Solo backpacking is an experience that can transform you as a person. Traveling by yourself means you get to follow your intuition and do only what resonates with you. In many ways, this is the ultimate expression and freedom. However, it’s important to understand the dangers of solo hiking before embarking on such a self-discovery journey.
Why you should go solo-backpacking at least once in your life?
Before discussing how to keep safe when you go conquer the great outdoors with just a backpack, it’s important to stress why this is not as crazy as it sounds. Of course, traveling alone is not for everyone.
From a practical point of view traveling alone is simpler than traveling in a group, but also more dangerous.
On the up side:
- – you get to decide your program
- – you only do what you feel comfortable with
- – you come to truly understand what it means to become connected with nature
- – you discover you are much stronger and resilient than you might have thought
- – you need ample time to prepare, as traveling alone needs careful planning
- – you must understand the dangers before you even consider this
- – you might feel lonely
Some people find that they need to leave everything behind for a few days and head to the mountains alone once or twice a year. For others, and by others we mean the vast majority, solo backpacking is a once in a life time experience.
The reasons for which people decide to go on these kind of journeys differ. You may be about to get married, you might be about to make a huge change in your life, perhaps a new career, or a baby coming into the family. No matter the reason, a day alone in the heart of nature is what you really need to reset your mind and body.
Traveling alone attracts more women than men, according to statistics
You would think that women are more weary of solo hiking, backpacking or traveling alone. According to this travel infographic you would be wrong.
Apparently, statistics show that 9 million American women travel alone overseas yearly and 72 % of traveling women interviewed in 2014 said they had or would like to travel alone.
Also, according to one of the world’s biggest travel booking sites has published a poll that showed 59% of women traveling would like to experience it again.
Another interesting fact is age. You would expect that solo travelers are young people. Again, you would be wrong. Research shows that the average ago of solo backpacking enthusiasts is 54.
Staying safe while solo backpacking
We’ve determined that it’s well worth to make travel plans alone and venture into the unknown. However, never forget to put safety first. Traveling alone is dangerous for anyone, regardless of gender. You will be out of your comfort zone and completely on your own.
If you want to enjoy yourself and have the experience of a life time, you must first plan carefully and follow your common sense.
1 Planning must start at least a few months before your trip
Don’t just throw yourself head first into the unknown, exciting as it might sound. It doesn’t matter if you’re going on a solo hiking trip, or traveling abroad, it’s equally important that you plan and plan well. Research the places you will be visiting and where you will be staying. You might even want to consider going someplace you’ve already visited with friends and family.
2 Always have your family know where you are and check in regularly
Traveling alone doesn’t mean being completely isolated. Don’t lose contact with your friends and family as in case something goes wrong they will be your best chance of having a rescue party sent out fast enough. Before you leave, make sure you write down your itinerary and decide on times to check in with your loved ones. If you miss these, your family will contact the authorities.
3 If you go hiking alone, check in with the local ranger station
Hiking alone has a different set of dangers than traveling abroad alone. Even if your family knows where you are, it’s hard to communicate when in the middle of the forest. Before you start your hike, visit the local ranger station, let them know you will be hiking alone and when you plan to return. Don’t forget to check with them when you return.
4 Don’t venture off the walked paths
This piece of advice is equally important either you are solo backpacking or solo hiking. If you go abroad, stay in well known tourist destinations and city centres. Don’t visit the suburbs alone and don’t venture in unknown areas.
If you are hiking, stay on the popular trails. This way, you will have a higher chance to be found if you run into trouble.
5 Listen to your instinct
Last but not least, no matter how strange it might sound, always listen to your inner voice. If you feel uneasy about a decision or a course of action, simply don’t do it. You are traveling alone, so it’s up to you to decide where to go and where not to. Trust yourself to be your best guide.
Remember! If you travel abroad always check in with the local embassy in the country you are visiting. Make sure they know the phone number you are using and your traveling plans.
If you fallow common sense and plan your trip sensibly you will be well on your way to the adventure of a life time.