In the words of famous Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘ The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience’ and what better way to accomplish the same than on your own, with yourself and by your side, such is the beauty of travelling alone.
Solo travelling in India not only introduces you to a spectrum of cultures and myriad of humans, but it helps you rediscover yourself too. To make such a liberating experience furthermore fruitful, we list here some tips for your solo trip in India.
Useful Solo Travel Tips To Remember
1. Plan In Advance
When travelling alone, it is suggested that you have everything in order before venturing in on the escapade. The plan need not be extremely detailed but the slight outline of it all should be clear to the traveller (to miss the pits along the way). Getting your bookings for the stay beforehand is a mandatory part of the preparations.
2. Pack light
One of the important things to keep in mind while planning a solo trip in India is to pack light. The distances in a country so vast can be quite huge and at times without an intermediate transport. Therefore, it is best if you pack your luggage according to what you can carry yourself in a packing that you can carry with ease (preferably a rucksack).
3. Try arriving at the destination during the day
Solo travel in India can be quite a risk; therefore, it is best if you arrive at the destination during the day. Other than the major metropolitan cities, most places in India are quite deserted in the night, so it is suggested to arrive during the day to help the traveler find his way through an unfamiliar place with the help of the locals.
4. Establish the connection
When traveling alone, it is only the strangers that are a constant company through the journey. It is therefore recommended for the traveler to mingle with the other people along the way. At times the stay options like trains and buses have been the foundational places of lifelong friendships.
5. Meet the locals
The primary purpose of a solo trip is exploration without any inhibitions and it is through getting to know the locals of the places that you can truly explore the place. Other than simple exploration, such meetings at times guide the traveler better than the travel guides too.
When you are alone it is your observation techniques that help you judge the best. Be it a conversation among strangers or an episode along with the journey, everything is a learning platform preparing the traveler for what befalls him, learning along the way will only aid the traveler in inexplicable ways.
7. Make friends
An estranged traveler will never enjoy a trip as much as the traveler who opens up. It is the simplicity of opening up to strangers that helps the traveler feel at home. Especially in case of solo travel in India, there is a great chance of getting to know some exceptional people.
It is not only the sightseeing in a certain place that can be done alone; rather almost everything can be done alone along the trip. Be it the movies, pubs, clubs or theatre, any place can be given a visit alone. Such an experience of going out alone is exceptional and enlightening in many ways.
9. Learn to dine alone
If you plan to travel alone, you should make sure that eating alone does not put you off. Learn to enjoy the flavors of the food whilst enjoying the spectacle of people around rather than focusing on your loneliness to enjoy the trip the most.
10. Learn new things
One of the best things that are accessible to the solo traveler is the power to fulfill his whims and fancies in his own time. Hence it is highly recommended that the lone traveler venture into learning new things at every place. Be it a new language, a different style of cooking or some other course, everything makes a good way to explore the place and use the time.
11. Take the offbeat tracks
One of the best means to meet an offbeat traveler like you is to go on the road less traveled. It’s not the common tourist spots hoarded with tourists, but the distant off beaten paths with less number of travelers that witness travelers looking to explore places by themselves.
12. Organized tours
Since a lone traveler does not have the access to a company while traveling to the different spots in a single place, it is best to delve into organized tours where you can find the company of other travelers. Such travelers help interface about the details regarding the place and the trip too.
13. Carry your essentials
Since you are traveling alone, it is best to have all that you require with yourself. Before heading out for the day, the solo trip taker should have the significant things like medicines and maps with himself. Keeping some of the emergency contacts handy is also a good idea.
14. Taking care of your belongings
When the traveler is alone, he is the one accountable for his things. Therefore, it is important that the solo traveler take care of his belongings in the best possible manner. It is a recommendation to store all your essentials like passport, wallet, camera, phone, and cash in a single bag and take extraordinary care of the same.
15. Learn to be your own photographer
A solo traveler needs to learn many new skills, and among the many skills required, is the talent to take your own pictures for the perfect memoirs. It is not only the places that matter, but your presence in them that makes the difference.
16. Learn the local language
A solo travel in India, could at the worst even mean that the person lands in a place where the locals do not understand any other language other than their own dialect, and for a traveler foreign to such language, it can be quite a task to comprehend the right meaning of many phrases. Hence it is suggested that the lone traveler at least understand a few word of the local language, ‘no’ for one is exceptionally important.
17. Carry along a book
There is no other friend better than a book, and when traveling alone a person at times does need a trusting friend like a book to give him company. Especially in case, the traveler is stuck in the same place for long periods of time, a book provides knowledge as well as company to the traveler.
If there is one language that is universal and understood by all, it is the language of a smile. A smile lets the people know you are a friend and not a foe, in many cases, it displays the kind nature of a person too. Therefore, to give out the right vibe to the strangers along the trip, a traveler should smile when looked upon.
19. Ask questions
One of the best ways to start a conversation with any person, belonging to any culture is to seem inquisitive about a query. A question ensures the fellow traveler that you are interested in his talks and forms a sound basis for establishing a connection through conversation.
20. Let the people know
Though it is considered unsafe to disclose your stature as a solo traveler, yet it helps the traveler in many ways. Just a little precaution with your belongings and you are in the best position to let the other people understand you as well as you understood them if you disclose that you are a tourist.
21. Be proactive
Being lost while traveling alone is never a good idea, the solo traveler should be proactive in nature. Looking dazed can give a wrong signal to the other people and you can be taken advantage of, therefore you should look deeper than the apparent picture and be aware of the depths of it.
