Some people think that I am so crazy to travel solo in the places I never been or visit before. I may say, maybe I am. But the idea for traveling solo is not privately only for me, you also can do it. As a woman who eager to see the world, I am sometimes prefer to travel solo and meet all the possibilities along the journey. For me, when I travel by myself, I can really feel my full of happiness, since no one knows what I really want to do, except myself. I can arrange the trip just the way I wanna do. But indeed I am admit, having a friend to travel with also really nice. But wait, travel solo doesn’t mean you will be alone forever along the way. You can meet up with people and make new acquaintances. Many friendship builds accidentally in the middle of the road.
Here is 10 tips I can suggest you when you want to do travel solo :
1. Do your own homework – research research research
There’s nothing more powerful to face a “war” than a good preparation. Smart “warrior” always knows how to research and gather some useful information before they go to “war”. Knowledge, true is a power. The more information we have before we arrive in one place, the more easier for us to avoid any scam or time wasted because of getting lost or finding places. I agree that being lost is a part of “adventure” while traveling. But if I can choose, I prefer to be lost for a short time than wasting my whole previous day to be in a place I don’t want to be.
Usually before I go on a trip, I already make a flexible itinerary for my guidance. The itinerary will be consist day by days explanation. Where will I live, what I wanna do, where’s the address, how much the cost I need to pay, how to go there. It is really like my gun to go with!
2. Complete all documents
Don’t be so lazy. Prepare all of your documents and put that in reachable pocket for you. I usually make copies for all my identity – such as passport, visa, local identity, ticket, map of the hotels, map of the places I wanna see, any printable booking tickets (such as ticket for the opera that you already booked from the internet) – Don’t put a self assume that you will find printer wherever you go, think about the worse scenario, probably the place you will visit not so develop.
3. Find out local people to help you
Now, they are so many ways to meet up and build a network and communication with locals before you already been there. For instance, I am joining the Couchsurfing. A worldwide travel community. I even able to stay with them if they allow me. But that’s not always the purpose of finding local people. Local knows the place better than you. They can save your time and money by showing best places to visit in cheaper way or eat the best local food in the street. Local also can tell you how to travel safe in their area, they also can explain to you what dos and don’ts in their place. Traveling is about to see different life and culture from what you have – sometimes it can be too shocking for you, sometimes it can be so fascinating. But the key is to respect all the differences and enjoy it to the fullest.
There are also many travel community besides Couchsurfing. I also found local who later became my close friend in Hanoi because of Triptrotting. We used to chat and communicate from internet a year before I finally meet up with her in Hanoi! Once I see her, it was more like meeting with an old friend, than new person.
Me with Holly, friend I met in Hanoi – we knew each other from Triptrotting.
Me with Yogendra, he showed me the city of Kathmandu and we both know each other from Couchsurfing.
Me with Panda Lee and Tra My, I knew Panda from Triptrotting, but with Tra from Couchsurfing and we gathered together.
Anna was my first guest from Couchsurfing, she came from Netherlands to Jakarta – later on she hosted me in her place in Jogjakarta, Indonesia.
Me and Tobi in Thousand Island, Jakarta. Actually I planned to visit Tobi in Munich year ago, but can’t make it, instead, he traveled to Jakarta then we meet up.
Met up with Ondrej in Prague – he contacted me on Couchsurfing because he sees an Indonesian coming to his town! He ever studied in Bali for years. How small world is!! Then he came to Bali again with his girlfriend, too bad I don’t have any available days off this year to meet up with them 😦
It’s my turn to host people in Jakarta, Steph is a cheerful guy from France, we met up because of Couchsurfing.
4. Make a list of what you need
True that woman always be so complicated to pack their stuff than man (I am not being gender here, just tell the fact). For me, I need to write down the list that I wanna bring for the trip. It is kind of annoying if I forget one simple thing – for instance the adapter or sunglasses. I know we can buy stuff we need along our way, but spending money wisely is really needed while travel. I prefer to spend my money to pay the ticket for attractions I probably can’t see it in my own place than to spend it for stuff that I can bring from home. But travel lights also important, bring only what you need, since I always try to avoid baggage cost from the airplane – I am a budget traveler, remember? 😉
Also don’t forget to bring your own medicine. It’s really sooo important. When I was hiking in Nepal. Every night, I put my own herbal medicine from Indonesia to my sore legs as a remedy. It helped me a lot!
