Thinking about taking a solo trip?
It can be a daunting thought, taking that first step towards booking a solo trip. Hopefully these tips will help make that decision one of the best you've ever made!
Some people say...
No matter where you're thinking of going, there will be people who will have their opinions and experiences to share with you. Hopefully most of these will be positive and encouraging. However, there will be those who will warn you of the dangers, the problems and of course, what the media has to say about a destination.
Every city has its positives and negatives. They each have their 'safe-zones' and their 'dodgy ends'. They also have their unique characteristics and must-see spots. No matter where you are in the world there are dangers and things to worry about. Be vigilant, be aware and listen to the advice of locals about where to go and what to miss, after all, they're bound to know better than someone who's never been.
It's OK to forget...
Whenever you're planning any kind of trip you'll need to make sure you've packed the essentials. If you're going away for a longer amount of time you might need to pack a variety of clothes for the different climates you'll be experiencing.
If there's one piece of advice I can give, it's that it's OK to forget things. It's OK if you haven't got a wooly hat for the alps or a pair of flip-flops for the beach. As long as you've got your passport and a credit card, you can pick up anything else along the way! Part of the fun is meeting locals and being sent to the best places to pick up any bits you may need.
Making friends is easy...
As soon as you've landed in your first destination you might find yourself becoming overwhelmed with a sense of adventure, excitement and absolute fear. You're in a new country, a new city, a new culture and perhaps your first language isn't spoken here. Don't be dismayed! For me, this is one of my favourite parts of a trip. Walking out of the airport doors with so much unknown ahead of you.
Wherever you're staying, whether it's a backpacker's hostel, a cheap hotel or a fancy apartment, you'll meet new people in no time. One thing that travellers all have in common is that they're there to meet people and get to know a new place. Go into a bar and sit with strangers, strike up a conversation and the rest will take care of itself. The friendships you make on the road may be some of the most meaningful ones you have!
One of the worrying things whilst you're out on your own is that you may only have a small amount of cash with you. At least when someone else is there you have a backup. Don't let this phase you. Having to rely on yourself and stick to a budget is all part of the adventure.
I rely on booking.com for cheap hotels. The more you use the site, the better your discounts become. I also speak to fellow travellers on the road to find out what deals they've stumbled across. This is another way to meet locals, listen in to conversations and you have an easy way to join in the chat. Travel with a credit card in case disaster strikes and you need to book an emergency flight home. This is also helpful if you want to splash out and treat yourself to that luxury hotel or fancy restaurant.
I've met many people on my travels who are having a whale of a time yet they go through waves of homesickness. This is perfectly acceptable and it's natural to miss home, especially if you're in a place where the culture is very different to that which you are used to.
Simple, everyday activities such as buying a bus ticket or taking a taxi can turn into huge difficult tasks. This can be frustrating and make you feel that you need to return home immediately. If you're feeling homesick, you won't be the only one. Talk to people you meet as you'll be surprised how many other people have been in your shoes. Push through and carry on your journey as you'll be glad you did!
Keep calm and carry on...
It doesn't matter where you are in the world; there will always be hiccups, unforeseen problems and dramas that weren't accounted for along the way. If something doesn't quite go to plan then it doesn't mean your trip is over. You most certainly can carry on!
Often, these dramas make for the best stories when you return home and they will have you laughing in years to come. As frustrating as it is at the time, there's nothing better than entertaining family and friends about the time your passport was stolen or when you were asked to be a prostitute whilst riding a Greyhound!