May 14, 2018
Now that I've been traveling on my own for several months, I've
realized quite a few things that make solo traveling easier, and
things that have worked for me.
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10. Request bottom bunk when you book
There is usually a "special request" box when
you book online, and in there you can write that you want a bottom
bunk. Top bunks SUCK-- so do what you can to make your life
9. Ask where people are going to save money on
When you get off of buses or trains, always ask around to see if
anyone is going the same way as you. Taxis can be expensive, and
splitting them with just one or two other people can seriously help
cut down costs.
8. Embrace the solo dining experience.
can be nice to sit alone. Bring a book or headphones if
you don’t want to feel totally alone/bored. People may
even join you.
It’s happened to me many times: in Pai I chatted with a
yogi (full story here); in Bangkok I
sat across from a stranger and ended up going to Chatuchak market
and spending whole day him; In Ho Chi Minh City I ate with
a Swedish girl who was also dining alone and invited me to
join her (full story here).
7. Don't be afraid to ask people to take pics of
Selfies don’t always cut it, and those memories are more important
than those few seconds of embarrassment/hesitation.
6. Know that there is no one way to be a "good" solo
There are a lot of times when I second-guess
myself, wondering if I'm spending too much time alone or if I'm
doing this whole solo travel thing "correctly." However, I've come
to realize that those are just my insecurities talking, and there
is no right way to do it. Everyone who solo travels has the same
anxieties, and you are not alone. Just observe your anxieties and
let them go.
If you're feeling lonely, go try to make some friends. Start by
smiling, and the rest is easy.
And if you're not feeling lonely, than keep hanging out by
5. Stay at hostels with a good
Bars are usually a good thing. Look for hostels with big,
inviting common areas. Don’t stay somewhere that looks too
new/sterile/modern: it usually doesn't make for good social
environment. Look for phrases like “easy to make friends”
or “good for socializing” when looking at reviews.
Or alternatively, you can stay at a quiet hostel and just go to
other hostels to make friends, although this requires an added
layer of confidence because you're entering an unknown hostel and
you just have to sit there and make yourself known.
4. Don't be afraid to approach big groups or other
In Cambodia, on Koh Rong Samloem, I met a girl on my way to Clear
Water Bay by asking her if she was going the same way. She ended up
joining me and we became friends (full story here
In Ninh Binh, Vietnam, I spent a couple days with a Swiss girl
because I saw her renting a bike alone and I asked if I could join
her (full story here
And most recently, in Laos, I ended up traveling for 2 weeks with 3
guys I randomly appraoched on the street (full story here
When people are in groups playing cards or other games, ask to join
them. I guarantee you they will let you.
3. Smile and say hi to everyone.
This is so important when you enter your dorm. It will let people
know you are friendly and they’ll be more willing to talk to
you. Say hi to staff. Say hi to people when you get on a
bus/van. Say hi to people at breakfast.
2. Do group tours.
Join tours for things
you enjoy, like hiking, trekking, biking, motorcycling,
walking, running, pub crawls, sunset boat tours.
This is the EASIEST way to make friends because you are forced to
talk with one another. They also make for great memories.
1. Say yes to everything:
Walking around town, going on motorbikes, seeing a temple,
trying a new food, volunteering. A big part of solo travel is
just getting to know yourself more. The best way to do this is
to just do whatever comes your way, and you will learn more about
yourself. I didn’t realize how much I enjoy
trekking/being in nature until now. I didn’t realize how
much I enjoy big cities.
For example, when I was hanging out at my hostel in Bangkok, I
started talking to one guy who was just about to go ride around the
city. He invited me to join-- I was hesitant at first because we
had just met and it was just an aimless ride, but I went anyway and
had so much fun (full story here