If the thought of heading off on an independent adventure is holding you back – we’ve put together our top five tips for making your solo trip that little less daunting!
Research before you go
For some, the idea of getting lost on your own in a foreign country can be scary. Not knowing the local language, not knowing how to use public transport and not knowing where you’re going can be overwhelming. If you’re travelling alone, not having anyone to ask or confer with can make the situation even more uncertain. Our number one tip is to do your research before you go! Have a look at maps of the city, perhaps plan out some of the places you’d like to see on your visit, learn some phrases in the local language and find out where buses/trains or subway stations are how you can purchase tickets for them. Pre-booking accommodation which is central will mean some of what you want to see will be walking distance, it also means you can work out what is around your hotel and you can know your bearings before you arrive!
When you book with a travel agent, they’ll be able to give you a lot of these tips about your destination before you leave. Quite often our consultants have been to where you are going, our first-hand knowledge will help you feel confident about tackling this new adventure on your own!
Arrive during the day
If you can, arriving into a new city during the day is always a great idea. Daylight adds a certain element of safety and when you’re travelling solo it may make you feel more confident about where you are and getting transport to your accommodation and getting settled. Of course, no matter where you travel you should always be cautious and aware at all times of the day, but settling yourself in a new city during the day can make the experience less unnerving.
Dine at the bar (where possible)
Going out for dinner alone can be one of the hardest parts about solo travel. Breakfast and lunch are usually on the go, so not as intimidating as sitting at a table alone for a meal. One of the best tips we have is to try and ask to sit at the bar (where possible), a lot of bars/ restaurants have stools at the bar and will often serve meals to people sitting there. Sitting at the bar means you can talk with the bar tender or others sitting next to you, it’s not as isolated as sitting at a table on your own with couple or groups of people surrounding you. You’ll have some great conversations, learn about the city from someone who lives there and won’t feel like you are eating alone at all!
Find ways to mix with other people
If you want ways to meet other people and not spend your trip completely solo, there are plenty of ways to mix with other travellers or locals. You can sign-up for a day tour that will show you some of the sites, usually there are other travellers on these tours as well so it’s a great way to find people who may be in a similar situation to you. There are usually great local experiences you can fit into your itinerary – cooking classes, volunteer opportunities, homestay visits – which can help you get to know the locals and learn about the culture and traditions of the destination you are visiting.
If you enjoy staying in hostels, they are a great way to mix with other travellers and maybe even make some friends to explore with!
Make sure you have the essentials to keep you entertained on long travel days or for any downtime you may have. Pack a book, music and noise cancelling headphones to keep you busy. Before you go, make sure you download some useful apps on your phone – maps.me is great for having access to offline maps, there are great translate apps in case you get stuck, and apps like Facebook Messenger and Whats App will help you keep in touch with those back home while you are in wifi range. Lastly, pack a selfie stick, you may think it looks silly to use one but if you want to get the perfect shot with you in it, it will come in handy at certain times!
Travelling solo can be a scary thought, even for those who have done it before. Be confident, there will be days you may be unsure and you won’t have a companion to give you the boost you need, but believe in yourself and if in doubt there are always people along the way that you can ask for help (another great way to meet people). The trip will be completely yours – what you experience, where you go and how you spend your days are in your total control. If the thought of travelling solo is stopping you from experiencing the world – take a chance, even on a group tour, and give it a go. It may be one of the best things you’ve ever done!
Contact us to start planning your solo adventure!