What to Prepare for Your Solo Trip

Who's never heard about solo travel? I think everyone knew and maybe some of you have tried or considering it at the moment. I've tasted tried it and I actually love it. Not that I have a lot of chances to travel alone, since I wasn't independent before June 2018 (I was still a student until last year). But since I got some chances at solo trip, why not?

If you're considering this type of traveling, here some of my tips and trick and what to prepare for your solo trip..... All this tips and trick are based on my experiences, so it might not be perfect or work for you, but it'd be nice to have a head up before you jump into solo trip.

1. The Basic Plan
Unless you're an expert in surprised-unplanned trip, then yes, you need to plan it (half-way or thoroughly). As for me, I'm more into planning it thoroughly and see what will happen on the field that day.

For starters, decide your destination.
If you're a beginner at solo trip, start off with countries that quite save for solo traveler, specially if you're a girl. My first solo trip was to Nikko, Japan. It was a 2D1N trip to hot spring near Nikko and since I lived in Tokyo at that time, it's not that different to me. The only difference was I got no one to talk to. My second solo trip was to Seoul and Busan, Korea. It was really great because the aunties helped me a lot with direction and I got a lot of freebies even though I was quite confused as how to communicate since I don't speak korean and not many can speak fluent english... As you can see, both Japan and Korea are save for solo traveler, even if you're a girl.

You can also check some of this website for more recommendation on the destination...
Solo Traveler World - They put the affordability, cost to get there and safety (the writer is based on Canada)

source: google

In this step, you have to do a rough research on what you're going to do there, anything you're interested in like the festival, amusement park, the flower season, anything. This research on your purpose of the trip will help you decide on the next step: When and How Long.

After you decided on the destination, ask yourself for the when and how long question.
It's best to decide to go on your free time, like summer break or take a time off from your office, or if you're on the freelance side like me, you can decide on the festival or seasonal theme. For example sakura season in Japan, or Holi festival in India, or Lantern Festival in Thailand. After you decide when, next is to answer the "how long will my trip be?" question.

Once again, please consider your own availability. If you got a tight time off, then maybe you can't explore much or go to far away land. If you got the time, then you can decide on a week or 10 days vacation to a far away land.

The next step is to see your finance.
How much can you spend on this vacation? or how much are you willing to spend on this vacation? The bigger you're willing to spend on your vacation, the greater it will feel. I mean, you won't think twice to book a 4 star hotel, or take a taxi everywhere you go, or enter an expensive restaurant, or maybe enjoy a bit of massage or spa on your vacation. But if you're in the tight budget kind of traveler, you can put more of your money into the activities rather than on the hotel and transportation.

The quickiest thing to do is to go to trip advisor and ask the senior or ask your friends who had been to your trip destination or a friend who live or are from your trip destination.

The additional step is to see how long do you have to save your budget.
If you're happened to be like me, the beggar who doesn't want to travel in tight budget, you will try to save your money for at least 6 months. FYI, I saved my allowance money for 7 months before I took a solo trip to Korea, and 11 months for my upcoming trip to Thailand this year.

If you have 6-12 months to save up, you can save bit by bit, but if you only have 1-6 months to save up, better save a bit more or just take your emergency saving. LOL... it's not recommended to take your emergency saving though... but if you're in an urgent situation where your doctor advice you to take an immediate vacation, then it's an emergency.

2. The Intermediate Plan
You've graduated from your basic plan and there're next steps to consider....

source: google

Do more advance research.
Yes, you know your purpose of the trip, but you're not going to do it everyday, aren't ya? Go search on historical places, restaurant, street food to try, nature attraction - things like that... I usually write them down on my notebook; the name, the address, open hour, fee, what can be found or see, and how to get there. Write everything down, or maybe just copy-paste it into your microsoft word.

Here, in this step, I usually look at surrounding district or region if I got a week vacation or so... I will look at how to go there, if I need another plane ticket or train or bus... and how to buy train and bus ticket for between city travel. If it's only a 2D1N trip, better forget it and just focus on your main destination or purpose.

After you got the outline of your itinerary, book your plane ticket.
As for me, who wants to travel without worries and cramped legs (I've got long legs so yeah....), I will recommend you to look at travel fair. I'm not sure if your country has travel fair, but if it has, go check it out. Prepare your credit card for the additional discount! ;) But if you're okay with budget plane, tyou can skip the travel fair.

You need to keep checking until the price is in the lowest (if you have time before your trip). They said wednesday is the best time to buy plane ticket, but I'll say check it everyday for 2 weeks or several months prior to purchase.

source: google

After you got your flight ticket, prepare the document for VISA application.
Not all of us have the Singapore or USA passport, so yes, some of us need to apply for VISA. Go look at the embassy website for the list of necessary documents and apply for your visa. This step is not needed if your country has the leeway of free entry to your trip destination, like mine is to ASEAN country...

3. The Advance Plan
This is the final preparation step before you can relax ;)

source: google

make your fixed itinerary.
This is exclusively for you OCD traveler out there, a.k.a my companion. Yes, I usually type all the information I wrote on my notebook into excel. I separate them into date and time, place's name, how to get there, and additional info like fees and open hours. I printed them out as my bible (beside maps) while I'm on my trip...

next is book your hotel(s).
Don't forget to check all your dates, don't double book, don't miss the date. I missed a day before and I had to spend NYE in Jimjilbang back in Seoul. It's one of unexpected experience and somehow nice in a way, but if I have choice, I will pick a personal room rather than the bunk bed in jimjilbang... LOL

source: google

The last one is to change your money
Check the rates and if you're lucky, you'll get a cheaper rate for your upcoming trip.... even a penny difference counts. ;)

Additional step is to buy amusement park ticket, or transportation discount ticket (like JR pass if you're going to Japan), or book a wi-fi for your trip. This might be additional, but quite necessary for  extra enjoyment on your trip.

And that's what I usually do. It might be your usual things to prepare before your trip, but I believe people divide all the task when they go on group trip or family trip. And my lazy bum never really prepare anything when I travel in group or with family beside apply for Visa and buy plane ticket.

Who's with me?

Oh! Before I forget... I plan to make the second part; the actual tips and trick when you go on solo trip. Since I'm preparing for my third solo trip, I'm kinda excited to write while doing some hotel research... until next time! I'll try to post it on April 2019! See you!


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Korea trip images are mine, taken by Sony A5000
other images' source is stated below the image.

Anastasia Goenawan

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