Backpacking Solo – Where To Go and How To Prepare
Backpacking and travelling solo is no easy task. Preparing, deciding where to go, safety protocols and precautions… all these can be quite daunting and intimidating. Not to worry, we’ve got your back. In this article, we’ll be highlighting the most important things you need, your preparation and which destinations are best for women solo backpackers.
How to Prepare
Preparing for a Solo backpacking trip requires time. This is particularly if you’ll be gone for a while. If it was a weekend, no worries. But when you have to go for at least a week or two, you need to be well prepared. To start with, get acquainted with your destination. Get guidebooks, search the internet, talk to guys and gals on the Lonely Planet forum.
Then, get the bare essentials. If you’re getting everything you need to use for your trip, you may find your luggage too difficult to carry. So, always make sure to carry only those things that you really need. Most items you can get at your destination –unless you’re travelling to through desolate places, then you need everything- or on your way there. So, don’t sweat the small stuff.
Get the necessary travel insurance, research and compare hotel/hostel prices and amenities, make your bookings ahead of time and find out where to locate a rental in case of an emergency. Oh, and learn a few survival skills like lighting fires with tinder, twigs and stones, camping in the rain and the use of herbs. They could be potentially life saving.
Backpacking Solo Destinations
While there are many solo backpacking destinations, you want one that is particularly safe and friendly to women. You don’t want to get stranded in a Middle East marketplace on Friday after prayers for example, wearing just shorts and tank tops. That won’t be funny at all.
That said, you may want to backpack through Australia (the Blue Mountains and the Coral Bay), Tibet (every backpacker’s dream), Tanzania, Borneo’s rainforest (about 130 million years old), Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India, Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, Kenya, Madagascar, Brazil, Belize, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Austria, Tunisia, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Peru among others.
One thing you must be aware of is that while planning, leave room for unforeseen circumstances. And prepare yourself to go with the flow. Sometimes, your trip may not be as perfect or as exact as you would prefer. Truth is things are bound to almost always go wrong.
You may miss set deadlines, not arrive on time, the detour could end up leading to a dead end because the map wasn’t updated or your GPS/compass malfunctions. Don’t worry about it. Just stay focused and you’ll be fine. Oh… and remember to wear an ordinary wedding band. That’s sure to prevent any unwanted attention from members of the opposite sex.
Good preparation and planning taking account of the issues presented here will ultimately lead to safe solo travelling that can take you off the beaten trail and on to some little known gems of discovery.
Author and solo traveller Karen Underhill has been to some amazing places around the world with nothing more than a rucksack in her back. For women who are seriously considering the same she recommends this post as a great source for further information