Solotravel tips

Try turning up without having anything booked

This is the best way to build your travel confidence and is especially easy in Southeast Asia. There are many benefits to it, too: you’ll get to discover cool places that aren’t listed online or in the guidebooks, you’ll be able to look at the rooms before you commit to staying, you can negotiate on price, and you’re not tied to a specific schedule where you need to be somewhere because you’ve booked your accommodation already.

Travel slow to save money

The slower you travel, the more money you’ll save. You can negotiate long-term stays at your accommodation to save money, you won’t have any transportation costs, and if you have a kitchen, you can buy food from the supermarket and cook.

Be polite and smile often

You’ll be more approachable, you’ll find it easier to make travel friends, and the locals will warm to you. Being rude and looking grumpy will bring nothing good your way.

Say yes to random invitations

I’ve never regretted saying yes to an unexpected invitation, because it’s always led to something fun happening! Make the most of your travel experience by saying yes to more things than you would at home — you’ll discover new things about yourself, meet new people, and build wonderful memories!

Don’t forget about your friends back home

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of your travels and forget about the friends you have back home. It happened to me and took a lot of work to repair my friendships. Let people know you’re thinking of them: arrange Skype dates, send postcards, chat on Facebook, and buy them gifts from the places you visit.

Visit the local markets

Local markets are my favourite way to get to know a place better. I love checking out the strange foods, seeing how the locals shop, and discovering what’s popular in a particular country. Night markets in Asia are especially fun!

Use HERE Maps for offline navigation

Don’t have data? You can download entire country maps through HERE Maps and get walking directions for anywhere you need to go. I’ve found it works better than caching Google Maps.

And a supply of Imodium

If you’re suffering from food poisoning, it’s best to let it run its course rather than clogging yourself up with Imodium, but there are some situations where it just isn’t possible to do so. I’m talking flights, long bus journeys, booked tours, and anything that requires you to leave the bathroom. A large supply of Imodium is something I always have in my backpack for these emergencies.

Travel with a toilet roll

Grab half a roll, squash it up, and keep it in a sandwich bag in your daypack. Long bus journeys in developing countries often stop at squat toilets where there’ll be no toilet paper. At which point, you’ll be unbelievably grateful you have some of your own.

Google Translate’s camera is so incredibly helpful

Download the Google Translate app before you leave and use the camera feature for translating menus, signs, posters, and anything else you need to read. You simply press the camera icon, aim your phone at the text, and it translates it all in real-time for you. This was so unbelievably helpful for menus in Taiwan, where I had no idea what anything was.