Solo traveling can be very exciting. But at the same time, especially if this is your first time traveling alone to an unknown country or place, the prospects of traveling solo could also be daunting and nerve-racking. After all, it’s totally normal to feel anxious when you’re about to go to a place that is totally new to you and where you know no one.
But experiencing and immersing in a totally different environment and culture is one of the main things – and perks – of traveling. The excitement of venturing out into the unknown is one of the joys of traveling.
So, if you’ve mustered the courage to travel solo (and we congratulate you for that!), but you’re still anxious about it, then these tips could come in handy as you navigate on your first journey.
Before you set your foot on the plane, be sure that you have at least a basic travel plan. Planning gives you a basic blueprint of what to expect and what to do in the country that you’re going to. This helps you navigate the country once you set foot on its land.
Planning does not necessarily need to be detailed right away. It could simply mean plotting which places you want to visit. You can learn the deeper details – the ins and outs (i.e how to travel from point A to point B) – once you’ve checked-in in to the hotel you’ve booked.
This should actually be a part of your planning process. Aside from planning what you want to do in your country of destination, take the time to learn about the country’s culture and practices. This is to avoid any misunderstanding and miscommunication once you’re abroad. This can also help you avoid doing things that turned out to be considered unethical or rude in your destination country. In some cases, this can help you avoid getting into trouble with the law because some practices that you may consider normal in your home country could be illegal in your destination country.
Part of learning the country’s culture is learning their language. Even though you’re not planning to learn a foreign language, it will be very helpful if you learn at least the basic words and phrases of their language.
As much as possible, pack light. Of course, how much you pack depends on how long you’ll stay abroad. But regardless, pack as light as possible so that you don’t have to carry too much baggage. Not only does packing light spare you the excess baggage, but packing light also gives you fewer things to think of. For instance, if you’re concerned about the security of your items, packing light gives you fewer things to worry about compared to when you packed more.
Of course, budgeting is part of the travel process. But even if you’ve calculated everything, be sure to have extra money that’s beyond your budget just in case you may need it.
While traveling should be a fun experience, unfortunately, it’s not all roses and rainbows. Scams are one of the obstacles that every traveler should consider. Learn the common scams that are prevalent in the country or city that you’re visiting (you can do a quick Google search on something like: “common travel scams in [destination country/city]”). Then, take the time to learn their modus operandi and tips on how to avoid them. It may seem intimidating at first, but if you know what and who to avoid, scams should be less of a problem for you.
Tip: when searching for potential scams, consider looking for the city/cities that you’re planning to visit rather than the whole country itself. This is because scams may vary from one city to another. Also, scams may be more prevalent in one city but relatively less – sometimes, even almost non-existent – in another city.
Finally, in the event that you’re unsure of what to do, the best thing to do is to simply trust your gut. If you feel that something is wrong, just say “no” and walk away. If you’re confused and unsure of something, feel free to ask.