How to Plan for Traveling Overseas Alone

How to Plan for Traveling Overseas Alone

For some of you, this may sound like a rather crazy thing to do. To others, it’s simply natural and the greatest way to enjoy that well-earned vacation that you worked for your entire year. There is nothing wrong with going travelling by yourself, and not just because your workplace makes you do it. Travelling solo can be an enlightening experience by itself, one where no one can guide away from your own interests and expectations from the country or countries you’re going to see.

While a trip to another state or region of your continent can still teach you a lot of things and prove to be a way different scenery than the one you’ve been accustomed to in your hometown, there will never be something that will come nearly close to what it’s like travelling to a different continent of faraway place.

But with the increase in distance that you have to travel to your destination, so does the amount of things you have to take into account before you take the leap of faith of leaving on your trip – especially when you don’t have friends, family or people waiting for you at your destination to help and guide you around-.

Here’s a list of things that you might want to watch out for and think seriously about prior to packing up your things and heading for your exotic and faraway land of choice.

1. Read up on information regarding local culture, habits, mannerisms etc.

The further away from home, the larger the chances of it experiencing things that are lot different from what you expect and are used to. Many cutoms and habits that you don’t even spend a second to think of at home, considering them as normal as a walk in the park or rather, that you do unconsciously, may prove to not be suitable for your destination.

That includes habits and customs, basic things like the way you address people, the way you dress or the way you act when visiting someone’s home.

Delving a little deeper in that country’s culture will make you aware of the amount of do’s and don’ts of a particular place in the world. Considering you’re the one visiting, it falls into your responsibility to adapt to the place you’re going to and not the other way around – this is a way of showing respect to the place you’re visiting.

There is an entire series of books written on specific countries that could not only cover pretty much almost any place you decide to venture to but also all the things you should be prepared for when you get there. Most touristic books will suffice on the matter, but do not hesitate on browsing the internet for more specific pieces of information or even asking people who have been through the experience before – whether it’s close acquaintances or even individuals online.

2. Make sure you are up to date to the state of affairs in the country you’re visiting, its legislation and potential unsafe areas

How to Plan for Traveling Overseas Alone

Just like we have decided that taking your destination’s culture into account is a must, so is the country’s legislation. While the worst thing that can happen from not doing your reading on tradition and culture beforehand is getting clouded by a series of social faux pas, falling into a few arguments or shunned for your behavior, that pales in comparison to what might happen to you if you do not get well informed on how things from a legal perspective.

Researching legislation for your destination can save you a few hundred dollars when visiting Singapore for example – by already being aware that chewing gum on the street. The same thing happens while travelling to China – here you are, thinking of trying your luck in that shady casino when in fact you risk getting caught, fined or even arrested.

It’s also just as important to make sure you’re aware of any ongoing conflicts in the country you’re visiting – revolts, civil wars, riots or anything of the sort can endanger your well-being in more than one way; not to mention that your trip would end up a little too adventurous. Check the news, as well as the U.S. State Department for any particular warnings regarding the country you’re going to.

Finally, before leaving for your destination it’s advisable to get well informed on any particular dangerous areas in the cities you’ll be visiting. The internet and various guides are still your best source of information on this matter.

3. Make sure you have all your necessities ready ahead of time

That includes both basic stuff like plane tickets, hotel reservations and all forms of identification needed (e.g. passport, national identity card), visas, travelers checks and international health insurance. Visas and passports tend to take a long time to process and to be released – this is why, as fun as it may sound, planning a trip to a faraway destination cannot actually be done on the run.

Make sure you have where to stay long before you leave. Finding yourself homeless in a foreign country where you don’t know anyone is the last thing you want. Winging it and thinking you can easily find a hotel somewhere to crash proves to be a pretty bad idea in a number of countries – especially poor ones.

In these cases it’s not only a good idea to make sure you have a secure place to stay in, but it’s preferred to actually spend the extra buck on a western style hotel as they are much safer, cleaner and less risky to stay in.

Health insurance is not a must, but incredibly useful in certain locations that you might be travelling to. Some foreign countries might refuse more elaborate assistance if you do not have a proof of health insurance with you and depending on the kind of place you’re visiting you might end up paying ungodly amounts of money for necessary interventions. Nobody wants to think of this aspect of their trip, but, as the saying goes, better safe than sorry.

4. Always think of safety first and think twice before choosing cheap over secure

How to Plan for Traveling Overseas Alone

While this does depend a lot on the country you’re visiting, it’s incredibly wise to think of safety ahead of time. For example, visiting poorer countries may prove just as dangerous as it is adventurous. In a number of poor countries, cabs are to be vehemently avoided as you may be unfortunate enough to end up stuck in a taxi, robbed or kidnapped and offered for ransom.

No matter how you look at it, tourists are always the most vulnerable to such happenings – make sure you don’t fall into the tourist trap.

Trying to save money on your trip is also cause for distress, grief and misfortune – whether it’s unsafe hotels, purchases made in less populated but seemingly cheaper zones or trading and negotiating in areas where safety isn’t the first word that comes to mind. You’re on vacation! You should be enjoying yourself and relaxing. If, however, you are tight on the budget, opt for safer and more developed countries to visit instead.

Considering you’re going alone, make sure you leave contact information to friends or family, including backup plane ticket copies, papers, phone numbers and hotel address to make sure you can be located if there’s an emergency. The other way around is also important – make sure you have some contact to your home country where possible. Grab your country’s embassy’s contacts to make sure you can report issues as soon as possible, if they appear.

Last but not least, try to the best of your powers to stay away from illegal activities or flamboyant behavior. There’s really not much more to add to that. Really.

5. Find out about your destination’s attractions, means of recreation, climate and weather

While roaming aimlessly, waiting to be surprised in a country you’ve never been to may sound like fun – and sometimes actually end up being fun – chances are you might be missing on a lot of things if you don’t plan ahead a little. Knowing key locations that your destination is famous for will definitely enrich your experience and make your time spent there worthwhile.

Find out what kind of climate the country you’re going to has and pack accordingly. Even if your destination resides in a warmer climate zone, do pack some clothes for colder weather just as well – whether it’s for your return back home or rainy days.

Before you leave for your destination, make sure you have enough money for the trip – including a little on the side for unexpected expenses. Not only that, but don’t just rely on your card – make sure you have cash and exchange a portion of the money reserved for the trip into the national currency before you leave. Exchange rates in airports are the worst you can get, so avoid doing this in the last second.

If you have friends or family who have been to your destination of choice before, ask them for their impressions and hands-on experience. You won’t find more reliable sources than that other than natives most likely. They can also warn you about unspoken rules or trade secrets you might want to watch out for.