With many guides and itineraries that can be found online, travelling without a tour guide has never been so easy.You can plan all the places you want to go; from beautiful landscapes all the way to exotic eateries and cozy accommodations.
For some new travellers, they may feel overwhelmed when travelling on their own. We understand that it’s scary to just get on a plane and go somewhere foreign without anyone guidance. This is why we are here to share with you 4 important tips for independent travellers.
Travelling to a destination of your choice can be problematic if you have not done enough research before visiting the country. You are bound to face problems such as not knowing the dangerous areas in that country and risk getting scammed.
Do realise that there are many different kinds of scams while you are abroad. Locals may trick you into buying overpriced items or goods that are not even valuable. You must also be aware of what you consume to avoid food poisoning. Failure to care for your health and safety will result in not having a good holiday.
Plan Your Own Schedule
Planning your travel trip is usually the cheapest way to travel and will give you the flexibility of skipping some tourists attractions that you may not be interested in or unnecessarily spend money on.
You can experience living like a local by taking their public transport, such as the metro, taxi or bus. You can also rent a bicycle to travel around the city and observe the lives of the locals first-hand. It is also an economical way to travel around the city.
Another way to learn more about the locals is to chat with your host if you are staying in a B&B. They will gladly help you and may even introduce you to friendly locals who are trustable.
The downside of planning your schedule is that you have to do everything by yourself such as booking your train tickets, bus rides and so on. You may also face higher risks of getting lost, getting off the wrong station, being stranded and etc.
Language barrier is the most common experience that first-time travellers face when exploring without a tour guide. Although majority countries in the world speak English, you may still face difficulty communicating with the locals.
For example, local taxi drivers may not understand you and lead you to a different destination. Sounding different also makes it obvious that you’re a foreigner, which makes you susceptible to being cheated; they may not take a direct route to your hotel.
They can also seize this opportunity to overcharge you using the reason of a language barrier between the two of you. To avoid this, you can ask the hotel front desk to call the taxi for you or check the prices of your destination first.
Also, You can learn basic words, questions and sentences such as “hello”, ”where is the subway”, “airport”, ”taxi”, “thank you” and “tourist information” as fast as you can. Can’t remember it all?Fear not, there are many translator apps to help you such as Google Translate and Voice Translator Pro. Some paid apps allow you to use them offline. So check these useful nuggets out!
Money is another factor to take into consideration when going abroad. Some travellers forget to bring extra cash with them or face issues withdrawing money in a foreign country. Not having enough local currency can be a problem as some foreign exchange companies may not accept your currency.
For example, Singapore Dollars (SGD) in Uzbekistan is not a preferred currency to be exchanged. To make things easier, your money can be exchanged to either American Dollars (USD) or Euro as those currencies are accepted worldwide.
Visa or Mastercard must also always be activated when overseas. Numerous studies have shown that travellers often forget to activate their cards before going abroad and as a result, they cannot use their card for transactions.
Travellers should also download an offline currency exchange app to their phone to compare prices efficiently when shopping in foreign countries. You can keep track of your expenditures by knowing the cost of a product in your home currency.
Travelling without a tour can be costly without proper planning and understanding of potential risks. Some people fear travelling in the foreign country because it is an unfamiliar setting. However, by understanding the problems that you can encounter during travel, you will be able to avoid such challenges and experience a more efficient trip.
Despite the risks of travelling abroad without a tour, doing so is always worthwhile because, with each exploration, you gain more experience and become even more skilled in planning your next trip. At the end of the day, ask yourselves – what kind of tourist are you?