Travelling solo is often a preferred choice of many globe-trotters or backpackers. Often more of a soul-searching experience, back packers are seen indulging in it more regularly than package-deal travellers. True, travelling alone can be the ultimate experience of self-indulgence. However, taking into the account the perils of such a form of travel like safety concerns and loneliness, a few tips about the same can come handy. Take a look how.
The foremost concern of a solo traveller is safety. He is more vulnerable to thugs and scam artists than people travelling in a group. Also, he has to deal with the simplest of the health worries on his own as he has no companion to watch his back. Small tips like knowing the exact travel distance and modes of commuting between airports, stations and the destinations can prevent him from being literally “taken-on-a-ride”. If you are trotting alone, avoid late night hours and read more about places of visit for issues of safety, if any. A thumb rule is to trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, just don’t do it.
Do keep a low profile if you are a lone traveller. Attracting attention by wearing flashy clothes or coming across as an obvious tourist can mean unnecessary trouble. A few white lies can actually come handy. “A friend of mine is waiting at the station but I don’t know the way. Could you please help?” will work and is much safer than giving oneself away by pouring into maps in the middle of the street.
Staying in constant touch ensures you a sense of belonging when you are travelling. Your loved ones are at peace too when they know they can still reach you anytime! Leave them a copy of your detailed itinerary and check in periodically. With technology at your behest, free calls from Android or a Blackberry is literally a call away. Also, it is dearth cheap. If you are travelling with a pc, making pc to phone calls is another way of getting rid of solitude especially in the evening or during meals. Affordable international calling has made life easier not just for travellers themselves but for the ones they leave behind.
Solo dining may not be as fun as it sounds at times. Sitting at a counter seat or at the bar in a restaurant is a good idea. You are likely to find company, and not unwanted. Bring a book you don’t mind leaving behind. Writing a journal is also a great way of savouring your travel memories later and restaurants are a great place to do that! It is important to eat well. Have a laid-back coffee or a decadent dessert once in a while. The constant vigilance needed whilst travelling alone can actually wear you down.
Lastly, in case you start feeling lonely, you could cut short your ambitious itinerary and kick back for a while. Consider joining a fellow group of travellers. It will help you get over your boredom as also you might actually win some nice company. Youth hostels give you an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded people. Don’t get bowed down by the name as even older people frequent these places as they hop from one city to another.
There you go ! Having checked all that is required to know and to do, you can now think of making solo travelling not just interesting but one of the most memorable experiences of all !
Photo Credits (Flick Creative Commons): Phones by Carlos Varela