I have read somewhere that traveling alone will be the scariest, most liberating, life-changing experience of your life and that you should do it once. I have done it not just once but many times and I love it. Sometimes I prefer going solo than travel with a companion. I guess I just got so used to doing things on my own that sometimes I feel uneasy when I’m with someone. I’m not saying I don’t like traveling with someone else. I enjoyed the time I was with Josephine, a Taiwanese I met in Luang Prabang and we did the slow boat travel to Thailand together. I also enjoyed exploring Chiang Mai with Andreu.
The first time I traveled solo was the day after my 25th birthday. Since I was in college I have always wanted to visit Puerto Galera. So when I had the chance to take vacation leave from work, I decided to go there and it’s just so hard to find someone to travel with so I decided to just go on my own. I don’t remember getting scared and I don’t think it was life-changing. But I enjoyed my “me time”. After that trip, the only time I traveled solo again was for a work trip to Australia twice.
Then three years ago, I was going through something and when I’m at home during weekends especially on long weekends somehow I felt more sad, depressed. My way of coping was going on trips. Going solo wasn’t intentional at first. I asked a friend to join me on a trip but a week before the travel date this friend backed out. I decided to continue with the trip and from then on I never asked anyone to join me on any of my travels again.
Why Travel Alone?
Traveling alone can sometimes be more expensive than traveling with a group because with a group you have someone to split the accommodation, transportation and other costs with. Also, it is not very wise roaming around alone at night. But traveling solo has its perks too. You don’t have to wake up early to do some sightseeing if you don’t feel like it. If you get lost because you boarded the wrong bus, you don’t have to worry about getting into a fight with your companion because of the mistake. And best of all, you can do whatever you want and travel at your own pace. You don’t have to skip doing something just because your friends are not into that type of activity.
Is traveling solo on your bucket list? Here are some of my tips that you may find useful:
Stay in hostels or communal living establishments.
If you hate the feeling of being alone in a hotel room (you can’t avoid feeling lonely when you’re alone in a room), then you should try staying in a hostel. You’ll meet fellow travelers, and you might end up exploring places with some of them. If you’re a girl, I recommend staying in a female-only dorm. Sex in hostel rooms happen sometimes, so if you don’t want to experience hearing people doing it in your room, then stay in a female dorm. It isn’t a guarantee though that you won’t experience it, but there’s a lower chance.
Trust your instinct.
If something feels wrong, maybe it is wrong. If someone becomes very friendly with you but you feel that something is off, be cautious. Trust your gut feeling.
It is easier to move around if you have a light bag. Have only one backpack or suitcase if possible. If you’re traveling long term, bring only clothing enough for a week. Laundry shops are available everywhere.
Don’t get wasted.
It will be too difficult for you to get home safe if you are wasted. Also, you become an easy target to thieves and other bad people if you don’t have control of yourself.
Use common sense.
I think this is very essential not just for those who are traveling solo. Don’t leave your valuable things unattended and don’t walk in dark alleys/sketchy streets alone especially at night.
Have at least one person know about your daily activities.
This could be a close friend or a family member at home. Get in touch with them regularly just to let them know that you are still alive and doing well. Another thing that was taught to me that I think is very useful is the location sharing in Google Maps. What you do is you share your location with someone using the app, and if you are connected to the internet they would see where you are. It will be easier to find you in case you go missing/can no longer be contacted.
Book with join-in tours.
Going on tours is more expensive if you are doing it alone. But there are tour operators who organize join-in tours such as Klook. You’ll be doing the tour with strangers, usually solo travelers too.
Bring a book.
A book may come in handy when you are dining out and you feel uneasy sitting alone. It also gets rid of boredom while waiting for your flight or during a long journey.
Hope you find these tips helpful. If you’ve got some more to add, please write them down in the comments section below.