8 Tips for Lone Travelers

8 Tips for Lone Travelers

Are you ready to explore the world on your own?
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Have you traveled alone in unfamiliar territories? Have you suffered from a lack of traveling experience? Are you tired of family trips and group hangouts? Based on personal experience as a lone traveler, I have compiled several valuable tips for those of you who wish to embark upon your own journey.

1. Prep, Prep and then re-prep.

I cannot stress enough just how important it is to do tons of research and preparation before you get going. For the sake of safety and convenience, I always print a load of papers and stuff them in folder before I go. These should include the address of your hotel, map of the surrounding area, transportation info and embassy location in case you are abroad. Also check luggage and bags three times after packing, after each time add a few more potentially useful items to the list, remove what you probably don't need, and check again!


2. Blend into the environment by changing your camouflage.

There is no one type of clothes you should wear as a lone traveler, just as there is no one type of universal environment. Depending on where you are going, be sure to observe what the locals wear and imitate their style as much as possible. I found myself bolder and dressing flashier when I was in Paris and NYC where people tend to wear all kinds of weird stuff, however I would go for something simple and plain in more rural areas to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. Also, I found it helpful to look rough in public transport hubs(train stations) by not washing my face and keep my hair messy(So I look like a hobo who has contracted rabies) to appear tougher than I actually am.This does not work for everyone, so please find your own way of blending into the locals' habitat.


3. Pick the right time to roam, try not be nocturnal.

It is vital for any traveler to know how the locals' schedule work. In some countries, shops and restaurants don't open on Sundays (Germany, central Europe; I learned it the hard way) So don't even considering shopping on those days. In some places people have noon-nap schedules and then they party all night, like in Barcelona, so get used to sleeping for an hour after lunch so you don't miss the dances and the fine Sangria. Also, avoid activities at night as much as possible if you are on your own since you are not familiar with the surroundings and can be easily taken advantage of by unethical locals.


4. Don't hesitate trying new cuisine and experiment with your taste buds.

Keeping a diet while traveling is one of the greatest loss in one's life. I mean there really is no point in doing so, why would you want to miss the opportunity to taste some authentic local delicacy while you are at it? You will return home at some point and all the weight you gained will go away after your life returns to its regular pace. It is even more likely that you will lose a few pounds through traveling because trust me it is physically demanding and mentally intensive, you will need the energy that mouth-watering roasted Rindebraten provides. So don't restrict yourself and try all manners of cuisines the world has to offer!


5. Trust everyone! and... trust no one.

One of the most reliable criterion in judging if someone travels a lot is his ability to interact with strangers. I bet you will meet all kinds of weirdos on the path, some of them need your help while some want to take stuff from you. I was deceived and mugged quite a bit when I started out, I lost my phone in Verona while my wallet was grabbed by a group of unemployed young Greeks in Athens (And yes these two happened on the same trip). You need to be wary of people acting like fake policemen, luggage carriers, beggars, fortune-tellers, and sometimes even hotel receptionists. However, you shouldn't be discourage from talking to other people and making new friends if possible. Just don't reveal too much about your economic status, and you will be fine.


6. Respect, immersion and hang out with friendly locals.

The last thing you want to happen when traveling alone is to act like a clueless tourists, someone who buries his/her head in a phrase book or a map. You should try to experience the local culture instead of watching it from an outsider's perspective. Engage in some festivities, find some friendly locals to talk to, learn the stories of the places you have been to. I always find elderly people very helpful ("useful") in terms of immersing myself, because some of them are genuinely interested in where I came from and have so much to share. Meanwhile you should always at least have respect for locals because tourists are guests after all, and guests should always be appreciative of hosts' hospitality. No one wants to be treated as one of those loud, obnoxious stereotype who gets to see all the cheap crap designed to fool tourists. Become the locals' friends and you will see the authentic, the real and the most amazing parts of their lives.


7. Where you live and how do you choose?

Lodging is one of, if not the greatest difficulty in terms of budget for lone travelers. I have always found decent hotels too expensive and kind of wasteful for just one person, especially during touristy seasons. Websites like Booking.com and Airbnb should be your friends if you want to crash at a nice spot with a reasonable price. I personally book my flights and lodging at least 2 months in advance to make sure the price is good and there is no availability issue. Student apartments are usually okay if you travel alone, although they usually lack even the most basic amenities. I also prefer locations with good reputation and reviews, this is especially important because you want to live in a safe neighborhood after all and the extra price is definitely worth paying.

8. Stay connected...to family and friends.

Traveling alone doesn't mean you are to become a hermit during that time. It is generally beneficial to let your friends and family know where you are when you are traveling alone, in case of emergency they can know your situation and help you. Staying safe should always be your top priority when traveling alone even if that means you may have to call your mom every night as she told you to do so.


In the end, quite a few people told me that their first time traveling alone was like a pilgrimage, a spiritual journey in which they found the essence of being human.You won't feel the freedom until you are there by yourself in a brisk morning basked in sunlight on the train platform of an unknown city. You are not chained to your parents, traveling companions and really not to anyone. That was the moment when you are there in the world, just you as an individual, free to explore however you wish.

I have been a hardcore nomad who travels too much to call any one place home, I don't expect people to live like myself but I am certain that everyone can find something by hitting the road with just the bags on their back.

Cover Image Credit: Peter Yang

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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6 Reasons Traveling Is Good For Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

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Have you ever traveled to a new destination and felt your mood instantly improve? Are you like me and feel happiest when you're on vacation? This is because traveling is a way for you to renew your soul and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you happy and allows you to experience new things.

Visiting new destinations can open your mind to experiences you didn't even know were possible. You can meet new people, fall in love, try new foods, and see remarkable sites all while traveling. There are no limits to the places you can visit, and the things you can see. Currently, I am on a mini weekend trip to Arizona, and being here has opened my eyes and made me realize how impactful traveling really is on your mind, body, and soul. Traveling should be something you do as often as possible and whenever you get the chance. Here's why:

1. Traveling makes your heart happy 

Traveling is something that most people enjoy. It keeps the heart young and childlike. Traveling brings people joy because they get to experience new things that they love with the people they love.

2. It teaches you to embrace every moment 

Traveling can be unpredictable, especially because you are experiencing new things. Although it can be challenging, we learn best from these unpredictable moments. When we travel we learn to embrace every situation that is thrown at us.

3. Traveling relieves stress and improves mental health 

Traveling reduces stress and allows you to relax. More often than not, you take off work when you go on vacation and you focus on renewing your self. You get away from all the crazy things going on in your life, and you can just relax and focus on your own happiness.

4. It broadens your horizons 

Traveling lets you branch out and experience different cultures. You can try new foods, new activities, and meet all different types of people. You learn diversity, and you learn respect for other people and their culture's. Traveling helps you learn other perspectives around the world and lets your mind think in ways it never has before.

5. It keeps you healthy 

Traveling actually plays a big part in your physical health as well. During vacations, you often walk a lot to destinations and participate in calorie burning activities like hiking and swimming. Activities like these are often why you still are able to get your workout in while on vacation.

6. Traveling reminds you what is important 

Most importantly, traveling reminds you of the important things in life. We live day by day forgetting that every moment is remarkable. Sometimes, we get stuck in the same old boring routine and take for granted the life we have been given. Traveling reminds us that memories are valuable and that our lives should be cherished.

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