You never really travel alone, the world is full of friends waiting to get to know you
For most people the thought of going on a trip to another country on your own is extremely daunting and very scary. Well you are getting on a plane to possibly the other side of the world and visiting a country you have never been to before so of course it is going to be a scary thought.
However, solo travel is in my opinion the best way to see the world. When you are on your own you have to step outside your comfort zone, put yourself out there and meet new people, struggle to read a map on your own and decide what you want to do for the day or where to go next. The best thing about travelling on your own is you are complete control of your adventure, you decide where you want to go next or where you eat. The freedom is amazing and you are guaranteed to have the time of your life!
Below are some tips when travelling on your own
1) Just book it – You want to visit a country, no one to go with, once the flight is booked you kinda have to (well not really if you really chicken out!), get on the flight. Sometimes the scariest part is just making the plunge and booking the flight. Once you’ve booked it you will have completely mixed emotions; you will be so excited as you now have something to look forward to. However you will also have the feeling of OMG WHAT HAVE I JUST DONE! Don’t worry both is completely normal, and you’d be slightly worried if you didn’t feel just a teeny bit nervous. When booking a flight, make sure you shop around and find the best deal but also one that arrives as a decent time. You don’t really want to be arriving in a country by yourself late at night. Try to arrive in the morning or at lunch time, as this will give you plenty of time to find your way to your hotel or hostel. Make sure you also pre-book your firs nights accommodation. You don’t want to turn up to a place with nowhere to stay.
2) The sleepless nights or really weird dreams are normal – you are guaranteed to start over thinking things at night, just when you want to go to sleep. This may be on the run up to the trip or just the night before, it depends how much of a worrier of over thinker you are! The bizarre dreams are also expected, and even if you may not feel nervous or worried, your body weirdly knows! All of this is to be expected and it’s better to be prepared for this to happen.
3) Pack as little as possible – when you are on your own there may not be someone to help carry your bags for you so travel as light as possible. If you are travelling with a rucksack, you do NOT need a massive one, in fact the smaller the better because then you won’t be tempted to over pack. When travelling you are most likely to have to walk quite a lot carrying your bags, you basically are carrying your entire life with you. You may have to walk to the bus or run for the train, or the hostel may be a long walk away from the station, therefore you don’t want to feel like you are carrying the kitchen sink! Check out the post called ‘what’s in my rucksack’ for more information in regards to what to pack.
4) Unlock your phone – if you are travelling for a long time make sure you unblock your phone before you go. This way you can buy a sim card for the country and you will save yourself a fortune! I bought a sim card in both Australia and new Zealand and it was so handy. Quite often you need to call places to book trips or to confirm your place on a trip. In addition it means you have a number so you can keep in contact with the people you have met and arrange to meet up with them. It also means you can keep in contact with your friends and family at home, because you are going to want to message them every now and then. It also great to have a sim card with data as google maps will be your best friend if you get lost, or cannot find your hostel or bus station.
5) Smile – so you have arrived at your hostel and you are in a shared dorm with 12 other strangers. The best thing to do is the find your bed and smile at the people in your room or head to the communal area bringing your smile with you. When walking down the corridor, smile at people and say hello and they are most likely to want to talk to you.
6) Get advice/recommendations from other travellers – listen to what other travellers tell you, or ask people to recommend places to stay. When I was travelling Australia I was recommended hostels to stay at so I knew they would be good as people I had met loved them, and they were always right.
7) Communal areas are a must – try to book hostels with excellent communal areas or kitchens. I have stayed at a couple of hostels with no communal areas so it was harder to make friends and was much easier to feel lonely. Finding hostels with communal areas means everyone will hang out here so it’s the best place to meet other people. Quite a lot of hostels only have Wi-Fi in communal areas so it encourages people to chill out in these areas which is good!
8) SAY YES– when another traveller invites you somewhere, say yes! Mingling with other travellers is the best way to meet people. I had just arrived in Australia and no idea what I was doing and it was a girl in my rooms last night, she was going to the night market and invited me along. Of course I went with her and we got on so well that we are still friends now and regularly meet up for dinner and drinks. Even though I had severe jet lagged and was feeling very over whelmed I would’ve been silly to say no and had such a lovely first evening in Australia.
9) Take advantage of every opportunity– you only get the opportunity once so make the most of it. Face your fears and do that sky dive or jump out a plane. I have a fear of caves and small spaces but sucked it up and went inside the caves at Halong Bay, because I probably will never visit the caves at Halong Bay ever again! You do not want to look back and regret anything, so make the most of your time in that country.
10) Trust your instinct – always always trust your instinct because most times it is right. If you have a bad feeling about doing something don’t do it. Or if you think someone seems a bit dodgy, stop hanging out with them. If a situation doesn’t feel right then leave and walk away. In Hanoi I had booked into a nice hotel for my last night and on arriving I had a bad instinct about the place and the area I was in. I left the hotel and found a different one back in the centre of the city and it was the best decision I could’ve made.
Now go ahead and book your first or next solo trip and let us know where you are going? Trust us you won’t regret it!