Travel is a journey and sometimes one that a person was to take on their own. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while travelling alone.

1. Travel light

Do a test run at home and make sure you can comfortably carry all your bags on your own. Given the fact that you’re without company, there is nobody to keep a track of you wearing the same shirt twice. Carry only what you need.

2. Leave your bling at home

There is no need to impress anyone when on a solo travel trip. So avoid carrying any expensive items of jewellery, gadgets, laptops that may not serve a ubiquitous need on the go. The lesser you have to worry about, the more relaxed you will be.

3. Keep cash handy

Even though credit cards are widely accepted these days, you don’t want to be caught without money when you’re alone. While the exact amount depends on your personal comfort level, splitting your cash up in various locations of your baggage is a good idea. Perhaps a few bills go in an envelope rolled into a pair of jeans and another gets tucked into a fold able shopping bag pouch. Consider investing in a money belt to store money and your important documents while you’re on the go. Some normal-looking leather belts even have secret compartments to make your cash less obvious.

4. Learn the basics of the local language

If you traveling to a place where the locals do not speak your language, chances are you might be forced to dive into their dialect. So make sure, you know your way out with basics given you may need directions to some place or help around with ordering food, etc. Similarly, it will keep troublemakers away from trying to take advantage of you.

5. Map out a plan

Travelling without an blueprint may sound thrilling. And although the spontaneity of the trip is the most exciting catalyst that drives many to travel solo, once you reach your destination, map out a plan. Do your homework and have a sense of the general geography, main attractions and local eateries. Since you’ll be relying on yourself, read up on the weather conditions, special events and political scenario so that you appear informed to the locals and are prepared for any possible detours.

6. Keep your eyes and ears open

Keep your ears open for anyone speaking your language or your mother tongue. You may be able to get practical tips or get help to find your way out of sticky situations. Similarly keep a watch for people with suspicious behaviour. Do not give away information about the hotel your staying at or your day plans to any random traveller or local you meet. Let your instincts guide you, but be cautious of questionable people and behavior. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, leave immediately.

7. Keep important numbers and business cards handy

From the time you arrive in the city, to wherever you decide to go next, always keep a phone book handy in your pocket with all the numbers of people you may need to contact in case of an emergency. Also, always keep business cards of the hotels you are staying in with you at all times. So in the event of you losing your way back, you can always refer to the card or hand it to the transport people. Also keep friends and family informed about your whereabouts.

8. Screenshot all booking confirmations

Once you’ve made your hotel, flight or train bookings, take a screenshot of those on your phone. It will come handy if you were to lose your data connection or network. It will also save you the unnecessary hassles of carrying printouts around.

9. Carry entertainment

Although solo travel is great because it forces you to meet new people and takes you out of your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean that every single minute is like that. There’s a lot of downtime when you’ll really be by yourself, and it’s totally fine to tune out the world and pick up a book or listen to music. Carrying your entertainment options with you can save you money as well. Choose a book, an MP3 player or loading up songs on your phone on the go.

10. Act like a local

Appearing confused and looking like a tourist is like sending a signal out to troublemakers. You can be far more discreet with maps downloaded on your mobile phone; it should look like you are checking messages. If you need to refer to maps or guidebooks, do it inside a shop or a cafe. Don’t do things you wouldn’t do in your own city – like giving out private information to strangers, or inviting people you don’t know well to your stay. Acting like a local can even mean not buying something at the first price quoted by a vendor.

11. Take your own pictures

Now that you have read up on tourist scams, you know that handing over your camera to a stranger to click your picture isn’t the smartest idea. Use the selfie option on your phone or a selfie stick (in places where it isn’t banned), a self-timer camera or a remote.

If you follow these guidelines, you will enjoy your solo trip, be safe and have a great time as well.

Text: Maria Shumusti

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