You've made the decision to travel alone - congrats! It can be a little intimidating to think about, but it can, of course, be equally as exciting to do. In preparing to embark on my first international trip by myself I've realized there's something else to consider with today's travel landscape: connection. I've mentioned it before, but it's been a while since I've actually traveled. Actually, it's been about 10 years or so since I properly went somewhere new. In the time since, we've seen a surge in content creation platforms and social media that allows us to document our every move. But what does that mean for traveling solo and how do we share our adventures responsibly?
There's the obvious answer to this question, right? Social media. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and any other platform you can utilize to share your adventures or thoughts throughout your travels. You can announce the trip to your friends and followers before you leave and they can keep an eye out for posts and stories, maybe you can even go live once or twice on the road! This serves as a nice way to stay in touch with your community and cure potential homesickness you may feel that can come from any traveling.
If you choose to spend some time online while you travel just stay mindful of what you're doing and where you are. You don't want to waste your days abroad by being on your phone and you don't want to disrespect anyone by filming something sacred without permission.
With the rise in using social media, especially Instagram, for sharing travel adventures there has also been a rise in tourism to "Instagram-worthy" destinations. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a relatively new phenomenon of over-tourism. I could write an entire piece about this concept, and I'm sure I will in the future but for now, we'll cover the basics. Overtourism occurs when too many people enter an area for a vacation or visit and don't bring enough benefits to the area, doing more harm than good. The reason for this becoming such a large issue is both the accessibility of travel and exposure of unknown places via Instagram and social media.
Both of these are not bad things by any means. But the culture around Instagram travel and fame has lead to many issues, not the least of which can be viewed via the amazing Insta Wrecked account that features just what happens to locations made famous by being tagged too many times on Instagram. Instead of flourishing landscapes and economies, these areas are typically overcrowded or destroyed shortly after they become famous due to the increase in traffic. This is why many recommend you not tag the geolocation of a beautiful view or monument and, instead, share the location of the country or city as a whole to promote generalized tourism and boosts to the area as an entire entity.
Find a Network
Obviously you can't even begin to think about staying connected via social media without data to be connected. There will be a few different factors to influence your decision on data management such as location and your pre-existing options. Some cell-phone providers like T-Mobile offer baselines in their plans for use abroad to most countries, some countries have a multitude of portable WiFi rentals available such as Japan Wireless that can be used for tethering abroad, or you can rely on WiFi hotspot mapping tools to find locations you can utilize abroad.