If you’re travelling away from home for the first time then there are a hundred and one things that you need to remember and from flight times and passports to stowing your hand-gels and liquids, just negotiating the airport security checks is often an ordeal in itself.
Of course, all of the above needs to be considered when you’re travelling with friends or family however, when you’re on your own then there’s no one else to turn to other than yourself.
Solo travel means taking less risks and being more responsible and if you intend to stay away for more than just a few days then the top 10 list below will give you a few practical pieces of advice to ensure you’re fully-equipped and ready to hit the road.
Guide, language and fiction books are all good when you’re travelling alone and if you fancy eating out or going for a quiet drink then taking a book along for the ride will make you feel slightly less conspicuous. Of course, book reading will help you research your area of travel and may even provide an ice-breaker with a fellow traveller.
Photocopies of Important Documents
Whatever paperwork you feel that you simply can’t do without then you need to make a photocopy and squirrel it away in your back-pack as well as leaving a copy with folks back home. Passports, tickets, embassy numbers and medical documents can all be lost and can all be vitally important for your safe passage so make sure you’ve got them backed up.
Keep in Touch
You may feel like you’re free as a bird and for all intensive circumstances, you are however, if you’re able to check in with family and friends or at least give them a rough guide to where you’re heading to then you’ll lessen the chances of getting lost or worse. Email, text or phone home because you may be having the time of your life but your nearest and dearest maybe scared out of their wits.
Photos of Friends
Things can get lonely on the road and often it’s the people back home that we miss the most. Secreting a few choice photos of memorable moments, favourite spots and your best friends will enable you to find extra confidence when you may be reaching your lowest ebb. Ask a pal to write you a letter or an email to print-out and take it with you to read if you’re feeling down.
You maybe travelling alone but you can still take plenty of photos to share on your return home or immediately via social media. Having spare chargers, adapters and leads for cameras, phones and I-pods will allow you to keep on having a good time even if you run out of juice. Just make sure you stash your technology securely and also make sure you know how to use it!
Padlock and Money-belt
Yes, you want to be able to trust people and yes, the majority of people are trustworthy however, there are the minority that aren’t. Even if you don’t consider that you’re carrying anything much of worth, if you’re visiting a poor country then you may appear to be a walking wallet so make sure you secure your belongings accordingly. Money-belts, padlocks and travel insurance will help you to feel more confident as you travel from place to place.
This is a vital piece of kit not just for you but in case anyone else needs assistance. Even on organised small group tours you can’t guarantee that plasters, bandages and medicine will be readily available so make sure you’re proactive and pack with relevance to the country that you’re visiting. Hopefully, all you’ll need is your hygienic hand-gel but you never know.
Pocket Computer Games
Instead of taking your lap-top or expensive palm-held gadget why not take a pocket battery-operated game for those long coach journeys? Chess, Backgammon and Solitaire are all readily available in an inexpensive format and will help you while away a few hours if you’re bored or stuck on your own for a bit. Keep it cheap and cheerful and you won’t be too bothered if it gets lost, stolen or broken.
Printed Out Phrases
Rather than constantly reaching into your day pack for a massive phrase book why not print out a page or two of choice phrases or words? You’ll be surprised what you’ll quickly pick up and if you’re making the effort to speak the local lingo then you’re bound to have more fun and meet new friends as opposed to just sitting on your own. The more you learn then the more you can tick off and add to your own personal phrase book as you go along – makes for a great souvenir too!
In the unfortunate event of your bags getting lost you’ll need to keep some contact details in an easy to read place just in case they’re found and handed in. Also, if you have an accident then keeping a few contact details about your person is also a good idea especially if you have any major medical conditions that might need attention sooner rather than later.