Solo travel is something that I believe that everyone should do at some point in their lives. Travelling solo doesn’t have to be moving across the world for a year or venturing to amazon rainforest. You could simply be taking a trip to a new city or close country for a couple of days. Here are some tips for your first ever solo trip.
CHOSE THE PERFECT DESTINATION
First things first, to travel solo, you do not need to travel across the world. Pick a location that you will be comfortable with, can afford to travel to, and around in. You may have already seen my post on best cities for solo travel, which shows the cities around the world that I have been to, that I think are great for solo travel – especially first timers.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Do your research. Make sure you know as much as you can about the country you’re visiting. Not necessarily the years history of the country, but local customs, currency used, how people dress, transport information etc. That way you are prepared and you don’t mind yourself in trouble accidentally – haha.
This is your first time venturing out of what’s familiar into a whole new environment. Although it can be quite daunting, it is also a very exciting experience. Make sure you look and sound confident always – even if you are not. If you look confident, you will be more approachable for the right people and you will not be seen as an easy target.
HAVE A PLAN ‘B’
What’s plan A without a plan B? It is extremely important know that not everything will go to plan. There’s no need to panic, that’s just part of real life. Just make sure you have a contingency plan. If you have a plan B, you should be okay.
SHARE INFORMATION WITH FAMILY/FRIENDS
Almost everywhere in the world will have somewhere for you to gain WiFi access. Make sure to check in with family and friends daily. Let them know of your travel places, details of where you’re staying and where you will be spending your days. If you make any changes, let them know as soon as possible.
BOOK IN ADVANCE
Book your tours and accommodation in advance. This will give you peace of mind and enable you to plan you trip. Spontaneity is definitely encouraged, but while its your first time, it is better have these pre-booked. Also, accommodation and tours get full during peak times, so you don’t want to miss out.
CONSIDER TAKING A GUIDED TOUR
Guided tours are great for meeting other people. Most cities offer FREE, yes FREE, walking tours. This is a great opportunity to meet other people and to get your bearings around the city. You can ask your guide the best places to eat like a local, where to go out in the evenings, things less tourist-y to do.
ONLY PACK WHAT YOU’LL ACTUALLY NEED
When travelling solo, you only have the bag on your back and no one to help you with it. We all are guilty of over-packing, but when travelling solo you definitely cannot afford to. Write a list of what you need and ONLY pack what’s on your list. Worst comes to the worst, you can always buy something you missed or an alternative while you’re out there.
GET TRAVEL INSURANCE
You never know what could happen! Obviously, if you have gone from London to Edinburgh by train; travel insurance is not the biggest necessity. However, when you are venturing internationally, you should definitely take out travel insurance. There are so many different plans you can take out, which cover you for different things. Do you research and chose what is best for you.
PICK SOLO-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION
Stay in accommodation that encourages people to meet people! Hostels are some of the best places to stay, especially for your first solo trip. While hotels are great, hostels are definitely the most solo-friendly accommodation out there. You can get private rooms if you want more privacy, there are communal areas and activities to meet other people and the staff are always available to ask questions.
KEEP COPIES OF YOUR DOCUMENTS
This is one of the most important ones. Keep copies of your ID and travel itinerary/flights somewhere separate to the originals. Whether you hide them somewhere in your luggage or in your day bag, make sure you have them just in case of emergencies. You can also take photos and screenshots to keep on your phone (don’t lose your phone!).
ASK FOR HELP
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, however I would advise that your first time – ask help from officials. So whether that is your hotel/hostel, shopkeepers, people in underground stations etc. Someone that if something goes wrong, you know where to find them – haha! I would also say, don’t be afraid to ask locals, but just be cautious.
LEARN THE LOCAL LINGO
When travelling solo, it is always important that you learn some of the basics in the local language. Be able to greet people, ask for help and minimal conversation is nice too. Also, locals really appreciate you trying, they may laugh little but it breaks the ice.
Get out, explore! Don’t be cooped up in a hotel, resort or hostel all day. Go out and explore the city or town that you are in.
LADIES AND GENTLEFELLAS! Most importantly.. ENJOY YOURSELF! Travelling solo is one of the best things you could do for yourself. You learn about yourself, gain independence and explore different cultures.