Most travellers feel that there is a thrill and adventure in travelling alone. You learn to handle situations and meet new people. Most importantly, you get to spend time with yourself – which is very difficult to scoop out in the daily routine.
While there are people who love to travel alone, there are others who have no other option, especially if you are travelling for a business trip. Whatever the case, I have listed out a few things that one should keep in mind.
- Carrying Important Information on Paper – If you are travelling abroad or going to an unfamiliar destination, you must carry a small piece of paper with important contact numbers, your hotel address etc and keep it in your ‘pocket’. In the unlikely event of getting your phone or bag stolen/lost , you should have a written backup. We have a habit of storing everything digitally – our contacts, tickets, reservations and almost everything. We hardly care to memorize this info and this habit can land us in trouble. Also, it is advisable to carry cash ( a small amount in local currency) in your pocket.
- Familiarize beforehand – If you are going to a new place, you must be aware of the mode of transport that you should take to reach your hotel. In some countries, local taxis are common while in others buses and metros have a strong network. In case you plan to take an Uber, It is possible that you will not be able to connect to the internet. Your India connection might give you trouble abroad. Within India also, there is a network problem at the airports. To deal with such cases, you must plan a backup and must know the local mode to reach your hotel. If you are actually stuck in such a situation, there are information centres at every airport. I have a habit to get all details beforehand. Before my first international travel, I made myself aware of the step by step activities during immigration. This helps in avoiding any confusion.
- Observation – If you cannot ask people about something, observe what they are doing. It is possible that you are hesitant to ask because of language constraints or simply because you are too shy (as is the case with me). Last year, I went to Chennai and wanted to hire a pre- paid taxi. The counter is inside the airport while taxis are outside. I was not aware where exactly to go and the man at the counter was of no great help. I had read these lines near the counter “Please do not hand over your slip to any stranger” . I became cautious and was confused whom to give the slip. There were no taxis outside and no markings to guide me. The ‘stranger’ word echoed in my mind and I became hesitant to ask anyone. I went back at the counter and followed the next person who was taking the ticket. Just by following him, It became very easy for me to reach the designated spot.In the way, a man came and asked me for the slip. Thankfully, I had observed the notice carefully, else I would have given my slip to this person.
- Prepare to combat boredom – During transit, you will have to wait for long hours. Spending time with oneself and thinking about important decisions of your life can be interesting. But you cannot do this for a really long time. Boredom will start dawning sooner or later. Hence, be prepared with your song playlist or your travel books.
- Travel at suitable timings – Although it is okay to travel late night but I prefer to reach my destination till evening. If you are a girl, it can be a safety issue in an unknown place. Even if we assume that the world is now a better place to live in, one must not take chances. If there is an unlikely event of theft of your belongings or some other emergency, you should have sufficient time to get help. During daylight hours, there are enough people available to help you and you can explore the area. At night, your chances of getting help may reduce.
These are the takeaways from my personal experience of travelling alone. Initially, I was worried about it but now I love to be a solo traveller.