Your first trips are always with your parents, then with your friends, but have you ever given a thought to traveling solo? If you’re someone who can’t even go to a movie or café alone, the mere thought of a solo trip can be daunting. But this is exactly why you need a solo trip! It teaches you to enjoy your own company and opens up new experiences for you.
If you’re a young traveler, it’s normal to have several doubts before embarking on your first solo trip. That’s why you need to prepare well before you take the big leap. The only thing you need to remember is to go with the flow and gel with the people you meet. These tips for your first solo trip can help a great deal-
Go To A Familiar Destination Nearby
While pictures of Bali, Paris, Rome or Los Angeles can look appealing, they’re not ideal destinations for your first solo trip. Furthermore, traveling to offbeat places is best kept for future tips when you’re a more seasoned solo traveler.
As a newbie solo traveler, you need to plan a trip to a destination that’s already familiar to you. Like a place you’ve already visited with your family or friends, or at least a place you’ve heard a lot about. Also, choose a destination that’s nearby for convenience. For example, if you live in Delhi, plan a trip to Agra or Mcleodganj rather than faraway destinations in states like Kerala or Rajasthan.
Decide On A Budget
While planning your first solo trip, your budget can go out of hand if you aren’t careful enough. Use a diary or an Excel sheet to maintain a budget sheet. Keep a considerable amount aside for when you reach your destination – you don’t want to spend all your money on just flight or train tickets.
Plan your expenses in advance, diviiding them into food, shopping, transport, and miscellaneous expenses. This will hold you back from spending too much and prevent you from ending up broke halfway through your trip. Young travelers often travel on a budget, but that shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying your trip to its fullest.
Draw A Foolproof Plan
Think of this as a battle, one that you’ll be fighting alone! A new city can easily lead to confusion, and you won’t have family or friends to fall back on. So chalk out a blueprint, as detailed as you can. How far is your accommodation from the airport/railway station? What is the check-in time? How far is the nearest tourist spot?
Preferably, write everything down in a diary. If your devices are drained of power during your journey, only your diary can be your savior. Note everything down right from your hotel’s address to emergency contact numbers.
Book Tickets And Accommodation In Advance
Booking travel tickets in advance gives you a lot of room. It saves you money, keeps you assured, and lets you have many options, like being able to choose a window seat on the flight or an upper berth on the train. It’s your first solo trip, so comfort and security should be a priority.
Similarly, book your accommodation in advance. It’s a great reassurance to land in a new place knowing you already have a place to stay. The last thing you want is to drag all your luggage to several hotels before finding one that fits your needs and budget. As a solo traveler, it’s always better to book a hostel since it lets you connect with people.
Pack Light But Pack Smart
Remember that only you are in charge of all the luggage. You cannot have the luxury of a new #ootd while out on a solo trip. Try to minimize your luggage to just one backpack and a fanny pack. This hack leaves your hands free to do other things. Include essentials like toiletries, medications, power bank, torch, etc. You need to pack smart, so maybe even look up ultralight backpacking tips on how to cut weight, whether you’re going on a regular trip or going backpacking.
If you’re carrying your camera, carry extra memory cards and fully charged batteries. Charge all your devices the night before you leave, and carry a portable charger. Include a selfie stick in your luggage since you’ll be traveling alone and there won’t be people around every time to click your pictures!
Try To Reach Your Destination In The Daytime
Most hotels/homestays/hostels have daytime check-ins. Calculate backward and book a flight/train that will drop you during the day. This is both for the sake of your check-in time and your safety. Traveling solo for the first time can be scary, and more so if you reach on a dark, empty night.
You always have people around in the daytime to ask for directions and taxis at your disposal to take you to your accommodation. Plus, there’s a sense of security if you reach in bright daylight.
Keep Someone Updated Of Your Plans
Inform your parents and friends of your whereabouts. Keep texting your close friend throughout the trip and call your parents frequently. Go ahead and spam them with updates, since this is for your own safety.
This might sound stupid, but also make sure you post updates on social media sporadically; if you’re uploading Instagram stories, mention the location/hotel/place. While leaving your hotel/hostel for sightseeing, strike a conversation with someone at the reception and let them know your plans for the day. All of these things let people know where to find you in case of an emergency, quickly getting you help in a situation where things take a bad turn.
