I am rather fond of travelling solo. I find it to be a rather uplifting experience to see new sights and hear new sounds. I like to bask in the adventures that a new world offers, and there’s no reason for me to stop doing so.

However, being young and new to the working world, I have my limits.

Most of the time, these limits include budget restraints.

But limits are limits. They are not concrete enough reasons for me to not travel at all. They are just there for me to work around and conquer. And most of the times I triumph over such budget issues by buying cheaper tickets – which, as you would know if you travel often, includes more stops and even longer transit times.

Having transited in so many cities on the way to many of my previous travel destinations, I’ve made a checklist of ways to prepare for the long overhaul ahead.

1. Travel Light and Smart

Check in as much baggage as your airline allows you to, but please make it a point to pack your hand-carry light. You do not want to be lugging around a heavy handbag or backpack from one terminal to another. A long overhaul means you will need to make restroom stops and heavy bags will require you to carry a trolley around – a difficult thing to maneuver especially if you travel solo.

Wear appropriate clothing depending on the country you’re travelling from and going to. Keep yourself warm (socks, jacket, shawl) and consider wearing a good pair of shoes for all the walking you might be doing.

2. Pack essentials 

Which then brings me to the all important question – what DO you stuff in your hand-carry? I break down my personal checklist into these categories:

  • Documents: There’s no two ways about this. Prioritise your passport, tickets, boarding passes, luggage tags, and ID in your bag. You can’t get to your next destination without them!
  • Survive: Ensure you have enough money, ATM cards, or credit cards to help you buy food and drinks to stay full and hydrated. If you’re on a budget, pack some travel-sized biscuit packets to munch on if you need. Remember – no liquids allowed in your hand-carry so you will have to buy them during your transit.
  • Entertainment: For when the boredom sets in. If the airport you’re transiting in is fancy, then you may be kept entertained by the shopping and dining options there (think Changi Airport or KLIA2). Some airports, however, offer very minimum sources of entertainment, so pack something to keep you sane. Choose your poison – whether it be a book, magazines, some music, or fill up movies or your favourite series on your electronic devices to keep you company. Bear in mind the electronic guidelines when travelling and keep your chargers handy.
  • Others: Keeping up with your prayer schedule? Carry along your praying essentials. Have a health issue? Place your medicines in an air-tight container. Have dry skin? Keep some moisturiser and wet wipes handy.

3. Stay in touch

If you need to keep in touch with your loved ones, consider roaming options from your local data provider. Download apps on your smartphone prior to travelling to stay in the loop with the news, weather and other important updates such as possible flight delays, prayer times, etc. If you’re travelling solo – your safety is top priority, so communicate and stay in touch to ensure a safe journey and peace of mind for yourself and loved ones.

The world is filled with new experiences. Don’t let the thought of long transits shun you away from not travelling at all. If done right, sometimes the transit can be just as fun and eventful as your destination.