Travelling solo! It’s an adventure that must be attempted. Most solo adventures turn out to provide the best lessons in life, the best memories and the most return for the effort you put in. It can be daunting, it can seem expensive, but there are all sorts of ways to travel on a shoestring while jumping at once-in-a-lifetime opportunities! Most often, it’s the tips and tricks you learn on the road from people you meet, or random encounters you experience that help the most! Here are ten handy tips for solo travellers!
Going Solo? Plan ahead and be flexible too!
As a solo traveller, researching the places you are visiting is step one! Step two is being flexible as things can change easily! Consider using a Travel Consultant to do the work for you! Things like a few key words of the language, safety tips, local transportation options, visas, appropriate insurance coverage and a bit of off the beaten track sites and attractions, will go a long way to starting your trip off right. Try to be flexible with your time and reservations. If you can travel at off peak times and aren’t on a tour, it will allow you to spend more time in places you are enjoying and less time in places you’ve had enough of! Consider joining Busabout’s Hop-On Hop-Off independent travel options. The Timed Pass, allows you to purchase your travel in specific time increments from between one week to three months. The Unlimited Pass allows you to travel unlimited during the entire Busabout season. How flexible is that?!
Save money when travelling by checking in with local visitor centres in cities and towns. The visitor centres will be able to tell you about free tours, activities and free or cheaper access to sites and attractions before you have to spend a cent!
Learn a little lingo
Memorise a handful of words of the local language and have the courage to use them! It’s amazing how just a few words will go a long way; locals tend to warm to those who have made the effort to communicate with them in their own tongue – even if you don’t pronounce everything perfectly the effort doesn’t go unnoticed.
Find your way home
If you’re in large cities and don’t have access to WIFI all the time, and don’t speak the local language, try to write down the address or collect business cards for your accommodation or a local bar or restaurant. If you get lost or lose track of where you are, you can ask someone to direct you. Even better, before you travel, download the app MAPS.ME and star all the important places you need to.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) provides sufficient ID for students to take advantage of discounts on offer worldwide. Full time teachers and youth aged 30 years or younger are also eligible for similar cards! You can purchase your ISIC card through travelcuts.com/students
Ask the locals!
Some of the best experiences can be had with locals. Searching for meetup groups or local tour guides or asking your accommodation hosts where the locals ‘hang out’ can help find a truly authentic experience. You might even find out about a ‘secret’ attraction, restaurant or experience that is popular with locals!
Pack your own medication and first aid kit and travel insurance!
There is nothing worse than getting the flu or eating something dodgy and having to traipse around a city looking for a place to buy medicine. If medication is in it’s original medicinal packaging, it’ll get through customs. For prescription medication, keep your prescription papers on you in case you are questioned. Before you travel anywhere, travel Insurance is a must. A missed, delayed or cancelled flight, disaster or simply lost bags can accrue quite a debt without it! Travelcuts has the travel insurance to fit your style of adventuring!
Make copies of all your important travel documents. Keep a photocopy of your passport with you so you don’t have to walk around with your actual passport on you. Also keep a copy of your travel insurance policy with you, itinerary, flight booking details and any other useful info that you might not be able to get hold of if you’re out of reception or WIFI. Save it all to email for quick access and share it with a reliable friend or family member for quick access if you need it.
Pack podcasts, audio books, a portable charger and earplugs or noise cancelling headphones
For as little as $20 you can extend the battery life of your smart phone, tablet, or even camera by 8-12 hours. This can be great for those long days of sightseeing and photo taking that drain your battery quickly. When staying in noisy cities, in hostels or sitting next to a chatterbox on a plane, earplugs and noise cancelling headphones can be one of the best investments! Books are always handy to have when travelling to help time pass by, but to save on weight and space, download podcasts and audio books instead!
Pack a change of clothes in your carry on and layer up!
This is a good backup in case your checked baggage gets temporarily misplaced, and even if it does, it can make your arrival in-destination more comfortable. Escaping Canada in winter for a hot climate country? If you’ve packed shorts and a t-shirt in your carry on, you can change in the airplane bathroom just before landing, or in the bathroom at the airport while you wait for your luggage! Layering up is an ideal way to dress when travelling. Planes can fluctuate hot to cold throughout the flight, and so can the weather when you’re out exploring your destination. Being able to go from t-shirt to sweater to raincoat and back without going back to your accommodation brings so much more value to the day.
Remember, travel is guaranteed to provide many lessons in life. No amount of tips, advice, research or planning can actually prepare you for what you will experience when travelling, so just embrace the journey and enjoy the adventure!