5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Travelling Solo!
Hey folks!! So summer is officially here (in Europe) and there’s this solo travelling vibe currently in the air…but you may still be on edge about this solo “thing”, right?
To be completely honest I’ve experienced a few annoying situation when travelling solo which could have been avoided if I actually made an effort to read that travel blog (hint hint lol), or simply asked a friend for travel advice. Nethertheless, the solo travel woes should never stop you from going solo and I’ve learnt a few things while journeying solo which I hope will help make your first (or fourth) solo travel experience smooth sailing (well almost)!
So here’s a few snappy “keys” I wish someone would have told me before venturing off solo.
1. JUST GO!
Yeah you heard me! What’s stopping you from booking the flight ticket? If you don’t try it you will never know whether it’s “your thing” or not!
I thought I was too young at the age of 19 to head on a study abroad program all the way in Vancouver, Canada but with the persuasion of a friend I went and never looked back! This trip actually sparked my love for travel and adventure, so hey, you never really know what’s on the other side until you go!
2. Offline Maps Exist!
When a friend told me I can now use maps offline this hands down changed the game for my solo travels and it’s literally the answer to many potential travellers fear of “getting lost while abroad”.
I actually enjoy getting lost (at times) when abroad as it feeds my adventures with a bit of “je ne sais quoi” lol. For the sane however, there are a number of apps such as Google Maps or Maps.Me that provide free access to maps offline.
Make sure you download the map of your destination while online, this ensures offline access when you get to your destination.
3. Embrace The Local Culture – Stay With Locals
There are of course a number of ways in which you can embrace local culture. Dining at local restaurants, speaking to locals or volunteering at a local school, but my preferred choice of cultural immersion starts from the get go.
Staying with locals whether through Airbnb, homestay or my new discovery, Innclusive, are by far my favourite choices of stay rather than traditional hotels. Airbnb and Innclusive allow locals to open up their affordable homes to visitors, which gives you the traveller the opportunity to experience true local customs and build a global community.
Staying with locals also makes it much easier to meet other locals!
4. Plan In Advance
Last year I travelled solo to San Fran without planning the entire trip (besides walking along the Golden Gate Bridge lol). Two days after arriving I decided that I wanted to visit Alcatraz Island, home to the infamous military and federal prison, but to my surprise the tour had been fully booked for a whole month in advance.
I definitely learnt my lesson there and to avoid such disappointment, about a month ahead of any solo trip, I get tips from travel blogs, online discussion boards and ask friends who have previously visited.
For some cities, such as Bangkok or Chiang Mai, one does not need to book anything in advance but it’s always good to know the “ins and out” before jetting off.
5. You Don’t Always Have to Be Alone
This is the beauty of travelling solo, you call all the shots!
When in Bali I managed to connect with fellow travellers from an online travel community “Girls Love Travel”. It was literally a matter of posting “I’m in Bali, who wants to meet up?” on the Facebook group and the rest was history.
If you fear being lonely while travelling solo, join one of the hundreds of travel communities on social media, seek out your interests in your destination (a sport team or say classical music lovers), go on group tours and avoid staying indoors during the day.
Highly unlikely, but if you aren’t invited out by your host, offer to take them out for dinner – they will rarely say no to showing off their city!
I hope you took some notes, do comment, share and let me know if you found this post useful! I’d love to hear if you have any solo trips planned!