Solo traveling is probably one of the most wonderful things in life, but it can also be one of the worst if you don’t travel smart. So to dial back any undue stress we need to address the dos and don’ts of globetrotting solo. Sometimes it’s about going with the flow and finding the right balance between exploring and force-feeding yourself a hectic itinerary.
1. DO pack for every season
Weather can change rather quickly when you’re in another region of the world. So pack lots of layers of clothing as well as footwear for the winter and summer, and a raincoat, just in case. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. But if anything fails, there will be malls and shops where you can buy a coat or a bikini! It’s not the end of the world.
2. DO use the safe in your room
Whenever you leave your room, make sure to take advantage of the safe, and don’t forget the password or you’ll really be out of luck. Well, until the manager comes to the rescue! You might think that hotel room safes aren’t all that safe, but guess what? Neither is leaving all your valuables out so that anyone with the key can access them. It’s there for a reason: to be safe. What I sometimes do is put everything inside my suitcase in the room and lock my suitcase. Only I have the code and the keys.
3. DON’T let your phone roam
Contact your mobile phone provider to see if they have any overseas plan or use WiFi to contact your loved ones through social media, Skype, or Viber, which is free. Otherwise, you’ll be welcomed home with a cell phone bill that is so astronomical, you won’t be able to go on another trip for a few years.
4. DO make a photocopy of your passport
This one is insanely important and many people seem to forget it’s a huge deal. You’ll be glad you did, especially if your original passport gets lost, stolen, or damaged. So make a copy or two. If anything, keep the original inside your hotel safe, and carry the copy around in case. It is recommended tourists walk around with a copy if for some reason they were to request it.
5. DON’T use cash or wire transfer to pay for
No matter what type of discount they offer you, even if it means they can add ten extra years to your lifespan, don’t pay with cash. Pay with a credit card instead because the paper trail from your bank statement will ensure that the activity center won’t take your money and claim that you never paid them. Also, exchange money in your home country, exchanging money in a foreign country can be very pricey and even dangerous.
6. DO take time to check out the culture
Seeing plays or visiting an art museum might not be on your to-do-list, but you’re in another country, and chances are that their interpretation of art will be totally different from what you’ve experienced back home. Peru is so much more than Machu Picchu, so what makes that country, or India, or Brazil so unique? Find out by going on historical tours, and visiting the local museums. It’s part of the charm of traveling!
7. DON’T spend so much time in your hotel room
You might be jet lagged on your first day, but there’s no reason why you should be homesick so soon, and if you’re afraid of the dangers once you leave your hotel, you should have just stayed home. You’re in a different country that’s DYING for you to explore it.
8. DO try the local food
Sure, it can seem scary to eat fried scorpions, seahorses, or rodent feet, but you traveled to experience brand new things. If you are not THAT adventurous, (as I am not with food) do make sure to try their local cuisine for the ingredients you are at least familiar with. You’ll have plenty of time to eat the dollar menu at McDonalds when you get back home. Remember, scary can also be a lot of fun.
9. DON’T talk about political issues
We value our freedom of speech, but often forget that not every country is as free as we are. So when you’re out and about on your vacation, try to keep your political opinions to yourself. Aside from the fact that you can get into legal trouble, you’ll risk alienating yourself from locals when striking a conversation. If anything, test the waters first before being too vocal.
10. DON’T tell strangers you meet where you are staying
When you are traveling solo, the last thing you want is unexpected guests in front of your door step especially if you are staying alone. Keep your whereabouts to strangers to yourself and don’t share location with anyone.
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