How to Have a Great Travel Experience Alone

How to Have a Great Travel Experience Alone

“Ko Tao, Thailand” by Goran Has. Image via Flickr Creative Commons.

Traveling abroad doesn’t have to involve other people to be a great experience. You can have an awesome time making new memories and developing life skills, all on your own. The freedom to do what excites you is all in your hands. So, whether the next place on your list is an hour away or fifteen, here are some ways to make the most of your adventure abroad.

Planning is Everything

Planning is always a good idea if you are going alone. The first steps should involve researching the place you’ll be visiting. Think carefully about where you are staying. Is the location easy to get to and are there places to eat nearby?

The safety bits of planning should be to do with having an available contact back home. Do you have a person who can offer you emergency funds or help if you need help? Just knowing there’s someone on the other end of the phone can make you feel more at ease before and during your visit; even if you never phone them.

Explore the Quieter Parts

After you’ve researched the place and settled into your accommodation, you’ll no doubt want to explore. Moving away from the busy streets of a city and crowded areas can seem scary, but there are some great hidden gems to discover in the quieter parts.

Visit during the day time and avoid any areas with suspicious activity. The last thing you want is to place yourself in danger. Busy, touristy areas can be overpriced. The food on offer isn’t always traditionally eaten by the locals. Instead, sold food caters for the tastes of all nationalities. So, if you want to try what locals have, visit places containing mostly locals.

Overcoming Language Barriers

A lack of language skill shouldn’t put you off from stepping inside restaurants. Although less popular places may not speak your language, remember that most communication is non-verbal.

How do other people in the community communicate? Have a go at following their body language and place your first order without saying a word. Have a look at the local dishes you like the look of and show the waiter what you’d like using your hands. Also, a smile can be universally disarming and will get you far in most places.

Transport

Catching a car or walking around to see what a city is a norm in the western world, but why not do things differently?

Try methods of transport the locals use. Maybe the city offers tuk-tuks or a sky train or even boat travel between different parts of the city. Visit a tourist center, grab a map or use your phone’s Google Maps, and explore key points of interest within the area.

Wake Up Early

Holidays are a great time to unwind, but late get-ups can stop you from discovering new things. In some cultures, like Buddhism, religious walks take place before sunrise. The religious events feature traditional clothing and music you’ll never hear any other time during your visit. Some cultures stop their working day in the early afternoon, so you can be shortchanging your experience by not seeing what happens during day to day life.

Fears and Phobias

Facing an obstacle without someone you know being there is great on so many levels. You won’t have to face any embarrassment if something goes wrong. When the phobia goes, you can congratulate yourself knowing it was all your hard work and determination which got you through the experience. Challenge yourself while abroad and aim to face as many phobias as you can. You most likely won’t see anyone you meet abroad again unless you share your contact details.

Traveling alone can be a fruitful experience that offers you the chance to meet lots of exciting and interesting people. The next time you’re planning on going abroad alone, have a plan in place to ensure everything runs smoothly. You should also aim to visit the quieter parts of the city, wake up early, and try out new forms of transport to help you learn more about the new culture. Also, don’t forget to face any fears which have been holding you back.

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