Some people may say that travelling to a foreign land is a form of escapism and well, why not. If only to leave our present state to refresh our minds and gain new perspectives, I’d say this sort of escapism is good. Yet sometimes, finding a suitable travel partner – much less more than one – can be a pain in the neck. So to that I say, why not travel alone?
I’m no stranger to going solo, having visited the States, Europe, Asia and Australia, and having lived abroad in different countries for a total of 2 years so far. It may seem daunting at first, to be alone so far away from home but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (unless you constantly rely on antibiotics).
As this post is being published, right now, I am possibly having the time of my life in Milan – you guessed it – all on my own! Here are some tips that may help you on your solo journey.
1) Pack just what you need.
Don’t over pack. I’ve done that before, the first time when I went overseas alone for a 6-month exchange program in Canada. Imagine a tiny, scrawny 21-year-old with two huge luggages, both about over the 23kg limit each on planes, and another hand carry 3kg baggage. It was terrible physically, but somehow it didn’t register mentally. At that time, I’d just wanted to leave my country as much and as fast as I could, and nothing else mattered. But if you’d ask me now, I’d say just stick to one check-in and one hand carry. Also, leave room for shopping!
2) Have cash on hand.
This is the second most important thing to remember. If you don’t have cash, at least have a credit card or ATM card that works overseas. You really don’t want to be caught in a stressful situation of having no money to pay for something. If you have a credit card, make sure that it is activated for overseas use, and that the spending limit is increased to a comfortable amount.
3) Do some research first.
I don’t really know anyone who goes to a place without finding out what it’s like there beforehand. This is crucial as it can make or break your trip. Knowing things like weather, language barriers, cultural traditions, technological advancements, transport systems and political situations can help to shape the way you plan your trip. If a dictionary is needed, bring one along. Also, if you’re planning to travel by public transport, you might need coins to pay for tickets or passes. If it’s the summer, you won’t be needing as much clothes as if it were winter.