Traveling solo is both liberating and an experience. Unlike traveling with a friend, you have the complete freedom to do what you want, when you want. The only downsides I can think of is that you don’t have someone to talk to. You can easily meet people along the way, but it seems like it’s the casual conversation and you don’t get the deep connection you would when traveling with a friend. Regardless, you learn a lot about yourself, and I think you’re going to love it.
What to do? Check out Lonely Planet for guides on the places you will be, and IfOnly – for the best experiences you can get. If you’re on a budget (who isn’t), i’d recommend staying in hostels or couchsurf (couchsurfing.org). It’s definitely a lot cheaper and offer a better experience than staying at a hotel or something like that.
Best tips: bring locks, earplugs (lot of people snore), music player, perhaps a deck of cards (great way to start a conversation with another traveler or even for a couple drinking games).
Pack light. Depending on what you bring, you could probably pack your backpack then unpack about half of it. I often found I wore the same stuff and just brought portal laundry detergent and did laundry along the way.
Definitely can be a once in a lifetime experience so live it up. Of course we are always on a budget, but at the same time I always feel like.. when is the next time you’re going to be doing this? You can make the money back later, but this experience is probably very rare.
Pick up a travel creditcard, use it and don’t carry much cash (that can be stolen).
Probably not the safest advice or something a parent would like to hear but…take some risks. Life is full of adventure. I also found that by doing that outside the norm (perhaps jumping a couple boundaries), I found myself discovering a lot more and experiencing a lot more than if I just did a tour and did the tourist stuff.
Keep in mind, security and safety won’t be the same, so of course use your best judgement. Usually you can find someone who speaks english, hostels can be booked the same day, don’t worry. I’ve had probably the scariest thing happen to me on one of my trips where I was robbed and left with nothing but clothes (no passport,money,identification,communication). You can bounce back and keep on your trip, just don’t freak out and figure out what you need to do.
Some good links:
- Nomadic Matt – Awesome travel blog with good tips
- Laundry kit (pack less clothes, do more laundry)
- Exofficio – awesome travel clothes that dry quick. washed in the morning and was dry when I got back.
- Couchsurfing – stay on people’s couches for free. also get to know a local.
You’re going to have a blast!!