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Travelling Alone

About the author


Paul Goodyer

Nomad founder and CEO

Paul set off at just 17 on his first independent trip across Europe and into Northern Africa. He was away for ten months encountering some of the first overland companies and experiencing life with indigenous tribes. This and subsequent extensive journeys, revealed the pitfalls of being inadequately equipped and the misery of ill health whilst travelling. Nomad began on a market stall in Reading and has now grown to 10 stores all across the UK and the largest range of specialist travel equipment online.

Nomad Travel Health Services

Nomad Travel Clinics

Need help? Please book an appointment or call
0134 155 5061

Using the Nomad clinic services gives you a one-to-one experience with a qualified, highly trained, travel health nurse.

The consultation includes:

  • A detailed medical history
  • Risk assessment based on style and length of your trip
  • Advice on preventative measures you can take

Your pharmacy based travel clinic is all very well but for specialist advice at the same or lower cost come to Nomad. This is strongly advised if you are on a more adventurous or complex itinerary, or have special medical needs. Nomad Travel Clinics are specialists in:

  • Last minute travel
  • Complex itineraries
  • Travel health and existing medical conditions
  • Open 6 days per week

allowing 6-8 weeks for your vaccination programme, you have time to fit in full courses of vaccines where required which provides you with the best possible protection against certain vaccine preventable diseases. If you don’t have time to complete courses before you go, you risk travelling with little or even no protection against sometimes high risk diseases.

Nomad Pharmacy

Nomad Travel Pharmacy has a wide range of Pharmacy items for all your outdoor and travel needs. Browse the Nomad Pharmacy here...


I have travelled and explored in many ways. With my partner, with family, as part of an expedition, with friends. The list goes on, but nothing compares to travelling solo. Whether travelling alone in Australia, solo in Thailand or South America, it throws you head first into the culture of the host country and will give you the greatest opportunity to make life-long friends from around the world - the larger the group, the larger the bubble you will be in.

But, travelling alone does have its draw backs. Periods of loneliness, indecision of what to do next, no one to watch your back. It’s just you and the big wide world…. Or is it? Suddenly your bag and its contents become your new best friend and there are key elements of what you should consider taking with you that will help make your journey a success.

Your Bag

Keep it as small as possible. This is no longer something you want to lug around, it is now your travelling companion and carries everything you need for your comfort and entertainment. The front opening type travel bags (as opposed to a toploader, designed for trekking) will allow you to set up home quickly wherever you are and are easy to keep organised. A wheeled backpack has the added benefit of versatile carrying options, which is great for travelling alone as it means you can carry a daypack of essentials when travelling between destinations. However, a wheeled bag means you are carrying more weight, so theres pro's and con's to consider.

Day Packs

You will need a daypack for day trips and short treks, just pack what you need and secure your main bag at your accomodation. Many travel backpacks now come with a daypack that attaches to the main bag, which is great as you then have a fully versatile travel bag system. Personally, I prefer a shoulder bag like the iTravel Bag or the Sahara Indiana to a small backpack day sack, it's easier to keep an eye on and means your camera, water, notebook etc. are just at your hip when you need them. For most cultures this will help you to blend in and look less like a tourist. To find your perfect daypack, read the Daypack Guide.

Medical Kit

It’s really, really important that you carry a medical kit and that it is comprehensive. If the worst happens there will be no one to pop out for medicine for you. Try to pack enough medication for a couple of days’ treatment, especially for traveller’s diarrhoea. We have a full range of medical kits for every type of travel, our most comprehensive for solo travel being the Independent. To find the right kit for you, read the Medical Kit Guide.

Luggage Security

Securing your luggage is a big issue. There is no one to watch your bag, so having the means to secure it is very important. A lock and cable is invaluable. Most losses happen when you are distracted or fall asleep when waiting for a bus or train. Simply securing your bag to your chair will put off those opportunistic thieves. Many of the better travel bags are built with tamperproof, lockable zips, which are really great for peace of mind since thieves can easily unzip and rezip even a locked zipped when it's not tamperproof.

Valuables Security

Like your bag, there is no one to watch your passport, cash and valuables. Always travel with a Money Belt; you can keep your most valuable items out of sight of thieves and close to you at all times. Also, think about the times when these may be away from you with nobody to take care of them. A good example would be swimming, whether around a pool or on the beach. For these times a waterproof pouch would be essential to enable you to keep your valuables with you. These are readily available, just make sure they are 100% waterproof even when submerged and not just water resistant. Make sure you've made copies of your important documents. I like to save copies of them to my email account so I've always got access to copies should the worst happen. 


Going out to eat, in a bar at night, on a long journey. These are the times when you can feel the most alone as you will be surrounded by others. Modern technology is great and you can easily hide yourself away on your mobile (as long as you have a signal) or failing that in a good book. If you need to stay connected, taking a portable charger will keep you powered up. A portable speaker is great for hooking up to a smartphone or mp3 player when you want some music to keep you company. But what if you want to be open to approach? Travelling with cards or the Bandana Gameboard is a great way to meet people and have something to do which bridges cultural differences. To keep yourself entertained, consider the following; crossword books, Sudoku, writing a travel journal, sketch pad.