Never Ending List

Tick Off That Bucket List: First-timer’s Guide to Solo Traveling

“To solo travel” never missed a spot in every travel bug’s bucket list, may it be a local or an international trip.

My solo backpacking experiences helped me come up with this simple guide to those who need a little more push outside of their comfort zones. So, if you are still looking for a sign, this is it.

Please note that what I have listed here are the common steps that I practice every time I go solo.

Step 1: Choose the destination

This will always be the most crucial part whenever I think of another adventure. To help you decide, consider the following:

  • Proximity from your starting point and availability of public transportation – since this will be your first time away from your buddies, it will be better to hit a destination nearer to where you are coming from. Well, this can give you a sense of relief that home is just a few hours away. Also, the same close reason why you have to make sure that public transportation is available — aside from the cheaper fare and convenience.
  • Activities to do or on-going events – rocking the road alone for the first time is way more exciting. That is why it is important to keep up the vibe. Research what the local community has to offer — are there museums, waterfalls, etc.
  • Cheap accommodations – look for hostels that offer bed bunks, hammocks or shared rooms. This way, you can save penny than paying for a pad good for 2.
Baler 3 copy
The Circle Hostel in Baler offers hammocks and bunk beds perfect for solo travelers.

You may read: Baler, Aurora – My First Solo Travel

Step 2: Research, research, and more research

After the “virtual” ocular visit, next is to work on your assignment. You may read about the history of the place first. This “baon” will go a long way, especially when having chats with the locals, believe me. Also, read about the best months to visit, local products, how to go around town, basic greetings from their dialect, common tourist spots AND best local spots (there’s a difference).

Check out Backpacking Mindanao in 5 Days (Region 12 SOCCSKSARGEN + ARMM) to see how I did careful and meticulous research prior to the trip.

One has to wear proper clothing when paying a visit to Cotabato City’s Grand Mosque.

Step 3: Work on the itinerary

I know solo travelers who don’t like itineraries. They prefer spontaneous trips and just follow wherever their feet take them. But for the first-timers, I recommend having a plan. Work on your itinerary as it keeps you in track of your schedule and basically guides you all throughout your journey.

Step 4: Get in touch with the local tourism

If you plan to visit local spots that need assistance, do not hesitate to contact the local tourism. They will and always help you. This will also serve as a heads up that you are visiting their province.

Step 5: Connect with other travelers along the way or prior to the trip

Solo traveling nowadays is made easier with the help of the online DIY community. You may look for fellow travelers who are going the same route. Many do this to share expenses and to have company as well.

Solo travelers I met along the way when I did my Dumaguete-Siquijor trip. Now we’re a group!

Step 7: Pack the essentials

This art called “packing” is tricky. Sometimes, we over-pack and later realize our stuff just weighs down or we pack-light and miss out important ones. Just a tip, pack according to the local weather, your activities in mind and length of the trip.

Step 8: This is it!

It is happening! You are an inch away from crossing out this nerve-wracking, heart-pounding journey of a lifetime! Imagine being away to experience something new and discover more about what you can do.

Have a safe trip and don’t forget to pack a brave sole! 🙂

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