Travelling solo: the dos and the don’ts

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No matter who you are, or where you come from, everyone has the dream of travelling. A dream of being allowed to go all over the world, without the restrictions of other people – whether it be your friends or your family. However, when it comes to travelling solo, you are going to be in for a shock when you discover just how difficult it can be.

You see a lot of influencers on the internet talking about how easy it is to just hop on a plane and live from your bag for a year, but what they probably don’t tell you is that they have a good ten grand in the bank to burn and can afford to live without a steady income for a while. Most people don’t have this luxury anymore, and travelling isn’t all that cheap, even if you are staying within the states. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of travelling solo, and why you need to think carefully about travelling without anyone else around.

Preparation

Being fully prepared can take a lot of time, and you might be tempted just to up and go, but you need to make sure that everything is set for you for the journey and for when you get back. Finding the right travel options can also feel like a struggle, as well as fixing up your finances, but here are some tips as to how you can get around that.

Vehicles

This is one of the primary elements that you need to plan for. Whether you are renting out a car to travel in, looking at going by train, or even going by boat, you need to make sure that you have everything sorted out so you can just click the checkout button on your tickets, or just fill up the fuel tank and go.

If you are going by transport you already own, you need to make sure that it goes through a health and safety check-up – either at a garage or through a company such as Marine Engineering – in order to ensure that it is running smoothly. This is going to be expensive, but making sure that you don’t get stranded at sea or that your car is ready for a long trek is incredibly important, and well worth the money.

Nobody wants to be stuck somewhere that might take ages to find. So, before you leave you must make sure that, in terms of your vehicle, you have everything planned out and ready to purchase; or make sure everything has gone in for a check-up with professionals to try and avoid an embarrassing or inconvenient event.

Packing

Packing is incredibly important. You need to make sure that you have everything you need to be written down on a list or in a document on your cell phone. This can be anything from portable chargers, extra phones and evidently, everything that you will need on a regular vacation. You will also need to make sure that you don’t have any food in your house that is going to go off when you are away and make sure that you give your home a proper deep clean for when you come back – whether it be in two weeks or a year. Importantly, you will also need to arrange for your home to be monitored while you are away, meaning that you can keep an eye on everything that is happening. This can be through the use of security cameras or a relative or friend who is local or a trusted neighbour.

Along with this, you will also need to know how you are going to manage your money. This is a huge part of the packing process. It can be easier said than done to save money, and if you can’t afford to return to your life after you have come back from your travels, it can be difficult to get going again. You need to make sure that you have a job waiting for you when you get home, or that you are making money while you are travelling. This can be renting out your home for a year or working on the go. If you already have a non-location-specific job, you need to make sure that everything you need to work is well packed and secure, so it doesn’t get stolen.

Safety

Although making sure that your chosen mode of transport has been already covered, there are other areas of safety that you must consider. This is generally down to making sure that your personal safety is well-considered and integrated within your trip. This is super important if you are thinking about travelling entirely alone, as you won’t have anyone around you but strangers.

This can be even more daunting if you are travelling to an area where there isn’t anyone who speaks your language, and you don’t speak theirs. You need to make sure that you have a tracker in your phone or on a watch so that people know your location wherever you are. You also need to make sure that you know all emergency numbers, if there are any, for the country you are visiting to make sure that if you get into any trouble, you can get help as soon as possible.

Journey

You need to plan your entire journey in advance if you want to make the most of your time. This is very important if you want to go and see a specific location or landmark. You need to plan accordingly and make sure that you take into account the weather, as attractions may be closed, and transport lines might be disrupted if you end up going somewhere that is prone to bad weather. You might also not be allowed to leave your hotel or hostel if the weather is too bad outside. You also need to make sure that you have booked your accommodation in advance to make sure that there isn’t a panic that you don’t have anywhere to spend the night.

Travelling

When it comes to the actual departure and travelling, you want to make sure that you are having fun and you try to stick to your plans as much as you possibly can. This is massively important for when you are contacting friends and family, as then they know where you are and where you intend on going that day. Here are some of the points that you need to consider when you are travelling on your adventure:

Your personal security

This is one that has been touched on briefly before, but it is still a majorly important part of your travelling experience. This can be making sure that you are going to where you planned for the night and making sure that all of your personal belongings are kept close. This is exceptionally important if you are working on the go, as if your belongings are stolen and you can’t work, your clients aren’t going to be very happy with you if you are late with a deadline. Your personal belongings also hold a lot of personal information, which is another element that you don’t want to be stolen.

Areas you visit

Not every area you go to is going to be storybook perfect. You need to stay clear of areas that people advise you to avoid and try to steer clear of anything that might look like trouble. You need to be very careful about who you trust, too, because tourists are like sitting ducks to sex traffickers and other incredibly dangerous types of people. You should also keep a note of exactly where you are going so that your friends or family know where you should be at what time. Be very careful of transport, too, and make sure you only use vehicles that have been checked for safety and those that are safer for tourists.

People you meet

As nice as it is to feel like one of the locals, it can be incredibly difficult to achieve, especially if you only know some of the cultures. You will either be welcomed or shunned, depending on the area that you are visiting and the attitudes of the individuals there. This can be a shock to the system, but everyone has different experiences when it comes to travelling, so you might be lucky. The one point you must remember is that quite a lot of what you see on the internet can be heavily romanticized, which might not help when it comes to handling situations how they truly are.

In conclusion

It can be easy to think that you can just jump on a plane and take it from there when it comes to solo travelling. However, there is a lot that can go wrong. You must ensure that you are fully prepared by making sure that you have sorted out your home and your finances, your chosen mode of transport, and that your journey is well planned out. You should also ensure that you stay away from dangerous areas, and remember that travelling solo might not always be the dream that you imagined it to be.

 

By Steve Conway

 

Bio: This is a guest post by Steve Conway, a passionate traveller who explores the globe in pursuit of adventure, sun-soaked beaches and azure waters.

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