get some sleep. Most importantly – make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes! Your feet will be grateful. Comfy leggings are a must!
Protect your belongings
Traveling can be very stressful for those who are alone because they constantly have to keep an eye on their belongings and worry about getting robbed. Regardless of whether you choose to go cycling, hiking, kayaking, or you’re flying to your destination, protect your belongings with (small) padlocks and zip ties. This way, you’ll feel a bit more comfortable asking someone to keep an eye on your suitcase while you go to the toilet, and you’ll know that nobody will go through your things in your absence.
When you’re convinced that you have everything you could possibly need on your journey with you, it’s when you realize how important the ‘little things’ are. There’s nothing worse than finally getting into your room and planning to take a shower and call home only to discover that your phone charger can’t fit into the foreign country’s plug. Having a couple of travel adapters in your backpack will help you be prepared for this situation so you can charge your phone in any café you find. Do a bit of research first and try to find adapters for the different countries you’ll visit.
Do your research
Not having a plan is exciting, but it isn’t actually wise. Before you leave your home, it’s good to do a bit of research and make at least a vague plan for your trip. Knowing where you’ll sleep is a good starting point, and while you’re browsing the internet in search of the most convenient place, don’t forget to pay attention to ranking as well. Always try to stay in places that have a lot of positive reviews because it means that you’ll meet people who are used to travellers, speak foreign languages and can usually provide you with the information as well as items you might need (maps, chargers, taxi numbers, etc).
Traveling alone brings you a special kind of peace and tranquility, but every now and then, it’s good to sit down and share a meal in good company. Don’t shy away from meeting others – locals and fellow travelers alike, because you never know when you’ll stumble upon a person who might help you out or share interesting stories with you. Being polite and friendly will go a long way in a foreign country and when you’re ready to learn about other cultures without prejudice, you’ll notice people will be willing to show you more.
Keep your eyes open
You’ll be wandering the streets a lot and you’ll want to explore each and every place you visit. That’s perfectly natural, but you should be careful or you might get lost. Some cities (especially modern ones) are built in such a way that you’ll have no problem finding your way around, but there are cities that seem to be built for the sole purpose of making people get lost in them (the streets of Venice are magical but you can get lost in them very easily). Pay attention to your surrounding and try to remember where your accommodation is by memorizing the names of streets, shops, or even malls in proximity.
Last but not least – it’s of the utmost importance that you don’t behave or look out-of-place too much. There are pickpockets looking for unsuspecting tourists as well as friendly people offering tours and rides which are nothing more than scams designed to draw your money. Also, don’t wear flashy jewelry and keep your wallet hidden – you don’t want to draw attention with your belongings either. Leave the labels at home ladies! It makes you an easy target.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of traveling alone or not, the most important thing is to do everything in your power to stay safe. No matter how much fun you’re having, you’ll regret not paying more attention to your surrounding and your safety in case of emergency. Stay safe, always have a backup plan and you’ll be good to go. A good rule of thumb is to write down where you’re staying, the number, address, and embassy information and keep it on you at all times in case your phone gets stolen or runs out of battery. Old school pen and paper for the win!