Traveling solo might be the new fad but there were people doing it long before it became one or we started writing solo travel tips. However, we must understand that it’s not for everyone and no one way is the right kind of travel or the wrong kind. Everyone has their preference including style and what they want out of travel. So about time we stop looking down upon any group of travel.
Some things to do for your first solo trip that I could think of being a woman solo traveller:
Choose a destination:
Some people like to choose a place and plan things around it and some people like to book the first cheapest flight out.
Whether this is your first step or second, whenever you do finalise on the destination remember the world is a huge place. There’s no shortage of destinations to choose from especially with the ever increasing network of frequent and affordable flights.
Some things to consider before choosing a destination you want to head to:
Is the place worth spending the money on could be something to consider. Essentially the value you would get out of the money. I would also consider the amount of time I intend to spend in the country.
Most domestic travel I try to do by road (mostly by trains) this makes me feel less guilty when I do take a flight to an international destination I can’t take the train to.
Duration is an important factor in multiple decisions. Like for a long weekend I would go to a place that’s overnight bus journey away.
How expensive is the place? I wouldn’t choose a popular destination for a busy holiday weekend because chances are it would be way more expensive than usual.
Ease of Access:
How complicated is it to reach? I haven’t made it to Europe yet, cheap flight or not and the primary reason is the complicated process of getting the Schengen Visa.
Get the documentation in Place:
This is especially for people with weaker passports, you cannot afford to miss this point. I know people who were not allowed to board a flight because they did not have the transit Visa for a country.
Check where all the flight is stopping and if you would need a Visa to transit from that country, or what other kind of documents are required. A regular Visa/eVisa/permit.
Note: Do email yourself a soft copy of all important documents including Visas.
Book those tickets:
Don’t procrastinate so much that you miss the boat. If you have got a decent price buy the ticket and invest your energy in planning the trip rather than looking at ticket prices everyday and hoping for them to go down further.
Delaying this can lead to spending more money or traveling in worse off situations for the same amount of money spent (A situation I often find myself in).
Make an itinerary/route:
Traveling on an itinerary is not for everyone, sticking to timelines while traveling can seem overwhelming but what I do recommend is to make a route. Look at the map, read about places you want to visit and have a sense of direction you would want to move in.
This saves you from going back and forth in a new place which translates to waste of precious resources on the road - time and money.
Book the first night stay:
There might not be a shortage of hotels in tourist places but they do tend to get more expensive. Booking the first night allows you to travel stress free. There are a million things that can go wrong in a new place and flight delay is only one of them. Spend a few minutes and book a place you would want to stay in.
Additional items to pack:
There really is nothing additional you would have to pack because you’re traveling solo unless you’re someone who relies on another person to carry the toiletries.
For solo female travellers my recommendation would be to carry a loud whistle (my backpack comes with it so I don’t add it to my packing list).
On domestic travels, I do carry pepper spray but not on trips involving air travel as I like to travel with cabin luggage only.
One item I find quite useful as a solo traveler is - a lighter. Even though I don’t smoke, it opens up opportunities for me to initiate conversations whenever someone needs a lighter.
Let the trip happen:
Now when all the work has been put it, it’s time to do one last thing, remember to relax and enjoy because ‘you are on a holiday’.
All this may seem like very matter of fact but so is traveling solo. The only thing with traveling solo is you wouldn’t have someone to share your happiness and troubles with. But you also wouldn’t have to push anyone to go anywhere you want to go or wait on anyone. It has its set of advantages and there are many.
If you fear feeling lonely or not too safe as a solo female traveler, then my advise is to stay in hostels. The common area is a great place to meet people and make plans with. But yes, if shared toilets is not your thing then book a hotel and try going on day tours. There are travel companies for solo travellers now like Shivoy dmc which is run my travel enthusiasts themselves and hence know how to cater to this need.
One rule I stick to to keep things interesting on the road is - I don’t occupy a new table if there’s anyone else in the restaurant eating alone. It’s simple, it puts me out of my comfort zone but I am yet to hear a ‘no’ or be disappointed by people I met through this.