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Tips for Solo Travel

Hi All, based on my travels around the world, I am sharing some pointers which may be helpful for you while travelling alone ….

  1. Carry a travel card and cash both
  2. Do a research on where to get the best exchange rates: If you are travelling to different country/countries, find out the places where you can receive good exchange rates for currency. Avoid exchanging currency at airports, unless necessary, they give very poor exchange rates
  3. Get a local sim: If travelling to a different country, get a local sim, which will enable calling to local numbers as well as data. Data is necessary for booking cabs etc. when you are at a location, where you do not have Wifi access
  4. Plan your day in advance: A day before every travel day, plan the sequence in which you want to cover the key places. Use google maps, identify the optimum sequence in which you can cover all the places and return to your place of stay
  5. Keep your belongings safe: Unlike travelling with friends and family, while travelling alone, there won’t be any support or backup to hold your bags etc.. So you are on your own.
    1. Look for safes/lockers: In the place of your stay, ask for lockers (will be there by default in good hotel rooms). Most places have paid or free lockers, where you can keep your passport, some extra cash (not all of it), valuable etc. safe. This comes in handy when you plan to go for a swim at the sea, for example.
    2. Passport: When you are walking around and exploring a place, you can keep your passport with you, close to your body and not in a bag. In some cities or countries for e.g. in Ho Chi Minh city, snatching and pick-pocketing is rampant, so one needs to be extra careful
    3. Do not leave any of your bags unattended or with strangers
  6. Carry a power backup: Needless to say
  7. Carry a physical copy of the address of the place of stay: Of course you will have all the details on your phone, the e-mail etc. However, a physical copy is a great backup, if your phone is dead or the taxi driver/local people (based on how you pronounce), have no clue where you want to go
  8. Always make online reservations before travelling to the city/country: When technology is available, why not make the most of it. Just after you receive the confirmation of your booking over e-mail, contact the team. Ask for the correct address, in a manner that can be understood by local drivers (important when it’s a different country). I know, it will be on google, but maps can be wrong, take you a few lanes here and there (of course not if it’s a famous/huge hotel/resort), you may reach at night time from the airport and left with fewer travel alternatives
  9. Carry a universal adapter: You may be travelling to single or multiple countries and this is an essential, to keep your devices, phone, camera etc. charged and ready for capturing all the nice pictures
  10. Keep google translate handy: Very powerful and helpful tool
  11. Carry selfie stick or get used to asking strangers for a picture: People often ask me how do you manage to get such great pictures, were you travelling alone or there was someone with you? The truth is, all the pics are taken by absolute strangers
    1. Often times i have asked 2-3 people to take pictures on the same spot, because
      • some are really challenged and cannot take pictures at all
      • some are disinterested
      • some run away (thinking I will mug them or something may be :P)
      • but there are always some, who are the sweetest. Not only do they take great pictures, but they often say, “I will take landscape and portrait both, you can check which one you like more and I will take more of that”. Can you believe it? Yes, great people exist
      • Often, there is a barter, you take my picture, I will take yours. Sometimes you take pictures together as well, for memories
      • Anecdotes:
        1. Barcelona: I once met a lady, near Port Vell, Las Ramblas, Barcelona. She was in her 60s, was from UK and was travelling all alone in Europe. She asked me to take her picture, I obliged. She was very happy to see the picture that i clicked for her, she said,” You know, mostly when I ask for a picture, people hold the camera wrong, or cut off the building that i am posing with, or get there thumb on my face and what not. You have taken the perfect picture. Thank you. ” She also offered to take some pictures of mine and did a great job of it.
        2. Bali: At the Royal palace in Ubud, I asked a person to take a picture. He took some snaps and then said, “Alright, now one picture, Korean style”. Have shared the pictures at the end of the article..
  12. Keep some of your friends/family informed about your travel details: Even if they are far away from you, let them know of your whereabouts, at least approximately, if not to the tee
  13. Carry medicines: Make sure you have basic supplies, so that you are not lost with unknown brand names, dosages etc. or get hassled looking for a doctor for minor issues (especially in a different country)
At Royal Palace, Ubud, Bali
At Royal Palace, Ubud, Bali
The same picture, Korean Style...
The same picture, Korean Style…

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