So, you've got some free time, and you want to make the best of it by going somewhere new – the only problem is, there's no one else to go with you! What do you do? You don't let that stop you of course -you can go by yourself instead! Nervous? Don't worry, that's normal – I've compiled a list of the best tips for solo travellers to help you out!
Download offline maps. Chances are that your phone will have some type of map app, therefore it will probably have the option for offline maps. If it doesn't you can always download an app for it also – Maps.Me is a great app to download! I use google maps as the offline map feature doesn't take up much storage at all.
Get a power bank! This offers a great peace of mind when out and about solo. There have been so many times where I've had to compromise on whether or not to take photos or to keep charge on my phone ‘just in case'. Luckily, I bought a power bank and now I don't need to compromise at all! I have the Juice 2 Power Bank and it's been amazing!
Take some hairspray or a personal alarm with you. If you are travelling around different countries, it's important to know that some personal safety devices are illegal in some countries, which can cause a lot of hassle. Hairspray isn't illegal to carry anywhere (I believe!) and can act as a type of pepper spray if the worst comes to worst. I'd recommend a small travel-sized bottle. A personal alarm isn't illegal either and is very small to carry with you anywhere. "No place is as bad as you think. There are kind people everywhere."
Always tell someone what your plans are. This is a bit of an obvious one but sometimes it's easy to forget it. What I like to do is write down a paper plan, as well as tell someone, just in case they forget it. I've researched a lot of missing people cases and always thought some cases would've been so much easier to solve if they had written where they were going in a diary or something similar.
Write down phone numbers. You might find that some people's phone numbers are so hard to remember but you'll never know when you'll need them. There could be many situations where your phone could die and you need to phone someone in your life to help you out or meet you if they're in the country – if you have their number written down you'd then be able to use a phone somewhere to help you out.
You don't owe people kindness. I aim to be kind to everyone I meet however, it's important to remember that you don't always need to be kind. If someone is making you uncomfortable, then why do you need to be nice back if they clearly disregard your feelings? You can say no to people. You don't need to talk to them. Always leave a situation if you want to. I like to think that there is more good than bad people in the world, however, it would be naive to think that everyone has good intentions. If someone is being creepy or you just get a bad feeling, then do everything in your power to get away. Don't worry about being kind if your life is in danger.
Download Bumble BFF! This is a great app which allows you to meet other people who identify as your gender. I've used it lots of times when I have been solo travelling as it's a great way to meet locals! Remember that there can be catfishes on there also, so use it with caution like you would with any time of online meetup app. I find that a good way to find if someone is legit or not is to see if they have Instagram/ Facebook and see what type of people they follow or if they're in tagged photos. Snapchat is also good if you're very cautious and would like to see their face before (in a more subtle way). Bumble BFF also have a verification feature, but this isn't foolproof.
Take a book with you. Solo travel is the perfect time to catch up on reading, so take a book. Having a book with you is a nice alternative to going on your phone and can be very relaxing when travelling, it's also nice to read something in you're native language so can be a good comfort. It can also be a great conversation starter if you want to speak to others.
Speak to locals! Some good people to speak to whilst solo travelling includes: -Waiters and waitresses -Tourist information staff -Local sellers -Museum staff. There is a high chance that most of these people have a good knowledge of English, and even if they don't then you can use a translator tool!
Download an offline translator. This is such a useful tool that makes things so much easier if you don't speak the language. There's even the option to translate photos and scan images which are so useful if you're trying to read a menu or information signs.
Know the emergency number. It's easy to find out and it's easy to remember, so there's no harm in finding it out – you never know.
Screenshot things! It's always good to have a backup. There have been lots of times where I've thought “It's on the app, I don't need to screenshot it.” but then the time had come to when I've needed it, gone on the app and the app wouldn't load – so do yourself a favour and just screenshot things.
Bring a Tripod! Sometimes there will be times when you can't ask anyone to take your photo or you'll feel a bit embarrassed to ask – then this is the solution. The only downside is having to carry it around and set it up but this doesn't take too long and it's worth it for the photos!
Have you ever travelled solo? What are your best tips?