Setting off on your own for a holiday, a trip or an adventure can be intimidating. You may be going to a country where you don’t speak the language and are not familiar with the culture. You will almost certainly be visiting places you haven’t seen before, so don’t know your way around. Because you are on your own, you won’t have the comfort of someone to talk to, and unless you want to get really lonely, you are going to have to make new friends. There is a lot to take on.
First of all, do not let fear stop you travelling, adventuring and enjoying life to the full. There is no need for that, what you do need to do is plan a bit and make sure you take sensible precautions. Here are a few ideas to help you take that step.
If you are new to travelling alone, why not start small and think about going for a long weekend or short break on something organised. I think one of Whereabouts’ microadventures could be just the thing. Less than a week long, you will get to do something really exciting without the stress of being alone in the wilderness. Activities always bring like-minded people together so you will almost certainly meet people that you get on with and that will enrich your experience. I have made some really close friends through the years by joining group activity holidays.
Learn a little about the culture before you go
This sounds very obvious but it is surprising how easy it is when you have a busy life, not to take the time to do research on the place you are going to. I have done it myself, landing in India for a month of travelling round with two pairs of shorts, a sarong and a couple of vest tops. I had no idea that the areas I was going to were actually extremely conservative and my clothes were all wrong. I bought a long-sleeved, below the knee dress and immediately my life became easier. Dressing appropriately is incredibly important and will earn you respect and keep you safe. Remember, you are in someone else’s country so play by their rules. Also, learn a few words of the local language and you will get a lot of positive feedback.
Let people know where you are
Make sure that someone responsible knows where you are going and where you are going to be at certain times. Mobiles and the internet have made us lazy. Be warned, they let you down, and also friends and family may just assume you are offline for a while when, in fact, you could be in trouble. Never, ever set off for a trek or a long bike expedition without leaving information with someone. A great safety device if you are going a bit off the beaten track is a Spot Tracker which is a satellite tracking system.
One of the absolutely best things about travelling alone is that you are open to new people. Making friends and teaming up with others is absolutely the best way to keep safe and to add enjoyment to your holiday. It’s easy to be a bit defensive when you are on your own and bury your head in your phone so you don’t have to risk a conversation. But if you are brave enough to travel on your own, you are definitely brave enough to reach out to the people you encounter.
Trust your intuition
Keep alert and be aware of your surroundings and who is around you. If your intuition tells you that something is not right, or that someone is following you, listen to it and get out of there. You are on your own, that means you are your own best friend and protector, so trust your feelings.
And lastly, have fun! Enjoy! I’ve been travelling on my own for a lot of years now and I can promise you that if you keep it safe and relax into it, you will have some incredible experiences and make some lifelong memories.