Solo travelling can be one of the most daunting things you can do, but it can also be so fulfilling. I’ve been on a few solo trips and I absolutely loved my solo holiday abroad.
I’m no expert but hopefully my tips below, from my first solo travel and from previously working as a holiday rep abroad, may inspire you to take a solo trip.
I recommend it. Read this, then as soon as circumstances allow, go and book that trip!
1. Plan in advance
On my first solo travel abroad I decided to go to a place i’d been a few times before and knew quite well. I researched places to eat, where to stay and places to visit whilst I was there. I booked a short break over four days, the perfect length for your first solo break.
Book flights with times during the day, you don’t want to be waiting in the airport and walking round the resort in the dark, on your own. Try to stay in places where most things you need are in one place, such as supermarkets and restaurants. This reduces the need to travel on your own.
Book accommodation with a private balcony or terrace, there’s nothing better than a bit of outdoor space to yourself to relax anytime you want. If you intend to use your accommodation more i’d splash out on something nicer. I didn’t do this when I went and the room was quite small, though most single rooms are so book a room with a balcony if you can.
Visit places where you know people will be around, a secluded beach may sound like just what you need but it may not be a good idea. Unless you can afford a private beach, leave quiet places for while you are travelling with someone else.
2. Think about Safety
As well as the safety points above, remember to stick to public places. Be aware of drinking too much. I allowed myself one night on my solo holiday where I could drink, but only in the bar of the hotel I was staying in.
As it happened, at the beginning of the holiday I’d met a lovely lady from Liverpool and we sat together for the night. We were also staying on the same floor so made sure we both got to our rooms safely. Even doing this, you need to be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Don’t trust anyone but yourself.
Don’t make it look as though you are alone, try to blend in, don’t walk round carrying a map! Don’t tell people you are alone. Try not to carry a handbag and hide valuables.
Make sure someone at home knows where you are staying and they have a paper copy of your passport. Check in with them at agreed points through your holiday. Let them know your movements, where you plan to visit and when. Let them know how you are feeling and if you need reassurance.
Always keep your passport, money and bank cards safe whilst travelling alone. I asked the hotel to look after my passport and I kept a paper copy in my room. I took two bank cards, one I kept with me and the other stayed in the safe in my room. Always keep emergency contact numbers with you and a copy in your room.
I recommend taking a Revolut card to load your travel money on for extra safety. Its accepted in most places abroad and gives you a full breakdown of where you have spent your money and the latest conversion rates. I also take two copies of my boarding passes and keep separately or have mobile boarding passes.
Always make sure your phone is kept in a safe place and pin protected, just have a quick check of your apps and clear your notes of any passwords you have stored, I bet you do this! Connect to ‘find my phone’.
Email all documents inc insurance details to yourself for extra backup and store the number in your phone for your travel insurance.
3. Face your fears
Now, that’s all the boring safety things over, here’s the fun bit!
What worries you about going away on your own? Are you worried about flying or travelling alone? Staying in the accommodation alone? Visiting places alone? Eating alone?
I was worried about all those things, there wouldn’t be many solo travellers that didn’t worry about these things on their first trip. Make a list of your fears and check each one off as you go. You’ll be surprised how easy it becomes when you break it down and conquer each goal at a time. Most of the time its the fear of the unknown, imagine each fear as though you are already doing it at that time. Think about what you would do in each situation then just go and do it!
If you are still worried, conquer each goal whilst you are still in your local surroundings. Go and eat alone at a local restaurant, walk round your local airport if you can taking in the sounds and smells, stay in a hotel alone near where you live for a night.
4. What to pack
Here’s a simple checklist:
- Money, passport and bank cards
- Boarding passes x 2 copies, tickets for attractions
- Visa’s, insurance documents, EHIC, driving licence
- Medication, usual prescription, travel medication and insect repellent
- Hand sanitiser, wet wipes, tissues
- Spare glasses, case and cleaning wipes
- Phone and charger, camera
- Clothes specific to the place you are visiting, inc footwear and nightwear
- Toiletries, travel size if only taking hand luggage or going for a couple of days, and sanitary products
- Books, kindle, tablet (and charger) or puzzle books for the journey or quiet nights in
- Travel speaker- I always take one for my room for a bit of background music
- Music player, charger and earphones
- Neck pillow, slippers and blanket
- Pen and notebook
- Suncream, sunglasses or umbrella
Keep it simple and lightweight, you will be the only one carrying all your stuff, I recommend a short holiday and if flying, take a carry on case. Once you are there you will be pretty much good to go with less hassle than waiting for luggage and possibly having it lost. Nobody needs that on their first solo trip.
5. Things to do
Whatever you want.
You can do anything you want, when you want and how you want.
Did I mention you could do anything you wanted?
6. Experience it all
There is nothing you can’t do alone, there were things I wanted to do while I was away that I thought you couldn’t do unless you went with someone else. Tours, shows and days out. You will find that other solo travellers will be doing the same things and you may even make friends- even if its just for the flight or just for that tour.
I didn’t get chance while I was away but I wanted to go parasailing. I’d seen they were two seater ones so didn’t go, I later found out they did single seaters or I could have paired with someone else.
Always enquire, don’t miss out on anything.
7. Embrace the freedom
Enjoy your freedom! This is your time, spend it doing what makes you happy.
You’ll soon be back home with friends and family telling them all about your beautiful, relaxing, first solo trip away.
8. Take lots of photos
Especially if its your first solo trip, you need memories of your time away. Its probably going to be one of the most memorable holidays you have. Take a photo of all those experiences you enjoyed on your own.
9. Leave your comfort zone
You may be terrified but bearing in mind your safety and within reason, just do it! You’ll be so proud of yourself once you have.
You don’t grow when you’re comfortableUnknown
Just do you!
Make sure you set time aside for relaxation, go to a spa or sit on your balcony all day. Take books, music and films on your tablet for cosy evenings to yourself.
The bits that nobody tells you about:
You will get lonely, you will wish someone else was there, even if you enjoy time on your own. You will make little mistakes and find new ways of doing things. You will get scared even if you think you wont. Single supplements are expensive and make you feel like a loner. You wont have people to share special memories with (unless you video call them). Not many places do Paella for one. Exploring will be limited to your resort or town. Sometimes you will just want to order room service (tip: fill two glasses and its not so bad), drink them, eat as much as you want and be lonely in peace. You will have to take all your bags into the toilets. You cant carry as much duty free. Selfies may be the only option, unless you trust someone else to take your photo, I wouldn’t recommend this (they always give you a pity smile). If you cant read maps like me, you will struggle and you will get lost. You will constantly question what you say to people to ensure they don’t know you are alone (them: oh are you on your own again, me: yes my boyfriend stayed in the room again, he’s not very well). You will get peoples attention if they notice you on your own, some people are friendly, some are not.
Most of all, you will love the experience, even if you just do it once.
Read my other blog for ideas of where to go. For more information on these places or solo travel, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
I’d love to hear from you!
If you are a solo travel blogger, please comment and leave your website link for people to visit and read more about solo travel.
Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed it.
Where would you like to go? What else would you pack? What solo trips have you been on? Where would you recommend? Do you have any tips to share?