Top Things To Consider When Travelling Solo
Travelling solo seems to be one of those divisive subjects, those who do it all seem to love it, and those who don’t tend to condemn it as being dangerous and lonely. The truth is, that travelling solo isn’t for everyone, in the same way that group holidays or large family vacations also aren’t everyone’s cup of tea - but that doesn’t mean they’re not great for some people, so don’t know it until you’ve tried it. If you’re thinking of giving solo travelling a try then here are a few things to consider first.
Yes it’s obvious and yes, we’re going to say it anyway - travelling solo is a different experience, so if you go into it expecting it to feel the same as a trip away with four of your friends then, of course, you’re going to be in for a shock. The ‘solo’ element of travelling solo is exactly what makes it so special and is also the reason why many people don’t enjoy this type of travel. The responsibility lies squarely on your shoulders alone, where to go, what to eat, getting to your gate on time. For those who aren’t particularly organised or who prefer to sit back and let others think for them, then this can be daunting. So go into the idea of travelling solo with an open mind, be brutally honest with yourself about how it will be different from a group holiday and you’re past one of the main solo-travelling hurdles.
Travelling solo is a different experience
It doesn’t need to be lonely
One of the main concerns that many people have is how to stay connected when travelling solo, and the truth is, you can stay as connected or as disconnected as you like. If you want an introverted solo-travelling experience then you don’t need to talk to people or make friends and on the other end of the spectrum, if you love the company of others and doing activities as a group then that’s entirely possible too. If you want company then speak to people! It’s as simple as that, you’ll meet people in your hotel or hostel, on the bus, on the plane, in the street and even online! There’s really no reason to be alone when travelling solo if you don’t want to be. One tip for solo-travellers who are worried about being lonely at their destination is to jump on Instagram, or a few forums and to start talking to people ahead of your travels. Make connections with other solo-travellers online and then arrange to meet up with them at your destination.
One of the most common mistakes made by first-time solo-travellers is to massively overpack - it seems to be a comfort thing. In reality, depending on the climate of where you are going, you can usually get away with just packing 3 of everything. You’ll be able to find laundry facilities wherever you go, and the chances are you’ll pick up some souvenir items along the way. The same goes for toiletries, pack your essential home comforts, but try to leave the majority of things at home and just pick them up on the road if it turns out you need them.
You don’t need as much as you’ve packed
Safety matters, but don’t worry about it
Let’s get one thing straight, the myth that travelling solo is dangerous is a flat out lie. Of course, there will be things to bear in mind, but they’re no different than if you were travelling with friends and decided to take a walk to the shops alone. Of course, there’s always going to be greater safety in numbers, so when travelling solo all the key principles about safety usually centre around not putting yourself in a dangerous situation, not walking around dodgy neighbourhoods alone at night, and ensuring that you use your common sense. The chances are that you’ll be going out to eat, party and explore with people you meet on your trip anyway, so if safety is your biggest concern then read some of the tips from fellow solo-travellers and it should soon put your mind at ease.
Another common misconception about solo-travelling is that it involves sleeping in a shared dorm in a hostel and slumming it to pinch the pennies. This idea stems from the fact that solo travelling is a great way to explore the world cheaply but it doesn’t have to be this way. Solo-travelling can be as luxurious or as budget-friendly as you make it. If you want to stay in hotels rather than hostels then go for it, if you want your own room at the hostel then that’s fine too. Whatever your budget you’ll be able to make solo-travelling a viable option. Just check out Abercrombie and Kent for some luxury solo travel inspiration.
You don’t need to slum it if you don’t want to
It’s always better to plan your trip
Finally, this one applies to all holidays whether you’re travelling solo or not, but plan your trip before you go. There’s a common misconception that solo-travellers all love spontaneity and, of course, that is a perk of being the only person to need to think about, but the reality is that you can fit a lot more into your travelling window if you put pen to paper and make yourself a little plan. Write down where you want to visit, work out how you plan to get from place to place, think strategically about your trip and what kind of money you need to spend at each location. By putting some sort of plan in place, you allow yourself to pack and prepare accordingly, reducing the chance of you running out of money or missing off something you really wanted to do while you were there. You don’t need to plan for every second of every day, but some sort of outline definitely helps and it will put those who are worried about your solo travelling plans at ease too.