1. Navigation – When your backpacking with more then one person, you have each other to rely on for navigation. Sometimes one person better then the other and it’s just the fact you have someone to lean on for that. But when your travelling alone, you only got yourself to rely on to get you from point A to point B without fucking up hahaha! Tip: Use wifi to stream google maps from point A to point B. And always write down the addresses and steps before heading off so if anything goes wrong with your map, you can do it the old school way and ask people how to get to the address your heading to. 100% there is always someone that will be more then happy to help out. I mean look at me – I used a notebook to get around to places for 2 weeks in Europe after losing my phone and I’m still alive!!
2. Going Out – Okay I think it’s safe to say that we can all agree that going to a club or bar by yourself when your travelling can be kinda awkward (But if you can do that, major props to you!). It is simply just SO much easier to go out with someone you’re travelling with, but on the contrary, travelling alone you will meet 10 times more hostel friends!! Tips: Usually the hostels host pub crawls for everyone to attend or head to the hostel lounge, roof top, garden, wherever the hang out place is and you are bound to meet someone that will be totally down to party with you. Can be awkward at first making the first step to be alone but know that everyone at Hostels are chill af and will always be down to include everyone.
3. Planning – Never rely on your plans. And you get all the privilege in the world to just be selfish and do whatever the hell you want when you travel alone. You can literally plan which country your going to the night before without having to discuss your decision with anybody else. Tips: Don’t plan too far ahead. You’ll never know who you might run into at your next stop that will convince you to go to Portugal (true story)!
4. Budgeting – The easiest way to budget as a solo traveller is through accommodation and food. Transportation is unfortunately the hardest to budget on unless you got some high research skills on finding the best routes and booking way ahead in advanced for flights but generally speaking you can’t cheap out on buses, metro, subways, etc. Tips: Couchsurf on couchsurfer or couchsurf your friends couch
from your friends around the world! You’ll meet a ton of people when backpacking that you’ll end up linking up with down the line on your next trip.
5. Cooking – Doing your grocery shopping while travelling and cooking your own food is very common and helps a ton with your budgeting. But as solo travellers, sometimes its harder because we don’t have anyone to split groceries with. Tips: The free food bin is a life saver. The amount of times I found unopened food in the free food bins from people that have extra and don’t want to travel with unrefrigerated food is incredible (bless u all). So finding some gems in the bin and purchasing whatever else you need to make your meals is the way to go.
6. Packing – It is definitely hard to pack light. Extremely hard. But soon enough, you’ll realize you can really go without the extra top or pants but you really CAN’T go without that micro absorbent towel or 1L water bottle. Tips: think survival first before wants lmfao.
7. The Roller Coaster Effect – When you travel, not all days are rainbows and chill vibes (aka happiness) because we are human. And there are days as a solo traveller that we feel alone or sad or both and it’s normal. Tips: the sad and bad days will roll through but the brighter days are just around the corner, keep your head up friend!
8. Being Alone – I get asked this question a lot as a lone backpacker whenever I go, “are you not lonely travelling alone?” the answer I have for this is a few days I am but majority of the time I’m not because I feel extremely welcomed from the people I meet at Hostels. If you are afraid of being alone, you’ll never be able to embrace being alone. It’s a feeling I have completely accepted when backpacking and it’s a feeling that will never overpower the joy I feel backpacking alone. You will experience absolutely life changing things when you go off on your own completely and totally emerged in your own mind. Tips: Don’t be afraid, embrace it.
9. Pick pocketing – Stakes seem higher as a solo traveller (and me being female as well) that we’re more prone to pick pocketing and being robbed. There are definitely situations where it has happened to multiple of people but don’t let that discourage you from travelling alone. Tips: Don’t flash your money out, use a fanny pack, be aware of your surroundings, trust your gut and avoid any situations that make you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable, make eye contact know where your standing and who’s around you, hold your valuables the closest to you, make a mental checklist in your mind of what is most important to check up on.
10. Booking your Flight – the first step of any trip. And it is a combo of the most exhilarating feeling in the world mixed with a bit of scary, exciting, and goodness. I remember booking my first flight on my own, knowing I’ll be completely alone and I felt the exact same way. Tips: It’s never a bad idea. Book it.