7 Tips For Aspiring Solo Travelers

Planning a trip with your family or friends is surely fun and exciting; you get to bond, know each other deeper and better, explore new places, get stuffed over gustatory food, and create one-for-the-books moments that you will all share stories over food when another catch-up dinner comes.

But what happens when this plan remains undone and never becomes a reality? What happens when the money you saved up for too long was spent on impulsive shopping? What happens when your supposed #travelgoals turn out to be another virtual trip over Google and travel blogs?

It’s frustrating, we know, when planning a trip you have been dreaming about for months suddenly gets cancelled and you are left back in your regular programming Googling the places you are dying to tick off in your bucket list.

Best solution? Travel alone. Go solo. Take your #metime to the next level. Don’t wait for your family’s or your friends’ schedule to match yours; don’t let the lack of having a travel buddy hinder your dire need to explore; stop splurging on the unnecessary fashion vices that you know you’ll only be wearing once and the clothes ending up imprisoned in your closet after; and most importantly, take well notes of our advice listed below:

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Photo courtesy of Ian Francisco

Overcome the fear of being alone

I can’t stress enough how important and big of a decision this point is. For all we know, fear is a natural feeling in life. If there’s no such thing as fear, the world we live in would be in ultimate chaos and the nerve-racking attempt to do something for the first time will be out of the picture. However, our plans and goals in life will not happen if we will live behind that fear and wait until we get ready. Thing is, we will never be ready. All it takes is the courage to start now, get out of your comfort zone, do what you are most afraid of, and take that leap of faith.

How? You are the most aware when it comes to yourself. Evaluate what you want to achieve, who or what hinders you from achieving it, and how will you finally overcome that hindrance.

Remember that being alone doesn’t equate to being lonely. Rather, with solitude, you can strengthen your self-love, hear and know yourself better, have a broader understanding of the world you live in, and be confident to face each day and each fear with an empowered vision, goal, and soul.

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Photo courtesy of Jewels Sison

Research your desired destination well

Before hopping in to that ride, be sure to be well-informed of your desired destination up front. Of course, it is good to get lost, but please get lost in the right places. Also take into consideration the dos and don’ts, the necessary contact persons and details, the basic language or dialect, the accessibility of the attractions, the cost of living, the weather, the appropriate clothes to wear, the cultures and traditions, the food, the best pasalubongs to bring home, and every little thing you need to know to exhaust the possibilities of that “live like a local” mantra.

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Photo courtesy of Ian Francisco

Take full advantage of the long weekends

Yes, we all need rest, but the promising views and experiences your trips can give physically, mentally, and emotionally is just one of the most fulfilling rests there is. The much-needed time away from all the paper work, stress, pressure, and all smithereens of melancholies in the metro are sure resting in your chosen piece of paradise.

To maximize your regular and long weekends, it’s always best to plot your schedule and file your leaves as early as you can to keep the ball rolling. Don’t just bum off on your bed at home and scroll over the pretentious world of social media; get out and explore the real world.

Related story: Take A Weekend Breather in Lake Caliraya

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Photo courtesy of Flotsam

Let your circle know where you are

Update and keep in touch with your family and closest friends even when you’re 40, 000ft above sea level. Inform them regarding your flight or bus ride details, your accommodations, and your whereabouts. Know that giving a relief on guaranteed safe travels, especially to your family, somehow pops the paranoiac thought bubbles away. Besides, we bet you wouldn’t want to be helplessly entombed under a massive rock in a remote area like that of Aron Ralston in “127 Hours.” Yikes!

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Photo courtesy of Ian Francisco

Download all travel apps you might need

Though traveling is the best time to unplug from the digital world, we cannot deny that our phone will always be our saving grace in whatever situation we are in, and its features and apps are definitely of big help in our daily routines.

As we speak, there is a lot of it that you must download in your phones such as Couchsurfing, Hostelworld, Airbnb, XE Currency, AccuWeather, Tipulator, Waze, GrabTaxi, MMDA, Skyscanner, Agoda, TripAdvisor, Booky, Zomato, Yelp and local airline apps to keep your nomadic life on the go.

Related story: Pinoy Tek: Local Mobile Apps to Download

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Photo courtesy of The Circle Hostel

Stay in hostels or homestays

Apart from the benefit that these options give like sparing you from pricey accommodations, hostels or homestays allow you to engage, socialize, and learn through the eyes of the future friends and family you will establish there.

In hostels, there are more foreigners than locals. However, instant friendship will surely be built if you have the courage to talk and socialize. Common areas and community dinners are usually hosted in hostels, which gives guests a chance to know each other better. By then, you will be transported to a whole new world through their stories and cultures.

Meanwhile, homestays are equally good. Your host family could serve as your tour guide and you’ll surely be in your home away from home. Bonus: you get instant travel buddies!

Related story: No Such Thing as Strangers: 10 Artsy Hostels in the Philippines

Related story: Into the Kaleidoscopic World of Lokal Hostel

Related story: Z Hostel: A Backpacker’s Hip Hub

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Photo courtesy of Jack Alindahao

Pack light but right

Packing lightly helps you go around easier, but how do you pack right? It has been debated which technique is more of a space saver: keeping your clothes laid flat or rolling them. From experience, rolling clothes saves more space for a lot of things. By doing so, pack only the clothes you will wear. I repeat, the only clothes you will wear. Always consider bringing a towel, a swimsuit, modest dresses, shorts, plain shirts, and a pair of shoes that will go with whatever outfit you packed in your bag. Avoid bringing heavy weight clothes like jeans. Trust me, you will save more room. Don’t worry about not being #OOTD-approved, you will still slay even in a plain white shirt!

Additionally, traveling solo requires a lot of self-care and insurance, so it’s best to keep your belongings intact wherever on Earth you maybe. Remember that you only have yourself in this journey and all the things you will need shall be contained in your magical bag: plastics; medicines; emergency kit; toiletries, as these are not present in most hostels and homestays; and appropriate clothes and shoes.

Now that we had a good rundown of tips for you, aspiring solo travelers, we hope that no excuses shall be heard to not push through with your dream destination from now on. Go pack your bags and book that flight. You got this!

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Our journey began with an idea to discover what it means to travel the Philippines, beyond the alluring images of sparkling blue waters and powder white sand. We seek to share travel stories to inspire the wide-eyed traveler, moving them deeper into the destination with stunning images and narratives about its sights, tastes, textures, smells, and local life.

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