SOLO TRAVEL: HOW TO PICK YOUR NEXT DESTINATION?
Dreaming about solo travel?
When you think about where to go there are so many options it can be a bit overwhelming. Looking back to my solo trip, the selection of countries I visited perfectly matched my interests. Also, it was also very important in what order to visit the countries. Let me tell you why:
MY SOLO TRAVEL STORY
I started in Mexico (Yucatan area) which was a good decision as backpacking there is really easy. The infrastructure is amazing! It is very simple to get from one city to another by bus without spending too much money. Besides, there have been so many hostels. That’s a good thing if you want to decide spontaneously where you want to travel next.
Next, I was travelling to Cuba which was far more difficult and I was glad to be already familiar with the whole backpacking experience. Being able to speak Spanish was a huge help! But Cuba was still very challenging (but therefore also more rewarding) as travelling alone without internet is an experience on its own. Maybe buying a travel guide before would have been a good idea but I also managed without. Cuba is a great country and exploring it without the support of the internet makes you even more interactive with the locals. It really makes you appreciate everything even more. I will give you a more detailed overview of the countries I have visited on this blog soon.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
Next, I was heading from Cuba to Ecuador and I was lucky enough to travel to the famous Galapagos Island. A very special place where tourism is finally interacting very respectfully with nature and the animals don’t really seem to care that you are visiting their islands. Besides the Galapagos Island also the mainland has many things to offer and I was lucky enough to stay for some more time. Ecuador is like whole South-America in one country.
After recharging a bit back at our new home Chicago and unpacking the container which has arrived from Germany in the meantime I packed my backpack again and headed to Thailand. After South America Asia was a bit more budget-friendly. So I started into one of the most intense adventures of my life: Hiking the local villages in the north, biking all day long through the rice fields and kayaking in the south. A real unique, sporty and authentic experience.
So, in summary I was able to visit 4 different countries with very unique cultures and different approaches to tourism. In that way, the 2 months have been very diverse which was exactly my taste of travel. No matter where you go you will experience unique adventures on your own. Some countries are more budget-friendly, some are easier for backpacking newbies. Also some are less touristy with fewer influences of travelers.
SOLO TRAVEL: HOW TO FIND THE BEST COUNTRIES FOR BACKPACKING NEWBIES?
In the end, there are so many countries to visit that you can make it easier on yourself by choosing more solo-travel-friendly countries. How to define these countries? I find the following factors helpful:
It is always easier to connect with the locals when speaking their language. For me South America was so rewarding because I was able to speak their language. Of course, you can manage everything in English but when you want to deeply indulge yourself in the culture the local language will make the difference. Also, English was not a matter of course in more remote areas.
Research from the beginning about public transport. How good is the public transportation system with buses and trains? Renting a car is mostly too expensive for one person and public transportation is the best way to explore new places. Therefore, I find the USA with the domination on car traffic quite tricky to travel while Mexico was very welcoming with their modern buses and hourly schedules on a very reasonable price.
I don’t know about you but for me it has to be nice, warm weather to feel comfortable. It does not need much and I am freezing all the time which makes me very uncomfortable in a foreign surrounding. Therefore, I was looking for places where I can feel fine outside day and night with shorts and t-shirts. That also makes packing your backpack so much easier.
WHAT DO YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY?
No matter what your budget is – the basic rule of thumb is the more expensive you travel, the earlier you have to return home. I had a broad budget in my mind before starting off to my journey. However, I realized that it so much more fun if you don’t have to think long whether you want to have a beer in the evening or do another excursion or not. The cheaper you go – the easier it will be to buy yourself some small luxuries like a hotel room or a more comfortable bus from time to time.
TRIGGERED FOR YOUR FIRST SOLO TRAVEL EXPERIENCE?
I hope you find these factors useful for a first orientation. Thinking about where to go can be a bit tricky as the world has so much to offer. I guess there is not really a good or bad choice as every journey will be unique and you will have interesting encounters no matter where you go. But you can make it easier on yourself, especially if you are new in this whole solo-backpacking-experience like me.
What do you find important when planning your next trip?
Which countries have been the easiest so far for you in terms of backpacking?
Are there other factors which you might find helpful for others?
Let me know in the comments below.
Have you seen my latest blog post on why everyone should have traveled alone in their life? Check it out here.
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