The holiday season is here, your friends are starting to flood every social media platform with pictures from Bali and what’s more? AirAsia has been doing such a great job at unleashing those tempting deals and promos. (We see your ads everywhere, Tony!)
With enough money saved up in your bank account, you just can’t wait to book that flight ticket. Unfortunately, there’s one minor problem that’s making you hesitate from clicking “proceed to checkout” — none of your friends are able to join you on that impromptu trip, but then again, you don’t mind experiencing it alone anyway.
The question now is: Are you brave enough to do it without a familiar face by your side? If you’re having a hard time deciding, remind yourself that travelling does wonders for the soul. Of course, safety is always a concern when you’re in a foreign land, particularly for women travelling alone. But remember, it should never be a barrier for you to experience the world.
To all ladies considering embarking on a solo trip, these are some helpful do’s and don’ts.
1) Talk to strangers
This is probably the total opposite of what your mom would have told you from the day you were born. But this case is quite different, in which you might have to break the rules a little. If you don’t talk to strangers while you’re all alone in a foreign land, how can you expect to meet people on your travels?
Meeting new people makes for some of the most interesting travel moments. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet someone who can provide you with an endless list of exciting activities; some of which aren’t even available on Google. Just remember to stay in a public place when meeting someone new for your own safety.
2) Have backup plans
While it’s true that some people love to be spontaneous and go with the flow, it’s also not cool when something bad or weird happens during your trip, such as losing your wallet.
Travelling solo means you have to depend on yourself, 100%. Having a fallback plan if things go sideways is a good idea in general, so remember to prepare plan A, B, and C before you leave. Your future self will thank you for this.
3) Keep your friends and family updated
Since you’ll be all on your own, total freedom is yours! However, that also means you won’t have anyone to be looking out for you. So it’s wise to keep your loved ones informed about details of your whereabouts. Plus, if your parents were initially reluctant to let you go on this solo trip, update them by sending texts regularly. This will definitely help to ease their worries.
4) Learn key phrases in the local language
Don’t be so arrogant that you refuse to speak the local language, because #icymi, English is not every country’s main lingo. Spend a little time to learn the basic local vocabulary as it would certainly work in your favour. Know at least a word or two — if it’s really hard for you to memorise everything in a short period of time — especially emergency terms like ‘help’, ‘police’ and ‘fire’ in the language of the country you’re in.
5) Lie if you have to
Yes, making friends all over the world is really fun, but you should avoid being too honest as you’ll never know who’s out to get you. People tend to trust others too easily, which is why crooks love to take advantage on the vulnerable ones. Don’t boast about travelling solo or reveal where you’re staying to total strangers — unless it’s absolutely necessary.
6) Dress modestly
Before you head to your travel destination, research on the common dress code or religious sensitivities beforehand. It may be warmer than what you’re used to, or you simply want dreamy #ootd shots during your trip, but it is always better to avoid drawing too much attention to yourself.
Blending in while travelling alone will save you from unwanted attention, prevent you from being turned away from attractions such as mosques and temples, and even spare you from danger that is uncalled for. You can also carry a shawl in your bag so you can cover up quickly in any situation.
7) Don’t blow your budget
Since you’re all on your own, the cost of certain things would be pricier as there is no one you can share the expenses with. For this reason, it’s important to be careful with how much you spend and ensure that you plan your budget wisely before embarking on your trip. Also, if you run out of money — do not resort to begging on the streets. Nobody likes a tourist who freeloads.
8) Don’t avoid your own company
There’s a reason why you chose to travel alone — it’s a great opportunity to rediscover yourself. Although it’s great to make new friends in new places, you should also remember to spend a little time with yourself. Heck, those who travel in big groups yearn for a moment or two by themselves (We know we did, when we travelled with a group of 25 people to Bali). You don’t even have that problem, so revel in it!
9) Don’t get too intoxicated
D’oh! *Insert Homer’s voice* This is très importante. Keep tabs on your taps as you’ll only be attracting dangerous situations when your brain can’t function soberly. If you’re not in control of yourself, it’s easy for criminals to mark or target you especially if you make it obvious that you came alone. It does not matter how fun drinking is; getting hammered might not be the best for solo travellers.
10) Trust your gut
People always say “go with your gut”, so that automatically means you shouldn’t go against it either. It’s hard to make certain decisions when you’re travelling alone as you can’t ask for a second opinion — which is why you have your very own invisible BFF (aka your intuition) to help guide you. If you feel uneasy or possible danger coming up, listen to your gut and calmly move away. Don’t take risks that aren’t worth taking, like accepting an offer from a shady looking stranger who’s being overly *kind* to send you home.
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