“Heartbroken kaba?” (Are you heartbroken?)
“Nag-so-soul-searching ka, ‘no?” (You’re soul-searching, aren’t you?)
These are just a couple of the many curious questions that people ask solo travelers. Don’t let these busybodies annoy or discourage you, however. Solo travel is a worthwhile, fulfilling experience. That being said, it can be daunting if you’re doing it for the first time. Here are some simple tips to ease you in and help you discover the beauty of solo travel.
This tip applies to all travelers, to be honest, but this is especially important for those traveling solo. While you will definitely meet some kind strangers along the way, it’s going to be just you carrying your stuff for most of your journey. Make it easy on yourself and only pack the essentials. Create a list so you don’t forget anything important and follow the tried-and-tested way of rolling your clothes instead of folding them.
Packing light also helps you with security. It’s easier to look after just one piece of luggage. Again, there will always be kind strangers who are ready to help. For your peace of mind, however, it’s best to limit yourself toone bag (two at most) that you can easily tow around. It’s also easier to make room for some souvenirs and pasalubong if you don’t pack too much stuff.
Stay In a Hotel Near the Airport
If you’re flying to your destination from Manila, it’s a good idea to check into a hotel near NAIA Terminal 4 or whichever airport/terminal that’s assigned to your flight. This way, you don’t have to rush to the airport just to make sureyou won’t be late for your flight. You have more time to prepare and freshen up, and even have a hearty meal. This will put you in a good mood, and you can begin your journey on a positive note.
Bring Extra Cash
This is another tip that applies to all travelers but most especially for those going solo. First and foremost, you can’t be sure that all the establishments and transportation options in your destination accept credit cards or e-payments. There could also be times when ATMs or money changers may be difficult to find. This is highly likely if you’re going to a location like Batanes, which only has two ATMs and both of which are located in Basco. Finally and most importantly, traveling solo means you don’t have someone with you that you can ask to borrow money from. Always be prepared!
Many people take advantage of long weekends and file their vacation leaves to coincide with those dates. This means that, if you’re working in a typical environment, not all your leave applications will be approved because of overlaps. When this happens, you can maximize your travel time by leaving late on Friday night and then returning late on Sunday night or early on Monday morning. Many a solo traveler has perfected this scheduling technique. It might leave you a little tired (no time to check in to a hotel before the trip), but the quantity and quality of personal time you get in exchange will definitely be worth it.
Designate At Least One Person for Updates
Some people travel alone to disconnect for a while, to enjoy their time without being bothered by thousands of work and social notifications. However, you can’t rule out emergencies even while you’re on a holiday. Choose at least one person to whom you can give a copy of your itinerary and who you can update in real-time. This person can be someone from your family, or a friend that can keep in touch with your family. Don’t rely on your social media posts to keep your loved ones informed about where you are and what you’re doing.
Do Your Research
Whether we like it or not, there will always be people who will take advantage of tourists. That’s why it’s also your responsibility, as the traveler, to keep yourself informed. Study the routes you can take to reach your preferred tourist spots, learn some key phrases in the native language, try to find out how much a taxi ride costs. This way, you’re less likely to get scammed or to be victimized in some other way. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Another thing you should keep in mind are the details of your accommodations, like its complete address and where it is in relation to where you want to go. You should also take note of all the modes of transportation to get there. Finally, you should get the contact number of the front desk (or the owner, if it’s an Airbnb or homestay) for emergency purposes. Travelling is something to be enjoyed, but you also shouldn’t forget about keeping yourself safe. Doing your research is one way to do this.
Got all that? Then all that’s left is to buy your ticket and pack your bags for the start of your solo adventures. Bon voyage!