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Solo trips are therapeutic. Seriously. Every one should try solo travels at least once in their lives. No, I don’t mean the kind where you book yourself a berth among a strange group. No matter how wildly unacquainted you are with the group, there is still the safety of numbers and a co-ordinator. Whereas when you are on a solo trip you have to manage every aspect of the travel on your own. Before planning a long solo trip it is advisable to go on few solo short trips. This will give you a clue as to your suitability to solo travel. So when you are sure you want to travel on your own, you can start the planning. Below is a list of items that you need to keep in mind when you plan your first solo trip.
Plan your Budget
- You should plan your itinerary properly and prepare a Checklist before you start your travels.
- You should pre-book all the hotels and Air, Train tickets beforehand.
- While booking accommodation, try to make the payment online, so that you have to carry less cash.
- While planning the budget you should calculate the cost of Food + Drinks + Museum Tickets +Sightseeing Expense + Travel Day Passes + Things you plan to buy during the trip + Additional Expenses. [You can get all Ticket price details from internet].
- Carrying Travel Card is also an option but sometimes the cards do not work properly. So, you need to have a proper backup plan.
- While carrying Cash you should split it into two halves. Keep a minimal amount to make payment for the daily expenses in a wallet. Keep the remaining Cash in a safer place.
- Keep your passport in the innermost pocket of your bag as you cannot afford to lose it at any cost.
- In crowded places, beware of pickpockets and avoid keeping Cash, Mobile or Passport in your backpack.[ In Italy many people I met warned me of pickpockets]
- When you are traveling solo, if you fall short of cash, you are in big trouble- so it’s important to keep track of your budget regularly. Maintain a spreadsheet so that you know how much you are spending on a daily basis during the trip and how much balance you have in your wallet, in order to avoid over expenditure.
- You should carry a basic Medical Kit which includes all important medicines and first aid items that you might need during a trip.
- Keep a Checklist of all items that you might need during the Trip.
- Keep a folder which with all the important Documents [Air tickets+ Insurance + Train Tickets+ Hotel Bookings]. [Preferably 2 copies]
- Save a copy of every travel document in your phone/on the cloud as a backup.
- You should review the travel dates and time beforehand to avoid any confusion about the train/Flight timings. I have known seasoned travelers mess up the am/pm and miss their ride. You should reach the station/airport well in advance. For trains, you should reach the station at least 40 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
- If you have a connecting train, please review the train timings. There should be a proper time gap between two trains as you might have to change the Platform with your luggage. Also sometimes there are delays in Train Timings, so keep that in mind before booking the 2nd connection.
- Travel light. When you are solo, you don’t want to lug your baggage around. Only take what you can definitely carry yourself.
- Carry at least 2 pairs of comfortable shoes.
- Check the weather forecast before you leave. If there are rain predictions it’s advisable to carry an umbrella.
- Selecting the location of your hotel is very important. If you book your hotels closer to the Metro/Train stations then it solves a lot of connectivity problems and carrying the luggage also becomes easier. Cabs are usually very expensive.
- If you are fit enough, it’s advisable to carry a backpack rather than a suitcase.
- When you are traveling to hilly areas, you should discuss with the hotels how far it is from the Railway station before you book them. Carrying the luggage in these hilly areas can be quite challenging
- Many countries around the world do not speak English, so language problem is often a big issue. People who know English will answer your queries. There are some ways to communicate with people who usually do not understand English. Always carry a map of the place with you. When you want to enquire about the location, point out in the map and the person might be able to give you an answer. Sign language has worked so well for me in so many places. [When you check in to any Hotel they usually provide you with a map and point out the important locations, always carry this with you.]
- It is advisable to have an internet connection when you travel on your own as wifi is only available at specific places. Also Google map solves a lot of dependencies.
- Go Lo-fi, and have a simple translator book on you, especially in parts of Asia and Europe. It can be a lifesaver.
- When you are travelling on your own, avoid late nights. Start your day early as most of the tourist spots open by 9.00 AM and cover as much as you can during the day.
- Don’t hitchhike if possible. Travel in public transports like buses and trains. Choose your ground transportation timings wisely.
- Know the Laws of the Land. Ignorance doesn’t absolve you from the eyes of Law.
Ignore Personal Questions
- You will get to meet a lot of people when you travel alone. Solo Travel is a popular concept in the Western countries so no one really bothers if you are on your own. But it is a relatively new concept in Asia and Africa. When you interact with people some of them assume you are either studying or working in the city when they see you alone. When they realize you are on a solo trip they become very shocked, curious and start asking personal questions. Some can be quite intrusive, asking questions like -Are your married? Are you single? What is your age? What makes you travel alone? Why you are still not married? Avoid answering – you need not be polite. No matter which part of the World you are in, these questions are outside of basic courtesy.
I guess, I have touched upon all the important points that might help you plan your solo trip soon. Wish you a Safe Journey & Happy Journey. All the solo trippers out there, what else would you add to the list? Comment below or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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