Friday, 27 January 2017

My Tips for Solo Travel

Last year after finishing university, I took the plunge and flew to Europe for a two month solo trip. I have always wanted to travel by myself but never thought I would be able to do it or afford it. But after 4 years of saving with my part time retail job, I managed to save enough for a two month break. I had always wanted to go away by myself, but just before the trip I got cold feet an almost cancelled. But I kept telling myself that I could do it and I did! So for anyone that is considering solo travel, here are some tips for you to enjoy your trip and feel safe, it will honestly be the best thing yu ever do for yourself!

At first, the idea of staying in a hostel was a big no-no. Sharing a room with up to 10 people, communal bathrooms and bunk beds was not my idea of a holiday. But on a limited budget and travelling by myself, this was probably one of the best things. Yes you share a room with other people, but a lot of the time you will never all be there at the same time. My biggest room was a 10 bed in Paris, and it was never full and people only came in to sleep. You can get smaller rooms of 4 and sometimes you might get a bathroom attached to your room. Also, this is the easiest way to meet other solo travellers like yourself. 

Definitely one of the scarier things about going away alone is the thought of anything bad happening. But I would honestly say, you will be completely ok if you always trust your gut. If something feels the tiniest bit unsafe or strange don't push yourself to do it just because you feel like you have to do things while travelling, don't! Do things you would be comfortable doing regularly. Don't push yourself to do things that you know might not be safe. I felt completely safe walking around London late at night, now worries. But Paris, I did not feel comfortable being out past 7pm, especially in the area I was staying. So I didn't push myself to go out. Which leads on to my next tip.

Being away for 2 months, I couldn't really afford to be doing things my whole trip, plus it was super tiring. So occasionally, I would have an early dinner, grab something for dessert (Ben's Cookies, can I get an amen!), and go back to my hostel, grab my iPad, either stay in my room or go to the common room, and binge on some Netflix. Don't feel like you have to go out all the time, if you're tired or just not feeling, stay in! Remember, you are travelling by yourself so the only person you have to please is yourself!

I did a Contiki trip for the first 3 and a half weeks of my trip, and honestly, it was probably one of the best decisions of my life. I have met people that I am still chatting with today (and planning a holiday with!), and you get to see so much. A majority of the other people in the group will be solo travellers so they are in the same boat as you! You do things you wouldn't have done by yourself like going out late at night, going to parties and clubs, and just having fun doing stupid things. I tried my first Jaegerbomb, ate snails, licked a wall of a salt mine, ate Nutella waffles almost everyday, won my first game of beer pong, went to the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps and roamed the streets of Paris singing High School Musical tunes. Things you wouldn't do by yourself! Contiki and Top Deck are some of the best, and I think it will be one of the best things you'll ever do for yourself.

My top tip and the one I followed the most. If you love shopping like me, visit the shops everyday! If you like museums, go to as many as you can fit in! If you like libraries, go to libraries! Who cares if you didn't go to the main attractions, as long as you did what you wanted to do. Again, the only person you have to please is yourself so don't feel pressured to do things that other people have told you to do or what is the most popular thing. I didn't go on the London Eye, instead I went to a specialist flute store in the south of London to try out some flutes and find interesting music. Instead of going to the Spanish steps in Rome, I visited a museum about Leonardo Da Vinci. Do what makes you happy, it's your trip after all!

 Let me know if you have any other tips!


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