So you want to travel solo? Here's a guide for a first time solo traveler
I know the thought of venturing out into the world by yourself might seem a little daunting. If you're similar to how I am, a bunch of horrible scenarios have probably already gone through your mind, and has scared you from going out on your own. For the longest time, I used to wait until I had a travel partner before going anywhere. At times, I'd even offer to shoulder more of the costs just so that I could have someone to go with. But the more I travelled, the further I wanted to go, and let's face it, traveling can be costly. I decided it was time to face my fears and go solo. I don't regret it at all. The first time I travelled solo ended up being one of the most eye-opening, best trips I have ever been on.
I have created this guide to help those that have always wanted to travel on their own, but have been too afraid to do so. These are just some of the things that I did to help ease my own anxieties, as well as those of my family since they were also worried about me traveling alone. I've put in some random thoughts as well. Hopefully this will help give you the courage to face your fears, I promise, it's worth it.
1. Plan your trip well
Now I know not everyone likes to plan their trips. I have met so many people that like to just go to a country on a whim, and figure things out once they get there. It's perfectly fine for you to be that way, but if you're on your own for the first time like I was, I chose to plan my trip ahead of time just so I could feel more at peace knowing that I had certain things already booked. My bare minimums are the main transportation between cities or countries, like flights, trains, bus tickets, and accommodation. Activities, you can always book either before or on your trip itself. You can check out the steps I take when I plan my trips here, or message me, I can plan your trip for you.
2. Create a google sheet with your basic itinerary, then share it
I almost always put my trips on a google sheet. I have everything from the itinerary to the flight details, and the accommodation addresses and contact details all on there. I then share it with my little sister just so that there's someone else that knows where I am going to be, if in case something would happen. I don't think she has ever had to look on the google sheets, but it does bring me peace knowing that she could always check and know exactly where I was on a particular day. I do this regardless of whether I'm traveling on my own, or if I'm with a friend. It also comes in handy on my trip as well. If I ever forget the name of a place I was staying at, I can always take a quick look on the google drive app I have downloaded on my phone.
3. Download google maps, or maps.me, or any other similar app
There are quite a few reasons why having a map on your phone is a smart idea. One, if you ever need to find something, you can easily look it up, and figure out how to get there. There are so many different websites now where you can type in your origin and destination, and it will give you different options on how you can get there and how long it might take. Rome2rio is an example of one of these websites. Another reason why I like to have a map is for safety. Whenever I get in a taxi or I'm on public transportation, I like knowing I'm going in the right direction. I've done this pretty much my whole life - whether I'm in another country traveling or even in the Philippines and I'm in a part of the city that I'm not too familiar with.
4. Be safe
I think this is self explanatory. It doesn't matter if you're in your home town, or in a completely different country, you should always be mindful of your surroundings, and your personal items. I tend to be extra careful when I'm traveling on my own. I like to make sure my purse is always on me, I try not to take out anything valuable when I'm on public transport, I check around me before I open up my wallet, I don't go down creepy looking alleyways; I do different, basic things to avoid a possibility of me being in any danger. And just in case, I have a photocopy of any important documents that I take with me if I ever do lose something.
5. Remember - no one knows you, you can be anyone you want to be
I find that I kind of take on a different persona when I travel. It's like the usual awkward, shy Sam suddenly bursts out of her cocoon and becomes this friendly, confident woman. I think this is mainly because I know that there's a very very low chance that I would ever run into the same people ever again, therefore, I shouldn't care whether they judge me or not. They aren't in any way significant in my life. So I find myself more open to talking to people, asking for directions, being a tourist, going out on my own and all that. It's actually a nice break from reality. Put yourself out there. Be a little more daring than usual. Enjoy the process, and live a little.
Trust me, you won't regret it. Travel solo, even if it's just once because you'll never know whether you can do it if you don't try. And if you have any anxieties about it, try and talk to anyone you know that might have already travelled solo. I'm sure they'd have some words of wisdom to share with you as well, or if not, message me! I'd love to share some of my experiences or answer any questions. Have a little faith in yourself. You can do it! As my little sister always says, "You only live once!"