How to Beat the Solo Travel Blues in South East Asia

South East Asia is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and for good reason. Prices are relatively cheap, the locals are friendly and both the natural landscape and man-made attractions are breathtaking.

The area is also well-known for its solo travellers and although these individuals are looking forward to a truly independent trip, they still experience feelings of anxiety and loneliness from time to time. For those of you planning an extended trip around South East Asia, here are some tips to keep the blues away.

Help the locals

South East Asia is full of opportunities for you to help the local population and these provide a great opportunity to keep busy, meet new people and give something back to the community. Sustainable tourism is hugely important to the area and one of the ways you can contribute to this is by getting involved with local education and community schemes.

Angkor, Wat, Cambodia, Old, Asia, Architecture, Ruin

[Photo courtesy of Poswiecie/]

If this sounds like the ideal way for you to keep busy on your travels, why not volunteer in Thailand, teach English in Cambodia, or become a football coach in Vietnam?

Be outgoing

Make the most of any opportunity you have to meet new people. If you’re staying in a hostel, for example, don’t spend all evening in a dark corner of your room, head to the common area and make some new friends.

Backpackers and solo travellers are often easy to spot and many of them, while enjoying their independence, are grateful for some company on their travels. There are many great sites to choose from filled with like-minded tourists, from the bustling Kaoh San Road in Bangkok to the smaller town of Phong Nha Ke Bang in Vietnam. If you put yourself out there you’ll surely make a friend on your travels and you may just make one for life.

[Amarapura, Myanmar]

Regional tours

Another sure-fire way of meeting fellow travellers is to take part in a regional tour. Fortunately, there are a wide range of established schemes all over South East Asia. Hanoikids is just one example of a student-run organisation that helps English speaking travellers find their way around.

As well as gaining a genuine insight into the culture and traditions of your travel destination, a regional tour brings together large groups of English speakers, so it’s the perfect opportunity to meet people.

Get away from the crowds

Although you’ll want to visit the must-see attractions like Angkor Wat in Cambodia, there are many sights that haven’t yet become fully-fledged tourist hotspots, but are still definitely worth seeing.

[Palawan, Philippines]

The beautiful south coast of Myanmar remains barely touched by tourism, for example, and gives you the chance to explore the local fishing community in peace. Sumatra in Indonesia, El Nido in the Philippines and Don Khong Island in Laos offer similar respite from tourists, but the good thing is these places aren’t completely cut off – far from it. Plus, these quieter environments usually give you more time to get to know those around you – both tourists and locals alike.

So, if you’re planning a solo trip to South East Asia, remember that “solo” doesn’t have to mean “lonely.” By visiting the right places and having the right attitude you’ll not only find plenty of sights to see, but also many new people to meet.

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The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Travelling

Travelling can be so exciting, and full of opportunities. If you want to grow as a person while you experience the word, travelling is the best way to do it. However, people tend to make some pretty big mistakes when they travel. Here are some of the biggest:

Letting Somebody Else Pack Your Bag

Letting somebody else pack your bag could be a mistake that costs you a lot of money. Even if this person is looking out for you, they might forget something important, or worse, pack something that isn’t supposed to be there. Write a list of everything you need and use it to pack your own bag.

Packing Too Much

Again, packing too much is a big mistake. Do you really want to end up with 3 different suitcases, with things you probably won’t use inside? Only take the essentials. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice anything; just be smart about what you take with you. Taking too many ‘just in case’ items will be annoying and possibly even more expensive.

[Photo courtesy of chattygd/]

Failing To Invest In Comfort Items

Investing in comfort items for the flight help you to have a better time. Get a travel pillow, along with an eye mask and ear buds if you want them. It can be difficult to sleep on a flight, so if you want the best shut eye you can get, make sure you treat yourself.

Failing To Plan Enough Time In between Flights

Sometimes, if you have to get connecting flights, you can look online and you’ll be shown your options. However, you need to make absolutely sure you have enough time to get off one flight and onto another. It might seem as if you do, but you’ll need to factor in collecting your things and getting through security. You’ll also need to factor in any delays. Missing connecting flights could be very expensive! Just because it’s shown on a comparison site, doesn’t mean you’ll definitely make it.

Not Having Cash For Your Arrival

You’re going to need some foreign currency for your arrival. Think about it; you’ll likely hop in a taxi, or at least want a snack. You can pick some up at the airport if you didn’t get any before you left your home town.

[Photo courtesy of Philip Brewer/]

Forgetting To Inform Banks

You might want to inform your bank that you’re travelling if you plan on using cards. If they suspect suspicious activity, they could freeze your cards. This could leave you in the lurch!

Not Having The Right Documentation

Having the right documentation is absolutely essential. If you’re travelling to America, for instance, you’ll need to make sure you look at the American ESTA website to ensure you have what you need. There are a number of other documents you may need too, from insurance documents to tickets. Have it all safe in one place.

Packing Your Itinerary Too Much

Make sure you leave yourself some free time so you don’t feel stressed out trying to cram everything in. Having an itinerary can be a great guide, but don’t be rigid with it!

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Where To Find The Best Vacations

The list of things you’ll want to get from your holiday will probably be pretty substantial! If you want a tan, you’ll want to go somewhere with guaranteed sunshine. If you want to explore new museums and galleries, you’ll want somewhere with a bustling culture. If you want some peace and quiet, you might want an adults-only hotel or a private suite!

No matter your specific requirements and preference, most vacationers have one thing in common. They want a holiday that is good value. They want to get the most for the money. For some this might be a total bargain, where you can’t believe how cheap it was! Or if it is for a special occasion that you’ve been saving for, you’ll want to know that your money is going as far as it can. You’ll want to know that you’re not paying more for internal flights or day trips that you should be.

So how you can ensure that you get the best vacations on the market? Here are a handful of tips.

[Photo courtesy of Mighty Travels/]

Speak to friends

With such a wide range of vacation companies out there, it can be really tough to pick out the best companies. Chat to your friends and colleagues about their most recent holidays. They might tell you about an awesome hotel they went to for a bargain. Or they might warn you off certain hotel chains or accommodation. Hands-on experience from friends will give you a genuine insight. If they put together their own vacation, they might be able to furnish you with the number of the person who put their package together for them.

Scour online reviews

If you find what sounds like the perfect vacation, it can tempting to skim over any negative reviews you find online. After all, it’s the good ones you really want to read. Be sure you take these reviews in. Distinguish what is actually being said; is it a grumpy man making mountains out of molehills. Or is there an actual issue being mentioned; the closing of pools with no notice is inconsiderate on the management’s part. It can also put a real dampener on the holiday- especially if there is no beach nearby! This is just one example of things you need to be looking out for in online reviews. Also, check out whether or not the hotel or resort manager has replied. The nature and tone of their reply says a lot.

[Photo courtesy of HISHAM BINSUWAIF/]

Browse online

The fact is, the best deals are now online. This is because operators don’t have to pay for call centres and their advisors. As a result, you’ll often find that you can get special discounts and deals if you book online. Start by searching things like ‘cruise deals 2016’ or ‘honeymoon spots 2017.’. This will give you a good starting point. From here you can pick out the best deals.

[Photo courtesy of Phalinn Ooi/]

Be quick to move

Finally, it could be very important to make quick decisions. The best deals can sometimes appear online and then get snapped up super quick. So if you see something fantastic come available, be ready to book!

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