How To Plan Your First Solo Trip?
Endless days of daydreaming, failed plans with friends, desire to see the world living in the moment, tired of the corporate Chronicles, a few broken stories and realisation that life is not forever & it’s never late to start – If that’s what does not make you a solo traveller, you are stuck my friend!!
“I have not been everywhere but it’s on my list” – The phrase sort of stuck proportionately on every lobe of my brain. The world is a huge wish list but – “Hey! Have you been to places in and around India?” – My brain innocuously questioned. I was not only enthralled to be stepping on such a boiling cauldron of thoughts but, it gave me insight about things I should be doing before stepping into the world of travelling alone. I sure started travelling but took things slow, exploring place nearby and making most of my place of temporary residence.
It’s been almost a year of travelling solo and at times with friends (I am solely responsible for itinerary; I should perhaps become a tour guide!!) In a country like India (I love my country but that does not change the fact that travelling is still considered as leisure and business trip), female solo travellers are more looked at with raised eyebrows and considered iconic waste of age but, seriously who cares. Trust me, it still freaks me out before starting my trip despite done a couple of solo travels but my instincts guide me right. Every time I set on my travelling saga mostly solo, I make sure I take care of certain things before making a move. As solo Indian female traveller, I have followed certain things since my first trip and still do; it definitely has helped me a lot. 🙂 🙂
Read more and more blogs
Have you tried going beyond Page 1 of Google Search? If you haven’t, make sure you do it next time you are planning your trip. A solo trip indeed needs a lot of planning because it is the first time you are putting yourself out of comfort zone, out to the world that is different and challenging. The more you read, the more you get information about the place you have been going nuts planning your first solo trip for. Trust me! I am excited and nervous before each of my trips and I start reading about the place weeks in advance hopping from one blog to another. Some blogs are informative and while some are more of the basic idea of the place, hence go beyond Page 1 or 2 of Google. If the places aren’t that offbeat, you sure are to find some information if you give your little fingers some trouble to go beyond the first page of Google.
Join Groups on Facebook
Why on earth you are on Facebook if you don’t realise the power of social connect? This is exactly what my mind asked while struggling to find information on planning my first solo trip or while planning backpacking to off the beaten roads. Facebook has many informative groups for solo travellers and backpackers – Join them right away and ask questions. Trust me there are answers you will get for your questions as our country has come to terms with solo travelling and backpacker culture. And there is someone out there who has definitely visited the place you are a keen explorer with utmost voyeurism.
Big World of Instagram – Join me @unconventionalandvivid
Have you not yet realised how Instagram can be of great help? Type #with place name and most likely you will find a picture with the hashtag of the place you are keen on visiting. If you are not able to find information about the place anywhere, don’t shy away from digging into deeper details by sending a message to the concerned person who has uploaded the picture. There are chances that you might not get a reply back (The World is full of mean and nasty people, they believe in no help policy) but what if you get a reply with all information you needed. Trust me – This really helps because you rely mostly on facts and relevant information.
Socialise with People
Solo travellers and finding travel mates on go is the best combination and visiting a place solo is likely going to end up helping you find company. But here we are talking about socialising with people before planning your itinerary. Before creating your itinerary, ask people around if they know anything about the place. Think if you know anyone from in and around the place you are planning to visit. The more you socialise with people, maybe at your office, gym or anywhere, more are chances that you get hold of some part of the information you are looking while planning your journey.
Map out your Expenditure
Born with a silver spoon? You may excuse for a while for our wallets are not as heavy as yours. Jokes apart, budgeting and calculating the estimated expenditure is very important. If you are a budget traveller try to look for the cheapest but safest options possible. Calculate a rough draft of the expenses that will incur and carry some cash extra in case you want to splurge for a day or two. Do not keep all your crisp ATM drawn cash in one place. If there is internet accessibility, try to make online transactions when and where possible. Plan your trip and do not forget to roughly estimate the money you need to travel.
Plan out the route
Here, let us assume that you do not have your conveyance and like I rely mostly on public transport. If you are planning a backpacking solo trip, plan the route accordingly and decide which places you want to visit. Make sure you plan the route and know the sequence in which you want to visit the places. Take out some time to check the map, follow the route and find out public transportation option connecting the places.
Find accommodation beforehand
Now, most of the people prefer spontaneity and finding an accommodation after reaching the destination. But, I strongly recommend that if you are a solo female traveller; make sure you have your stay arrangements put in place. Do you want to take the risk of being possibly stranded in a new place? Or pay more for not booking in advance or waste time finding an accommodation? If you have the answer buzzing as no, sort out accommodation as per your budget. Some websites offer great deals and discounts on hotels, so make sure you check for all possible options.
Checklist of places to see
This is very important because – You don’t want to get stranded in a new place? Do you want to end up spending the whole day looking for places? Ask the locals about places but if you are planning to take a foot tour, better rely on Google Map distance than what is suggested by natives. They are pro walkers and belong to the place but – Boy! You might be struggling while hiking the small distance on the rolling hill. Refer to point number 1 – Read blogs to find out places, decide wisely and find for hidden places from locals. Keep a rough idea of everything you want to see.
Discuss Things with Someone
Let me tell you something, offbeat places does not mean non-existence and there have to be travellers who have tasted the dimensions of the place before you did. Hunt down for them on Instagram, Facebook and Goddamn wherever possible, discuss the itinerary and plan accordingly. This really helped me while I made my solo trip to Jaisalmer. I knew where to stay, how to travel, what to eat and where all to go. Try to find people, who know about the place, at least you can try.
Know the Active Mobile Network
This is again an important aspect which most of us are completely ignorant about. Okay, I understand – “Mountains or Beaches are calling, switch off” but they aren’t coming to help in any case of emergency. Most of the places have the major network tower like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea etc but there are places which have only one active network working. I remember my trip to Harshil – A quaint Himalayan Village and no one told me about BSNL being the only active network. Thank God, one of my friends who had BSNL and I could keep my family updated about my whereabouts. Make sure you know which SIM card to carry.
Pack Light and Accordingly
If you have chauffeur driven cars and bookings in A-one hotels, packing is up to but I recommend packing light for a trip if you are backpacking and on shoestring budget. Remember that backpack is going to lunge on your back throughout the trip and packing heavy means – Sorry back, it might want an instant expensive therapy. Pick up some neutral things that you can mix and match with things. A black T-shirt, for example, can be worn right with many things. Try using packing cubes to keep things organised and proper.
Organise the Trip by Jotting Down
Last but not the least, I do this personally and has helped me always in planning my trip in a better way. I make sure I jot down the itinerary, mode of conveyance, phone numbers of booking I made, cab numbers etc in my small diary. I also make a list of things I want to carry while on the trip. Jotting down things make it easy and simple. Break down the journey in different leg and plan accordingly.
PS: I know it’s been a long article but the things are something I found important and thought might help you while planning your first solo. I urge you to travel and see the world; I promise it is way more exciting and safe than you think. Happy Travelling but don’t forget to plan.