Travel: Travelling Solo? Here's All You Need To Know
To be honest, I'm one of those people who doesn't let travelling alone worry them.
There's no one else to please, you can do what you want when you want, but that's not to say that If you are embarking on a spot of solo travel for the first time in your life, you might be excited and terrified in equal measure.
If you have been used to travelling with a partner and letting them worry about the logistics of navigating your way around the airport, it can be daunting heading on a plane alone. However, there is no shame in flying solo. The best travel adventures are ones that you can afford to be a little selfish in organising. You no longer have to worry about fulfilling the needs and wants of anyone else in your travel party. This time, you are the sole master of your travel destiny and this can be liberating.
When travelling solo, you might be concerned about safety or finding yourself alone in an emergency. These worries will do nothing but prevent you from taking part in some of the most exciting travel adventures that you may be lucky enough to organise. So if you're planning to escape the single life at Christmas or planning next years holiday jaunt, if you have the opportunity to travel solo, grab it with both hands and enjoy immersing yourself in new cultures, seeing new sights and meeting like minded people along the way. Read on to find out how you can make your journey just that little bit easier.
Ok, so it’s a little boring to think about your travel documents, but they are vital to get sorted early if you are to enjoy some stress free adventures. Firstly, check your passport and make sure that it has at least six months validity. If not, get yourself down to a photo booth and apply for a new one. Consider the visas you might need for your visit, especially if you are heading on a multi-destination adventure. Visas need thorough planning and the application process can seem more arduous than it needs to be. Do your research and apply early, because some countries require you to apply at least a month before you travel and you may even need to book an appointment to see an official at an embassy or a visa application centre.
And don’t forget your jabs. While you might not like needles, you will hate diphtheria or yellow fever even more. If the destination you are planning to visit is malaria ridden, get your anti-malarials started way before you travel. You will inevitably need to build up a level of immunity and you’ll want to overcome any possible side effects before you fly.
Opt For Something Organised
If this is your first time travelling alone, it might be worth going with an organised tour operator to ease the burden of itinerary planning. These specialist travel companies make it their business to create incredible travel plans for the discerning tourist. You can be sure that your days are jam packed, full of culture and are safe and well organised. If you want to hot foot it to see elephants up close and personal, why not choose a company that has South Africa safari tours on offer. This will allow you to meet other like minded solo travellers to enjoy your vacation with.
Alternatively, you might fancy a rail tour of India. Using the Indian rail system, plenty of tour operators set up itineraries that take in the odd sleeper train or two while heading to see the Taj Mahal, Rajasthan and Jaipur. Wherever you want to go in the world, there will be a specialist tour organiser ready with bespoke tours for you to sign up to and look forward to. All you need to worry about is paying for it.
If you’d rather take the bull by the horns and go for a more self planned trip, why not do your research and craft your own travel itinerary. Doing this can be exciting and can leave you feeling proud that you have created a trip solely for your wants and needs. Even on the most well executed generic tour, there will be something that you can take or leave. Self planning means that you see the sights you want to see, head to the restaurants you want to eat at, and gaze at the vistas that you are in awe of.
The first thing you need to sort out is your flights and accommodation. If you are working to a budget, consider planning well in advance and taking advantage of early bird offers. Think about flying at ungodly hours and go indirect. A stopover may seem a nuisance and flying at 3am isn’t ideal but you could save yourself a small fortune. When it comes to your accommodation, go to a comparison website that allows you to make reservations without any up front payment and free cancellations. This means that you can plan out your trip and swap and change your hotels as and when you need to.
While this may seem like a no brainer, that hard backed wheeled suitcase that is a favourite of yours might not be the most practical luggage to take. Rather than wasting time standing in a check in line, consider a front loading backpack that you can carry with you at all times, including inside the cabin of the plane. This backpack will also be more flexible and comfortable to travel with when you are overseas meaning you won’t have a suitcase limiting your transport options.
Roll instead of fold, and always pack your gadgets, passports and visa documents so that they are close to hand, rather than somewhere that means you have to rifle through your bag to reach them. Make sure that any money you have is on you at all times, preferably in a money belt under your clothes for security. While you might be travelling to a relatively safe destination and you will want to try to blend in and look like a local, your travel camera and guidebook may alert your tourist status to would be pickpockets.
Heading overseas should be a big adventure to help you to make memories and see the world. Going solo will make your jaunt abroad even more exciting.
Follow my tips for a successful solo journey.