Traveling alone, why not?
In this fast paced world and with the extensive growth of social media users, traveling becomes one of the most activities that many people sought after. Digital Nomads, YOLO seeker, Celebgram, Social Influencers, millennial generations movements have somehow contributed to the demographic changes of how important the traveling is. Traveling has becoming a need, a lifestyle than just a one a year kind of vacation.
Traveling has evolved so much since the very beginning and it has not longer rely on guidebooks compiled by “experts” with out-of-date information or even paper map to navigate their destinations. Now, many travellers, are relying heavily and inspired by social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor, Youtube, traveling blogs, etc. With all of resources and information provided online, traveling has made super easy and accessible for everybody in this world.
With the beauty of the expanding technologies, traveling solo is on the rise unavoidably.
“A number of recent surveys and the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) report, 20 Adventure Trends to Watch in 2018, indicate solo travel is on the rise. Additionally, ATTA members hosting solo travelers confirm this is a trend worth watching. A May 2018 study by Booking.com of 20,500 global travelers notes 40 percent of Baby Boomers have taken a solo trip in the past year, yet Under30Experiences, which is Millennial-focused, reports more than 80 percent of its clients travel on their own, indicating an interest in solo travel across all age groups. Additionally, a survey conducted by MMGY Global found 25 percent of respondents plan to travel on their own in 2018.”
~ copyright from www.adventuretravelnews.com
“But what is so great about traveling by yourself?”
First of all, of course you will have flexible time. You can go wherever and whenever you want without depending on others. You can soak in the moment of travels without any distractions, enjoying the sounds, smells and sights and other people’s social interaction. You will immerse yourself in new adventures, to learn, to reflect and to capture beautiful moments in every second of your journey. Some of them could be life changing and inspiring many with new insights and perspective about the beauty of life itself.
“The most rewarding thing of solo travel that it will enlarge your capacity, build your character, self confidence and give you a sense of achievement, isn’t it just great?”
“I am a woman and I think I am ready to embark in this solo journey on my own. What should I do?”
We understand that solo travel could be intimidating for those who have never done before, especially ladies. Well, you are taking a risk by wandering alone in this world, it can be scary and there is no doubt about that. However, the risks and dangers are everywhere, even in your own hometown. There are many ways so you can have safe and fun travels. In this article, FantabulouZ would like to share 10 #TravelHeck to help you before taking your first solo trip:
- Research, research and research
It is important to do a thorough research about country that you are going in. Is the destination safe for female solo travellers? Do you need to make a Visa in order to visit those places? Is the place you are going required you to dress conservatively? For example, if you are going to visit muslim countries, or going into religious sites, you have to make sure that you dress modestly. The main point, it is very important to do research as much as you can at your home country before you go.
- Safety concerns
Well, this is obviously one of the most important aspects when it comes to solo travel. You will be alone most of the time, but it does not mean you will be a vurnerable target as long as you know how to play the game. Here are some safety smart tips that will help to equip you:
~ Photocopy and scanned your travel documents (passport) including your IDs and put them safely with you wherever you go. The next step is to email a copy of the scanned documents to yourself. In case you lose your travel documents, you can always have the copy on the go with you. Email a copy to your loved ones so they can send it to you, if all else fails.
~ Download the most updated google map just incase you are lost and there is no one helping you. It is also recommended to update your phone with emergency contacts as well, such as toll-free number of your credit card. In case it is stolen or lost, you can terminate your credit card ASAP. Carry and save the emergency contact with the address of your embassy/consulate in the country you are visiting in case you run into trouble abroad.
~ Be alert all of time, wherever you are. Be confident when you are walking, do not flash expensive jewelleries / branded goods or appeared to be lost while you are too busy navigating with a map. Always look like you know where you are going and walk confidentlty, or else it will create unwanted attention and show that you are a tourist. Try your best to blend in with locals.
~ Always leave a copy of your itinerary with your loved ones at home, so your family and friends will always know where you up to. Drop a pin on goggle maps and share your location to family or friends when you visited a new place, so that they can know exactly where you are during emergencies.
~ Read reviews before you go to certain places. Never ever booked a hotel/ hostel/ air BnB if there is no or very less reviews from customers. Look for safety reviews that are written by women specifically.
- Get travel insurance
Travel insurance is proven very useful in the time of need and it will give you a peace of mind. Travel insurance is a good investment, in case if you fall sick or run into any accident.
Another reason if you encounter flight delay or missing suitcases, most of travel insurance will cover that as well. For example, when I was traveling in Greece, I supposed to take overnight train from Athens to Meteora. During that night, all trains in Athens went on strike and all the train stations in Athens refused to operate. We decided to rent a car and drove down to Meteora ourselves that night. We had to stop many times at the toll to catch our sleep and continued driving until we reached our destination 7-8 hours later. We kept our train ticket and also the news about train strike in Athens and brought it up to the travel insurance. Later on, our train ticket, together with car rental plus petrol were fully re-imbursed.
