The question I get asked most by my friends, family and colleagues is what it is like to travel on my own.
I still remember the face of the person I met on a Swiss train from Lucerne. He was the selling coffee and light bites on the train. I bought a coffee from him and he couldn’t help but finally asked me the big question – “How can you travel alone? I think there is no fun in it”
Yes, he had to say it! I just kept smiling and told him, “Well you won’t know until you have done it yourself!”
I have never thought of travelling on my own as something different as I have been doing solo travel for years whether it’s in India, North America, Scandinavia or Mainland Europe. For me, travel is something I enjoy and I have never thought through from the perspective of travelling with someone can bring to my travels. I think of my travels simply as enjoying the new places I visit and experiencing the food and culture of those places.
I do travel with family and friends but travelling solo is what I tend to do more often. Being on my own, doing what I like to do and to be in a place where I like and spend my time as I wish to is something I enjoy. Having to do everything on my own can be challenging but at the same time it can be liberating.
I do every bit of research before any travel on my own, I book my flights, train tickets, select and book the hotels, book the local tours, print out local transport details, maps of local areas and create my own travel file. This is the best part of travel, anticipation of visiting a new place.
Travelling alone is never a problem as you are always surrounded by other people around you. Yes, you might not be travelling with them but if you ask them to click a photo of yours or share the breakfast table, most people oblige with a smile. And if you talk to people, you might end up making some new friends as you are not busy with your own folks.
Another thing people dread is eating out alone, specially in a foreign country. What most people usually do is keep their heads down and try to keep themselves busy with their phones. Best is to keep that phone away and observe what is happening around you, the people around you or if you are enjoying your meal sitting outside to soak in the atmosphere of the place around you. It is also a good time to write your journal about what you did, what your next plans are. These will keep you busy until your drink and meal is served and not make you feel awkward.
If you prefer to go on a group tour, there are lots of companies now doing exclusive holidays for solo travellers. This is also a great way to get out there and travel with strangers who within a day or two become your friends.
We are actually never alone out there. During my travels, I have found people are generally quite helpful. And we are braver than we think we are and travelling on our own can be fun and a learning experience.
As I write this post, I am feeling positive as I will be off soon on my next solo adventure to experience a new country, new people, new sights, new surroundings and make some new friends.
Hope to share my next post soon.
- Do you own homework before you travel.
- Talk to family and friends who have been to the location you are planning to travel.
- Choose a hotel near to a public transport system.
- If you can afford it, use private transfers to and from airport specially if your flight
- Use local transportation. its safer than travelling alone in cabs.
- Avoid late nights walking alone in the streets.
- Check with hotel staff about the area if you are going out for a drink or dinner.
- Pick up a local transport map from the airport or hotel. This can be a life saver in case you are lost.
- Carry printouts of hotel details and nearby maps in case your phone is dead. Rely on the basic system, it works.
- Last but not the least, enjoy every moment as these might never come back.
Hope you enjoyed reading my first post on my travel experience and not a travel location. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome.
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