Things I Have Learned While Traveling Alone
You have to go with the gut. That is single most important thing I had to understand when I started solo traveling about three years ago.
I never planned on going abroad solo. Until there was a change in plans and I had to make a decision. This right here was the moment I understood. There is a huge difference in the things we are comfortable with can make, when we decide to take a step out of our personal comfort zone.
The way I prefer to travel changed and I have never looked back since.
I know there are people who have been traveling solo for many years. I want to say the most important lessons are the ones you learn in the first few solo trips. After that it is all about the experience.
So here are the most important things I have learned/understood in three years since I first started solo traveling.
Talking about safety
As with many others who travel alone for the first time one of the biggest concerns for me was safety. This is also one of the most common questions I get from others.
First of all I want to give a straight answer. Solo traveling is as safe as any other type of travel. We can encounter dangerous situations wherever we go even when not traveling. At the same time we can enjoy the time of our lives while traveling places other might tell you not to visit.
Of course you should always keep in mind some simple rules that will help you with keeping out of trouble.
I know, going solo is all about your personal experience. You should mention your plans and destination to at least one friend or relative. Keep them updated from time to time.
Also keep your money, credit cards and passport safe. The best practical advice I can say here is to use a money belt. One you can easily hide under your shirt while keeping your stuff safe. They also provide protection from contactless robberies of your credit card information. Do not hold all of your money in one place.
These two things are crucial. Remember that your own safety depends on how you carry out other parts of the travel as well. The next thing to consider is how you move around.
Just keep moving
There is not much to explore and experience if you spend all your time at one place. Therefore you have to move around constantly. What you need to think about are the types of transport you can use and ways of finding best deals for accommodations.
The decisions you make regarding these questions will also affect your own safety. However I want to point out that this is where the adventure starts. For me it’s all about the experiences I can collect while making decisions on where and how to go next.
If you have already planned out some of the places you want to visit. Simply do an online research on what are the best times to visit and how to reach these places. There is plenty of information online. This information is provided by other travelers who will not hold back. They like to share useful information with you and will be happy to answer your questions.
If you are already on the move and thinking of where to go next, simply use the possibilities of the 21 century. What I mean with that is use some of the many different Apps you can download on your smartphone.
There are loads of great travel related apps. They allow you to move around, find accommodations, look for new places to visit, connect with other travelers and so on.
One of the best apps for travelers out there definitely is AIRBNB. It allows you to find accommodations almost anywhere in the world. It will give you the chance to spend a night or two in absolutely gorgeous places.
If you are visiting a particular city you want to learn more about, just use PEEK and listen to guided tours about the town.
How about a place to eat, you will find great options with EATWITH. This is basically the AIRBNB for finding a place to eat.
If you are worried about your safety the app to use is SafeTrek. This app helps you move around while avoiding going into somewhat dangerous areas of places you don’t know.
So there you have it. I have learned that using some of these apps helps me do and find just about anything. There are many ways different technologies can help you out while traveling. That is exactly what you should do in order to get the most out of your travels.
Then there is something I want to point out there. Wherever you go you can always find locals that are helpful. They will give you the best possible advice on places to visit, ways to get there, things to do, places to say and eat. In other words, locals know better. You should use that for your own good.
Following what the locals say can take you to places you won’t find out about online or anywhere else. This is where it all comes down to the most important lesson I have learned.
Personal Experience and Feelings
See, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in pocket, what kind of gear you are using or how much experience and knowledge you have. Everything changes when you put the need to search for adventures in first place. As long as you are experiencing something new, feeling truly fulfilled and happy, everything else holds little value.
There are three smaller lessons that I can point out in order to experience this wonderful feeling of being free and enjoying yourself.
Start with always showing respect for the local culture, people and the nature. This will allow you to become a part of the place you are visiting. It definitely allows you to experience things differently. It is the way to connect to the locals and learn more about the things that are truly amazing. Respect for nature, it is something you cannot ignore even if you don’t want to connect to the locals.
What is more, it is not hard to not be messy. Do not ever leave things behind you when going outdoors. I think all backpackers and hikers will agree with me, this really is a simple thing we all have to learn.
Once you start feeling a bit more comfortable. There is a good chance to visit local places, most travelers don’t know about. And I can say from my own experience that just a simple visit to the local bar can be something you will always remember.
Even if you are ready to connect with the local, there will always be some awkward situations. This is one of those things you need to learn to enjoy. Where you can see just how different all cultures are. At the same time it gives you the understanding, that we are all the same. For me it is one of those things that just takes the whole experience to another level.
Last but not least, know that bad things will happen. You just have to let them go and enjoy what is coming. I have been in many terrible situations while traveling alone, but that has never stopped me from going forward. From getting lost, to losing my money and getting my credit card hacked. I have enjoyed it all. Now looking back at it I can say that these are the things that we learn from the most, and they allow us to see the good times from a new perspective.
I hope you enjoy traveling and at least once in your life try solo traveling. It is one of the greatest experiences ever.