Long-time readers of my blog would be aware that I am passionate about solo travelling, and it’s something I can’t recommend highly enough.
Travelling solo can be an incredibly rewarding experience that can help you understand yourself better, improve your social skills, make you better at dealing with your emotions and have plenty of other benefits.
Many of my friends see themselves as people who wouldn’t enjoy solo travelling, but I always tell them you can never know unless you have tried solo travelling for a few days.
Solo travelling has changed my life, given me some of my fondest memories, and I've met some of the most interesting people I have known during these trips.
In this post, I’d like to share a few tips that can help to make travelling solo an enjoyable experience.
1. Choose a backpacker friendly destination
If you are travelling solo for the first time, it’s going to be easier and perhaps more enjoyable to travel to a backpacker-friendly destination instead of an off-beat destination. It will not only be easier to get around in these places, but you will also be able to meet plenty of other travellers.
During my three month-solo trip around India, I travelled to off-beat destinations like Bundi and Chittorgarh in Rajasthan.
These were nice places to visit, but since there were fewer travellers, I found myself craving company and feeling lonely. Whereas in the other backpacker-friendly destinations I travelled to it was a lot easier to meet people and make plenty of friends.
2. Stay in a Hostel
When I’ve solo travelled, I’ve stayed in backpacker hostels, homestays and hotels.
Staying in backpacker hostels has been undoubtedly the most enjoyable experience, and that’s what I'd recommend when you solo travel.
Backpacker hostels offers quality accommodation at cheap prices, and it will also give you the opportunity to meet plenty of other travellers especially other solo travellers.
Hostels tend to arrange lots of group activities which will give you company to do certain activities whether that’s trekking, group walks, rafting, tours exploring the town etc.
The people you meet in hostels tend to be open-minded, friendly and will have some interesting stories and experiences to share.
During my first solo trip to Rishikesh, the people I met in my hostel and the stories I heard from them later inspired me to take my three-month solo trip.
3. Be Flexible
When you are solo travelling, especially if you are travelling solo long term, it’s always best not to plan too much or book transportation and accommodation way in advance.
Let go of making a fixed itinerary for your trip and leave room for spontaneity because you may want to change your plans in a flash when you have other people for company or hear about their experiences.
The feeling that anything can happen on a given day is part of what makes solo travelling thrilling and exciting, but if you stubbornly cling to fixed plans, it kills the possibility of having more serendipitous experiences.
4. Learn to Keep yourself occupied
When you are solo travelling, long commutes may be involved, and there may be times when you need to wait for a few hours because your transportation gets delayed. Or maybe you are in a foreign country, where you don’t speak the language and company is hard to come by.
So, it always helps to have something that can keep you engaged during your trip so that your mood is not at the mercy of external factors.
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Bonus Tip: Take your musical instrument
This tip won’t apply to everyone, but if you play an instrument, especially instruments like a guitar or ukulele, which are easy to carry around, it can be a great idea to take it with you on your trip.
During my solo trip to Rishikesh, I took my guitar with me and had a great time jamming with another guitarist I met on the train. It also turned out to be a great conversation starter, and many people initiated conversations with me after seeing my guitar.
5. Step out of your comfort zone
To get the most out of your solo travels it’s vital to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Take the initiative to chat with locals and other travellers you meet. A simple smile will go a long way in making you approachable to others. The chance to meet plenty of new and interesting people is what I personally love the most about solo travelling.
Don’t tell yourself you can’t strike up conversations with others because you are shy or introverted.
My own experiences while travelling solo changed me from a person who was shy when it came to interacting with new people to become someone who is now more confident and friendly when meeting someone new.
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