After travelling throughout 30 countries (130 cities) and having to translate multiple languages, I’ve constructed a list of 5 essential solo travelling tips. Be sure to copy them onto your device before venturing on your next solo traveling journey and you’ll be thankful you did!
1/ Pack a device
Gone are the days of solo travellers not wanting to take any technology with them - sometimes it can be great not having anyone to bother you however as technology has improved (and cost decreased), it’s now much easier to take at least one of the below 3 devices with you.
Great to carry a small lightweight computer so your can catch up on emails and reach out to friends via social media showing them how much of a good time they’re missing out on back home.
No need to carry cumbersome books with you when you can literally load hundreds of different titles onto your tablet/mobile phone (including travel guides) as well as all of your favourite movies.
2/ Purchase a travel sim card & apps
Travel sim card
Upon arrival, most countries now offer an inexpensive prepaid travel sim card with data - this will come in very handy for use of the below apps (when wifi isn't available).
Skype premium account - this will allow you to call any mobile or landline number in the world from your phone and talk for as little as 1c per minute (which comes in handy when you’re feeling a little homesick).
Google Maps/Waze - helps you navigate your way around any strange new city and also double check where your tuk tuk driver or rideshare is taking you.
Uber/Lyft - inexpensive ride sharing option, especially when using the carpool feature with other travellers.
Currency Converter - to quickly confirm that you’re getting the best deal when negotiating at the street markets.
Translator - to order food, taxi’s, hotels etc - I once had a one hour chat to someone through the app who could not speak a word of English.
Banking - to quickly check your balance and transfer funds whilst on the go.
Music/iBooks - ready at anytime to help break the boredom whilst travelling on a long journey in a bus, train, plane etc.
Dropbox - great way to back up all of your photos and videos in case you lose your computer/external hard drive and also a quick way to access photos to show your new travel buddies where you’ve been.
SoloTraveller - quick way to meet new travel buddies to share a ride, drink or adventure.
3/ Only pack 23kg luggage
This is normally the maximum amount of weight allowed by most airlines worldwide (without incurring a penalty in excess baggage charges). It’s always hard to decide what to pack but trust me, you can get by with a lot less clothing then what you think.
We normally have favourite outfits that we wear on a regular basis so definitely pack these and don’t worry about the other clothes that sit in the back of our wardrobe that hardly get worn - you won’t need them.
Try to stick with quick drying lightweight shoes, clothing, travel scarf & headwear as well as a flat pack water bottle such as the Platypus (www.cascadedesigns.com).
4/ Take your favourite instrument
If you play a musical instrument, it’s always nice to be able to take it with you and entertain your new travel buddies around the campfire or hostel but be sure it’s lightweight and packable. My full size Voyager Air Guitar (www.voyageairguitar.com) folds in half to fit into a small backpack which has been great company on those long journeys.
5/ Unsubscribe from emails and switch to paperless
Be sure to unsubscribe from any unnecessary emails that you receive as this will help de-clutter your life and also keep the data usage of your travel sim card down when travelling.
Also don’t forget to switch your old paper mail and statements across to paperless - most companies now offer this option and it helps to keep you on top of your bills wherever you are in the world.
Hopefully this will give you some encouragement to go solo but if you’re still not comfortable travelling alone then feel free to download SoloTraveller’s App. It instantly connects you with like minded solo travellers across the globe - available now in Google Play and Apple App stores.