There is something magical about traveling solo. Being at one with the world is incredibly liberating and gives you the freedom to plan the perfect trip that fits everything you want to see, taste, and experience. People with wanderlust travel solo on city breaks, on beach holidays, and embark on mountainous treks. Regardless of their reason for traveling and the destination they are heading to, solo travelers share a common trait: they all pack these five essentials.
A Mobile Phone and Portable Charger
Distancing oneself from the hustle-bustle of everyday life is one of the main reasons travelers ditch their travel companions and head to a new destination solo. However, it is not advisable to be entirely out of contact whether you are wandering around a new state or have traveled to an Asian or European city that is alien to you. Although your main focus for your trip should be experiencing new things and immersing yourself in somewhere new, there is nobody to back you up when you travel alone, which can be dangerous if you are not careful.
Having a mobile phone that works abroad is the number one essential item for any traveler, not only those flying solo. You can use modern smartphones to store your travel documents, access internet banking, contact loved ones, and kill some time by playing at sports betting websites or watching a movie or show on Netflix; plus, they double up as a GPS device, too. By all means, turn off notifications so the annoying beeps and pings do not disturb you, but ensure you can always contact someone.
Having a state-of-the-art mobile phone is all well and good, but they require power. Charging your device will probably not be an issue if you are in a modern city, but what if you go off the beaten track? Thankfully, there are some superb and affordable portable chargers on the market. They are essentially battery packs that you charge before heading out and can be used to power your mobile phone or anything you can connect to via a charging cable. Some of the fancier “power bricks” can be charged via solar power if you plan to be away from mains electricity for some time during your trip.
A Retractable Cable Lock
You should never leave your luggage unattended regardless of where you are in the world, and this is especially true if you are traveling solo and all your worldly possessions are crammed into your waterproof backpack. Imagine having your bag stolen and being left with nothing; it is the thing of nightmares.
It is not always possible to carry your bag wherever you go. For example, you may stop somewhere for lunch with your 65-liter backpack on, want to use the bathroom, or simply rest your weary feet for a short while. A retractable cable lock, which only costs around $15-$20, allows you to fix your luggage to your body or something heavy, vastly reducing the chances someone attempts to steal your bag when you are blissfully unaware. Sure, a thief with heavy-duty bolt cutters can still make off with your belongings, but not many would-be opportunist thieves carry them.
Keeping clean and fresh is crucial for your physical health and is incredibly important for your mental well-being. Few things are as demoralizing as feely grubby and mucky for days on end. The main problem with keeping clean is the restrictions on liquids when traveling by air, plus the fact bottles of body wash and shampoo are often bulky and heavy.
Solid soap and shampoo are perfect to fit into a pocket of your bag for when you can clean yourself up. Feeling clean and fresh is a massive morale booster and should never be underestimated.
It is possible to purchase solid toothpaste, too, or at the very least, consider buying plastic, chewable toothbrushes to keep your mouth fresh and healthy. Enduring dental problems while on the road is something you want to avoid.
Also, stick with roll-on or stick deodorants that will keep you feeling fresh while you are on the move. Pro tip: use unscented deodorants where possible because they are less likely to attract bugs! This is particularly important if you travel to a destination that is known for having mosquitoes, as scented products often attract these annoying and often dangerous bugs.
Women should keep some feminine hygiene products with them. Although many women’s menstrual cycle is as regular as clockwork, you do not want to be caught short if you are somewhere where shops or stores are few and far between.
A Selection of Medicines and Remedies
Regardless of whether you are heading to a major city or a tiny shanty town, having some medication on your person is a great idea. Basic painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen are perfect for minor ailments. Plus, ibuprofen is brilliant at bringing your body temperature if a fever strikes you.
Consider packing some cold or cough remedies because a sudden climate change can affect your immune system. You should also find space in your luggage for indigestion relief and antidiarrheal medicines. Eating foods alien to you can bring on some gastric issues, and nobody wants those types of problems at any time, never mind when traveling solo.
Antihistamines are a godsend if you suffer a bite from a bug or find you have a mild allergy to the local flora of your chosen destination. These medications can alleviate itching and stop runny noses and watering eyes.
Regarding medications, it is imperative that you research local laws before heading somewhere with them on your person. Some medicines and remedies that are freely available over the counter in the United States contain products that are considered illegal in other countries. For example, codeine is prohibited in many Arab or Asian countries but is found in some everyday painkillers. Likewise, pseudoephedrine is often found in decongestants such as Sudafed or Vicks but is illegal in some countries.