I feel blessed to have my fair share of friends but what can get very exasperating is having to find people that can commit to a getaway,. We all have different schedules that make a common flight so difficult. You will have to miss out on that $45 JetStar Promo because one friend in your clique of six cannot decide if they have to attend some 21st Birthday Party, ZoukOut or some other millennial event of choice.
While it is definitely important to ensure that you are always absolutely free first before you commit yourself to any trip, the blocks of time we do get to travel are already very rare as it is. The time we have for travel is unique to our own individual schedules – school holidays, family events, days off etc. It can be such a waste to miss out on these already few opportunities because we have to set ourselves by time of others.
Sometimes you have just got to give a heck for it all and take the spontaneity to travel alone. Immerse yourself in the local experience and discover what it means to be alone without loneliness, to help you along the way – here are 5 survival tips to help make that first solo trip possible.
1. Using ATMs Overseas
I personally enjoy having physical cash on me as a form of emotional security. Should anything happen, you will always be able to pay yourself out of any situation. However, I find that carrying too much cash can be an unbecoming incentive to spend excessively.
It has been proven that we are more likely to spend in an overseas currency because we are less aware about how the local currency is measured. For example, $10 SGD would amount to 2 Kopitiam meals. However, $10 USD may set us back by 3 Kopitiam meals and we may spend this unconsciously on the equivalent of 2 meals because we unconsciously make false equivalences between $10USD as $10SGD. In writing it seems a bit too literal, and almost dumb. In reality, it is psychological bias.
Many global banks offer overseas withdrawal services at no additional cost, subject to their own foreign exchange rates. UOB has partnerships in Thailand, Indonesia & Malaysia while Citibank ATMS are in 42 countries across the world. While, the exchange rate is more likely to less competitive than what you can get at a money changer, I believe the 0.05 margin you pay extra is worth the convenience you get. It guards against the risk of spending excessively and can also be a means of safety when you defray the risk of robbery and travel cash lite.
*Related Post: 4 Simple Ways to get Cheap Booze in any Country
2. Dress Inconspicuously
The rule of thumb is to be as inconspicuous as possible. We all love a healthy amount of attention but not the kind that increases our risk of getting robbed. In addition, I believe dressing too well can also jeopardize your bargaining skills. Why will I give you something 25 baht cheaper when your jacket looks 1000 baht expensive?
If you are not planning your day around the gram, downplay the aesthetics and opt for something comfy instead. There are benefits to dressing down and blending in with the locals. With less attention drawn to yourself, people-watching becomes easier and your bargains (hypothetically) better.
3. GPS + Local Expertise are an unbeatable duo
While you can rely on mobile applications such as Moovit and GoogleMaps to get around, it always important to remember how information from platforms are first built from communally contributed data. Ultimately, it is the local that will always know the terrain best. While there may be a language barrier during your holiday a choice, a combination of these mobile applications with the advice of a local will do you wonders. Occasionally, you may even be surprised at new destinations locals can suggest! Muster a bit of courage and work that unspoken sign language, you will be surprised how much time it saves to get you places. Ask the assistant at the local hostel! Or that lad just waiting for the bus but always remember to have the human decency to not stop someone if they seem like they are rushing or do not want to be bothered. You can do the math.
4. Portable Chargers
The ideal outcome of any travel trip is to always have a digital detox. The whole point of paying so much to get out of the country is not so that you can stay mentally rooted at where you are. However, the modern day traveller will often rely on a suite of mobile applications to get themselves around. Whether GoogleMaps, Moveit or Uber, we rely a lot on our phones to give us the vital information we need to navigate around the country. These mobile applications can drain a lot of battery, especially if you live with a pathetic iPhone. The portable charger is almost like modern day elixir of life, it promises you that essential access to the internet we need that makes all 21st century Cinderella stories possible.
*Read about other Travel Tips, Guides, and Experiences here at: PROJECT #GOANYWHR
5. Safety First.
With the added mobility of being alone, you should take the opportunity to venture into less popular destinations that are naturally touristy. Take on the mystery and adventure with a spirit of spontaneity! However, going into a completely foreign land can be dangerous. Thus, I always think it is important to mentally prepare and research what is your threshold for safety and plan your time during the trip accordingly.
For me, if a potential destination has been covered by TripAdvisor, I deem this place safe enough to go. Alternatively, you could ask some trusted locals you meet along the way, preferably someone familiar with adventurous travellers such as yourself – like a hostel attendant or a personal friend that has been there. Alternatively, this is also where our friendly staff at Anywhr can come in.
From $300 and up experience travel in 3 refreshing modes of Adventure, Getaway, or Experience. Psst, if you are feeling spontaneous, have a go at the Wildcard option!
Creative with a knack for numbers. I believe travel is first a privilege but one that should not come with unnecessary cost.