Mar 5, 2018
These are the questions I had for myself before I embarked on
my solo travel trip. Many of you who are thinking of doing
something similar probably have the same questions, so I hope this
helps calm some of your nerves! A few of them more more specific to
me (e.g. what to do with podcasting equipment), but I included them
anyway in case it helps you.
This is part 1. Part 2, which will be the answers to the
questions YOU submitted, will be out next week. Is there anything
you want to know about prepping for long-term solo
travel? You still have time to submit
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will answer your question in the next episode!
- What should I do with my apartment?
- I debated renting it out on Airbnb or sub letting it, but
I ultimately decided to end my lease because it’s more
freeing and less stressful.
- If I had kept it, then I would still have ties to NYC and it
would have been stressful managing the renters.
- What should I do with my podcasting
- What should I do with my phone?
- I researched international phone plans with AT&T because I
still had to pay off my iPhone: I was on installment plan, and had
to pay off about $600. AT&T doesn't unlock your SIM card unless
you pay off the whole phone.
- Researched other phone plans: with T-Mobile, Verizon,
- AT&T also offers an option where you can cancel the phone
plan for 6 months and pay $20 or so a month, and then they
reactivate it automatically after 6 months.
- I considered it, because then I wouldn’t have to shell over
$600 immediately, but in the end it didn’t make sense to pay extra
money on top of the installment plan when I’m not even sure if I
want the account reactivated.
- Decided the best option was to just pay off the
phone and get local SIM cards when
- It's really easy to get SIM cards when abroad: at airports
& stores in big cities
- How much money should I save?
- Don’t really have an answer for this, but I would say to
save at least 10 grand if you want to travel for a
while. And keep a few thousand in your savings
account so you don’t go completely broke.
- I had about 20 grand in checking account. Left $5000 in
- What should I do with all my stuff?
- This was actually really hard for me since my family is in
Japan, and my sister is in Vegas.
- I considered putting my stuff in storage, but that’s too
- I sold most of my stuff: bed, dresser,
tablet, mixer, blender, mirror, yoga mat.
- I donated/sold my clothes: selling clothes was TOUGH. Only made
like $70 and I donated pounds and pounds of both clothes and
- I gave away my kitchen stuff.
- Facebook Marketplace is REALLY good for
- I also sold stuff on eBay and Craigslist.
- Ebay is good for when you have something obscure (like a
mixer), but they take a big cut of the commission. Craigslist is
good for furniture.
- Should I book the hostel and then flights first? Or
what is the best order?
- I like to book the flights a bit in advance and the
hostels last minute.
- Flights tend to get more expensive anyway, so I like to plan
those at least a little in advance (maybe a week or 2).
- I book hostels a day or so in advance. I like to do it last
minute because if you do it too early you could meet travel buddies
who you want to book with, or you may want to arrive a few days
later, or you may get recommended a different hostel by someone you
meet along the way. If you book too early, you’re stuck with that
decision and it allows for less flexibility.
- Is it safe to travel alone?
- Every country and city I’ve visited have been safe, but I’m
also not doing anything stupid. I’m watching my stuff, not staying
out late at night alone, and not getting super wasted with
- Walk confidently and try to memorize
directions as much as you can so you’re not looking like a
total lost puppy staring at your phone.
- Stay alert, but most places are completely fine.
- Is it easy to meet people?
- Yes, as long as YOU are willing to make the effort to.
- Stay in hostels. This is the best way to meet
people. And if you want to make friends, be friendly. Smile, say hi
when you walk into your room.
- Go up to strangers at breakfast/dinner and ask to sit with
them. Don't worry: THEY WILL SAY YES.
- The easiest is always at happy hour, when everyone is more
chilled out and in the socializing mood. You don’t have to drink to
meet people, but go to the happy hour anyway just to meet
- I’ve found that hostels with a good common area or bar
are best for solo travelers. I never book hostels if there
isn’t a good-sized common room (unless it’s at a city where I’m
just stopping briefly and don’t care about meeting people). You can
tell from photos/reviews if the hostel has one.
- Do tours!! Walking tours, boat tours, pub
crawls, hiking, anything. This forces you to be in a group. People
are open and WANTING to meet new people in these settings, and
you’re guaranteed to make a new friend or three.
- Solo dining is a good way to meet people as
well, ironically. If it’s a busy restaurant, they’ll seat you
with a group or a group will be seated with you. Then you’re forced
to talk to each other and you end up becoming friends. It’s
- You can also meet people on buses: a lot of overnight
buses/long trips will have other backpackers on it, especially if
it's to a popular destination. I don’t really meet people on buses
because I'm usually not in the mood to, but it's definitely
- Should I get travel insurance?
- I wasn’t sure if travel insurance would be worth it, but after
a bit of contemplation/research, I decided to buy it.
- I went with World Nomads because it has a good
reputation with long-term travelers and backpackers.
- World Nomads:
- I haven’t used it yet, but you never know. I’ve seen a lot of
people get in motorcycle accidents, and TONS of people have gotten
sick from food, dehydration, etc.
- Get it to be safe.
- Should I get vaccinations?
- I didn’t think this through enough before I started traveling.
Don't be like me!
- I also had no idea what vaccinations I’ve already had. Make
sure you research your medical records so you know what you
need before you go.
- I got my vaccinations in Taipei, which wasn’t a bad idea since
it’s cheaper than getting it in the US (even with insurance).
- I got a typhoid, Hepatitis A, and tetanus shot for around $110
- How big of a backpack should I buy?
- I have an Osprey Porter 46 liter backpack, and
it’s really a good size. I’ve seen people with HUGE backpacks: 70
or 80 liters, and it is just too much. You really don’t need that
- My backpack: www.amazon.com/Osprey-Porter-Travel-Backpack-46-Liter/dp/B00OKE68PS
- Once you start backpacking, you realize that no one cares about
- No one wears make up, and everyone wears the same clothes every
- You don’t need to bring your entire jewelry collection or make
up kit. Trust me. You may THINK you need to bring it for “special
occasions,” BUT YOU DONT. THERE WILL BE NO SPECIAL
- What should I pack?
- Depends on what part of world you’re traveling to, but
for SE Asia:
- A few shirts, shorts, a pair of jeans, leggings, sweats, swim
suit, flip flops, sneakers
- Light jacket for colder climates
- Toiletries, DIARREA MEDICINE, allergy
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat
- Sarong for temples/beach
- Quick-dry towel
- Sleeping mask/ear plugs for hostels
- B12 (if you’re vegan or B12 deficient)
- What should I NOT pack?
- Lots of jewelry/make up
- Extra shoes/sandals (you only need walking shoes, running
shoes, and flip flops)
- Some logistical things to take care of before you
- Cancel gym membership
- Tell landlord
- Tell roommate
- Research visa requirements for countries I want to
- Change permanent address
- Cancel electricity/gas/internet
- Cancel phone plan
- Buy enough contacts to last a while