Our top tips for those of you venturing into the world of solo travel! The do’s, do not’s and some of our personal recommendations for your first trip.
Don’t Over Plan
Even the most seasoned traveler can be guilty of trying to cram one too many activities into the day. It’s good to be flexible and allow yourself that extra time to take recommendations from people you may meet, or perhaps have that extra drink at the hostel bar. Leave yourself time to be spontaneous, you don’t want to have an itinerary that jam packed that you forget to actually enjoy yourself!
You Don’t Need to See Everything
Of course you want to utilize your time, but if your planning your first trip remember it isn’t just about ticking off a list of every famous tourist site in the city you’re visiting. Spending an afternoon looking round a museum isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, don’t just visit something because you think you should. Its your trip so make the most of it!
Just Say Hello
Contrary to what Elton John might tell you, sometimes hello can be the hardest word. If you’re traveling alone or even as a group, its always good meet new people and sometimes the people you meet can turn out to be most memorable thing about your trip. If its in the hostel, at the beach, on the street or even in a bar take the time to introduce yourself and put yourself out there. Its the conversations in life you don’t have that you’ll regret!
Not Everything Will go to Plan, So Don’t Worry.
Even if your first solo trip is only for a couple of weeks, not everything will always go to plan so try not to have a breakdown when it does. Whether you miss a train, get lost, or end up getting to your hostel and finding out they are booked up there is always a solution.
On my first ever solo trip I touched down in Istanbul and after getting a 2 hour bus journey I was in Taksim Square with a flat phone battery, no map and no clue where my hostel was. After an hour or so of aimlessly wondering and failing to find anyone to ask who had ever even heard of a hostel I found my savior, an Internet Cafe (Yes they still exist!). Fifteen minutes, a few Lira and a glass of Turkish çay later I was on my way, printed map in hand!
Just Say YES!
Ok there are plenty of situations where this might not be a great idea, offers of drinks from strangers, propositions in Bangkok or certain items from cafes in Amsterdam. But many of us or so closed off to new people, things, experiences and ideas in our everyday lives it is liberating to just see what happens sometimes. If the worst possible outcome isn’t going to bring you to any harm, then live a little and say yes!
Don’t Take Too Much Stuff
Resist the temptation to over pack, first time travelers can often be spotted by their huge backpacks 75L+ backpacks. Unless you are going to a lot of different climates where you are packing beach wear and winter clothes or have lots of specialist equipment, then there is no way you need this much stuff. It does depend on you as a person, but personally i would suggest taking enough clothes for a week to 10 days as facilities for washing are available in almost every hostel I have stayed at. When you a carrying your backpack in blistering heat on and off public transport you might thank me.
The Final Word…
Do things your own way, been adventurous, get out of your comfort zone and most importantly enjoy it!