Solo travel may seem intimidating at first, however, the experience can be extremely exciting and liberating. These trips are all about discovering yourself along with the destination. Not knowing anything about the destination will naturally force you to let yourself open to new experiences. However, knowing smart travel hacks before planning your trip can reduce a lot of the travel anxiety for you. Check out these tips to some popular solo travel destinations to help you plan a perfect solo trip!
- Money Exchange- If you come across a money exchange that offers a price that is too good to be true, then it probably is. Don’t go for a self-proclaimed money exchange centre, visit a well-known permanent store instead.
- Keep the cash handy- A solo travel planner should always keep some currency as many local stalls and restaurants do not accept credit/debit cards.
- Getting things delivered- Running around searching for some drinks or munchies is the last thing you would want to do while lazing around your villa or the beach, download the Go-Jek app instead and get things delivered straight to you.
- Appropriate clothing- While you may want to wear bikinis or shorts throughout your trip, be aware of their traditional roots while packing. Temples or certain religious areas do not allow skimpily dressed visitors and insist on proper clothing.
Popular areas to stay for solo travellers: Ubud, Seminyak and Canggu
- Stay in hostels that offer free breakfast and activities- One of the travel hacks for solo travelers is to stay in a hostel to meet like mind people and save money. Priced as cheap as 10 euros per night depending on the location, they also offer a kitchen or free basic breakfast to save you costs.
- Book a free walking tour- Solo travel packages should included a walking tour as it is the best way to explore European cities. Local guides make sure they give you the best insider city hacks and work on tips rather than a fixed fee.
- Consider night buses or trains- If you want to save costs on night stays, book a night journey. All train stations have space for keeping your luggage the next day and well-equipped washrooms to freshen up.
- Check ride-sharing apps- A great option to travel between cities, they will reduce your costs drastically. In Europe, BlaBlaCar is one of the most popular ride-sharing apps.
- Drink local beer or wine- Most places in Europe offer alcohol cheaper than water. While I don’t suggest you get dehydrated by skipping water, beer is the best thing to have in countries like Germany, Czech Republic and Poland. Once you start travelling towards Serbia, Bulgaria or even Spain, wine can simply not be ignored.
Popular areas to stay for solo travellers: Amsterdam, Florence, Prague, London, Vienna, Munich, Barcelona
- Brush up your bargaining skills- Like most places in Asia, Thai culture involves a lot of bargaining and negotiating. Never agree to the first price quoted and generally start 30-40% lower than their ask price
- Download local transport apps- Grab is Asia’s answer to Uber. With fixed pricing, you can be sure of not being overcharged by local drivers. Some cities even have GrabBike, where you can ride on the back of a moped.
- Be a part of local meetups- Making new friends in Thailand is very easy as they are extremely fun-loving and friendly. Solo travel hacks include joining local social media groups to get a schedule of activities around the city. Knowing an insider’s view of the city is one of the best ways to explore Thailand.
Popular areas to stay for solo travellers: Krabi, Phuket, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai
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- Use your Indian currency- ATM withdrawals or transactions can turn out to be quite expensive. Instead, use your Indian currency. The shopkeepers are more than happy to take it and charge minimal or no exchange fee for it.
- Stay- Homestays are perfectly safe anywhere in the country. If you are travelling from the Indian side instead of landing directly in Bhutan and need to stay overnight at the border, choose the Bhutan side as hotels are relatively cheaper there.
- Driving around the country- You can hire a vehicle or bike from the Indian side and easily get a permit to drive/ride around in Bhutan. However, driving a Bhutanese vehicle is not permitted on your Indian driving licence, hence plan your trip accordingly.
Popular areas to stay for solo travellers: Paro, Thimpu, Punakha
- Eat Local- A solo trip in the world should bring you to Sri Lanka as the food here can be extremely cheap. The easiest way to find the best places in the city is to simply follow the crowds. With gigantic servings and free rice refills, you can be sure to indulge the foodie in you.
- Book travel in advance- Your local travel here can be super expensive or dirt cheap depending on the time you book. How to book solo travel can be a challenging task so book your train tickets for travelling within cities much in advance and avoid public holidays. Also taking the Observation Car is much recommended.
Popular areas to stay for solo travellers: Colombo, Kandy, Sigiriya, Nuwara Eliya
- Plan your itinerary well- Don’t let the size of the country fool you. It can take up to 36 hours to travel between Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, hence keep a rough itinerary planned with advance bookings for travelling between cities.
- Best time to travel- It is all based on the experiences you are looking for, the best time to visit will depend on the place.
- Go off the touristy tracks- Sure, Halong bay and the main cities are great. But if you want to experience the beautiful countryside, visit the north and north-east region. For mountainous areas, Central Vietnam would be your best bet.
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‘Curated by Neha Bhise’