Solo travelers often describe their first solo trip as nothing short of a divine experience. Enjoying a new place without the preferences and tastes of a companion can actually be liberating and fulfilling. Who can forget Kangana Ranaut in Queen and how she discovers her own identity after taking a solo trip to Paris and Amsterdam?
While we are not recommending you to go on a honeymoon by yourself as she does in the movie, solo trips can definitely be life-changing. But if you are planning to dip your toes into international waters alone and that too for the first time, there are a few things you should be careful about.
Here are some of the most important things a first-time solo traveler should keep in mind when planning an international trip.
Selecting the Destination
The first step of your solo international trip is selecting a destination. The choice abundantly depends on what your budget is. To start browsing through the options, it is important to first fix a budget. But rest assured, there are now several international destinations for every budget.
While most solo travellers prefer sticking to their preferences when selecting the destination, you can also go ahead and try something new.
Get the Bookings Done in Advance
Once you have selected a destination, get the flight and accommodation bookings done as soon as possible to benefit from cheaper prices. While you can select the date, time, and air carrier as per your choice and budget, spend some extra time researching the accommodation deals.
Use travel portals and search for options with maximum positive ratings. You can avoid single supplement charges by booking a tour with a tour operator who provides roommate matching. Hostels are also a preferred option for solo travelers.
Complete the Documentation
Depending on your destination, you will also be required to get the documentation done before flying. While most international destinations require Indians to have a visa before arrival, some popular destinations such as Ecuador, Fiji, Mauritius, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka offer visa on arrival facility.
Most first-time travelers rely on travel agents for their visa requirements. To apply for a visa, you will generally be required to provide a copy of your confirmed flight ticket and hotel booking, bank statements, tax returns, and visa application fee.
Carry the Bare Minimum
What you should carry for the trip also majorly depends on where you are going and what the weather would be. Most solo travelers prefer packing as light as possible. While you’d want to look amazing for your Instagram pictures, there is no need to carry more than you’ll actually need.
Solo travelers generally carry two smaller packs, one at the back and one in the front. The one in the front is a smaller pack and works as a day pack. The one on the back is bigger and holds the rest of your travel essentials like clothing, shoes, toiletry kit and jacket (if needed).
One of the biggest concerns of solo traveling is safety. We have all seen far too many movies with travelers getting mugged at foreign locations. To start with, make sure that you search for your destination and check if there are common scams, especially around airports and hotels.
Avoid storing all of your money in a single spot. Also, keep physical as well as digital copies of your passport and visa in case your belongings get stolen. Carry at least a couple of credit cards and prefer reliable money exchange counters. Avoid walking alone at night and try to blend in as much as possible so that you don’t really look like a tourist.
Carry an Emergency Contact List
In case something goes wrong when you are at an international destination, an emergency contact list can be very useful. Create a list with your own contact information, name and number of someone back home, contact details of travel insurance provider, and other temporary phone numbers that you might be using.
For enhanced safety, create a copy of your travel itinerary and email the same to your family members or friends. Also, while enjoying your solo trip, try to stay connected with at least a couple of friends and keep them updated on your whereabouts.
Keep an Open Mind
If this is the first time that you are going on a solo international trip, it is but natural to be defensive and closed with the strangers you will be meeting. But ask seasoned travelers and they’d agree that most of the people they meet on foreign lands are generally very good. So, try to keep an open mind and you are sure to enjoy your first solo trip just as you have imagined.
Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind and off you go to enjoy some of the most memorable days of your life.