7 Important Checklist For Solo Travellers

Checklist for solo travellers
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Photo by Bluewater Sweden on Unsplash

Travelling solo can be both rewarding and daunting.

You are on your own so get to make the rules but you also have no one to fall back on if something doesn’t go to plan. This can be great because it shows you how much you can handle on your own and help you to grow as a person.

It can also be a lot of fun travelling at your own pace and seeing the things you are really interested in. However, at the same time, it can be difficult or stressful at times when there is no one to help solve the problem when something goes wrong.

Travelling solo can also be very different to travelling with other people so there are some things to think about when doing this for the first time.

We’ll aim to give you a checklist of things to do to help you be better prepared and feel more confident when solo travelling.

7 Important Checklist for Solo Travellers

1. Planning your Route

Solo travellers should plan their route arguably more so than those travelling with a group.

It’s not to say you need to have a strict plan in place, as you can still be very flexible and spontaneous, it’s more so to mitigate the risks of any problems arising.

At the start of your travels in particular you should pre-plan where and what you’ll be doing. If you pre-book accommodation or transport before you won’t have to worry or stress about not finding a place to stay, or not being able to get to your next destination.

As much as it’s important to have a route and a plan in place, it’s also important to be flexible. If you do book anything, try and book the flexible option that allows you to refund or move your booking.

That way if you make any friends (and you definitely will) and decide to change your plan to spend time with your new friends, you can do it much more easily.

2. Be Prepared for Emergencies

As a solo traveller, you’ll want to share your route with friends and family back at home.

Although they won’t be with you in person if they know where and when you’re expected to be they can help you if any emergencies arise. Even if your route and plans change, as long as you keep them updated with where and what you are doing they can still be helpful if one of those very unexpected situations happen.

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It’s unlikely something will go horribly wrong, but you should always be prepared for the absolute worst-case scenario. Make sure you establish who back at home can help you if needed, or what your plan B might be.

Make sure you have the right insurance you need and the contacts ready to help if you need to claim to help find lost baggage or need hospital support. Reading your insurance documents and being prepared is important as there’s no someone else you can rely on in those situations.

3. Be Open to Meeting People

Although solo travelling is innately alone, you most likely won’t be lonely. It’s a lot easier than you might think to meet new people along your travels.

Some might argue as you’re alone, you’re more approachable to meeting new people than you would be if you were in a group with others. Even though you might appear more approachable on your own, you need to be open to meeting new people.

If you casually meet someone, take the opportunity. You need to take the action to ask them what they are doing later or the next day. They might ask you, but you might need to make the first move if you want to make a friend or join a group.

It might seem a bit forward and strange at first to be so forward with someone you only just met, but this is very common among travellers so you will quickly get the hang of it and quickly make friends.

Staying in hostels is a great way to meet people as many other travellers and solo travellers will also be staying there. When you are sharing a room with other people, you are straight away presented with people with who you could potentially become friends. So don’t be shy, share a room and get talking!

4. Join Solo Traveller Groups

Joining Facebook groups and other platforms with solo travellers is a great way to get some travelling tips and meet people before and while you are travelling.

Some people search for people to have lunch with while they are travelling solo, or search for someone to share a room with. Sometimes people will offer their rooms in a country to solo travellers.

This is a great way to meet people in that country and make a friend, as well as find a place to stay. Joining these groups is a great way to be in contact with like-minded people.

Even if you do want to spend some alone time or want a break from all your travel friends, you can find helpful advice in these groups. If you need to chat with other people doing the same thing as you, this is a great place.

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Sometimes friends and family at home might not have done what you are doing and might find it unrelatable or difficult to empathise if you are feeling a certain way. Other solo travellers in these groups can relate and help you to celebrate the successes or help you solve problems.

5. Book Tours

If you get sick of planning and organising the trip all on your own, you can book group tours. These are a great way to see all the best bits of a place without having to put much if any effort into the planning of it.

Another great benefit of a tour is that you’ll definitely be with other people. That’s a great way to meet others and make new friends because you’ll be spending a lot of time together on the tour.

It’s typically for solo travellers to book group tours so you’ll most likely find people in the same boat as you. When you meet people on a tour, you can potentially continue to travel with them if their plans align with yours.

There are loads of different types of tours out there so with a bit of research you can find one that’s perfect for you.

6. Packing for Solo Travelling

When travelling solo, you might need to pack a few extra things to help you on your journey. Always remember a lock for hostels and your bags.

This is something you would need if you are travelling with others anyway to make sure your belongings are protected while you are out and about. However, as a solo traveller, it’s extra important as there isn’t someone who can watch your bag while you are looking the other way.

If something like your phone gets stolen, you aren’t with someone else to use their phone to help you get a new one. You need to take extra precautions as you can’t rely on anyone else.

Accessories

A waterproof bag is also essential for the solo traveller. Usually when you’re on the beach and fancy a dip in the sea, whoever you are with can keep an eye on your things while you go for a swim.  When you are travelling solo, you don’t have this luxury.

You might be able to ask someone nearby, which is also a great way of meeting someone, however, you might feel more comfortable keeping your valuables with you or if there’s no one else around to watch them.

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If you get a little waterproof bag, you can carry your phone, wallet, money and keys safety around your neck while you’re in the water. Make sure to get a good quality one because cheap ones might not keep the water completely out.

A tripod is a great tool for taking pictures as a solo traveller. It might seem a bit over the top, and you might feel a bit embarrassed with it at first but if you want some great photos this is the way to go.

You can ask people around you, but there might not be anyone to ask. You also might not want to disturb anyone who is having a meal, or doing something at the time you want the picture. Other people can often be unreliable with photos. Let’s face it, not everyone is a photographer.

Getting your own small travel tripod and taking your own photos can prevent and thumbs over the camera lens, or blurry unflattering shots. Look for compact tripods that fold up to fit in your bag where you can either use your phone self-timer or a clicker.

7. Remember what you came for

When travelling solo, remind yourself what it is you want to do while you are travelling.

What are the things you really want to see or explore?

When your start travelling and meeting new people, you might get caught up in their plans and forget about your own. It’s fine to go along with other people and that’s part of what made the adventure so fun, but don’t put your own needs and wants aside for other people.

Remember you can say no! If someone offers to do something with you, you don’t always have to take up the invitation. Solo travelling means you can put yourself first, and you should so don’t feel bad about saying no and doing your own thing.

Conclusion: Checklist for Solo Travellers

Solo travelling can be a new and exciting experience but it can also be very different to travelling with others. Hopefully, the tips and checklist we have shared can help you be more prepared and feel more confident travelling alone.

The key takeaway is to be prepared. As there is no one else to rely on, you need to make sure you have a plan in place to keep safe in case of any emergencies.

You can definitely still be spontaneous and you should be open to meeting lots of new people too, but always remember what you want and put yourself first.

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