The bulk of my direct messages on social media come from people asking advice on how to do things a solo traveller does. For example, taking photos when solo-travelling or eating out when on solo trips. It makes sense to ask these questions, because when I first started to solo-travel I was curious about the same. Heck, I am STILL curious about how other solo-travellers do certain things when they are abroad. You can learn so much from others. That’s why I wanted to answer some of the questions I receive about how I function. There is no wrong or right way with solo-travel, but here are things which work well for me.
How I Take Photos Alone When Travelling
I have definitely used a remote-controlled tripod during my travels, but sometimes they aren’t the most practical to carry around. Sure, the pictures turn out how I had planned but a tripod still takes up too much space for my liking. If you are anything like me, you’ll want to roam around with as little baggage as possible. When I am straying away from my accommodation, lugging around a tripod is the last of my interests.
I knew there must be some other way. There just had to be! I wanted something I could just put over an object and use self-timer with. That’s when I started to look up phone cases with a chain or string. Genius. Not only are these cases the same size as your phone, you can literally put your device over an object via the string/chain and get snapping. Of course, a tripod offers more possibilities when you are out in the open. However for a quick picture or two, a phone case with a chain shouldn’t be underestimated.
How I Eat Alone When Travelling
Now, you may be the type of person who has no issues with eating alone. If that is you, then I’d suggest skipping to the next paragraph. This section is for people who feel anxious or uneasy to eat alone in restaurants. Whilst I have built my confidence to eat alone when travelling, I still wouldn’t want to sit down at a packed restaurant for dinner by myself. So how do I make sure my stomach is satisfied?
I’ve had to trial and error multiple possibilities. What I don’t suggest is saying ‘Oh, I’ll just have these 3 ice-creams for dinner’ like I used to do in my teen years haha. Although, eating on the go isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s something I would suggest. One of my favourite things to do when I want to avoid restaurants is to eat street-food. I don’t know why but my anxiety seems to settle when I am on the go. I usually just find a spot in a park and eat, whilst observing my surroundings and relaxing. It might sound obvious but just make sure you don’t fall into the trap of only eating snack-type foods. The thing with eating street-food is that there is less commitment. If you sit in a restaurant and order your food, you have to wait until you get it. In that time, you might feel more nervous and just want to leave. When you eat on the go, if you don’t like the vibe from the bench you are sitting on then you are free to get up and find another spot.
Another thing I love to do is book myself into cooking classes. Not only are these a fantastic way to socialise and communicate during solo-travels, the class will all eat together at the end of the session. I’ve been able to form such great friendships from cooking experiences, and have left with a new found skill which I can use again and again. For cooking classes, nearly all of them will require a booking so plan this in advance. I love searching my options on Air BnB, as you can select whether you prefer smaller-sized classes or you can browse which type of cuisine you fancy learning.
How I Communicate If There Are Language Barriers When Alone
Solo-travel means that all communication is down to you. You can’t rely on your multi-lingual friend to help you out. You also can’t collectively gather all the words you know in your group and string together sentences from everyone’s input. You gotta get creative!
Most of you will know how much I like to communicate with emoji’s when abroad alone. I find it to be so much faster than Google translate, plus there is less risk of sentences getting lost from inaccurate translations. You see, emoji’s are pretty universal and I think this is key for trying to find a common basis when you need help. I wrote an entire post about various strategies for talking when faced with a linguistic barrier so I’ll link it here for you to all check out: How To Get Over Language Barriers When Solo-Traveling
How I Know What To Do When Travelling Alone
I’m talking about landmarks, locations, directions, the lot. As a backpacker, I’m very much the type of person to wing a trip. I don’t usually like to plan, and I rarely Google things like ‘What to do in X’. I guess I prefer having no expectations, because I want to see things for myself. My answer to the above question? I just walk. There is not much more behind it other than the fact I advocate walking everywhere because you’ll always stumble across things a Google search can never detect.
In terms of knowing how to stay safe, you can never be too street-savvy. I try to not have my phone out to follow directions from Maps longer than needed and also stay in areas where there are plenty of people during the evenings. However, that’s about it. Sometimes solo-travel strikes up concern, which can put people off it altogether. As long as you gage the situation and apply common sense, you’ll be ok. Every location is different but safety principles remain the same.
What’s your best travel tip? Whether it’s solo travel or group travel, I’d love to know!
Until then, see you in the next post