10 Best Tips For Solo Travel
If you happen to listen to that little voice pushing you out of your comfort zone and into places you've been dreaming of seeing, I promise that you will never regret doing so. I do however remember how little I knew about solo travels before starting my own, and the anxiety that came along with the storm of unknowns. Below is a list of the best tips I can come up with, after a year and a half journey around the world:
01 Embrace The Unknown
“You will, if you're wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it.” - Freya Stark
This might be the biggest lesson I have learned so far. Embracing the unknown can cure the travel lows and open up doors to possibilities, people and experiences that may have otherwise never happened. It starts with you, and you can become better at this the more you focus on it. In fact, I would say the unknown is one of the coolest parts of traveling and what naturally intrigues people to begin with. We all know what a 9-5 routine will generally look like for months to come, but the unknowns of traveling can, and most likely will, come with endless and pleasant surprises. Just like reading a book, not knowing what lies on the page ahead is what it's all about!
02 Be Adventurous & Explore
Use your intuition! (this could be it's own tip in itself) This is a balance that you will learn to trust and develop over time. Of course, you do not want to put yourself in danger, but you want to be open to more genuine and spontaneous adventures along the way. You will always want to be safe rather than sorry, but I think you will be surprised how good you can become at using your intuition while on the road. Doors to unexpected opportunities will most likely open for you on a daily basis, and simply walking through them can lead to some of the most incredible, unforgettable, breathtaking experiences of your entire life!
03 Smile, Relax & Enjoy The Moment
Sharing smiles with people along the way just might be the simplest pleasure of traveling. (or just in everyday life for that matter) You may not even be able to communicate with words, but a genuine, friendly smile can connect you with people. Before you know it, you may even be invited to a local's family party, wedding, dinner or karaoke night. There are a lot of uncertainties that can consume you and sometimes seem to swallow you whole when on the road alone, but just relax into the present moment and do your best to embrace how temporary your current situation is.
04 Be Flexible
I know this may look different for each person, but a healthy dose of "no-plans" in your game plan can really lead you down the path to some unforgettable times and friendships. I personally enjoy almost no structure or restriction other than planning to leave countries at least by the time my visa expires. This opens up space for new travel friends and groups to team together and share the experiences together. The people you meet along the way are truly what make solo traveling so exciting and enjoyable.
Soaking In The Majestic Himalayan Views On Day 3 Of Our Trek
05 Learn Some Basic Phrases
It is always a good idea to know things like “hello, goodbye, please, thank you” and most importantly “cheers.” These simple phrases can get you discounts, offers most travelers don’t receive, and most importantly, the chance to connect with people along the way. Knowing how to say “hello” can lead to having a drink with someone who you can say “thank you” to, right before you say “cheers.” And next thing you know, you're invited to their cousin's wedding that I mentioned earlier.
06 Be Open Minded, Not Judgmental
Maybe this was more highlighted for me personally, but I never considered myself very judgmental of people. Then I was thrown out of my comfort zone, and noticed how quick I could be to judge people, from what I would consider to be a subtle form of fear. And I can sit here today and tell you that each time I did judge somebody, they completely and pleasantly surprised me once I got to know them. Maybe this sounds obvious, but promise me you’ll keep it in mind for the sake of the relationships and experiences that will result in doing so.
Posing In Ta Prohm, The Famous "Tomb Raider" Temple
07 Check Before Going & Keep In Touch
It is always a good idea to be aware of current status’ in places you plan to travel through before you get there. This can happen through searching online at www.travel.state.gov and/or through conversation with locals and other travelers. It is important to let at least a couple people in your life know of your plans so they can keep somewhat of tabs on you, as well as ease their anxiety of your constant safety and status of still being alive and well.
Find more info on the Start Here page!
08 Pack Light - Bear Necessities People!
I understand the idea of living with only enough things to fit in a backpack might sound insane, but it is oh-so necessary, and honestly quite liberating in my opinion. I can guarantee you will be worse off over packed than under packed when you are lugging things around the world in blistering heat because your hostel was actually overbooked or the bus broke down. (all part of the experience) Plus 9 out of 10 times all the extra things you’re trying to cram into your bag are also available in the places you are thinking of travelling, most often for a fraction of the cost!
Get your Packing & Gear List here!
Setting Up Camp Looking Out Over The Active Volcano of Mt. Rinjani
09 Keep Your Chin Up
There is no doubt that traveling has its fair share of highs and lows. While it is mostly breathtaking highs, there are times when it can knock you down quite hard, especially when going solo. Though most of the time you are not actually by yourself while you are traveling solo, a lot of the times it’s the goodbyes that can knock you down a peg. They happen a lot and do not get any easier. Sometimes hitting the reset button after having a solid travel group can be exhausting, but as long as you remember tip number one and embrace the unknown, those lows only flow right back into body tingling highs shortly after. You may/will also get sick, dirty, lost and various other less enjoyable parts of the experience, but just remember it all builds a priceless amount of character and makes for some good journal entries! Which leads right into my last tip...
10 Journal Often
I like to think I have done a decent job of documenting my travels, but have to admit I already regret not keeping more frequent and detailed notes along the way. A lot happens while traveling, in ways all over the spectrum. It is impossible to remember everyone's names and things they teach you along the way, and it is so easy to slip one incredible moment from the memory when your days are endlessly filled with them. So many new things happen on a daily basis where it can start to feel normal, but do your best to keep in perspective how rare and temporary all of these days actually are. The places your mind will go are truly unique and beautiful and should also be heavily documented. Sometimes I read things I jotted down and it gives me the chills!
Looking Up At The Stars While Camping In Indonesia
Choose Love Over Fear