#75: Everything You Need To Know Before You Travel Solo (Pt 1)

These are the questions I had for myself before I embarked on my solo travel trip. Many of you who are thinking of doing something similar probably have the same questions, so I hope this helps calm some of your nerves! A few of them more more specific to me (e.g. what to do with podcasting equipment), but I included them anyway in case it helps you.

This is part 1. Part 2, which will be the answers to the questions YOU submitted, will be out next week. Is there anything you want to know about prepping for long-term solo travel? You still have time to submit questions! Email me: annanwildman@gmail.com and I will answer your question in the next episode!

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Intro/outro music by Ellis Delta: soundcloud.com/ellisdelta


  • What should I do with my apartment? 
    • I debated renting it out on Airbnb or sub letting it, but I ultimately decided to end my lease because it’s more freeing and less stressful. 
    • If I had kept it, then I would still have ties to NYC and it would have been stressful managing the renters.

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  • What should I do with my phone?
    • I researched international phone plans with AT&T because I still had to pay off my iPhone: I was on installment plan, and had to pay off about $600. AT&T doesn’t unlock your SIM card unless you pay off the whole phone.
    • Researched other phone plans: with T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.
    • AT&T also offers an option where you can cancel the phone plan for 6 months and pay $20 or so a month, and then they reactivate it automatically after 6 months.
    • I considered it, because then I wouldn’t have to shell over $600 immediately, but in the end it didn’t make sense to pay extra money on top of the installment plan when I’m not even sure if I want the account reactivated.
    • Decided the best option was to just pay off the phone and get local SIM cards when abroad
    • It’s really easy to get SIM cards when abroad: at airports & stores in big cities
  • How much money should I save?
    • Don’t really have an answer for this, but I would say to save at least 10 grand if you want to travel for a while. And keep a few thousand in your savings account so you don’t go completely broke.
    • I had about 20 grand in checking account. Left $5000 in savings.
  • What should I do with all my stuff?
    • This was actually really hard for me since my family is in Japan, and my sister is in Vegas.
    •  I considered putting my stuff in storage, but that’s too expensive.
    •  I sold most of my stuff: bed, dresser, tablet, mixer, blender, mirror, yoga mat.
    • I donated/sold my clothes: selling clothes was TOUGH. Only made like $70 and I donated pounds and pounds of both clothes and shoes.
    • I gave away my kitchen stuff.
    • Facebook Marketplace is REALLY good for selling. 
    • I also sold stuff on eBay and Craigslist.
    • Ebay is good for when you have something obscure (like a mixer), but they take a big cut of the commission. Craigslist is good for furniture.
  • Should I book the hostel and then flights first? Or what is the best order? 
    • I like to book the flights a bit in advance and the hostels last minute. 
    • Flights tend to get more expensive anyway, so I like to plan those at least a little in advance (maybe a week or 2).
    • I book hostels a day or so in advance. I like to do it last minute because if you do it too early you could meet travel buddies who you want to book with, or you may want to arrive a few days later, or you may get recommended a different hostel by someone you meet along the way. If you book too early, you’re stuck with that decision and it allows for less flexibility.
  • Is it safe to travel alone? 
    • Every country and city I’ve visited have been safe, but I’m also not doing anything stupid. I’m watching my stuff, not staying out late at night alone, and not getting super wasted with strangers.
    • Walk confidently and try to memorize directions as much as you can so you’re not looking like a total lost puppy staring at your phone.
    • Stay alert, but most places are completely fine.
  • Is it easy to meet people? 
    • Yes, as long as YOU are willing to make the effort to.
    • Stay in hostels. This is the best way to meet people. And if you want to make friends, be friendly. Smile, say hi when you walk into your room.
    • Go up to strangers at breakfast/dinner and ask to sit with them. Don’t worry: THEY WILL SAY YES.
    • The easiest is always at happy hour, when everyone is more chilled out and in the socializing mood. You don’t have to drink to meet people, but go to the happy hour anyway just to meet people.
    • I’ve found that hostels with a good common area or bar are best for solo travelers. I never book hostels if there isn’t a good-sized common room (unless it’s at a city where I’m just stopping briefly and don’t care about meeting people). You can tell from photos/reviews if the hostel has one.
    • Do tours!! Walking tours, boat tours, pub crawls, hiking, anything. This forces you to be in a group. People are open and WANTING to meet new people in these settings, and you’re guaranteed to make a new friend or three.
    • Solo dining is a good way to meet people as well, ironically. If it’s a busy restaurant, they’ll seat you with a group or a group will be seated with you. Then you’re forced to talk to each other and you end up becoming friends. It’s nice!
    • You can also meet people on buses: a lot of overnight buses/long trips will have other backpackers on it, especially if it’s to a popular destination. I don’t really meet people on buses because I’m usually not in the mood to, but it’s definitely possible.
  • Should I get travel insurance? 
    • I wasn’t sure if travel insurance would be worth it, but after a bit of contemplation/research, I decided to buy it.
    • I went with World Nomads because it has a good reputation with long-term travelers and backpackers.
    • World Nomads: www.worldnomads.com/travel-insurance/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqpHbmJPU2QIVDCS9Ch3huwaMEAAYASAAEgItsvD_BwE
    • I haven’t used it yet, but you never know. I’ve seen a lot of people get in motorcycle accidents, and TONS of people have gotten sick from food, dehydration, etc.
    • Get it to be safe. 
  • Should I get vaccinations? 
    • I didn’t think this through enough before I started traveling. Don’t be like me!
    • I also had no idea what vaccinations I’ve already had. Make sure you research your medical records so you know what you need before you go.  
    • I got my vaccinations in Taipei, which wasn’t a bad idea since it’s cheaper than getting it in the US (even with insurance).
    • I got a typhoid, Hepatitis A, and tetanus shot for around $110 total.
  • How big of a backpack should I buy?
    • I have an Osprey Porter 46 liter backpack, and it’s really a good size. I’ve seen people with HUGE backpacks: 70 or 80 liters, and it is just too much. You really don’t need that many clothes.
    • My backpack: www.amazon.com/Osprey-Porter-Travel-Backpack-46-Liter/dp/B00OKE68PS
    • Once you start backpacking, you realize that no one cares about their appearance.
    • No one wears make up, and everyone wears the same clothes every day.
    • You don’t need to bring your entire jewelry collection or make up kit. Trust me. You may THINK you need to bring it for “special occasions,” BUT YOU DONT. THERE WILL BE NO SPECIAL OCCASIONS!!!
  • What should I pack? 
    • Depends on what part of world you’re traveling to, but for SE Asia: 
    • A few shirts, shorts, a pair of jeans, leggings, sweats, swim suit, flip flops, sneakers
    • Light jacket for colder climates
    • Toiletries, DIARREA MEDICINEallergy medicine
    • Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat
    • Sarong for temples/beach 
    • Quick-dry towel
    • Sleeping mask/ear plugs for hostels
    • B12 (if you’re vegan or B12 deficient)
  • What should I NOT pack? 
    • Lots of jewelry/make up
    • Extra shoes/sandals (you only need walking shoes, running shoes, and flip flops)
  • Some logistical things to take care of before you leave: 
    • Cancel gym membership
    • Tell landlord
    • Tell roommate
    • Research visa requirements for countries I want to visit
    • Change permanent address
    • Cancel electricity/gas/internet
    • Cancel phone plan
    • Buy enough contacts to last a while

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