Solo Travel can be quite boring and tiring if you are new to it but once you master it and enjoy your own company, then it will become fun. Personally, I enjoy my own company a lot and always look forward to great adventures. Having a travel partner is fun but it comes with its own downside, so when I decided I want to start solo travels, I gave myself some pep talks about it. The interesting thing was that this time, I did not consult google on how to enjoy it, I just told myself I was going to embrace and enjoy it on my own terms.
My first solo trip ever was to Dubai and 3 days into the trip, I missed home, my folks, siblings, friends, partner, that I broke down in tears. And most of all, I missed Nigerian meals until I found a place to eat good Nigerian meals.
Anyways, I have embraced this lifestyle and lately, I have figured out a way around it and how to enjoy it.
1. Accept Your Fate
My dear friend, you purchased your own ticket yourself and decided to join the next plane to your next adventure, so please accept that fact first. You actually need to agree with yourself that you have chosen that lifestyle and you are willing to embrace it.
2. Learn the Local Language
This is quite dicey if you are language deaf or if the official language is not English. However, pick up a few slang of the country you are visiting and familiarize yourself with it. While in Cape Town, I learnt to say, ‘bra’, ‘robots’, and a few other words that are peculiar to South Africans.
3. Solo Travel gives you Freedom
Okay, I know it is fun to travel in groups as you get to share and split bills. But when it comes to deciding what you want to do next on a trip, solo travel gives you the ultimate freedom to decide what your next adventure should be without having to rely on anyone’s opinion.
4. Be Daring and Adventurous
Don’t pine away in self pity of being alone, go out and see what the country holds for you. As an adventurous person, what excites you the most – Food, a sport or writing? While in a new city, go out and explore the local restaurants, try out new dishes, try a sport like cycling or biking and ensure you take a few minutes daily to write about each adventure. Doing all these will make the time pass away and before you know it, you’ve made lots of memories.
5. Be Friendly & Open Minded
As a content creator, you need to be quite friendly to get the best of content if you need someone to be your unpaid guide or take you pictures. Most of my solo trips, I always have a paid tour guide who shows me around the city in the midst of other tourists. To get content, I get myself familiar with another solo traveler on the group or the most adorable couple. We get familiar while talking about our countries and whenever the opportunity presents itself, I go, “Please take me a picture”.
If its not a group tour and I have to check out a place all by myself, I just be on the lookout for cheesy friends or couple or another solo traveler to take me pictures. These ones are less patient compared to a local who can even disappear with your phone/camera, lols.
I once took an Uber to a Shopping Mall and then midway, got chatty and quite friendly with the driver that he took me straight to Bo Kaap where we spent about 20 minutes taking pictures and videos. He was so patient and kept asking me if I was fine with the pictures or needed more.
6. Plan Your Meals
Unlike if it was a group trip where 2 people can share a plate of food, now you are stuck to buying and paying for a plate of food yourself. Now what do you do to save money? Ensure you get an accommodation that comes with breakfast and make sure you eat to your fill for breakfast. For lunch, buy a plate of food as take home and share into 2 for lunch and dinner.
If you can afford a serviced apartment, that is even more better for you as you have access to a refrigerator and a microwave and you can buy raw food from the local market to cook by yourself. That’s another way to pass time and also make fond memories.
7. Your Phone is Your Best Friend
Going to a particular location, use your map to check for road maps and distance. Also, ensure someone at home knows where you are going from time to time. They do not have to be in the same location as you but ensure they know where you are next. Isirat of Flyboku was quite my guardian angel in that regards while in SA, as she was tracking my every move and next location from when I wake up till the time I go to bed.
8. Get a Local Sim
This should actually be the first tip but then, the list is no particular order as I am writing while I remember. As much as you can, try to get the local sim of the country you are traveling to as soon as you arrive at the airport. While I was in Dubai, I relied on my Nigeria MTN sim which never worked at all and I only get access to internet whenever I am in the Mall or hotel. This isn’t good enough for a solo traveler.
However, while in Cape Town, I got a Cell C sim which granted me access to internet on the go provided I recharge and buy data. That way, all through the trip, I was connected to the internet which saved me from a lot of brouhaha.
Have you ever traveled solo, if yes, where did you go? If no, is it an adventure you are open to? Kindly share in the comment section.
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