22. Know how to read a map
One of the primary things, before you set off on an adventure of your own, is to know how to read a map. Since it is not always that you will have the locals present, the lone traveler should carry as well be able to read a map for directions to the desired destination.
23. Don’t flaunt expensive items
One of the important rules of solo travel in India is not to exhibit your collection of expensive jewelry and digital devices to others. Such a show of your belongings put you at a high risk of becoming the victim to robberies and the garnering unwanted attention.
24. Save up
Solo travel in India could mean that you are the source of your finances and no one else. So it is best to keep a check on your economic resources and keep them saved up for any contingency or adversity along the trip. A little extra never hurt, whereas a little less can land you in a soup.
25. Buy travel insurance
Another valuable advice for the solo traveler is to buy travelers’ insurance. The amount of such insurance varies across different countries but it is a must when traveling in India. Another point to keep in mind while buying insurance is to make sure that it covers the charge of getting someone by your side in case you land in a hospital.
26. Stay in touch
Though a solo travel trip is taken to revel the experience of traveling alone, yet it is important to at least let someone back home know the place you are at. You can leave a copy of your itinerary too before leaving, but calling up once in a while to inform the people about your whereabouts isn’t a bad idea either.
27. Protect your identification proofs
Be it your city, your country or any other country, a person should always take care his identification proofs. Especially if travelling alone in an estranged land, such identification is extremely important and must be kept handy and protected in all cases.
28. Walk a lot
Since there is no better way to explore a city than by walking, the solo traveler should walk through the streets and understand the customs of the land. Not only does walking help understand the place better; it helps in getting a grip on the physical layout of the city too, which in turn is exceptionally beneficial for the solo traveler.
29. Prefer the public transport
When traversing large distances in a different land, the travel can be extremely expensive. Hence it is suggested to understand the system of local transport beforehand or to get detailed information of the same at your place of stay, before heading out.
30. Stay sober
The worst thing to do when you are travelling alone is to get drunk and then travel in the unidentified land alone. It is of utmost importance that the solo travelers stay sober and be extremely aware of his surroundings at all times and therefore staying away from alcohol in public places is a good idea.
31. Connect with the staff
When it comes down to making friends on a solo trip in India, it is best to start with the staff of the place of your stay. Such connections can help the traveler in many unidentified places. And it is an unrealized fact that be it a bartender or a steward, they take your back if you are kind to them.
32. Don’t overindulge
Starting off with your details and disclosing everything about yourself, without any knowledge of the person in front is one of the silliest mistakes one can do. Being a little coy would help you judge the people you meet in a justifiable manner and thus protect you from any pits or traps.
33. Trust your instincts
Instincts are nothing but the storehouse of knowledge in your subconscious which the conscious self-ignores. Therefore, it is best to give your gut feeling or intuition a little more credit and act accordingly. Or you may ignore it and realize the same later.
34. Avoid dark alleys
Some of the most unsafe places in an estranged land are the dark and scrupulous alleys. Since a solo traveler rarely has someone to take his back he should avoid any chances of trouble. Therefore, it is best to avoid such questionable places be it a dark alley or a deserted road.
35. Use the technology
Use varied apps which ease the trip for you like the currency converter, GPS, translator and travel guides. These little apps aid the solo traveler in ways which cannot be accounted for. And when they are available on your phone with such ease, you should make full use of such an advantage.
36. Get an early start
When traveling, the plan is to cover the maximum number of places in a limited period of time. Wasting any time by sleeping in late would only end up in less time for your excursions. To explore the most, get an early start and stick to the plan of covering the places as per the schedule.
37. Find your people
Make use of social media as best as you can and connect with the locals to make friends online. These unknown tour guides prove to be your best help along the way. Facebook, and Twitter are some of the common sites to find connections easily. At times it is an astounding number of people willing to help out the solo traveler.
38. Sleep around
The financial burden of travel can be quite a bit on the shoulders of a single traveler and the person undertaking the trip should not opt for expensive places to simply spend the night. Sleeping around in hostels, homestays and Bed n breakfast places are a good option instead of the exorbitant luxury hotels. Other than being cheap, these places are good places to interface with other people and learn a little during your stay. The rule should be to be save for travel and not for stay.
39. Save on phone charges
Since economic resources are more or less limited while travelling, the person on the trip should prefer to save up on the calling charges by either opting for the local SIM cards or making Skype calling a habit. Such a save on expenses rewards the traveller with a better experience of the solo trip in India.
40. Eat big
Since the person is travelling he might not get the time or his choice of food conveniently. Therefore, whenever the person has the chance to eat his choice of food, he should get the best possible fill of the same and be prepared for long hours of travel without food. Carrying a little food along would not be a bad idea either.
41. Revel your travel (A bonus tip!)
A solo trip to India is undertaken to enjoy the diversity of the place in the best possible manner without any disruptions and such should be the aim of the avid traveller. It is best to go on your journey in a celebratory manner and revel your travel plans. Experience the inexplicable moments of your travel and live each moment to the fullest. Nothing beats the joy of exploring, understanding and learning about new things, this fact should be the journey and the destination of your travel.
Unearth the explorer in you when you venture into an adventure like a solo trip to India. Give up on the inhibitions, give up on the customary and give up on the prototype of travel, form your own basis for travel and explore it in your stride. The points above are some little pieces of advice for the solo traveller which will help him/her to accumulate some exceptional memoirs of travel. To make the same escapade a little better for other travellers, we insist that the readers of the column pitch in by sharing their experiences in the comments section below.