There are lots of pros to travelling solo. Independent travel gives you the freedom to start ticking items off your bucket list. No killjoys, no-men, and naysayers to stand between you and the experience of a lifetime.
Imagine trying to coordinate your mates for a half-year worldwide odyssey, when even teeing up weekend hang outs can feel like playing social Tetris? Travelling by yourself doesn’t just mould you into a more independent, self-sufficient soul, it allows you to circumvent the logistics of friendship – freeing you up to focus on your adventure!
Here at Kathmandu, we're always thinking about the next overseas adventure. This is why we’ve come up with some top tips for travelling solo safely.
Do your homework
The old adage that ‘failure to prepare is preparation for failure’ rings true indeed; but you don’t have to be Jack Kerouac to be a savvy traveller.Planning your holiday is the entrée before the main course.
So while you’re tucking into the feast of amazing sights and attractions you plan to visit, have a think about the places you should probably avoid.It’s great to visit remote, exotic places that seem uncomplicated by the modern world; but give serious thought to amenities like transport access. Can you get around easily? Will you need vaccinations? Is there a hospital close to your accommodation? Is it safe to walk alone at night? Knowing the answers to these questions (among many more) can be the difference between a dream and a nightmare as far as your travels are concerned.
So, do your homework first, and you’ll be well on your way to an A for adventure.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, the reality is being practical is anything but simple. You may want a range of outfit choices, but you’ll need a light pack if you’re going to be shoehorning yourself onto the only bus to the next village!
Maximizers convulse at the thought of failing to achieve their lofty sartorial standards; but packing light is literally good for your health. Minimize the contents of your pack and your back will thank you later.
There are some important safety implications to the way you pack too. For example, going light gives you the freedom to move quickly, which you may need to do in an emergency. If you’re on an adventure, being nimble will help you to take advantage of last-minute opportunities.
The art of packing light can be difficult to master. It takes an especially Zen-like state of clarity to pack a month’s worth of gear into an 7kg cabin locker bag; but with a bit of planning, most mere mortals are capable of staying under the 23kg checked baggage limit. If in doubt, make a list, check it twice and stick to it.
Don’t skimp on quality insurance
Travel insurance is that classic thing that you never really think you’ll need, until you do. Even the most meticulous planning can be undermined by delays, postponements, and cancellations; suffice to say, it’s important to insulate yourself against the unexpected.
Travel insurance can give you the confidence make your travels an adventure. However, there are enough options out there to make your head spin; so finding the best policy for you can be difficult. Do your due diligence. Make a list of the features you need, and prioritise them over others to find a policy plan that fits. Consider the reputation of the insurance provider, are they reliable and experienced? The last thing you want in an emergency is an insurance company that isn’t accessible or responsive.
As an adventure traveller, you’ll need a policy that covers activities like skiing, snowboarding, and surfing – but beware; some providers don’t cover adventure sports at all. Always read the fine print. Good coverage means you can tick off some of those bucket list items, knowing you’ll be looked after if things go wrong – which they sometimes do.
Kathmandu has partnered up with World Nomads.com because they offer flexible travel insurance designed for independent adventure travellers.
Now read our next instalment in the series - we've got even more top tips for staying safe when travelling solo.