Prime Sarmiento is a journalist, solo female traveler and budding mediapreneur based in Southeast Asia. She is the author of an inspiring e-guide for solo female travelers which you can download for free at solofemaletravel.net.
I love traveling on my own; it gives me the time and space to listen to my intuition, to write and create, and do whatever I want, whenever I want. I won’t deny the fact solo traveling can also be challenging. You might confront loneliness, insecurity, or boredom while on the road. But after ten years of traveling, I know there are ways to overcome that. Here are some practical tips that you can apply while on the road.
1. Always buy a travel insurance
If you can’t afford to buy this then you can’t afford to travel. It will only cost you a few dollars and in return you have assurance that you can afford to pay for any mishaps along the way – from accidents and illness to recovery of lost documents and baggage.
2. There’s nothing wrong with paying a premium on safety and comfort
Traveling need not be difficult or an exercise in needless frugality. You worked hard, scrimped, and saved to be able to travel. As long as you have the budget for it, you deserve to buy anything you want – whether that’s a first class ticket or a day in an exclusive spa resort.
3. If you can’t be culturally sensitive, then don’t travel (yes, seriously)
Be aware of the traditions of the country that you are visiting and refrain from imposing your own beliefs and principles on the locals. You are a guest and are obliged to defer to your host – not the other way around.
4. Always bring a bottle of tea tree oil, a scarf, and Ziploc bags
A few drops of tea tree oil can banish those skin blemishes and – with a cup of water – is an effective disinfectant, toilet cleaner and room deodorizer. A scarf can be used as a hair accessory, tourniquet, hairband and can be given as a gift, while Ziploc bags can store your toiletries, snacks, and first aid kit.
5. Nothing sets the day right than a cup of freshly brewed coffee
I don’t care if I can only have cold toast for breakfast – as long as there’s good coffee, I’m ready to face another day of traveling.
6. Frequent travelers need to keep a healthy lifestyle
Because traveling can be an exhausting and energy-draining experience, you need something to maintain your stamina. Whether I’m at home or on the road, I always include more greens in my diet, limit my sugar intake, and go to a gym or yoga studio for exercise.
7. You can find semblance of peace anywhere by meditating:
Download a guided meditation audio file in your Ipod and you can start Om-ing while waiting for the bus, sitting in a cafe or before you sleep at night. Meditation clears your head, energizes you, and keeps you from screaming your head off when dealing with inefficient hotel staff.
8. Check in on-line
This is a time and sanity saver. Say good bye to long queues and other hassles.
9. Bring copies of vital documents
These include the cover page of your passport, tickets, hotel reservation, and insurance certificate since there’s always a possibility that this might get lost while moving from one place to another. If possible, scan them and get yourself a pdf copy.
10. Compile a directory of important phone numbers
Such as the phone number of your country’s nearest embassy. Store them in your phone and/or computer,or e-mail them to yourself. It’s also advisable to have a hard copy for convenience.
And lastly, solo traveling is a lifestyle, a personal choice. It’s not a right of passage that you need to undergo in order to prove something. Like most things in life, your happiness depends on the choices that you make and not on what others think you should do.