Nowadays, traveling alone is no longer a rare and risky venture that people feel apprehensive about. In fact, whether it’s backpacking in the wilderness or going on a road trip aboard your campervan rental, it is now a fiercely admired practice—or a rite of passage, if you must—that more and more travelers are eager to take on.

The experience is liberating and often life changing. It opens a path to self-discovery, healing and even self-realisation.

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Still, despite progress and the world being more open minded than it was a decade ago, traveling alone is not without risks. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll suffer some losses, and you might even find yourself in a bit of a bind.

Avoid some unnecessary turbulence during your solo travels. These three valuable travel hacks should make a world of difference.

Research And Planning Are Key

By all means, be spontaneous. Let your heart (and the road) be your guide. However, also understand that taking unexpected stops and making impulsive decisions aren’t synonymous with acting foolish and making unwise moves.

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Be smart about your travels and come well prepared. Research and planning are still key. Find out all your can about your destination—how the local culture is, which traditions are sacred, which areas are safe and which are not, and how much things should typically cost, to name a few—and plan accordingly.

And by planning, it doesn’t mean you have to schedule and organize everything to a tee. Where’s the fun in that? Just be sure to plan the essentials. These include things like packing only what you need to travel light, having enough cash on hand, memorizing the local bus and train schedules, getting travel insurance, and knowing the sights that appeal to you the most.

Connect with Locals and Fellow Travelers

One of the best things about traveling alone is that you become more open to going on adventures with strangers you’ve formed connections with. It’s one of the best perks of traveling solo.

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It’s also a beneficial one. Staying at an AirBnb or overnighting in your campervan hire at a campground means an excellent opportunity to meet locals and fellow travelers. Don’t let it pass you by. These people are a great resource for useful tips, secret spots, and even free stuff. Listen to their anecdotes and advice, and don’t be shy if they share the wealth.

Best of all, they’ll also offer that companionship you’ll yearn for when you have been traveling long enough and starting to feel a little lonely, and the company you’ll need when you find yourself in precarious situations. There’s strength in numbers, after all.

Learn The Language

Becoming fluent in a new language is not an easy task to take on and could take years. Luckily, there are ways for travelers to communicate with locals—whether it’s hiring a tour guide, hand gesturing or using one of those speech-to-speech translators. Plus, many people that work in the tourism industry all over the world speak English.

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However, learning a few important words and phrases in the local tongue does make a colossal difference. Not only will denizens appreciate the effort, but it will also make communicating and bonding with them a tad easier.

Grab a pocket phrase book before your trip and familiarise yourself with a few survival words and phrases. And remember to brush up on them in your downtime during your travels, whether you’re resting in your campervan hire or dining alone at a local restaurant.