“I’ve never tried solo travel. It sounds exciting, but it’s not suitable for a girl like me, who has little experience in travelling. It can be dangerous, so maybe it’s just for boys”, said Thuy Ninh.
“I think a solo trip is exciting because it allows you to freely explore places without the distraction or demands of others. The flexibility of solo travel is a great benefit. But it’s also risky, especially if you don’t know much about the places you’re visiting,” said Tran Long.
Dangerous, risky, but exciting is what youngsters like Thuy Ninh and Tran Long say when asked about the trend toward solo travel. Huynh Phong of Hanoi said that after a couple of trips, he began to relax and decided that solo travel makes him more self-reliant, builds his self-confidence and his skills.
“I prefer to travel alone myself, which is quite exciting in some ways. And it’s risky but it’s fun at the same time. I didn’t think like that at first, but then one day, I was feeling down because of my work, of my family, and I decided to take a rest myself and go on a trip, all alone, in a different country. And it changed my point of view greatly. You should try once, it changed my point of view and it may change yours. You have fun with your friends, but when you go alone, you have fun with people around you,” Phong said.
Tran Manh Hoang, who currently works as an English teacher in Hanoi, has taken solo trips many times. Hoang says researching the destination, knowing what part of town to stay in, and booking accommodations are necessary for a safe solo trip.
“I feel like it has become a trend. For a package tour, it’s often pre-arranged, so usually you have a fixed scheduled. But for solo trip, you can just pick a place and go there rather than sticking to the schedule,” Hoang said.
“There’re two kinds of people, I think, people who are very careful, so they will prepare everything before their trip. But some people, they just randomly go to a place and find out what they will do there. In my opinion, I think the most important thing is accommodation. So I would choose a place to stay very carefully. For another plan, I just ask people, maybe in the guest house if they have any recommendation,” he added.Hong Ngoc took a solo trip to Malaysia and Indonesia 2 years ago. As a girl, travelling solo was exciting but nerve-wracking. As long as you do some careful planning and use common sense, however, there’s no reason why a girl can’t enjoy the same freedom and fun as a boy.
“It was frightening but rewarding at the same time, and I learned several lessons along the way. I think if you’re a girl who likes adventure like me, don’t worry, just go. But you need to have a general idea of where you’re going. You should do some research on local customs. For example, in Malaysia women must wear clothing that covers their knees and shoulders. It’s a sign of respect. And it’s dangerous for a girl to be outside at night, so you should return to your hotel early,” Ngoc noted.
Travelling solo means you can go wherever the adventure takes you. You might want to start close to home or in a big city that’s crowded and safe.
Manh Hoang said “Actually, I prefer to travel to big cities and explore urban areas. It was already a safer place to travel. But, I know some friends of mine that like traveling to nature; maybe go to some rural areas. I think it would be a little bit more dangerous if they don’t know much about the language or the customs. Obviously, in Vietnam you can easily communicate with other people, but then if you go to different countries, you really need to be careful. Budget is also a matter. If you run out of money in a foreign country, maybe it could be a problem.”
World traveler Dang Hoang, who has visited 22 countries, has some tips for someone planning to go on a solo trip for the first time.
“My advice would be going somewhere near and easy first, you know, just somewhere in Vietnam, a place that you’d never been before or somewhere in region like Cambodia or Thailand. And read as much information as possible,” Hoang suggested.
“When you travel, please don’t mind spending a little bit money on getting a sim card with data because it’s so important. You can keep in touch with other people and don’t forget to let your family or your close friends know about your trip, in case of emergency. And you know what? Just go and enjoy. And I’m sure that no lesson in school can teach you as much as travelling,” he elaborated.