Too many people are so terrified of the idea of traveling solo, they would rather stay home than go on an adventure all by themselves. Worried that they might get bored or seem weird (who cares?), they sometimes go as far as compromising the quality of their traveling companion just to have someone – anyone – around. That is extremely unfortunate because as we all know, the wrong company can seriously ruin one’s trip and selecting someone who clearly isn’t the right fit is unfair to everyone involved. In fact, it might break perfectly wonderful friendships.
On the other hand, some travelers love nothing more than to embark on a solo adventure and follow nothing but their heart’s desire. They also know that you’re never truly alone when surrounded by other travelers and locals who are open to making new friends.
Both types of travelers will tell you that their trips have changed a lot since smartphones joined the journey. These little devices have such a massive influence on every single corner of our world, it comes as no surprise to learn that solo traveling is one of them. Here are five brilliant ways to turn your mobile into the best travel buddy you could hope for.
1. To eliminate awkwardness
A famous Carrie Bradshaw quote says “You’re never alone in New York. It’s the perfect place to be single. The city is your date.” While that may very well be true, many people still find the experience of dining alone, for example, awkward. Bringing a book to dinner might also feel a bit strange, and so scrolling through your Facebook feed seems like the perfect solution for these challenging situations.
Keep in mind that when traveling by yourself, it’s important to lift your head from the screen and look around every few minutes, otherwise you’ll eliminate not only the awkwardness but also the fun and excitement of visiting a new place. Take your phone out to dinner but set it aside to taste the local cuisine, listen to the music in the background and watch the people around you.
2. You can turn to it for advice
One problem of traveling alone is that you must count on yourself to solve any challenge and answer every question. There’s no one to provide insight and help you make the right decisions and choices. True, this also means that you will always get your way, because it is the only way, but every rose has its thorn. Trips are full of unexpected twists and having a friend around to run ideas by can be valuable.
This is especially true when traveling with someone who may compensate for what you lack and vice versa. If you have the skill and patience to find the best restaurant in town but will probably get lost on your way there, traveling with a natural-born navigator comes in handy. That is, unless you have your smartphone with you.
Smartphones enable you to find every recommendation, map and advice online. Chances are you invest great efforts in planning your trip and now, thanks to innovative tools and platforms, you can book transportation tickets while having a cocktail at the nearest beach bar. Such tools make crucial information more accessible and accurate, helping travelers overcome travel anxiety and feel triumphant.
3. It can help you meet new people
One of the most beautiful things about travelers is their ability to connect with others, no matter how different, within just a few minutes. This skill can overcome language and cultural barriers, and comes in handy even when they’re back to their routine life at home.
Smartphones offer many useful platforms for that purpose, which include your existing social media networks, as well as dedicated websites and apps, such as Couchsurfing and Travel Pal. Use these tools to hang out with locals and tourists from all around the world, and turn to your mobile once more to save their contact info for future trips.
4. To give you a sense of home
Meeting new people is amazing, but don’t forget about the ones waiting for you back home! Traveling with someone you know can help a lot when you’re feeling homesick, and just having someone nearby who knows you is a powerful thing.
If you’ve decided to travel solo, chances are you’ll want to catch up with family and friends a bit more often and remind yourself that you are far from being lonely. Luckily for all of us, gone are the days of short and expensive overseas phone calls. With your smartphone at your side, you’ll be able to call your family from a mountain top to wish them happy holidays or share an annoying experience with your BFF who just happens to be oceans away. Once again, we recommend setting some boundaries and keeping an open mind to the lovely people you have yet to meet.
5. Sharing is caring
You are likely to experience many special moments during your trip, which you would like to share with others and remember for years to come. Beautiful sunsets, funny signs, and someone who looks just like your uncle. The combination of the constant availability of a mobile camera and social media networks makes it super easy to share even the smallest observations. This is yet another way of keeping in touch with people back home and making sure that the memories last forever (or at least for as long as the internet stays alive).
Solo adventures have their charm, as they allow us to discover new abilities and spend some quality time with ourselves. Sometimes, the only true getaway is alone. More importantly, there’s a great sense of freedom in knowing that the world is waiting for you without having to wait for anyone or anything. Don’t let fears and hesitations stand in your way. Charge your battery, find the best data package, and start packing.