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How To: Solo Travel
Travelling alone takes a brave soul.
The world is a mighty place.
From ancient buildings where we are clueless to how they managed to assemble such brilliance without the assistance of machinery, to blazing green flashes across our sky…
…there is so much to see.
Here’s the deal:
In this guide, I will be giving some advice from the research I have undertaken.
Not only that but on the way, I will be giving you some handy links to websites, blogs, and apps that may be of great use to you.
Let’s get going!
Newbies – Are You a Solo Travel Virgin? Become an Instant Expert
New to travelling solo?
It can be daunting…yet exciting.
Several factors make you procrastinate travelling alone: making friends, your safety and getting lost just to name a few.
However, this is totally normal.
If you want to make friends on your travels, there are a few ways to do it.
You can book your holiday using a group tour website that groups you with like-minded people so that you can instinctively make friends quickly and easily.
If you decide to not book a group tour, I suggest taking part in a day tour on your initial day of arriving at your destination.
This will allow you to feel more confident of the neighbourhood; you can meet new people that way, too.
If you are a shy person trying to find the courage to travel alone, you shouldn’t worry. I have read an article written by an introvert woman who travels alone. Her blog is about solo travel as a woman but men can also relate… like me! Have a read as this should really boost your confidence.
Most newbies who are contemplating travelling solo have just left school or university.
The freedom you feel is like none other when you leave school, and makes you crave travelling the world even more!
If you are aged 18-28, there are websites where you can book different types of group tours.
You can tour Asia, Australia or even South Africa.
There is nothing more nerve racking than when you are seeking love and you want to talk to that man or woman who has transformed your eyes to love hearts.
You can numb your nerves slightly by visiting a Singles Group Tour website.
If you are looking for inspiration to finding love on tour, have a read of a cool blog post I have read that is truly inspiring.
It is sometimes valuable to draw a little bit of attention to yourself.
Try visiting the same cafe every morning for breakfast.
People will recognise you as the new local and won’t be able to help themselves but to chat to you!
Safety – So you don’t have to sleep with 1 eye open at night
When travelling unaccompanied or anything you undertake in life, safety should be your main priority.
If you are not secure, your life is at risk and that is not something you want to put in jeopardy!
So, what are some ways in which we can scale down this risk?
Well, it is always good to know your destination thoroughly.
You should research into how safe the areas surrounding your destination are regarding crime rates.
One cool way to stay safe was Janice Waugh’s concept to remember your priorities in this order:
your person, documents, money and stuff.
This made it very easy for me when I read her blog post to interpret my priorities when travelling solo.
As we all know, emergencies occur at the worst of times.
One way to stay protected abroad (in any emergency) is to know emergency phrases in the language your destination speaks.
Travel insurance is a must as quoted by most solo travel experts.
However, finding the correct policy is difficult.
When finding the right travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical issue, be sure to check what the policy has to say.
Some policies provide full coverage whereas other policies state you have had to be healthy for a certain amount of time.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Another unique idea is to use a free VPN.
This will allow you to safeguard yourself from identity theft, access websites that are blocked in certain countries and prevents your ISP provider selling your personal data.
VPN’s work by encrypting all of your personal data, making it impossible for your personal data to be interpreted.
There is a guide written by PC World that is very informative, whether you’re an expert or beginner!
Getting Home Safe
If you are apprehensive of not being able to make it home, you have a guardian angel…
Safe Check In is a company that grants you a service that allows solo travellers to register their trips in order to make sure they get home safely.
For a monthly membership fee, you can enter specific information about when you should return from a particular trip or outing.
If you don’t check in with the site at the designated time, Safe Check In will attempt to contact you; if you’re out of reach, the site will reach out to your emergency contacts and, if required, the local authorities.
Destinations – Find a Majestic Destination
While travelling solo (or travelling in general), the major factor invading your mind is your destination.
‘Has it got peaceful beaches?’
‘Are there a few bars and clubs around?’
‘Hmm… I would love to try some new food!’
