"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page" - St. Augustine "Once a year, go someplace you've never been before" - Dalai Lama
In this age of social media, it is quite normal to see posts from friends about their travel. Majority would change their profile photos right after their trip. Instagrammable photos + unrelated quote + #longhashtag, Yep! We all have that kind of friend! I’m not bashing them. Actually, at some point I am one of them.
I’m an extrovert. But why do I travel solo?
I want to skip the travel dramas
Travel Drama 1: Planning and finding friends (or family members) to go backpacking is hard. At first, everyone gets so excited. But as you start planning for the trip, they also start giving their excuses.
Travel Drama 2: I did find a travel buddy before. But believe me, when you go out there (in the wild? lolz!), you’ll get to know more about these friends and you’ll realize that you don’t know them that much. You’ll end up fighting. It’s a good thing really, at the end of the trip, you can both gauge if you are both mature enough to accept your differences.
Travel Drama 3: I can customize my itinerary on the spot. Some people do not like theme parks, has limited budget or want to go food trip. Me? I just want to sit and take photographs. Deal with it, we all want to have fun.
I want to meet new people
I always get a feedback that traveling solo is boring. Actually, it is not. The most exciting part is knowing that out there are stories from other travellers like you. Understanding each other’s culture and listening to life experiences is so rewarding. These stories will change your perspective. You might go home with an empty pocket (I hope not!), but never with empty life long memory and experience.
I get to decide on my own and be independent
Deciding on what to eat, where to go and what to wear are small things. But these small things can make you a more responsible individual. When you travel solo, you have an obligation to yourself. You need to understand the map, manage your budget and organize your itinerary to maximize your day. Above all, you need to be intelligent and alert to keep yourself safe.
I get to know myself more
It sounds cliché. But believe me, sometimes you just need to sit and talk to yourself. Are you really happy and satisfied with your life? Sometimes, we live the life of what others expects us to be. Going to a place wherein no one knows you gives you an opportunity to be yourself without other people’s judgment.
Tips on traveling solo:
- Check the weather, electric plug/socket type and do’s/don’t/s of your selected destination. Especially for international trips.
- Research and prepare your itinerary. You don’t have to follow it, but you’ll maximize your day if you visit nearby places. Make sure that your itinerary are interchangeable (you can exchange day 1 to day 2), in case the weather isn’t cooperating well.
- Look for tourist promos. Some places offer, unlimited railway passes and temporary sim cards for tourists.
- Prepare for tourist scam. Try to research about common scams on your selected destination so you can avoid it.
- Call your bank. Tell them about your trip so they can allow international transactions on your ATMs and credit cards.
- Tell someone about your trip. It can be a friend or family member. So when something bad happens, they can easily help you out.
Some tips are so basic so I didn’t include them (like knowing if you need an entry visa).