What is so special about solo travel? How do you enjoy not being around friends and there is no one to talk to Dont you feel scared? I do feel scared I have been traveling for 4 years and till today I am afraid of traveling solo I think it’s a natural human instinct to feel scared to do anything for the first time The same is about traveling If you are going to a new place without a support system No doubt you will feel afraid about how the experience will be or if the things will be in your favor So here are some steps which I have gathered over a while on how to successfully travel solo Which I am going o share with you But before that, I would like to share my back story about how I started traveling solo So that you understand that I am just like you. And I too was afraid of traveling solo initially If you want to skip this part, here is the timestamp I would like to divide my story into three parts.
Sikkim, Italy, and Uzbekistan Sikkim was my first domestic solo trip It was for 5 days and at that time I was in a corporate job I planned Sikkim as there was no one to accompany me And I was tired of asking people to travel with me Then I decided that I have to take a step and become an independent traveler That I don’t have to rely on someone to make travel plans Sikkim was my first solo trip in India and it was an amazing experience I did not know planning at that time and I had spent almost 30 to 40k on a 5 days trip to Sikkim However, it was a learning experience for me The second trip was to Italy It was my first solo international trip I had plans of going with my best friend Rachna to celebrate my birthday I was in corporate back then But due to some reason, she did not get a visa I had a visa, and I did not want to waste INR 36000 that was spent on flight tickets It was a forced solo trip to Italy for 15 days, almost for 2 weeks The third was Uzbekistan I had left my job by then and I was very much comfortable with the whole travel perspective But a different experience was that I did not have a phone I entered Uzbekistan solo from Kyrgyzstan without a phone as it was damaged during my travel through Kyrgyzstan There was no phone and despite the language barrier and having no maps and a means of communication,
I successfully managed Uzbekistan World is a beautiful place So here are few of my tips and tricks on how you can plan solo travel efficiently And enjoy a lot while doing so Traveling solo is not difficult at all It’s normal to feel afraid of doing things for the first time When you travel solo, the locals may feel sorry for you 😛 For not having any friend with you or wonder how your family agreed for the same So you will make friends in no time who will help you throughout Which brings me to the second point that you will never feel lonely As you will meet someone or the other to talk to and you will get help easily Because local people are always nice I am not an introvert nor a complete extrovert. Somewhere in the middle. Hence I enjoy interacting with locals during the day And then at night I love being alone in the room, relax and think about how the day went However, if you are an extreme case of extrovert then keep watching the video for some tips You will realize a lot of people are eager to help you Media will tell you that the world is a sh*tty place to live in but it’s not The entire world is a very beautiful place For example, Uzbekistan was my solo trip without a phone where I faced a language barrier After landing at Khiva I could not locate my hostel as I did not have maps A guy saw me with the backpack and realized I am from India Uzbekistanis usually love Indians.
They admire Mithun Chakraborty a lot He saw me and asked me about my hostel. I told him the name He hired a cab for me and he came with me in that shared cab He explained to the driver as the driver did not understand English He dropped me to the hostel, did not let me pay and left with a Bye-bye People are very nice and not as bad as the media portrays Of course, there are bad sides to it. Some parts are ugly But there is a wonderful side to it which we dont get to see on news and media channels We can only experience it when we step out into the world It is always better to research about the place whether it’s safe or not, and then travel Sikkim was on top of the list when I searched for the top ten safest places in India for females and solo travelers I decided for Sikkim to get the experience of actually traveling solo Besides research, I would suggest traveling solo in India before taking the big jump Take small steps.
