Solo adventures

Published On: September 1, 2017 07:37 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Every once in a while you have to ditch your travel buddies and go on an adventure alone. Traveling alone provides you with an incredible opportunity to meet new people and experience new things. You will also learn to be a little independent and self-reliant as well. But traveling alone can be daunting so we asked some people who have ventured out alone for some basic tips. Here’s what they had to say.

5  things to  keep in  mind while  traveling  alone 

Be careful and cool 
When you opt to travel alone, you need to select a place where you can steer your way easily. Try to arrive in the city and explore during the daytime. When you are traveling alone, instead of asking random people on the road for directions, trust the map. And be confident. “Do not at any cost look nervous if you’ve gone in a wrong direction, instead seek help from authorities. People are less likely to bother you if you seem controlled,” says Smriti Karki, who recently traveled alone extensively in Thailand. She says people will be quick to come to your aid and try to take advantage or dupe you if you look lost and harassed. “The best thing to do is maintain your cool and remember there’s always google for help,” she says.

Dress appropriately
“No matter where you are, when traveling alone you must dress well,” says Sonam Thapa. She recently traveled alone to Delhi and some other places in India and almost got into trouble with some locals while visiting a mosque. Her headscarf had slipped down and she forgot to put it back on. “I managed to convince them that I had been lost in my thoughts and didn’t notice the headscarf slip,” she says adding that the incident hammered home the point that dressing appropriately is of paramount importance especially when you are visiting religious places or conservative communities. Also, she recommends not wearing too many valuables as there are always chances of getting robbed. “Staying modest will prevent unwanted attention,” she says adding that one would do well to remember that some countries are extremely strict on their dressing ways, especially for women.

Take safety measures 
Did you know that in Singapore you can be arrested for spitting in public, and that you cannot take liquor into Maldives? You can be jailed for trying to sneak in alcohol in your luggage. “Once you enter a country, you are subjected to its laws. So for your own safety, it’s important to learn them before visiting,” says Rajeev Pandey, who likes to go on short trips alone every once in a while. Recently, Pandey went to Vietnam alone for a week. He says that to be safe he left copies of his passport and address/contact information of where he was going with his sister at home. “Also, make a few extra copies to keep in your suitcase during your trip in case the original gets lost or stolen,” he says. Furthermore, become fully acquainted with the whereabouts of the your country’s embassy or consulate in the country you are visiting.

Learn the basics of the local language
Sometimes, especially in more hospitable and foreigner-fascinated cultures, the attention you get traveling solo can be a little intense. “Learn how to say “no, thank you” in the local language. You should also learn to greet someone, order food, and ask for directions in the local language. There are many apps including google translate that can help you with this,” says Priyanka Rai, who got a lot of unwanted attention from locals when she went to Indonesia recently. “Everyone wanted to help but not many seemed to understand that I didn’t need help and that they were actually getting in my way,” says Rai adding that it also helps to have local help numbers, such as the tourist police, programmed in your phone. “You will probably never need them, but just knowing you have them can give you the confidence to deal with awkward situations,” she says.

Be social 
It’s easy to be daunted by traveling alone and retreating into the pages of a good novel can feel like the perfect way to escape curious stares on public transport or in restaurants. “But going solo means you have a chance to really take in your surroundings, meeting locals and travelers alike along the way,” says Riddhima Prasai. She made the decision to travel alone to Singapore but usually found herself listening to music or reading a book at every tour. “I wasn’t talking to anyone and by acting aloof I was isolating myself,” she says adding that while traveling alone you need to be content to be by yourself, but also confident enough to introduce yourself to people when you want to be sociable. “I had some of the best times of my life when I chose to close the book, take off the earphones and mingle around or just take in the surroundings,” she concludes.

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