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25 Essential Travel Hacks Every Wanderluster Must Know Before Traveling Abroad Solo

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Make friends, remain safe, and save money.

Traveling to a new country on your own provides you with the best opportunity to have an adventure of a lifetime. You’re free from the shackles of what your friends want to do, giving you the opportunity to discover so much about this new destination — and about yourself.  

At the same time, solo travel can be quite intimidating when you don't have a good friend to socialize with or discuss the best options for getting around. This is why we’ve created a list of 25 smart travel tips to help you make friends, remain safe, and save a ton of money along the way.

1. Take a photo of your identity documents.

Having a spare copy of your identity documents could come in handy if you lose your belongings. It’ll make your travel insurance claim, and getting back out of the country without your passport, far easier. As well as uploading a photo of your identity documents to the cloud, take a photocopy and keep it somewhere separate to wherever you store your passport.


RELATED: 7 Ways Traveling Actually Makes You Healthier, Says Science


2. Deposit money in an emergency account.

Get a spare debit card or prepaid card and keep it away from the rest of your cards and cash. If your wallet or purse goes missing, you have some funds to last you the rest of the holiday.

3. Grab your hotel's business card.

Not all taxi drivers will speak English, but most hotels will have a business card displaying its address at the reception. Show your cab driver the card and they’ll be able to drive you home with ease.  

4. Leave expensive jewelry at home.

It's unnecessary and attracts pickpockets.

5. Write your phone number and an emergency contact on your suitcase.

If your luggage gets left at the airport, it will be easy for whoever finds it to get hold of you.

 

 

6. Download TripIt.

TripIt is the smartphone app that pulls together all of your confirmation emails from airlines and accommodation providers to make a simple itinerary on your smartphone. No more trawling through your inbox when you need to remember what time to be at the airport.

7. Pre-book tourist attractions online.

Many tourist attractions are cheaper if you pre-book online. Often, you can skip the queues too. Plus, you’ll know for sure what the opening hours are.

8. Download plenty of music and podcasts before you leave.

Without Wi-Fi on the plane or inclusive mobile data overseas, you could find yourself bored on lengthy solo travel journeys. Download plenty of podcasts or music albums to keep yourself entertained during those dull moments.

9. Shop around for the best prices on flights and accommodation.

It’s the dirty secret of the travel industry. The same hotel room will be available for several different prices on several different websites. The same goes for flights. If you’re after a website that compares the best available deals, Trivago is your best best for hotels, while SkyScanner works well for flights.   

10. Reap the rewards of solo discounts.

Some plays and shows will offer cheap last-minute tickets for the remaining single seats dotted around the theater. Many theme parks have shorter queues for single riders too.

11. Subscribe to email alerts for "mistake fares."

Secret Flying and The Flight Deal are two brilliant websites that allow you to filter your preferred flight destinations, then send you an email when a deal pops up. Try the search engine Rome 2 Rio as well.

12. Look for "free extended stopover" deals.

You’re probably aware that many flights will require you to stopover in a different destination, but did you know that it’s possible to book a flight with an extended stopover for a few days? Best of all, you can sometimes do it for no extra money, allowing you to add an extra destination to your trip for free. (Search for these deals using Indie.)

13. Use Skype, Google Hangouts, or Whatsapp to call home.

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to keep in contact with your loved ones back home. With these smartphone apps, you can send text messages or make calls for free. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection.

14. Sell your travel photos to stock photo websites.

If you’re looking to earn some extra cash while overseas, why not make use of your photography skills? Stock photo websites like Shutterstock and Tookapic provide a platform for you to sell your photos. Foap is a useful smartphone app which lets you do the same.


RELATED: 7 Best Travel Destinations For People Obsessed With Health & Fitness


15. Turn off your data roaming.

If you’re trying to avoid a massive phone bill, turn your data roaming off. It’s the only reliable way to ensure you’re not stung with data charges. Your phone will automatically revert to using 3G or 4G when your Wi-Fi connection drops, unless you’re proactive about turning this option off.

16. Budget your trip using Trail Wallet.

This is the best smartphone app for budgeting while you’re overseas. It lets you easily convert multiple foreign currencies so you can track how much you’re actually spending using a simple, well-designed interface.  

17. Get a Revolut card.

A Revolut card is the best piece of plastic you can hold during a lengthy overseas trip. You can make purchases and withdraw cash in any country without having to pay transaction fees. It also lets you send money overseas at a rate far lower than what traditional banks offer.

18. Embrace hostels.

Hostels are full of other solo travelers, so they’re the best place to stay if you’re looking to make new friends. A quick browse of online reviews will show you which hostels have the reputation for being the most sociable.

19. Look for a fun activity to try at Meetup.com.

Meetup.com is a world-famous website that helps people connect with like-minded individuals at fun social events. Have a browse to see if there are any cool activities events going on in the area you’re visiting.

20. Download apps to connect with other solo travelers.

Try apps like TravBuddy, Tripr or Skout. All three of these smartphone apps were designed to help solo travelers connect with other tourists. Download them all and get in touch with people planning to visit the same attraction as you. If all of these apps fail, there’s always Tinder.

 

 

21. Grab a meal at the bar stool.

When grabbing a bite to eat, sit at a bar stool rather than a table. This offers the best chance to strike up a conversation with other solo diners and/or the bar staff.

22. When you're visiting landmarks, offer to take photos for other travelers.

They should offer to return the favor and this offers an easy gateway into a conversation.  

23. Travel with companies that cater to singletons.

G Adventures, Exodus and Intrepid all have a reputation for providing great trips for solo travelers.

24. Learn basic phrases.

You can do this with apps like DuoLingo. Locals are more receptive if you make an effort with their language.

25. Be outgoing and say "yes" to everything.

There's no need to be shy or embarrassed when you travel solo. You’re leaving your old friends and your reputation behind, if only for a few days.

This is your chance to stretch your comfort zone and try things you never realized you were brave enough to take on. Say yes to every opportunity and you’ll have the most memorable trip ever.  


RELATED: 10 Things You Need To Know Before Traveling Alone As A Woman


Joe Elvin is a magazine journalist, dating/relationships writer and author of The Thrill Of The Chase.

 

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