Roughly a year back, yours truly embarked on her first solo travel ever. This was a place called Varkala in Kerala, India for a five day trip. I returned with mixed feelings and some learning to use in my future solo trips, if I plan them. So here I am back with a second blog on solo travelling after my first international solo trip to Japan.
First things First. People change, their thought process change, and a year, I guess, is a good time frame for these changes to happen. So if I differ, in my thoughts from what it was last year, blame the 12 month period, okay?
Now, let the fun (read preachy) part begin.
Since my return from Japan, after my ‘successful’ first international solo trip, I have heard a fair amount of “You go girl”. So let me set the record straight, I do not love and I equally do not hate solo travel. For me, travelling solo, is like “ Okay I need to go to work, but I do not have ironed trousers, but have an ironed dress,” yes, solo travel is that dress for me. In the last one and half year, I have been on two solo trips, two group trips and two trips with organized travel groups. You get the flow? I like all forms of travelling and they come with their own perks and disadvantages. To be honest, as a woman, there is one more thing- solo did to me. When I first travelled to Varkala, I felt capable to travel to any part of my country on my own. With Japan, this has moved a notch higher- I feel capable to travel to any part of the world alone now.
So will I travel solo again now? The answer is yes, if I do not find ideal travel company. The answer is yes, if there is an obscure destination I dying to go to, but have no one else interested to go there. The answer is yes, if it is my birthday and I wish to make it special but think it is unfair to force some else to come along. The answer is yes, if I need my ‘me’ time.
The answer is no, if it is to reassure my false ego that I do not need people. Lets admit it, everyone loves company and it is beautiful to see new places with the same ‘old’ travel partner and compare. The answer is no, if it is to merely reinstate my freedom of movement as a woman to myself or to the world. I have done that once with Japan and I know I am capable to do it again. The answer is definitely no, if it is look “cool”.
So, give solo travel a try, give group travel a try, travel with a partner, and give random stranger group travels a try. Explore.
If you still want to try solo travel, here are some pro tips.
My learning from my last solo trip, of not staying longer at one place when travelling solo served well on my Japan solo trip. It makes sure you have something new to look forward to everyday or every alternate day.
So pro tip: Make sure you travel to multiple cities or locations when on a solo travel
In addition, staying at hostels (it is economic, of course) also helps against staying at a hotel, where you are confined to too much alone time. Besides, it is fun to meet new people from different nations at a hostel
So pro tip: Hostels are in, hotels are out
Choose your destination wisely, if you want to ensure your solo trip does not cost you a bomb. My last solo trip involved using a lot of private transport, with no one to share the cost with I paid a huge sum navigating the place. On the contrary, Japan has superb public transport, so I did not spend anything more than what I would have spent even if I had a fellow traveler to share cost.
So pro tip: Choose locations or countries which offer awesome public transport to keep your travel cost low
In a bid to make your travel interesting, ensure you socialize. Yes, you read that right, socialize on a solo trip. Try and share lunch time or dinner time with one of your hostel mates, it will take the boredom off, if in case sometimes you do get bored with your own company.
So pro tip: Simple, socialize