Travel to a nearby locality or places Try to experience and understand if it’s your thing or not You might feel that it will be nice to travel solo however it may not turn out to be your cup of tea Hence its always nice to travel locally and see if you can manage to be alone and take care of yourself See if you can book for yourself, take buses by yourself Take baby steps before you venture out to other states and corners of India and then think about traveling internationally. Dont just jump internationally You need to follow some safety measure while traveling as the world is not a rosy place and you will find some bad apples The luggage and cameras that I carry are usually in backpacks that are snuggly attached to my body If I ever carry sling bag, it goes across the chest and not on the shoulder as anyone can snatch it So across the chest is always a nice idea The camera too is always on my neck and never in my hand If I am traveling in a metro or a bus,
I take my backpack in the front Or its always against the wall so that no one can take anything out from the bag Whenever I travel solo I always plan my things like accommodation and best route of transport I book my accommodation based on the reviews Talking about accommodation, hostels are the best things for extroverts and solo travelers There you meet like-minded backpackers and won’t feel alone because there are so many people around You can make friends with them, get into a group and travel with them to different places around You don’t have to worry about creep in the hostel as lots of people will be around you for help There are women’s dorms, men’s dorms, and mixed dorms. You can opt for a female dorm if you feel uncomfortable in a mixed dorm, as I used to feel this way too If you are entering a country from the airport, always plan your journey from the airport to the destination beforehand Check for the available transport options outside the airport and check how the locality is for late-night travel to your hotel Especially in new countries, you will not get cellphone network and Indian sims won’t work Offline maps and pre-researched information will help you a lot for your travel from the airport to the main city area It’s a good idea to take photocopies of all your documents as a backup especially if you are traveling abroad Passport is the most important document and by chance, if you lose it,
the photocopy will help you acquire a new one Whenever I travel solo, domestically or internationally, I always withdraw and keep some money in the bag at the hotel And carry the rest of it with me so that in unforeseen circumstances, I always have backup money at the room don’t go completely broke Another thing to do is to download offline maps will help you at places where you might not get network You might not get a taxi or feel lost. In such cases, offline maps will help a lot of maps.me is my favorite. In case Google maps don’t work, I always have offline maps ready to plan my next move Make sure to use maps wisely. And if you are somewhere outside, try to blend in as much as possible I try to look like a local as much as possible and avoid fashion and glam I’m mostly in my normal jeans or pajamas so that I can blend in and look like I’m staying there for some time If I want to use maps, I won’t get over-excited and try to find where I am. Either I go inside a shop or place and then check the maps so that you will stay unnoticed.
Because anything can happen once the locals know you are new to that place So, go inside a shop or a cafe and check the maps calmly without panicking Which brings me to another point which is confidence Confidence is the key. Walk like you own that place If you walk with a smile and confidence everyone will feel that you know about the place Take extra caution. I always inform someone back home about my whereabouts and my plan for the day I always call my mom at night and inform her about the next day’s plan, where I am heading, and how much time it will take, etc. If not my mom then at least my best friends always now about my plan If something goes wrong, at least someone back home knows about your last location It’s very important to avoid nightlife. I don’t drink hence I’m not crazy about a party or pub-crawling Avoid walking through empty streets at night where you won’t see many people roaming Start practicing saying No It happens most of the times that people get an impression of you being approachable since you are alone Start saying No. And very strongly.
And you have to learn it Initially, it was very difficult for me to say No. You have to learn it too if you want to make your solo trip successful You need to pack efficiently while traveling solo It will be wise not to carry heavy things as you are the sole person who has to drag the luggage around, so pack efficiently I always carry two backpacks. One on the back and other in the front Which is a very secured way of carrying a backpack and essential items like camera, laptop, etc which is pretty safe Since I travel alone and to distant places, I don’t carry trolly with me Carrying a suitcase is not a good idea since I love trekking Internationally it may be easy, like in European countries It will be difficult to drag it around in hilly places like Himachal or Kashmir You don’t have to travel solo every time. Mix it up. With proper research, you will identify places where you can travel solo and places where it’s advised to travel in a group E.g. In Kazakhstan, the transport was not available everywhere, hence I could not travel solo to every place It is nice to make friends in the hostel so that you can travel together and have fun Trust your gut. Your instinct and inner voice are two very strong things. They will guide you every time to do the right thing. If you feel something is not right, say no and walk away from it Don’t do it if your instinct says so Loneliness is a myth while traveling solo.
You will find people everywhere, mostly in hostels you will make friends easily Especially if you are alone, you become more approachable and people will show interest in talking with you It’s a myth that you will be lonely. There is nothing like that. I like going solo as no one knows about me, about my past and my personality Its the ultimate freedom to be a new person. Where you won’t judge anyone and no will judge you And it is so liberating. That is an ultimate form of freedom for me and this is why I like solo travel I feel free. I feel myself. And I’m enjoying that moment so much Especially while interacting with new people, you don’t feel a burden or baggage of judgment And it is the most intense and deep conversation you will ever have with strangers and that is why I love solo traveling You should give it a try but with baby steps Do not just jump right to the international travel.
Credits: Radhika Nomllers