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8 Tips for Solo Traveling - Wandersmurf
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8 Tips for Solo Traveling

8 Tips for Solo Traveling

All of us, at one point or another, will have to go through solo traveling. Either it’s domestic or international. Maybe for business trip, a conference, or for those moments when you badly want to escape and yet no one can keep you company. Before I go any further, I just want to clarify that I had some solo traveling experiences in my pocket, but not too far. I haven’t backpacked throughout Europe, if that’s what you’re asking. But I’ve made it to Thailand, Japan, and several cities in my country, in one piece. So, thought I’d just share some of my "lesson learned" with you here. Hope this may help! πŸ™‚
1. Travel light
Gosh, I don’t know how I can emphasize this enough. But light packing will free your solo traveling from any unnecessary hassle, especially if you’re a petite woman like me. I know myself and I know my limitation, so I try to not bring luggage with more than 15-kg weight. It’s too heavy and I cannot even lift it without someone else’s help, let alone if my hostel room or Airbnb is located at the third or fourth floor! Besides, waiting for baggage claim at the airport alone can take an hour (yes, an entire hour!). And let’s not forget about the line of baggage-drop. In short, pack as lightly as you can, and your hand-carry luggage is your best friend! Make sure it has 4-wheels on it.

Photo credit: https://www.printerous.com/blog/en/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/printerous-travel-light.jpg
2. Always keep your belongings safe
The thing about solo traveling is you don’t have a friend who will keep an eye on your belongings. This might be a little complicated when you have to go to the airport bathroom, etc. But hey, you can do this! My trick is to always put the most essential items like passport, phone, money, or card key in one pocket of my bag. Every once in a while, I quickly check it to make sure they’re still there. And yes, I bring my bag everywhere, even if I go to the bathroom. In addition, when you’re in a crowded place, you should be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be busy with Instagram or listening to music, it could be a distraction.
3. Pick your accommodations based on reviews
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I always pick my accommodations based on its reviews. I don’t care about the pictures (okay, I care just a little bit), what’s more important is what people are saying about it, because it’s mostly true. So make sure you pick a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb space with stellar ratings. Compare it with other sites too to make sure it’s safe. I almost once booked an Airbnb out of rush, thankfully I opened the review section and it says that the apartment is full of prostitutes. Lesson learned: always read the reviews first!

Photo credit: https://www.bucharestviptour.com/images/hotels/hotel_1.1.jpg
4. Buy the local internet data
My biggest challenge in solo traveling is: I’m really bad at reading maps. Like, really really bad. I can’t even navigate my way around shopping malls, let alone A COUNTRY that I’ve never been before. So to make up for that weakness, I always buy the local internet data. Google Maps, I love you and I (literally) cannot live without you! The feature that I used the most is actually the public transport and walking-route options. Gmaps has it all figured it out. As you are traveling by yourself, you only have yourself to count on. So do yourself a favor and stay connected to the mighty net. Don’t be lost. Trust me on this.
5. Stay low-profile
Of course, I am so excited to travel and explore all day with myself, but I rarely let it shown. Try to be low-profile, as much as you could. However, if you are one of the extroverted person who like to gain attention, well it’s a thoroughly different case. I like meeting new people, but I keep a distance at first. At least until you are certain that they’re harmless. Traveling feels better when no one knows you’re a tourist. Don’t dress too fancy, or wear jewellries. It just pulls unwanted attention. Don’t unfold your map amid the crowded road and don’t look confused, some people might want to help you, but some of them might take advantage of your clueless-ness. So, be confident and show them that you know exactly where you’re going (even when you’re not)!

Photo credit: https://d2v9y0dukr6mq2.cloudfront.net/video/thumbnail/rZ4IrKvmiormx3dh/man-tourist-with-a-city-map-and-backpack-in-europe-caucasian-boy-looking-with-map-of-european-city-in-search-of-attractions_bhg5pkye___F0000.png
6. Prepare your budget (and be generous)
One of the challenges of solo traveling is, you cannot split the cost with your friends. Either it’s hotel cost, food cost, or even transportation cost. Thus, most of the times, solo traveling needs higher budget. That being said, you HAVE TO really calculate your budget and then add some 20% of extra money (just in case). In my experience, you cannot always predict what happens during the trip. You might need a medicine, you forget to bring your shampoo, or you wanna try that fancy little diner in the corner. Anything could happen. So, always bring extra money with you.
7. Never, ever, reveal that you are alone
The rule of thumb that you should never violate unless you’re 100% sure of who you’re talking to: never, ever, reveal that you are on solo-traveling. It’s a huge no-no. Well, for obvious reasons: not everyone has good heart and intention. And since you’re a thousand miles away from home, you are free to be anyone else! You can even lie about your name and they won’t even find out. Equally important: do not give them your address! Unless they’re your Uber drivers or whatever. When you’re traveling solo, you cannot trust anyone. Don’t be so naive. I know it might sound harsh but well, there are many horrible things happened to tourist, so… we can never be too safe!
8. Pick your destinations right
When you’re on solo traveling, you have all the freedom to choose the spots you want to visit. However, you need to craft your itinerary to make it as fun as possible, even though you’re traveling alone. What does that mean? It means, stay away from theme park, aquarium, waterpark, or other merry festivals. Why? Because let’s face it, most of them make you feel kinda lonely. Choose other popular spots. Maybe you wanna go to a little culinary quest? Or indulge yourself in a spa and jaccuzzi? Maybe you want to make peace with yourself alongside the beach? What matters the most is, you have to pick the destinations that you’re comfortable of visiting alone.

Photo credit: https://gogirlguides.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/-e1378782451419-600×336.jpg
See? If you think about it, solo traveling can be SO MUCH FUN!
You are free to go anywhere, anytime. You never have to wait for another person. When you’re tired, you can take a nap at the hotel without anyone being angry at you. You can truly experience every single moment, every bite, every view, every feeling, without the need to fill in the silence and say some comments like, "Oh, it’s so good."
After all, traveling has different meaning for each person. So, you might as well enjoy yourself and have fun!
Follow me at Instagram @Wandersmurf or find me chirping at Twitter @Wandersmurf
Falencia Naoenz
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