Here is how to discover the best destination(s) for you:
Nomadic Matt is a cool blog with some interesting posts about different destinations.
I also advise checking out Adam Gallagher’s blog about places he has travelled to, with a hint of fashion.
Skyscanner has a good blog on cheap destinations, too.
You should research or use a website to find out whether your destination requires a Visa to get there.
This may appear like I am expressing the obvious, but you should determine what kind of weather sounds appealing to you.
Are you considering skiing?
Or are you looking to brown your skin?
You should use an accurate weather app or website to find out what destination has the perfect weather for you!
Also, budget your expenditure. A lot of the time life holds us back because of the expense of things.
If you are looking to find a cheap destination, you should research into the costs of living at your chosen destinations.
It may also be useful to compare the value of your currency against the destination’s to see the true costs of living there.
You can never go wrong with learning some of the destination’s language to make it easier when speaking to locals!
This way it can save you time and make some situations 10x easier.
Different regions within a country have distinctive cultures, let alone different countries!
You should ensure you review your destination’s culture and political views as doing the wrong thing in the wrong place can cause a lot of commotion.
Finances – Avoid Bankruptcy and Live Like A King
Ahh… money can be the best and worst thing in life.
It’s great while you’ve got it…
…but getting enough of it to do the things we strive to accomplish is tough.
Here are a few things to acknowledge when considering your finances for Solo Travel:
The Blonde Abroad has some excellent tips on saving money for travelling.
You can travel and work with some support from companies that find and organise work abroad.
If you’d prefer, there are volunteering opportunities where you will be granted accommodation and food…
…not bad, eh?
You can also obtain a Clarity Credit Card where you can get credit for travelling.
Some of these have awesome rates so I encourage checking them out!
Accommodation – Find a Crash Pad
Where you sleep at night can determine whether you feel comfortable in your chosen destination or whether you hated the place.
If you are traveling to several places and you’re only stopping for a few nights in each place, cheap accommodation is necessary.
less is more isn’t always the case.
Let’s get into a guide for choosing your accommodation:
Y Travel Blog has a very helpful guide on how to find cheap accommodation.
There are websites where people can offer free accommodation. This is excellent but you must be aware when using these services.
There are safety procedures in place so you should be fine.
As mentioned earlier, there are opportunities for voluntary work that provide you with free accommodation and food.
Hostels are always an option when considering accommodation. They have great availability and are relatively cheap.
The best part?
It is a social way to accommodate yourself!
Solo Traveler World has a great blog post regarding the social aspect of accommodating yourself.
Similar to the free accommodation, there are websites that show rooms, apartments, and villas available to rent.
You can get some really high-quality rooms for great value, so definitely have a look!
Transportation – How to get from A to B with the Least Hassle
Great… how do we get there?
There are some great, reliable tools online to support you when choosing your transportation.
In this section, I will go over some ways you can determine your route to ‘Heaven’!
There are some great comparison tools out there that list you flights depending on your search criteria.
Momondo is best for multi-city flights.
Kayak has proven to list the cheapest flights available.
Google Flights is also useful and is well rounded.
Every one of these websites is secure, too.
If you have ever been delayed on a flight for over 3 hours under the EU rule 261/2004, visit Flight Delay Claims Team for compensation up to £520!
I know what you’re thinking…
…what about while I am there?!
Well, there are some very useful apps and websites that have live listings of public transport in every city!
If you cannot use data when you are abroad, you will need to plan ahead as there isn’t free WiFi in many places.
Plan ahead either way.
If you are completely stuck… maybe all information is written in another language and you can’t find help, there is someone to save the day…
Of course, Uber doesn’t operate in all cities and towns.
But, they operate in many cities so definitely have them on call!
There isn’t one! They are so cheap!
Solo Travel is simply enlightening.
Yes, it is terrifying. Yes, it is hard to find time…
…BUT… you can make time for EVERYTHING!
Think about it:
The best moments in life lie behind your biggest fears!
So, get up, pack your bags and jump in a taxi to the closest airport!
Oh and before you do, don’t forget to re-read this article or you may forget some essential information!