As daunting as solo travel is, solo travel as a woman comes with its own set of challenges. However, traveling alone can be very liberating and can help you explore yourself and learn to be truly independent. The most difficult thing would be to pluck up the courage to choose a destination, book those flights and pack your luggage.
To get you geared up for your solo travel, we've gathered 6 essential tips that'll hopefully lead to a smooth journey. So let's get to it!
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Plan ahead! Once you have decided on the destination, do thorough research on the destination. Get yourself familiar with the weather patterns, the customs, the kind of food to expect and how to get around. This way, you refrain from taking extra time looking for Halal food options or wondering which is the best mode of transport. While being spontaneous is adventurous, it is always good to stay prepared especially if it is your first solo trip. One tip that you could practice is to always plan your route the night before.
Use transport applications such as Moovit to see how to get to your destination using public transport. These apps could also highlight other transport alternatives that you could possibly choose to get to your destination faster. This is extremely helpful for destinations where public transport is the main mode of commute. Google Maps is also a great tool to know your way around the area so that you can virtually visualize what to expect when you arrived at the destination. This way you won’t be taken by surprise and feel alienated, you will know what to expect from the moment you land.
Tip: Have everything ready with a printed itinerary and give a copy to someone you trust so that at least someone is aware of your travel.
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Always book your tickets and accommodation in advance, this way you can get tickets at good rates and you won’t have to worry about finding accommodation while jetlagged. Today, most attraction tickets can be purchased online at discounted rates. Be sure to take some time to look through these ticketing sites to weigh the benefits. It could also be a good factor to stick to one booking platform to maximize your benefits as a traveler. Some booking platforms offer a reward system that travelers can use to take some dollars off their next purchase.
If you're a spontaneous traveler who prefers to book your accommodation while traveling, one tip is to always have your first night's accommodation covered and taken care of. Being in a new country, you have a million other things to worry about and the last thing you want to happen is for you to drag your luggage on and off buses only to realize that all hotels or hostels are fully booked.
Tip: While credit and debit cards are efficient, you want to keep more than enough cash on you in case the cards could not be accepted for your purchase.
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You got it! Pack only the essentials!
Although there are female travelers that prefer to pack according to the number of days, our main tip is to rotate your outfits. All you have to do is, lay out all the clothes before packing your luggage. Figure out what are the pieces you could reuse for the following day. Bottoms are perfect examples of pieces that could be used for more than a day's outfit.
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Make use of samples! If you happen to have samples of cosmetics lying around in your room, bring them along! These will definitely free up your bag in no time! Skip the full-size products and bring the mini ones. Not forgetting your toiletries! Transfer the liquids into silicone travel bottles. This is exceptionally helpful when you are boarding a budget airline.
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Always, always, always pack according to the weather. You don't want to have a suitcase full of knitted clothes only to realize that the weather is far warmer than you think. Do yourself a favor and don't make your fingers go numb! If you are going to a destination with a cold climate always be sure to pack a nice warm jacket. There are some destinations where the weather varies greatly between day and night so layering up will help you be warm in no time or when it gets warmer, you can quickly take off your jacket or sweater. If it’s a warm climate pack some lightweight shawls, and garments made from breathable materials like cotton.
Tip: Take a look at The Weather Channel on your phone and look under the section "Feels Like". Make it a point to decide what to wear according to that temperature. More often than not, the main temperature of a country is likely to be lower than what it feels like which is a lot warmer. This is mostly used for countries on the Equator such as Singapore and Malaysia.
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Safety and comfort have to come first. While most travelers prefer to be away from the city and experience the neighborhood areas of a country, it is probably safer to stay in the city area where it is less quiet. Do some research and keep yourself up to date with the news. Go through different accommodation websites and try to land yourself at an accommodation that is near facilities such as train stations, bus stops, a grocery store or a convenience store. This way, it is safer a little safer to come home at night after a long day of roaming around the city.
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You don’t have to be totally alone on this trip, make new friends and share experiences. You will come across many other solo travelers along the way, especially if you stay at a hostel. Talk to these fellow women travelers, share tips and learn new things, if they are more experienced travelers you can get your doubts cleared. Making friends during your travel could also mean that you have someone to rely on in case of emergency.
Always, remember to have an open mind and truly embrace your solo adventure. Make memories, share laughs and learn new things.