"The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready"

– Henry David Thoreau

There was a time when we needed people to give us directions or we needed our friends for their company while travelling. But ever since the gadgets have become smarter they have made solo travelling a tool for revelations. A journey towards enlightenment, self-reflection, growth and boundless freedoms. No need to ask the corner shop for directions when you can simply ask Google with few taps on your phone and even the most navigationally challenged of us can steer clear to the desired location. Also, travelling solo foregoes the ifs and buts of the nagging friend who always runs late and drags you along.

With the rise in Indians living away from their families in search of a job, education or due to any other reason solo travelling has risen as a trend. Travelling solo provides a break from monotony, builds confidence and exposes us to people and places we’d otherwise never come across. However, travelling solo can also be a challenging task especially if you have never done it before. Keeping that in mind here we have compiled a list of 5 super smart strategies taken right from the secret diaries of the seasoned wanderers who have navigated through India and carved their paths to save some troubles for us.

1) Plan ahead: Getting stuck in a strange place without knowing what to do next could be one of the biggest worries while travelling alone. Therefore, we must plan ahead of time to the minutest details. Book a room in a hotel and travel tickets of your supposed itinerary. If your travel plan requires you to stay at a place for only a few hours MiStay can be used to book hotel rooms at affordable rates on an hourly basis. You can also download the local map of that area in google maps to help you find your way quickly even when there is no network coverage. You should also plan for the worst when you travel alone. Carry a power bank with you in case your phone battery dries up since most of the tickets, card details and travel plans are saved in our phones and losing power may stall us. Always carry important documents such as ID cards, travel tickets and others safely. Save scanned copies of your documents in your digital lockers so that in case you lost your bag you still have copies of your papers. Share your itinerary with your family and friends. Keep your cash at two different places so that in case you lose your wallet you don't get empty-handed. Also, don't forget to hook up an emergency contact in your smartphone for emergency purposes.

2) Pack light: Travelling light is one of the most important things to keep in mind while planning a solo trip. The vast reaches of India sometimes require travelling huge distances at times with several intermediate transport means. Handling very heavy and too many items of baggage can be taxing and increases the fear of losing a bag. Therefore, one should only carry the bare essentials which cannot be managed easily and are not available at the destination. Most of the essentials are available at the accommodations so just make sure you confirm with yours while booking a room at the hotel. A rucksack should be used preferably which makes it easier to carry belongings as well as it does not restrict the movement of the carrier. However, don't forget to pack essential medicines and a handy first-aid kit when travelling solo.

3) Know your destination: India is a diverse country. The language, food, the culture changes rapidly with each milestone and thus it makes it necessary to know a few things prior. Always research about the locals, the languages that are spoken in that area, the cuisines and try to learn more and more. Social media can be a starting point for this. Make sure to find trustworthy locals who can serve as a guide. They could be easily found using Twitter or Facebook pages of the region's hotels and resorts. At times, these local guides can be of astounding help and may take you to hidden treasures of nature that cannot be found on any travel itinerary. However, proceed with caution and verify the details before trusting anyone. Always use public transport or walk on foot with groups. Try to avoid travelling solo late at night and avoid those dark alleys. Rather, use the night to sleep tight, energize and spend the day exploring and wandering, satisfying that wanderlust of yours. When you plan for your trip, do not miss out on the important bits. However, over-scheduling and planning every minute of your trip will jam-pack your schedule and you won't be able to keep up with it. Try to make room for some adventure and excitement by going out on exploring the locality. This would not only save you from exhaustion but also help you discover the local culture.

4) Stay social: Try to mix up with fellow travellers who can be an invaluable fountain of knowledge. One of the best ways to connect with them is through single-friendly, social accommodation. Check and stay in the best hotels that are near to public transport hubs and make sure to learn a few things in the local language to engage with the staff. Don't keep looking up on your phone while in a cafe or maybe waiting for the bus rather look for friendly gazes and smiles that could give way to important interactions which could make your trip more interesting. However, don't share every tiny detail about you and your plans to every new fellow you meet.

5) Be confident and relax: The whole aim of the solo adventure is to rediscover yourself. It can be empowering, rewarding and a wonderful experience if done rightly. Assume a slightly open but secure persona such that you are approachable to the right people while you fend off the mean ones. Wear a smile and try to blend in with the locals. Take photos and make memories but be careful not to get completely lost over taking photos and try to live the moments for actual. Shopping in the local markets can be an excellent way to relax and take time off your hectic travel plans so make sure to take a break and relax in your hotel room while you can. After all, that is the essence of travelling solo.

For the newbie at solo travelling read the article "The To-Do List: A complete travel guide for your First Solo Trip"