Never have I ever travelled alone….well this is now an old story. With my recent trip to Shillong, Meghalaya, I have successfully stricken off “solo trip” from my bucket list. If you guys have read my previous blog- “Solo to Shillong” you would have realised that I made back to Mumbai safe and sound.
Here is a small list of things that you must know before you travel for your solo trip.
1- Google it
One of the smartest things to do is study the place, understand the culture and the DO’s and Don’t of that place. There are many sites starting from TripAdvisor to Local Tourist Sites where you can get easy access to useful data.
What I did: I studied the whole map of Meghalaya, places to visit there, distance from my hotel to other local sightseeing. Knowing these things makes it easy to plan your itinerary and also not get fooled by the cab drivers or travel agent.
2- Keep it Light
It is very important to carry light or you will struggle with your luggage bags all the time, try to keep one luggage which is light and have trolly so that it will be easy for you transit across airports and other transfer.
What I did: I managed to keep my luggage light keeping my strength in mind. In total I had:
1. Laptop Bag
2- Main Luggage
3- Planning and Booking
While planning your trip, make sure you browse all the reviews, feedback, general information etc about the place you wish to travel, stay and book flights/trains/hotels accordingly. It is important to know how easy it to access that place through different modes of transport. Secondly, make sure the hotel allow solo travellers, and ensure it is in the centre of the city so you feel safer, and lastly study the hotel location so that markets, cabs are easily accessible.
What I did: I booked my flight way three months prior so it was pocket-friendly. The biggest blunder I made was I booked my flight direct to Shillong from Mumbai via Kolkatta. You can read more about my unpleasant experience here
4- Don’t be shy, coz you might have to lie
When you are travelling solo you will meet many strangers, cab drivers, over friendly people, etc. Do not boast about travelling alone. Unless you feel absolutely comfortable, and unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t tell anyone that where you are staying, it’s just meant for safety.
What I did: I lied to the cab driver that I have been to this place many times and often visit this place, this way the car driver wouldn’t fool me with fare or directions. So it is very important to study the place so that you know it thoroughly.
5- Be Solely
Staying in public places will help you feel safer. Don’t keep mentioning to yourself that you’re alone because you’re not. It is necessary that someone back home has to know regarding your location at all times. Daily share your itinerary, driver details, cab details etc So that in case of an emergency they can reach you out.
What I did: As my sightseeing was not planned, every morning I used to share my Cab details, locations and other necessary information to my husband, this way he always had a track of my location. If you have an app like – Swarm you can keep checking in so people back home can keep a location track of your movements.
6- Travelling solo, you should never get low
It goes without saying that you should have a working phone, good batteries, Portable chargers, extra memory cards, extra batteries etc. while travelling alone. If you travelling overseas make sure to set up international roaming.
What I did: As I am fond of photography, I had taken extra memory cards for backup, which was a smart decision as the place was really picturesque.
7- Getting a CLICK
One of the most common complaints every solo traveller have is they couldn’t get a good picture with their favourite place or spot because they are not along their Instagram husband. So it is important you take your selfie stick or tripod so you can click pictures with ease. I am always scared of asking people on the street to take photos you never know how they handle your camera.
Asking other travellers/photographers is the best option but to my fate, I have always got blurry clicks from people carrying DSLR and using it in auto mode. 🙁
What I did: So luckily I had a talented cab driver who could handle both the DSLR camera and iPhone clicks. Let me tell you this is the only trip where I have managed to get good clicks of me on a request.
8- Be an Explorer
Once you have picked up a place you wish to travel or explore, book your tickets and accommodation to get the best deal as possible. Try and be a risk taker here, don’t book your travel itinerary prior, reach there, observe and conquer. Trust me it will save your money and time.
When you arrive at your destination take your time to research and ask the localities the best places to explore, right time, things that are nearby, and things which are safe to explore when travelling alone. This way you will know which places are actually worth exploring.
What I did: So on my very first day, I went to my hotel reception and roasted them with my queries, the reception guy was really helpful and drew a map layout of all the places that I can explore and which places are easily accessible and safe. He also printed out information for each destination, so I could gain some knowledge. This way I combined his and my research work and planned out my itinerary every day.
9- Find yourself
As you travel solely, being totally responsible for yourself, it’s inevitable that you will realize just how competent you are. The best part about travelling solo is that you will become so capable of managing, organising and handling the situation peacefully. You discover about your self so much that would never be possible in the chaos of the city. You become more alert and vigilant and master yourself to control every circumstance.
What I did: Initially it was getting on my nerve to keep checking all my belongings every now and then, but later on the 2nd-3rd day it became a habit. This trip has made me truly capable of taking care of myself and my belongings which until before I couldn’t believe that I could…
Remember there are no rules or guide to travel. Relish your freedom of travelling solo. Do what you desire, eat what you feel like, see what you feel like. Travelling solo means that you are living your moments, creating them and cherishing them once you back. So go explore the world, there is no one who can stop you from doing what you wish to do.