My first solo backpacking trip to Asia was an eye opener! I had an amazing experience and at times, a little scary too while I was travelling.
I thought that after my experience, if you are in the same boat, you might want to get a heads up and learn from some of the mistakes I made on my solo backpacking trip.
Let’s get to them:
1) Don’t Be Cheap – Get a Backpack
I didn’t. Before this trip, I was a hotel stay kinda girl and never had any reason for a backpack. My trusty Samsonite travel luggage has served me so well over the years and I didn’t think it was going to fail me this trip but at my very first destination in Singapore, I had to climb four flights of stairs just to get to my hostel and I can tell you that that was not fun. I wouldn’t want you to be in that same position as me.
It’s a little late for me but as soon as I got back from my trip, I got online and bought us both backpacks for our honeymoon.
Or, second option if you can’t bear to part with your travel luggage (like me!) would be to make sure all your hostels has no stairs and lift access. That would be the next best thing or as Mr R said, unwilling to get off my princessy chair.
2) Don’t Get Too Friendly with the Locals
Especially if you’re on your own. I love chatting to people on my travels but again, prior to this, I always had a travel companion and you don’t really realized how important having that buddy around is.
I ended up being stalked while I was in Taiwan and I was really lucky that I managed to get away by pretending that I found a friend (who was really another stranger).
It’s a catch 22 situation because you want to visit the sights when there are not hoards of tourists around. I got to the sight super early so there was no one about and maybe I stood out like a sore neck amongst the local.
3) Learn a Little of the Local Language
I love doing this. I usually learn the basic Hello and Goodbye and Thank You and then try to extend or learn more while I’m there. But from now on, I’m going to be learning that little bit more. Lucky thing I chose Asia to do my first solo trip as I have a good understanding of the languages and can speak basicly and that has helped me tremendously.
I’d like to think this was how I got out of my sticky situation above as I told the potential stalker I was meeting a friend.
4) Don’t Limit Yourself to Safe Experiences
Especially if it’s your first time travelling, there is a tendency to stick close to what you’re comfortable with. Like not go out at night, or eating at McDonald’s because it is the same wherever you go.
I didn’t do very much at the start of my solo trip to Singapore and Malaysia and that is where most of my regrets are. Having friends and family in places that you visit are great but don’t hang out with them the whole time! Get out there and explore!
I’m glad that I chose to spend a whole week in Taiwan because that really got me out of my comfort zone to try different things there and I realised that it’s actually very empowering to be able to get around on your own.
So be brave and attempt something different. You won’t regret it!