Imagine choosing a destination, packing your backpack and getting on the road, completely alone. Some of you wouldn't dare, but some love the freedom that a solo adventure brings.
Truth be told, there are two types of solo adventurers: those who travel alone because they want to, and those who have no other choice. Solo travellers by choice want to self-indulge and enjoy some time alone, while the others just don’t want to wait on anyone to go and explore the world.
To celebrate these bold travellers, here are some tips to make the most of your trip no matter which group you belong to.
Should You Go At It Alone?
Getting on the road alone means you will have the absolute freedom to do whatever you want. You make the rules and all the decisions. Want to go by train instead of flying? You can. Don't want to visit that museum? You don't have to. You are free to shape your trip down to the last detail.
Forget about adjusting your schedule to someone else, or waiting for the other person to wake up so you can get a move on. You don’t have to avoid the pricey restaurants because your friends can't afford them, or eat at fancy spots if that’s not your thing. And, you can explore your destination at your own pace. In short, you won't have to compromise on anything.
Going alone doesn't mean staying alone the whole time. You can meet new people even more easily than when you're travelling in a pack.
Believe it or not, sitting alone at a bar is a great conversation starter. Being surrounded by a group of friends would close you off inside your circle and you probably wouldn't even feel like meeting anyone new.
This type of travel can help you reveal a lot about yourself. You’re probably much more resourceful than you think, and a lot better under pressure than you believe. Take our word for it, a solo adventure is an incredible independence and confidence boost.
But… Don't expect everything to run smoothly. You need to consider the downsides as well.
First, there’s a legitimate chance you might get lonely. Plan a busy schedule, and stay around other people as much as you can to prevent that.
Making all the decisions means making all the mistakes as well. You will only have yourself to blame if you take a wrong turn, or realize you've forgotten your umbrella once it starts pouring. So be safe and bring an umbrella that won't let you down, like the stylish and almost indestructible Blunt Umbrella.
Being on the road all by yourself is also much more dangerous. You will need to travel by day and move through crowded public spaces to reduce the risk of being mugged. And, you will always have to drag your luggage along, even if you just need to go to the bathroom, or quickly buy train tickets.
The bottom line is, you need to know for a fact you’d really be comfortable globetrotting by yourself before you set off. Think about all this, and carefully decide whether you would really enjoy the adventure for one.
Few people dare to travel alone, even fewer do it by their own choice. But this is an incredible way to get to know the place you're going to on your own terms, and really indulge yourself without worrying about others.
Going solo also gives you a unique chance to experience a place without your companions' prejudices and preferences. Your impression is yours alone, and you can experience the exact places and activities that you came for.
You need to have a game plan regardless of whether you are by yourself because you want to or because you had no other choice.
First, decide where you will be going. Being spontaneous is awesome, but it gets a little tricky when you're out there alone. Before you hit the road, make a schedule and let one or two people know where you're headed.
Always carry your phone with you. The phone will be your only connection to the people at home in case of an emergency. And, you also might get a bit lonely and want to talk to someone you know.
Don't forget a portable device charger like the one from Sparkstone, so you can always count on your smartphone or tablet, even if you're camping somewhere far from power sources.
Maps and GPS are other handy benefits of carrying a gadget or two, so don’t be reckless and leave technology behind. Still, bringing a paper map is a great idea (you can never be too safe).
This "just in case" kit should have several items aside from the map, especially if you are headed outdoors. Bring the first-aid kit for medical emergencies. And, those travelling by car should bring a tool box with the essentials to quickly deal with any mishaps on the road.
The Lone Wolf
Solo travellers by choice are simply different from other people. Their goal is more than just to see the place. They actually want to stay alone with their thoughts and reflect on the journey they're taking.
That's why the lone wolves usually choose trekking, hiking or camping as their adventure of choice. Activities that don't depend on other people, like surfing and skiing are also cool options. But, sightseeing through a bustling metropolis could be just as exciting.
You don't have to go to the Pacific Crest Trail to find your peace of mind although it's one of the most amazing trekking trails for loners. There are great less-travelled trails around the world where you'll be able to get away from everything and everyone.
Since you will be travelling alone, it's extremely important that you bring everything you might need on your trip. Nobody else will pack for you. Get a spacious and comfortable backpack like The North Face Recon 32L that fits all the essentials and helps you stay organized.
When it comes to the accommodation, you can easily find the perfect options for detaching yourself from the whole world.
Imagine a lonely cottage in Scotland, hidden on a vast green valley below the towering mountains with nobody in sight for kilometres. Sounds dreamy? You can actually find a ton of similar places on Airbnb at affordable prices.
But, you don't have to go to Scotland to find such an incredible secluded house. Just find something similar and closeby. While you take the view in, bring a good book and your favourite playlist, and forget about the rest of the world.
Speaking of books, some great classics to read while travelling are Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. And if you need more inspiration, read our blog on the best books for adventurers.
Let’s say this lupine adventure style was forced upon you.
In the typical scenario, you were finally able to take time off work, and you saved up for a vacation. All that was left is organizing your friends, aligning your schedules and choosing a destination.
And then the organization turned into a mission impossible.
You couldn't agree on the destination; one of you couldn't possibly make it next month; the next person thought the whole thing was too expensive, while the third person refused to stay in a hostel.
You started to realize that the only way to go on this adventure is to do it alone.
That doesn't mean you should be lonely the whole trip. There are plenty of ways to meet people while travelling and maybe even make some new friends.
The first and best option is Couchsurfing. Couchsurfing isn't just about getting free accommodation; it's about sharing experiences and getting to know other cultures. This means you will be staying with a local, getting cool suggestions regarding the places to visit and activities to try.
Your hosts can even give you a tour of the city while you make them a few meals in return.
Airbnb is similar to Couchsurfing except you probably won't be sharing the accommodation with the host. You can still try to get to know them and invite them to hang out or help you get around.
Travellers often choose hostels because they are cheap, and because they are a great way to meet people. Starting a conversation becomes much less awkward when you're talking to your roommate. Plus, you will know that the other people there are just as open to socializing as you are.
True, hostels can sometimes feel a little unsafe because you're always surrounded by people you don’t know. Von-Routte Travel Organiser Sumatra is an elegant way to keep your cash and valuable documents safe during the whole trip.
Are you a fan of team sports or group activities? The fact that you are travelling alone shouldn't stop you from doing the things you love. And here's the thing - you may even use it as an opportunity to connect with the people who share similar interests.
Make the most of the social media before you leave. Facebook has a ton of cool options to help you discover people at the destination you're visiting. You can search for your own friends living there, or friends of friends you can contact. Or, post a simple status saying where and when you're travelling, and ask if your friends can suggest somebody to meet there.
Dating apps are another great way to meet people on the road. Guess what - they don't have to be used only for dating. As long as you write an honest profile description, Tinder and similar apps can help you meet cool locals who share your interests.
All of this will give you a chance to meet so many interesting people that you would never have met travelling with someone.
Regardless of which group of adventurers you belong to, travelling solo can be life-changing. In fact, we at Benny's Boardroom believe everyone should experience it at least once in their life.
Have you ever dared to travel alone? Did you like it? We'd love to hear your impressions!