A few years back when I used to listen to other travellers’ stories on how they travelled all alone in India, a thought always used to occur that how they are not intimidated about travelling alone. Or how they are not scared of the unknown, the unknown people, areas and the world in general. I also used to wonder if travelling alone is a fun experience anyway. Especially a case like me who has (or had) claustrophobia, never really thought of attempting to go on a solo trip ever.
But I love to travel and I do not like to rely on people for my trips. I really wanted to see Sikkim but had no one to accompany, however. So the rebel in me took the plunge for my happiness of seeing the unknown. I booked the plane tickets and stepped out to test the capabilities of taking care of myself. Trust me when I say, it was the most fruitful experiences of my life that I will always cherish. It taught me a lot and gave me endless memories.
So here it is, sharing a bit of my experience and how I coped up the fear of travelling alone. It did help me and I am sure it will help you as much. Read along to find nine tips on solo travelling in India.
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About the Trip
I went to Sikkim alone for a duration of five days, and I realized it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I also covered Zuluk and if you wish to add that place in your bucket list, read my guide on Zuluk here – Zuluk Travel Guide.
Sikkim will always be close to my heart because it helped me to let go of my insecurities and fears. It helped me to overcome claustrophobia. Moreover, it taught me that you will always find good people on the road who will reach out to help you. You will start loving yourself a bit more. You will gain immense confidence. And apart from all of this, you will happily be you in a place unknown amidst a crowd of friendly people.
Don’t get me wrong, I was sceptical at first, especially when you don’t get much of leverage as women’s safety is a critical issue and also when you hardly get permission from your parents.
Since I was claustrophobic, for me staying along in a dim lit room was also a challenge. That is when I realized how easy it is to trick your brain. And how you can do that? Befriend it, start talking to it, mumbling and maybe when no one is looking jump in the middle of the road and record yourself as you would do with your best friends.
Also Read – Travel Guide of North and East Sikkim
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Tips for Solo Traveling in India
This is a no-brainer but honestly, this is the most crucial thing too. Trust your instincts. Notice your surroundings before stepping anywhere. This will not only help you to gain confidence but you will also understand how to behave in a particular place and where exactly you should be extra crucial.
If you think you don’t feel safe somewhere, walk away from that place. Notice the people. In travelling it is all about noticing, understand how the people are through your instincts and if you find something suspicious, just walk away. Instincts and vibes play a very crucial role in solo travels.
Staying confident is the key. If you will walk around like you have a purpose, like you know what you are doing, no one would approach you with wrong motives. In fact, you will also feel like you belong there.
Act like you know what you are doing and you know a lot about the place. Walk like you are not a new person here. This will also make you feel at ease. Further, it will also give you the courage to go ahead and talk to the strangers which will help you feel at home. It made me feel at home in Sikkim due to this and I am glad about it.
What I usually do when I travel solo is that I ask about a particular place to as many people as possible. I might go to a Tourism board, then also to my hotel manager, and then maybe to a local shopkeeper as well. I will ask the same thing to as many people as possible. For instance, if you ask a travel question to a stranger, if the same answer is given to you by ten others you know that it is the right thing to do. You will know that a particular stranger is not fooling you.
Also Read – North and West Sikkim Guide
Earlier, when my parents weren’t aware of my Solo travels, I used to give my itinerary and share my travel plans with a close friend. I tell him/her my whereabouts and give the details of the hotel I am staying in. If I think something is not right, I give them a call to inform them. Basically, they are my travel book away from me who knows in and out of my whereabouts. This will help them to trace me and help me if in case anything goes wrong, which hardly does though. 🙂
I did the same in Meghalaya on my solo travel and had an amazing time! You can in fact also read my guide on Meghalaya here – Meghalaya Travel Guide.
Well, there can be a few cases of bad lucks, right? What I am trying to say here is, if someone tries to steal things from you, don’t resist. After all your life is much more valuable than the valuables you are carrying. Let go of the things and succumb to safety.
Stay Somewhere With Multiple Positive Ratings
Staying in a hotel can get daunting when you are on your first travel. Make sure you do your research and check the ratings on Google before booking a hotel room for yourself. Booking.com can be a great tool for this regard –
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There were three stray dogs who started growling seeing an unknown, me, in their village. There were two Nepalese men who came running to chase the dogs away. There was a Nepalese women who helped me settle in with tea and maggie. And an old man who had never ending stories. Zuluk, you made it worthwhile. #traveldiaries2016 #soloadventure
Meet Other Travelers
This is very important not just in your solo travels but on any other kind of travels. It will help you to make better memories and to get an insight into other places as well. This will help you to bring yourself at ease and break the monotony of solo travelling. No other person will understand you better than your fellow travellers. In fact, I tried Couchsurfing on one of my solo trips and had so much fun with my host who not only gave me insights of the place but it also helped in cutting down of the cost.
Want to know what couch surfing is? Read our guide here – Couchsurfing and how to go about it
Relax While You Eat
Food is another activity which will help in loosening up. In cafes and restaurants, you get to meet people and if not, there are always local bartenders or waiters to talk to. You can plan your day, get insights from the restaurant owners and plan accordingly.
Go to a cafe, open your map or place your camera. In a cafe, you can relax a bit and be yourself for a while. You do not have the pressure to belong to a place or have your guard up. Further, read a book. It will not only occupy you but also signal to other solos that you travel alone.
Want to travel for free if you are new in the travel industry and not sure how to go about it? We collaborated with Stay on Skill which will not only give you free travels but safe travels. Read more about it here – How You Can Travel for Free Around India
Smile and Try a Few Words in the Local Language
Stay at places that are with people such as common rooms or B&Bs. Smile as often as you can as it will make you happy and kind and you will love the place even more. Further, communicating in a local language is always appreciated. But this not mean that you have to be over friendly. Be a coy when someone asks you your personal details. Do not give out your full name or where you are staying.
Solo isn’t that difficult. I am a live example of this. In the end, ‘you are just one decision away to change your life.’ I just did, how about you?