Make Use Of Technology
Google Maps and Google Translate are made for a reason! If you don’t know the local language of a place, Google Translate can be of great help. Also, download the map offline or keep screenshots of the map in case you lose network connectivity.
This keeps you in control of your trip. Even if you have a private driver to drive you around, keep checking Google Maps. You should always be sure that you’re on the right route. Though most locals are warm and welcoming, some can be notorious for taking advantage of novice travelers.
Open Up To Other Travelers And Locals
The sole motive of a solo trip is to explore new places and meet new people. This is impossible if you keep to yourself and refuse to interact with people. Staying in a hostel is ideal to do this since you meet people just like yourself who are out to grab new experiences.
Sit in your hostel’s common room and open up to fellow travelers. Listen to their travel stories and don’t be shy to share yours. Even if you’re an introvert out on your first solo trip, go ahead and mingle with other travelers and locals. Come out of your cocoon, there is a whole new world to explore!
Keep Your Itinerary Flexible
While you can have a checklist of spots to cover, don’t be so hard on yourself. If you don’t feel like getting out of bed and going on a trek on a cold morning, it’s okay! You can just chill in your hotel/hostel. Look out of your window, listen to music, or just take a stroll nearby.
If you want to skip sightseeing popular spots to go explore the local market, do it. If you want to sit at a local café and read a book for hours, go ahead. The entire point of a solo trip is to do the things YOU like and at YOUR leisure. There’s no family dragging you to famous temples or friends taking you on a boring safari. Go ahead and have some #metime.
Hold Safety As A Top Priority
Never take safety lightly. While new places are welcoming to tourists, you cannot stay ignorant of crimes. Keep contacts of local police stations and hospitals in your diary. Keep your mobile and cards in separate places. Hide some extra cash in a secret pocket in your bag. You should be positive about your trip but always be prepared for the worst.
Carry along a pepper spray, keep your devices safe and never keep your wallet exposed. If you’re carrying a DSLR or a GoPro, wrap them in a cloth bag so it doesn’t look obvious that you’re carrying expensive equipment. Finally, always be alert, whether as a first-time or a seasoned solo traveler!
While on your first solo trip, don’t forget to record all your experiences in your journal. Click selfies with the people you meet, try out local cuisines, and explore to your heart’s content. Tread with caution but spread love along your trip by smiling at people, it’s the best way to connect with strangers.
Rather than shutting yourself in a hotel room, book a hostel because you can meet more solo travelers and learn new things from them. goSTOPS hostels are present in over 25 locations across the country, so we’re bound to be around you! It’s where you engage in interesting conversations and amazing activities. When your first solo trip ends on a good note, you can be more confident to plan more solo trips!
Which Places In India Are Good For Solo Trips?
Shimla, Ladakh, Udaipur, Goa, Pondicherry, Amritsar, Hampi, etc are some great places to go on a solo trip in India. All these places are safe and welcoming for solo travelers.
How Much Does A Solo Trip Cost?
This depends on the place you’re visiting and the number of days you plan to stay. If you’re traveling to a nearby destination for a week-long trip, it will cost you under INR 10,000.
Is Solo Traveling Safe For College Students?
You can start solo traveling after you turn 18 years old. By this age, you’re free to take your own decisions and travel independently as an adult. So if you’re in college and above 18 years, solo traveling is safe.
What To See Near Mumbai?
Lonavala, Matheran, Mahabaleshwar, and Alibaug are some beautiful places near Mumbai. If you want to go sightseeing within Mumbai, check out Marine Drive, Gateway of India, Kanheri Caves, or Bandra-Worli Sealink.
What Is A Backpacking Trip?
A backpacking trip is a type of low-cost travel where you stay in inexpensive lodging like hostels, travel by local transport, and hike to scenic spots. Backpacking has become a trending form of tourism because of its convenience and low budgets.
Is Going Alone On A Trek Safe?
It’s better to trek alone only if you’re an experienced trekker. You’ve to set up your own camp, make your own food and assure your own safety. If you’re a beginner, it’s better to go on a trek with a group of friends or with a travel company.
Are Hostels Safe For Solo Travelers?
Yes, hostels are safe and are ideal for young solo travelers. There are youth hostels that cater to all your needs and provide ample security. You can sleep in a dorm room or a private room without worrying about safety.