Going solo

Going solo (PHOTO: Lee Su-hyun)

Going solo
(PHOTO: Lee Su-hyun)

I had always wanted to travel to a strange place by myself. Although traveling alone requires more courage and preparation, I decided to give it a try this past summer. I’m happy to say I had a great experience and would like to share some tips you might find useful if you also decide to travel on your own.

The first and most important part of your preparation is choosing a place to visit. Since you’re going by yourself, you’ll have to consider how safe it is to travel there. I chose to go to Hong Kong for my first solo trip. Hong Kong not only has a unique culture, it is a well policed country.

Hong Kong (PHOTO: Lee Su-hyun)

Hong Kong
(PHOTO: Lee Su-hyun)

What about a place to stay? It’s probably best if you get a room at a downtown hotel. A reputable youth hostel is another good choice with many advantages: rooms are cheap, and you’ll have the opportunity to make friends from all over the world. Don’t forget to keep a well organized guide book and a roaming smart phone with you. You will find that a good guide book and Google Maps will be much more reliable than a fellow traveler.

The moment you step out of your home, your solo trip begins. I enjoyed getting my own plane tickets and checking into the hotel — things my father always did. Perhaps the only unpleasant moments of traveling solo was eating alone at restaurants. Nowadays, many restaurants cater to solo travelers and provide solo seats and 1/2 menus. If you can’t stand to eat alone, perhaps you can go out with new friends you make on your trip.

Naturally, you’ll want to take lots of pictures of yourself while traveling. Take a compact tripod with you. This will be a big help if you don’t want to bother other travelers.

For some, solo travel may present many downsides and inconveniences. But it gave me enormous freedom and time to think about myself. Plan your own trip next time. It will change your life!

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