- Getting around
Getting around in new places could be tricky that is why it is always good to plan an itinerary before and do research on how to go to those places. If you are planning on by taking a taxi, take only the reputable ones and ask the hotel concierge how much it should be, so you are not taken for the wrong sort of ride. Nowadays, peer to peer ride sharing transportation apps, such as UBER, Go-Jek, GRAB, etc is one of the cost-effective mean used by travellers. Make sure you snap the car plate number with your phone and send to your friends or loved ones at home. Sit in the back seat behind the driver and either make a call to someone to say you are on your way or mention to the driver that your partner is waiting for you.
If you choose for a train ride, avoid sitting in an empty carriage. Another tips, if you are taking an overnight train and when you are alone you can use your belt to secure the door to prevent stranger barge into your carriage. Or else, choose the compartment fills with family or other women.
- Be Street Smarts
This is why personally I love solo travelling because it really teaches you how to think on your feet and how to be street smarts wherever you are. You will be trained to be self reliant, independent and always prepared for the worst scenario. For example, if you get lost in an unfriendly neighbourhood, be savvy about who you ask for help; seek another woman or a family or any store keeper/ restaurant to ask for directions. Download the latest google translation apps in case you do not speak their language at all. Learn few important phrases, such as; “How are you?”, “How do I go to this place?”, “Thank you” and so on and so forth.
There are many ways to hide extra cash for example, by using security belt with hidden wallet, scarf with hidden pocket, or you can always carry a dummy wallet. The idea of having dummy wallet is that you can always letting go of your dummy wallet in case you are being mugged. If you are being followed, please go into any restaurant, shop or hotel nearby and pretend to talk to the any of waiters/shopkeepers inside and wait until you are safe to carry on your journey.
- Assign a task or mission for your solo travel
Being alone with a lot of spare time can be daunting. This is the time where you could assign a special mission on your travel. It could be a photography mission, cooking class, blogging, surfing lesson, skydiving adventures, hiking Inca trails, or just simply reading a book by the beach while sipping your cocktails.
- Know your limit
It is understandable that we all want to push the limits and step outside our comfort zone, but sometimes our bodies only can go so far.
We know that when we are in new destination,we will be excited to go to as many places but there is limit to it. If you are tired, take a rest and do not push yourself because it will harm your health and you could end up in hospital or pass out from sheer exhaustion. If you are not good in swimming, please do not go into deep bodies of water or wear life jacket if you really need to. If you are not good in extreme sports, please do not do cliff jumping or bungee alone.
Getting a flu zap is also a great investment to keep the flu bugs by the bay during your travel. Bring first aid kit which contains basic medication such vitamin C, paracetamol, anti-diarrheal, anti-vomitting and some bandages on your travel. It will help you to manage any of other seasonal bugs when necessary.
- Stay Connected
Invest in data hotspot, SIM card or buy the international IDD plan when you arrive at your destination. Stay connected when you are traveling is very important as you can google away things that you need to know. It is also very useful if you want to make any changes to your itinerary; booking new flights or cancelling hotels online when it is necessary. It is also feel more comforting to know that you can call or text your loved one at home if you need to.
We all know that you can’t wait to “check in” into Facebook or SnapChat and tell the whole world that you are sleeping under the night sky in a glass igloo with aurora borealis view. But it is best not to share it and you should try to wait until you have left that place. You never known who is watching or following.
Get connected with other solo travellers, especially women. If you need support while on the road, you can always join Facebook groups for female travellers and ask for their advices. You can also opt to stay on “female” only hostel/dorms and make friend with them and I am sure they are more willing to help because they understand that it is not easy to travel alone especially when you are a woman.
- Be nice
Smile is the best tool in the world to approach people because smile means the same thing in every languages/ cultures and it opens many conversations. Wear a big winning smile and before you know it, strangers will walk up to you, complimented your smile and the next minute, you will be at the restaurant laughing and learning about each other’s lives. When you go solo, people will be curious and start asking why are you traveling alone and the next thing is that they want to know and learn from you. This is the best time for you to socialise with others and meeting a total stranger who may end up being your friend.
Nonetheless, besides being kind, it is also important to learn how to say “no, thank you” in the local language, as well as “absolutely not” in case you feel uncomfortable with attention given by strangers you meet on the road. You should be discerning in whom you talk to and not be too complacent with each other until that person earns your trust.
- Have fun!!!
Of all those things above, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT that you should do for your solo travel:
No matter how good or smart travel tips we could give you, it will not be useful if you do not know how to have fun in your own company. Think of these things; you have a dream destination, you have the finances, the health, the time, the energy and all the information you need to enjoy your ultimate freedom. Can you imagine how cool is that? You wake up in the morning and it is just you, what you want, where you want, in that freedom and infinite space of possibility, you meet yourself. You can do whatever you want without being judged by others and that is the ultimate happiness. Many will gain personal growth by becoming more independent, confident and in tunes with their emotions and desires. Some will also find their purpose after doing solo travels because on the road, they get to learn about themselves, their values in life and their reason of being in this world.
So what are you waiting for FantabulouZ ladies?
Don’t wait for people to hold you back from living your dreams. Pack your bag, record your journey and explore the world like never before. Be inspired and learn as much as you can from people all over the world and we believe that you will be rewarded with rich experiences, —and great stories to tell your friends.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
— Anthony Bourdain