Gare de Strasbourg—Train station

Earth’s largest and most populous continent is also the world’s most culturally diverse. From China and Japan to Russia, India, and Iran, you could spend years travelling the continent and learning the culture of each country.

Whether you spend a few years or only a few weeks, you will learn a lot from travelling alone. Roaming solo will open your mind and indulge your senses to the experience of a lifetime. Henry Rollins said it best: 'Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.' Riding elephants in Cambodia or watching a tea ceremony in Tokyo, the following are tips to keep in mind while travelling alone in Asia.

Be in the know

Almost half of the countries in Asia are currently under a recommendation for high degree of caution in terms of travelling there, with a few countries not recommended for travel at all. It is important to use sites like Safetravel before deciding on a destination. Being in a dangerous country with another person could be scary, being there alone could be downright dangerous.

Know your necessities

When you are travelling alone, such issues as language barrier and unfamiliar terrain can be enough to make you feel isolated and frazzled. If this is your first time to an Asian country, your first time travelling alone, or both, know what comforts will keep you sane. Do you need to be around people that can speak, at the very least, minimal English? Stick to the big cities or ones that are heavy with tourists rather than the little villages. Do you need Wi-Fi to stay connected and keep you informed? Opt to spend more of your budget on a chain hotel rather than a budget-friendly hostel. Put yourself in a worst-case scenario and think about what you absolutely cannot manage without.

Prepare for emergencies

It is always a good idea when travelling to know how to contact the local embassy, the local police, and hospital. It is best to know the names of these in the local language also, or at least have them written down in the local language.

Don’t forget to learn a few key phrases in the local language such as: 'Thank you,' 'Help,' 'Hotel,' 'Police,' and 'Do you Speak English?' Another great option is to invest in the Point It book to break any language barriers.

Lastly, because you are travelling alone, it is always a good idea to give a loved one back home a copy of your full itinerary, where you’ll be staying, what country or city you are supposed to be in, contact information for where you will be staying, etc. Try to check in with this person daily or every few days.

Embrace the solitude

Most of us aren’t accustomed to absolute solitude for extended periods of time. It can be overwhelming, it can be lonely, and it can be frightening. Use your time to not only get to know the culture of your host country and the people that are there, use the time to get to know yourself. Broaden your horizons and take risks, face your fears. Try the local delicacy, get to know the person sitting next to you in a local coffee shop, and learn their stories while creating memories for your own.

Depending on the length of your trip, how many countries you want to visit, and what activities you will participate in, choosing which travel insurance plan is correct can be frustrating and exasperating. We have taken the stress out of choosing, Cover-More will help you compare policies, compare company ratings, cancellation policies, and more. Our list will give you the confidence to choose the best coverage for you solo trip.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Francois Schnell; cropped from original