6 Boring Things to do Before You Roam Solo

Is security (or lack of) one of the reasons you are hesitant to go it alone? I get it, it is tough to be in a crisis and you turn to your buddy to scream, “Oh No! What are WE going to do?!” and there’s no WE, just air…maybe an angry border guard who doesn’t ‘get’ your humour and there’s no one to calm him/her down. Of course there also isn’t anyone when you f**king miss the bus to Koh Phanan to fight with. But I digress.

I was thinking the other day about the challenges of being a solo traveller. The #1 thing for me is the thought of dealing with a crisis, be it getting sick or getting in the middle of political uprising or a natural disaster. Just typing it makes my stomach clench.

Well to get my stomach unclenched (and maybe help yours to as well) I decided to do something about it.

‘What?’ You ask.

How about developing a plan B… B for back up and covering your bases. The more you do before the trip the easier it will be to throw yourself into your adventure. Too often I fly out of Vancouver, willy nilly, barely managing to remember to get insurance and a tourist visa. (note to self – need to get visa for Mozambique soon) The result is a low frequency hum of anxiety that I have forgotten something. Well, no more I say!

Mozambique visa stamp

Mozambique visa stamp

So here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Make photo copies of your passport, country visas, credit cards, insurances. Also keep them on-line where you can get access to them from any computer, like Drop Box or Cloud.

2. Find out what to do in an emergency when you are in a foreign country. Go to your government’s website and do some digging. Find out if you have an embassy where you are going and what you can reasonably expect from them and keep their address and phone numbers in your wallet. Remember – Knowledge is power.

For instance the Canadian embassy will:

3. Find out your blood type and put it in your passport. In an emergency it will save a lot of time especially if you’re unable to speak…personally I can’t imagine a circumstance where I couldn’t at least gurgle, anyway that’s what my boss thinks.

4. Make sure you have important phone #’s like home, work, embassy as hard copy as well on the internet. . You may think you have some of them memorized but trust me, in a crisis, memory is the first to go.

5. Take a first aid course before you go and take a basic first aid kit. I know, I know… it takes up precious space in your luggage but go without that extra pair of shoes if you have to. ( !!!!!!!!! No, I did not just say that, did I?! ) Things to include:

  • Polysporin – I swear by this stuff! It is the best topical antibiotic ever! They have a line-up of products but the one i use is the ointment.
  • fill a prescription for a broad-spectrum antibiotic
  • anti-nausea pills, acupuncture bracelets … what ever works.
  • anti-diarrhea
  • antihistamine (for those pesky reactions to bug bites and such)
  • jet lag pills from the health food store – they actually really help.

6. Travel Insurance Don’t be a noodle head, get insurance. Don’t argue with me. When I hit the magic number 60 my travel insurance costs rocketed but I know I have to suck it and pay it. Best place to go first is Insure My Trip , they will compare tons of companies and lay them out for your perusal, they are the Travelocity of travel insurance . Then check out Nomad Matt’s post about the have-to-haves of travel insurance. He favors World Nomads,  (fyi, they don’t cover 60+ ) you can check them out from a link he has in his article when you go read it, cause you are, right? But not until you finish my post and ‘like’ and leave a comment. 🙂

Bonus tip:
When you’re there, keep your hotel’s card on you. It will help when you’re dealing with cab drivers and when you’re lost.

Nail all that down and  then forget about it, you’ve done what you can so just have fun and not fret about the shit that hasn’t and likely won’t happen.

Have I forgotten anything? What do you think? Would this list work for you?

ps
Speaking of getting a visa for Mozambique, I almost got sucked in to spending hundreds of dollars using a 3rd party visa company. I just wanted to get it done and I wasn’t paying attention and then just before I hit “pay” something tweaked my hazy mind and I thought – wait. Let’s email the place I am staying and see what they say. Good thing. I can get it at the airport when I land for $80 us… of course at the rate the Canadian dollar is plummeting it will cost me a couple hundred anyway.

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13 thoughts on “6 Boring Things to do Before You Roam Solo

  1. Oh my dear Crone,

    Just reading about your adventure makes me exhausted. But then I am a wee bit older than you, maybe that counts?

    All I can say is that you’re an inspiration, DO IT NOW it doesn’t get any better than this!

    I am battling my new mac Air work book — or something like that. This is my present project to become more ether literate. Changing from a old toothless TIGER o.s to YOSEMITE has been traumatic……

    Luv’nGod Speed,

    meri

    >

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    • Yippee! It is Meri! Oh my word I am so glad to hear from you. Can’t believe we live in the same city and can’t seem to connect. Thank you so much for dropping by, come back soon and sprinkle you wonderfully witty wisdom all over my pages! Could I talk you into writing a guest post for me?

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  2. All of those things you list and the fear surrounding same is exactly why I haven’t yet leapt into solo travel. But I’m creeping up on it and your tips help. Thanks.

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  3. I do all that photocopying and saving of documents on my cloud accounts. And also, I bring lots of meds— just in case. Then I update everyone in my family at each pit stop so nobody worries. But what really helped me recently when I travelled to the USA alone was photocopying and LAMINATING my passport front page and US visa. I didn’t need to pull out my passport for each time I filled in papers, and I had that extra assurance of a laminated info card. 😊

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  4. I’ve travelled alone before but I’m currently planning to move to Peru for a year and these tips are brilliant! I never would have thought about checking my blood type but it makes so much sense. And its brilliant to find other normal, sensible women who are happy to travel alone and know that it doesn’t have to be any more dangerous than travelling in a group!

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    • So glad you found the suggestions helpful! What will you be doing in Peru? I really enjoyed that country when I went. The way I see it, if you are travelling in a group you make a bigger target…LOL

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