For people preparing for their first solo international travel, the feeling could be overwhelming. Being anxiously excited is normal. On the back of your mind, you are concerned about what you will find out there. Your safety and on how to handle yourself alone are your greatest priorities. With preparation and common sense, solo travel is not as scary as you think.
1. Bring Extra Identification
Aside from your passport, bring extra identification like unexpired governments issued IDs. When you need to provide identification to some establishments, you can provide your government issued ID and not your passport to safe keep it. Carry extra photocopies of your passport in case you accidentally lost or got your passport stolen.
2. Check valuables
Always be mindful of your belongings, especially when traveling to multiple countries or have multiple flights. Make sure not to misplace your valuables, you don’t want your stuff stolen or lost when you are somewhere in a middle of a foreign country. Check valuables regularly like passport, cellphone and wallet.
3. Use social media
Use the power of social media to ensure your friends and family that you are safe especially you’re travel alone. Post on Facebook or Tweet where you are or post about your next flight. That way, people will know that you are fine and that you are safe.
Prior to the travel date, make sure to inform your bank that you will be traveling outside the country to avoid inconvenience. Some banks do not allow the use your debit cards or credit cards outside the country without informing them or card might get declined for suspicious transactions as you swipe it or take money out from an ATM . If you carry cash, make sure to have enough funds to cover your travel duration and have backup funds in case you get short of cash.
5. Don’t forget your itinerary
Your itinerary will be like your travel bible. Following an itinerary will make it easier for you to accomplish your planned activities. Take note of important details like train time-table, opening and closing hours of establishments and tourist spot locations.
6. Inform hotel reception about your itinerary
Leave a brief itinerary to the hotel receptionist about your activities for a specific day. In case of emergency, the hotel or someone knows your whereabouts.
7. Keep your cell phone charged
As much as possible, make sure that your phone is charged, bring power banks and take note of emergency numbers. Great for emergency purposes and to contact people back home.
Don’t skip the local food it is part of the experience. Regardless, if a local food has a funny taste or weird smell, try it. It is all about trying something that you haven’t tried or eaten before. Street foods are the best!
Truthfully, anything can happen during a trip. Stuck in traffic, miss a flight, get sick, lost a wallet, countless unfortunate possibilities… Don’t stress, however, focus on what you need to do. Do not lose yourself in worst cases. Make sure to know your next move and look for options so to get out from the uncomfortable situation.
10. Travel light
Traveling without bringing your whole closet is one of the key factors in making your first solo travel comfortable. Imagine bringing a 20 kl. luggage and then you are only traveling for 3 days, you will be exhausted, not from the trip, but from dragging around your luggage. If you are backpacking and planning to have a long term trip, bring only the necessary, laundry is available in hotels or you can always buy something you need on the road.
11. Stay in hostels
This is best for long-term budget travels, and for solo travelers to meet new friends. Hostels do provide good accommodation and breakfast. The only difference is that you will be sharing the room with other people. When I travel, I usually get the capsule hostels. It has more privacy compared to regular bunk bed hostels.
12. Be street smart
Remember that you are traveling alone, so you need to be extra careful. It is about being aware of where you are and what situation you are in. When you feel something isn’t right, most likely, it isn’t. Do not do something that will attract attention like flash money in the street, wear expensive jewelries or wear clothes that are too catchy for attention , blend in and lay low.
13. Be responsible
Traveling alone would demand a lot of being responsible to yourself. When you want to enjoy, always remember that you are somewhere miles away from what is familiar to you and you are on an adventure – ALONE. Take control and be responsible while you are having a few drinks or partying with new friends. Always make a decision that you won’t regret after. Your safety depends on the choices you make. Always make smart choices when you travel, regardless. Say no politely when you feel you need to.
14. Take pictures and appreciate the moment
A holiday won’t be complete without beautiful pictures. Take as many pictures as you can and share it to your friends. It is a great way to keep memories. You don’t want to miss a great opportunity of having epic photos or videos, get that hundred likes on Instagram or Facebook. Share with the world your experience especially to those who can’t travel like you. Let people see your experience through pictures.
15. Don’t forget to enjoy, meet new friends and create beautiful memories
Don’t be too anxious. Enjoy the opportunity that you are somewhere a lot of people only dream of seeing. Feel the wind on your face when you are at the beach, taste a local sumptuous meal, learn a few local languages, smile to everyone you meet, challenge yourself and see what you can do, appreciate freedom and allow yourself to be happy.
Just like they say, life starts outside your comfort zone. So challenge yourself on how far you can go, how strong you can be and how creative you are in making beautiful memories being alone out there. Be confident. You’ll do just fine.
Once you are ready and have thought about the things you need to be aware of before your trip, make sure you know how to prepare for your first epic solo international travel.