When we think of travelling, most of us envision large groups of people, vacations at a beach or in the mountains, or perhaps even motorcades to some far-off destination. But what about solo travel? After all, it’s not so common nowadays. That’s why, although this is a growing trend, many people don’t really know how to do it well. However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t be rewarding and fun if you do it right. And there are numerous benefits to travelling by yourself as well—beyond the financial savings or personal growth opportunities that can come from breaking your routine and reevaluating your priorities. So, take a look at the following solo backpacking tips!
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Do plan and research your route ahead of time
For solo backpackers, planning ahead is essential in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Prior to setting out on your adventure, it is important to thoroughly research your route, taking into account potential risks, terrain, weather patterns, and any other relevant factors. Take some time to explore your destination, such as by reading up on the local culture and customs, researching the best places to visit, and even speaking with people who have been there before.
If you’re travelling in a remote area, consider taking a map or a GPS device with you. Also, make sure you have a good level of fitness, as some routes may require an element of physical exertion. Researching your route ahead of time can help to save you from a lot of potential stress, as you’ll be well-prepared for the journey ahead. It will also help to make your trip a more enjoyable and rewarding experience, as you’ll be able to make the most of your destination.
Also, make sure you have a good level of fitness, as some routes may require an element of physical exertion. As such, focusing on leg strengthening exercises before you start your journey would prepare you for the hardest hikes.
Do keep your valuables safe
Backpacking solo is a fantastic experience, but it also means that you need to stay vigilant when it comes to keeping your valuables safe. Before you set off, make sure you have the right gear for protecting your belongings. A sturdy lock for your bags, a whistle to call for help, and a money belt are all essential items.
When you are out and about on your trip, always be aware of your surroundings and keep your possessions close to you. If you need to leave your bag somewhere, try to find a secure place like a locker or a friend’s house. Additionally, it is always a good idea to make copies of your passport and other important documents in case they go missing. Lastly, ensure that you have adequate travel insurance in case of theft or accidents. By following these tips, you can feel relaxed and safe knowing that your valuables are secure.
Do stay in touch with friends/family regularly
As a solo backpacker, it can be easy to get lost in the adventure and forget to keep in touch with family and friends. It is important to remember to stay in contact with them regularly, to let them know that you’re safe and sound, and to stay connected. There are many ways you can stay in touch with family or friends.
Try sending postcards or letters home detailing your latest experiences and discoveries. Take pictures of yourself and your travels to share with friends and family back home. Send a text message or call home when you have a chance, just to check in. Social media is also a great way to stay connected with family and friends. Post stories, pictures, and even video clips and updates so they can follow along with your journey. You can even join travel groups online to meet fellow backpackers and swap stories, tips, and advice with them.
Do make new friends, but also be cautious
As a solo backpacker, it is important to open yourself up to new experiences, connections, and friendships. However, it is natural to feel cautious and uncertain when meeting new people. Be mindful of your safety when interacting with strangers. Find out as much information as you can before meeting new people, such as where they are from and what they do. Let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting, even if you are just meeting up for coffee or a short walk.
Take things slow and trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or sense something is not right, remove yourself from the situation. It is okay to be friendly and polite while still being mindful of your personal boundaries while on a solo trip.
Do be flexible with your itinerary
For solo travellers, flexibility is the key to a successful and fulfilling trip. A loose itinerary is the best way to go, with some must-see places and activities, but be open to exploring new places and meeting new people. Spontaneity is often key to making the most of your solo trip, so don’t be afraid to take chances and embark on unexpected adventures. With this in mind, if a location particularly stands out to you, seize the opportunity and explore it. Don’t be scared to try something new or get lost in the process; these are often the moments that become the most memorable.
Don’t overpack or bring valuables you don’t need
When travelling solo, it’s important to be extra careful and mindful of the items you’re bringing along. Try packing light and focusing on items that are essential to your trip. It’s easy to overpack when you’re with a group, but when travelling alone, it’s important to remember you don’t need to bring everything you normally would. Also, make sure to be aware of your surroundings and practice caution while on the road.
Don’t ignore warning signs or local advice
Solo backpacking can be an amazing and life-changing experience, but it is important to take safety precautions. Before venturing out, make sure to research the area and familiarise yourself with local laws and customs. Pay attention to any warning signs and take note of any advice from locals. Always make sure to stay aware of your surroundings, and never be too trusting. If someone seems suspicious or dangerous, leave the area immediately. Always keep your important items with you, such as your wallet, passport, and phone. Be sure to lock up your valuables before leaving your hostel or hotel.
Don’t spend too much time alone or isolated
When travelling alone, it is important to be aware of the potential negatives associated with spending too much time alone or isolated. While it is possible to have an enjoyable and enriching experience when you have time to yourself, taking time to connect with the people and places around you can help to keep feelings of loneliness at bay.
If you are feeling isolated, don’t be afraid to reach out and make plans with new people you meet at hotels or during your travels. Connecting with others will add a new level of excitement to your journey and help keep you inspired. Additionally, sharing experiences with new people can help create lasting memories and friendships. So, don’t be afraid to get out there, explore and connect.
Don’t ignore your intuition or gut feelings
Always trust your instincts when travelling alone. If you’re feeling uncomfortable in a certain location or if you’re not sure if you should take a certain path, always trust your intuition. After all, you are the only one who knows what’s best for you. It can be tempting to ignore your gut feelings when you’re in a new place and want to explore, but it’s always best to trust your intuition. Pay attention to the warning signs, and be sure to always use common sense when it comes to safety. Remember, if something feels off, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t neglect basic self-care such as eating well and getting enough sleep
Eating well and getting enough sleep are key elements to staying healthy and feeling energised while travelling. For solo backpackers who are constantly on the go, it’s important to set aside time to make sure these basic needs are met. Making sure to eat healthy, balanced meals and to get a good night’s rest can make a huge difference in your well-being.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to set aside some time for yourself to relax and do something that you enjoy. It’s important to take care of yourself, just as you would with any other important task. Doing so will ensure that you stay healthy and make the most of your solo backpacking adventure.
Hi, we are Krasen and Ying Ying. Krasen is from Bulgaria, and Ying Ying is from China. We are passionate about geography and history, and we believe that the best way to experience it is by exploring the Earth in reality, not in a school, and not virtually.
So, we created this blog Journey Beyond the Horizon, where we share geographical knowledge, travel guides and tips how to experience it when you explore our planet, and a lot of inspiration.
And we wish you a happy journey, not just virtually, but most of all- in reality.