A first-timer’s guide to solo travel

What was once perceived as an unusual choice, has now become a mainstream phenomenon – solo travel is no longer looked down upon as a holiday choice of introverts, but instead as the epitome of being an independent world traveller. It’s the true-est quest for independence. In a hyperconnected world where there are more forms of communication than desired, people are increasingly seeking ways to break free from the humdrum of daily life and carve out time for themselves, away from the world. It’s the ultimate form of “me time”.

There’s a certain sense of liberation, a feeling of unshackling from everything that ties you down to your everyday life that people are looking for when they decide to go solo. The real liberation comes from the ability to design your trip exactly how you want to, and explore the destination at the pace you prefer. 

We spoke to adept solo travellers on learnings from their experience and advice for first timers and this is what they shared-

Familiarity breeds comfort

As a first time solo traveller, it helps to pick a destination that you may be familiar with already. Go to a country you’ve been to before, or to a place whose language you understand or a city where you know someone local. Giving yourself the safety of familiarity is a good way to ease yourself into it. 

Solo travel doesn’t mean solitude 

While the idea of a solo holiday is to primarily take a vacation by yourself, it doesn’t hurt to indulge in group activities and keep an open mind to making local friends. This can sound counterintuitive but connecting with new people can enhance your holiday experience. Some of the most avid solo travellers have made real connections and friendships from each of their travels. 

Go  prepared

No we don’t mean to go in with extensive lists of all the best reviewed places to visit/eat/shop, but having some kind of preliminary research about the place will help you get your bearings. 

You should have a couple of activities on your list to explore, whether it’s a night market, a walk down the river, or a museum that interests you. This will spare you from waking up and doing the arduous task of planning each day. It lends a sense of preparedness without being too structured.

Make room for rumination

The whole idea of a solo trip is to make time for yourself, to lose yourself a little in the beauty and novelty of wherever you are, to find yourself in the unfamiliarity of a new place.

There’s something about being in an unknown place that helps create an environment of profound introspection for people. That is after all the main purpose for many people who plan to travel on their own, to be able to go into the deep recesses of their mind which otherwise the dull mundanity of their lives don’t allow for.

The change of air somehow allows the mind to drift, and shift its perspective, thereby allowing yourself to look at the same things differently. It’s within this rumination that people find a different version of themselves, that they hold onto long after the trip has ended and they’re back to the daily grind.

The most enriching element of the solo travel experience is the sense of empowerment and confidence that one comes away with. It takes a certain amount of bravado and resilience to take that first step on your own, one that paves the way for future endeavours. To have gone on a trip with yourself and encountered peace, freedom, and accomplishment is a trip on its own worth taking.

By Salonie Ganju (Writer, storyteller & content strategist)

Salonie is a skilled content, communications and media specialist with over a decade’s worth of experience in strategic storytelling, brand building and purpose-driven content creation.