Do you dream of exploring faraway lands but can’t find anyone around you to accompany you? Do you want to take a road trip but are afraid of driving alone abroad? Long seen, solo travel is now democratizing, with the flowering of many dedicated blogs. I made my first trip alone three years ago, and this was by far the trip that marked me the most. In this article, I give you all my daring tips to get started and prepare for your solo trip, whether you want to go on a city trip, a road trip, or an “all-inclusive” stay.
IDEAS AND ADVICE BEFORE A FIRST SOLO TRIP
1 – CHANGE YOUR VISION OF SOLO TRAVEL
You probably always hesitate to go solo for the first time if you have landed on this list. My first advice would therefore be to write down all the reasons that push you to travel alone. Keep these notes carefully during your trip; they will give you back some pep’s in the event of slack! Then, on a separate piece of paper, write down all of your prejudices and fears about going alone, such as:
- traveling solo is dangerous
- traveling alone is boring
- I am shy and could never meet anyone
- I could never fend for myself abroad
- traveling solo is expensive, etc.
Then, try to find solutions that suit you to reverse these worries and prejudices. If you think traveling solo can be dangerous, try to list destinations that you find reassuring, not too far from home, for example. In my case, one way to reassure myself was to book in female dormitories during my trip to Pakistan.
Are you anxious at the idea of reaching out to others but don’t want to spend your entire trip alone? Nothing more normal; we are not used to evolving alone in an unknown place! Planning group guided tours, eating in your hostel’s common room, or simply smiling at others are some tips for easily establishing contact with others. Go at your speed and note that social media is invaluable in a solo tour, and you can keep in contact with your friends and family. Sharing your adventures and seeing your loved ones react is also a good way to keep morale up.
I advise you to read many blogs with concrete accounts of people who have tried the adventure before you. This will allow you to draw advice first and motivate you by feeling less isolated if no one is traveling in this way in your entourage.
2 – PREPARE FOR YOUR SOLO TRIP
In my opinion, preparing carefully for your first solo trip is the best way not to come back frustrated or disappointed. The advantage is that you can have fun by being alone, which is perhaps the most important point! However, it is essential to resolve all administrative and practical issues before leaving so that, once there, you can make the most of them! Having your credit card blocked when you are alone abroad is indeed not the most pleasant of adventures, which is why, for a solo trip, even more than for a trip with several, everything should be done to prepare. Here are the essential points to leave serene:
- Check that your credit card is accepted in the country you are going to. If in doubt, contact your bank advisor to inform them of your trip. You can also exchange change before your departure to make sure you don’t find yourself without a means of payment when you get there.
- Avoid arriving at night so as not to create additional stress for yourself.
- Book at least the first two nights of your accommodation in advance. To avoid unpleasant surprises, I always book based on customer reviews and not on accommodation services. Those from Booking or Tripadvisor are, for example, very reliable.
- Prepare a playlist with your favorite music, bring this book you never had time to finish, take your tablet on board and download movies in advance. Even if you meet people on your way, you still expect to spend a hell of a lot of hours alone, so take some time to take care of yourself!
- Establish a strategy for your important documents. Invest in a pouch/suitcase that you can keep close to your body at all times. You will slip in all your important documents: identity card or passport, credit card, cash, mobile phone, keys, etc. Prepare a document on which you will list the emergency numbers to contact in the event of a problem: insurance, bank, relatives, embassy, hospitals, accommodation on site. Then, photocopy this document and your most important papers like passport and bank card and put them in your bag. You may also scan them and give them to a friend or family member. The idea is that if your bag OR backpack is stolen/forgotten, you always have your most important documents available somewhere.
- Of course, find out where you are going. You can create itineraries for yourself if you like to plan everything (you are alone, no one will notice you!). I still recommend learning about the local customs and habits (tips, movements, or behaviors to avoid, favorite clothes, currency) and the simple, friendly formulas to know if you are leaving in a country where you do not speak the language.
- Take a bag that you are sure you can carry! I remember driving halfway, at 7 am, after an overnight bus trip, with my 12kg backpack on my back and my “little” 5kg bag on my chest, to get to my hostel… When I arrived, I was exhausted, and I did almost nothing all day because I had only one desire: sleep!
- Set a goal. Solo travel has the advantage of giving you time, a lot of time, so take advantage of that time to do things you don’t usually take the time to do. Do you like the picture? Why not get started with making a photo album on your trip? Do you like good food? Please list all the places and specialties you want to try on your trip and try to do them all. Again, the idea is to give yourself a purpose and remind yourself of why you left, in case you get blown away.
- Suppose you want to travel alone but within a group. This allows on the one hand to reduce costs and travel with people in the same situation. Do not hesitate to consult Facebook pages like travel companions.
3 – TIPS FOR DRIVING ALONE DURING A ROAD TRIP
If traveling alone during a city trip remains relatively simple, going on a solo road trip, especially abroad, is impressive because it involves driving alone, which can be tiring and stressful. Nevertheless, getting behind the wheel is, in some countries, the only alternative to discover certain regions. Here are my top tips for doing a solo road trip in the best conditions:
- Choose an agency that is located directly at your place of arrival. The Sixt network, available in more than 100 countries, has, for example, numerous counters in the most important connection points such as airports and train stations. You will only have to recover your vehicle without having to travel for miles.
- Do not hesitate to subscribe to additional coverages to leave with peace of mind, such as the road insurance contract offered by Sixt, which covers the costs incurred in gasoline failure, loss of keys, locking of the vehicle with the keys to inside… If you are stressed or have your head in the air, the few extra euros paid will allow you to breathe!
- Consider booking accommodation that has parking, or find out about parking options in the area. Likewise, when you go somewhere, look before the parking possibilities so that you do not turn in circles to park when you are there.
- The GPS is an essential accessory! You can use your phone if the network is good. Otherwise, do not hesitate to rent a GPS, which will greatly facilitate your journeys, especially abroad, or to subscribe to a Wifi option if you want to stay connected in all circumstances, which can also guarantee security.
- To reduce costs and ride in good company (especially on a long trip), you can find other travelers on sites. This platform indeed connects people wishing to go to the same place and on the same dates.
- Familiarize yourself with the car! Remember to check the type of fuel and how the gas hatch opens (new models sometimes have surprises), where the wiper function or the lights’ lighting are located. Small details that can cause stress if you have not inquired in advance.
- Finally, remember to find out about driving on-site and road infrastructure (badge for highways, for example). During my first solo trip, I arrived by boat with the tank almost empty. No problem, I thought, I’ll find a petrol station on the motorway.
Looking for the best rent a car in Islamabad? Carlay Car Rental is just right for you. We provide excellent car rental services with an affordable price range and provide all the necessary services to make our customers ride better.