Backpacking is quite an intense way of travelling. You meet a lot of people, party almost every night, you do a lot of activities during day and spend a lot of time in busses, planes and ferries. However, sometimes you are going to find yourself alone because the popular hostel was fully booked and you are alone in a 12 beds dorm (happened to me) or because you’ve just changed the country and you’ve lost all your friends you’ve made. It can even be a bad timing and for example you arrive in Koh Pagnan two days after full moon party and everybody’s gone.
Here are some tips on how to take advantage of your time alone:
Rest and relax
When I was backpacking in Asia, I was sleeping on average 6 hours per night. You come back from a club and then the roommates start packing at 7am or it’s so hot in the room that you can not sleep anymore. This can go on for weeks and you get very tired. So if you have some free time, sleep more, do a detox diet, just do nothing and recharge your batteries.
Watch your favourite TV shows
If the new season of Game of Thrones starts while you are away, you don’t want to miss on that.All your friends are going to spoil it for you the next day on facebook and it’s no fun at all. Find a way to get it on your tablet or phone and watch it. Some hostels might have a movie room or TV’s where you can plug a USB stick.
Read about the country you are visiting
Most of the times you arrive in a new country without knowing anything about it. The only things you’ve heard are the crazy parties or activities to do there, like tubbing in Vang Vieng or canyoning in Dalat. Get a guide from a hostel or go to wikipedia and learn a bit about the history and the culture of the country you are in. It will make your experience much better.
Do the boring stuff
Do some budgeting. Are you spending more money than you are supposed to? Maybe too little? Can you extend your trip for another month or do you have to leave earlier? Is your card expiring soon and you need to call your bank to get a new one? Maybe change your flight? So many things to do to make sure you don’t have any bad surprises.
Plan your next destination
Some people have a planned route that they follow and they know exactly where they go next. However, things can change and you don’t want to arrive at the border without a visa. Read online if you require a visa for your next country, what is the cheapest/fastest/easiest way to get there and maybe book a hostel.
Write a blog or journal
It’s a good idea to keep a travel journal or blog. Even if you don’t plan to share it with anyone. So many things happen during your travel that you are going to forget them or miss the interesting details. If you write it online that’s even better. You don’t want to lose all your notes because your backpack got stolen. Also don’t forget to back up your photos daily!
Catch up with friends and family
When you are away from home you lose contact with your friends. This might be due to the timezone difference or just because you are too busy with other stuff. If it is 8am and you have nothing to do, that might be the perfect time to spend an hour on skype with your family and tell what you’ve done in the past week.
What is your favourite way to spend your time alone?