There are times when we have lots of travel plans in our minds, but we do not have anyone to take with us. It’s challenging to find a travel buddy that has the same goals, timeline, and budget. But you cannot let that hold you off in making your dream adventures come true. Well, there are two things you can do. You can either keep on searching for someone to be your travel buddy, or you can go backpacking alone.
Backpacking alone, for some people, can be intimidating. You might wonder how it feels, or maybe if it’s safe. But for people who have already tried backpacking solo, it wasn’t as scary as it is. Well, when backpacking alone, you just have to keep in mind that you won’t really be alone. In fact, it is a great way to meet lots of people in different places.
If you want to see the world, you shouldn’t be too nervous about traveling on your own. It is a way to push yourself out of your shell and connect with different kinds of people. If you are planning to go backpacking alone soon, we are here to give you some tips that might be useful for you.
Well, even if you’re backpacking with friends, being prepared is very important. More so if you are backpacking alone. It’s because everything will be your responsibility, and you will have no one to rely on to make sure that everything goes well. Here are some of the things you need to prepare before your solo backpacking trip.
- Your Destination: If you are alone, your destination is entirely up to you. When choosing a backpacking destination, some of the things you need to consider are your time, your budget, your mode of transportation, and the main activities that you wish to accomplish when you go there. Aside from those, you also need to study your destination, plot a distance radius map of the attractions. Know about the visa process, the climate, the money conversion rate, the language, and the culture.
- Pack Important Things Only: When packing for a solo backpacking trip, you only need to bring the most important things. Unless you are going to a super remote place, you will probably find other things you need abroad. However, it is also important to feel assured that you have everything you need before you go. It’s because when backpacking alone, you don’t have the opportunity to borrow things from a friend. Some of the most important things you can include to your list of things to bring are good travel shoes, shawl, quick-dry towel, multi-country converter, and sunscreen.
- Buy a Travel Insurance: If you are backpacking solo and something goes wrong, it can be stressful to think about how much an emergency will cost you. Therefore, getting insurance is essential, whether you want to cover a hospital visit or cover for a stolen phone. It is the best way to give yourself peace of mind by backpacking alone.
Do Not Plan Too Much
Yes, being prepared is essential when backpacking alone. However, too much planning can just make you stressed out on your trip. Keep in mind that the best part of backpacking alone is the alone part. This means that you can follow your own schedules without having to think about someone else’s needs. You can be open to wildly wandering from your planned itinerary because there can be spontaneous adventure opportunities that may come your way when you’re in your destination.
It is also best to take overland journeys so that you can buy train or bus tickets on the day of departure instead of buying a non-refundable plane ticket. This way, it will be easy for you to make last-minute travel decisions. It is also a more affordable option.
Find Physical or Digital Maps
You cannot always rely on Wi-Fi and cellphone data when backpacking, especially in remote places. Therefore, you need to find a physical or digital map designed for route planning that you can carry around with you, which can be useful if ever you get lost in a foreign country. You can also screenshot a map on your phone or take a photo of a physical map using your smartphone camera. Yes, getting lost can be a great way to explore an area. But you also need to find your way back at some point.
Buy a Local Sim Card
Having a local sim card when backpacking alone is essential, especially when the place doesn’t always have Wi-Fi available or if the connection is slow. This will help you look up something on the internet, message a friend, and find directions. Local sim cards are usually very affordable. Some places have a pay-as-you-go system, allowing you to top up with however much data you want or need.
Stay in Hostels
When backpacking alone, it is better to stay in hostels where you can share a living space with other people. This is a great way for you to meet new people and make friends. There are lots of backpackers that stay in hostels because they are also good budget options. Most hostels also offer useful resources for your trip like maps, discount coupons, transportation schedules, and as well as restaurant recommendations.
Some hostels organize group trips and activities, giving you a chance to explore the place with a fun group of people. Many of the people you’ll meet in hostels are also travel bugs like you. It means that they can also help you fill the gaps in your research, or maybe recommend other wonderful places you can visit next.
Act Like a Local
When backpacking alone to a certain place, you need to behave like a local if you want to experience their culture fully. For example, if the locals eat with their hands, then you should try it too. You can engage in their culture with culturally appropriate behavior. However, you should not do anything that makes you feel morally uncomfortable. Just try to take the initiative to behave like a local and enjoy their culture.
Keep in Touch with Your Friends and Family
Backpacking alone is fun. However, you can also feel lonely and homesick while on the road. If you feel like you want to share your adventures with your friends and family, then making a private group chat just for them is a great idea. You can make a group using Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, to name a few. This way, your friends and family will be able to see you and your adventures. This will also give you an opportunity to reach out and connect with them if you need to.
The most important thing you need to remember when backpacking alone is to have fun. It does not have to be a scary and intimidating experience. In fact, solo backpacking can be one of the most defining moments of your life. So when you are out there, make the most out of your trip. Try different food, visit different places, take photos, meet new people, and make friends. Don’t be scared of new experiences and cultures. When you start having fun and begin to immerse yourself in their culture, you will no longer feel that you are backpacking alone.