On my way to Nepal with my faithful bag to travel so far..
5. Be flexible
Train yourself to be happy no matter what situation will be happened on your trip. That’s working well for me. Wherever I am, in any kind of situations, I always set my mind to be happy. Happiness comes from your within. Why is it so important? It helps you to face any discomfort possibilities that maybe happen. If you are staying with Couchsurfer, maybe your host doesn’t have the common facility that you used to have in your own place. Maybe the person not really look so adorable or fun as once you communicate previously from internet, etc etc.
Once I arrived in Saigon, I really confuse why my host didn’t have any “normal bed”. We slept on the floor, not because she is poor or anything, but because it’s her habit to sleep on the floor. The same situation happened when I stayed with other friend in Tay Ninh, Vietnam. Also when I arrived in Kathmandu for the first time, once I saw the city from up above, I was a bit shock to see the city far from my imagination – especially when I step inside of the city, it was so dusty and noisy. Being flexible makes you able to adapt the situation faster and help you to enjoy the journey. Many people fail on this part, that’s why they prefer to travel “in conventional way” – because they are afraid of “surprised situation.” Many people even give up the idea of traveling and don’t want to do travel again because they ever have disappointment in their previous trip.
Worst place ever I had, I need to stay here for a night in Kathmandu- before we go to Pokhara the next morning. I need to sleep inside of the sleeping bag, worrying some bugs probably there… zzzzttt
Dun worry, the next day, I stayed in this lovely cheap hotel in Pokhara ❤
6. Do only what you really wanna do
This is the best thing of traveling solo! You can do whatever you wanna do. You can be so laid back in the beach, going around to meet up with the locals, join the short culinary course, spending the whole day in Museum, trying parasailing for the first time, eating without guilty feeling, you can just do whatever you wanna do.
You don’t need to wait for others approval. Traveling with people who are not really into the stuff you love kind of frustrating. For instance, you don’t like to go to the mall while traveling, but your partner only wants to spend the whole day under the Air Conditioner place and do the shopping. Or you just want to read a book on the beach and enjoy the sun touches your skin, when your partner wants to rushing from one place to another. Finding the same soul in your travel partner is really important – if you can’t find it, go travel solo!
You can be whoever you want and do whatever you want, remember that…
7. Leave the contact information to people you seriously trust
This is important for me. Usually before I go to travel, I already print the itinerary I made and leave it to my sister (since I live with her) – usually she really respect me to not bother my friend/the person I’m gonna meet up in the trip – but she will use the information and try to contact me if I don’t give any news for her in such a long time.
8. Use the social media to keep in touch with the world
Ok, I can say I am a social media junkie. I love blogging (you can say!) also I use the facility named Facebook and Twitter to let people know where I am. Beside all the commonly negative side of soc media, I see it very helpful to make me keep in touch with my loved ones. For all the faithful readers on my soc media, they can sense the oddity if I don’t post statues for some times. It can be a clue for those who really care to me, that probably something happen to me.
9. True to yourself, use your guts
I say it is important to use your guts. Once you feel something is not right for your sense, probably it is. If you meet a person and you don’t feel fine with that person, listen to your inner voice and don’t avoid it. If you train your instinct really well, you can understand which person you can trust and which are not.
If you don’t feel comfortable when you are in certain place, listen to your inner voice. Leave the place and find the safer and comfortable one for you. Remember, you can always say No. There’s no obligation to say Yes all the time, in life or while you are traveling.
10. Put your money separated
This is important to bring small hand bag to put the money and also put the money to another places. So if something bad happened along the way, you still have your cash somewhere. I avoid to use card while traveling because the currency fee quite killing me – and I always decide certain amount of budget for my trip and do the transaction based on the amount. I avoid to spend more than the certain budget I already calculated before.
Last but not least, I also pray wherever I go.
Are you ready for your travel solo experience?