A Guide to Being an Expert Solo Traveller

Travelling the world is an exciting prospect; getting to visit new countries, experience new cultures and meet new people, but when you make the decision to travel alone, the whole thing can become quite daunting. More and more people are choosing to become solo travellers to enrich their travelling experience; many feel that it gives them a whole new perspective and really immerses them in the different cultures. This guide is designed to give you an insight into the world of the solo traveller and to provide advice to anyone who wishes to see the world in a completely different light.

Why Travel Alone?

Sometimes other people’s life plans don’t fit into your own, so when you can’t find a travel companion, travelling alone is the only option left. Travelling alone has many advantages, for example, it allows you more freedom to choose your route and your activities as well as people readily opening up to you as you are not as intimidating as you would be in a group. Solo travelling allows you to learn more about yourself as well as help you to enjoy your own company and become your own best friend; if you are a timid person, a solo trip will prompt you to come out of your shell, help you build your self-confidence to make new friends, which is one of the most rewarding parts.

Solo Travelling Tips and Tricks

  • Plan: You don’t need to plan every minute of every day but you should know where you are going and have accommodation set up for when you arrive. It is important to choose your destination wisely; don’t choose place that is a main holiday destination and caters for holiday makers and families, this won’t allow you to meet the locals, meet travellers and to truly immerse yourself in the culture. If you are travelling to a city, it is easy to find hostels filled with travellers, if not, find a destination that will allow you to explore, engage with the inhabitants and is safe.
  • Buy literature aimed at solo travellers: This will allow you to get a feel for the country from a solo traveller’s perspective. Most guide books only cater for families or groups whereas a select few, such as Lonely Planet, not only aim their books at solo travellers but also include helpful information such as which restaurants, bars and hostels to stay at to meet other people travelling alone.
  • Choose your accommodation wisely: Hotels near tourist attractions can be a good spot to meet other travellers. Hotels near Marble Arch London are in a great location as they are close to the main sites which means there will be many tourists and travellers to meet and converse with; you may also get some tips on where to go next. Hotels near Marble Arch London also have a range of budgets, so whether you want to indulge and treat yourself or want to save some money, there is something for everyone. If you aren’t visiting a city, look for hostels that house backpackers or for family-owned establishments as this will not only allow you to experience the language and culture but the staff will also give you advice on where to go and what to look out for.
  • Arrive during daylight hours: This may seem obvious but arriving in the daytime at all your destinations is an essential part of travelling, mainly for safety reasons. It is unsettling not knowing your way around a new country but arriving in the dark will scare even the most professional solo traveller. Unless you have extensively researched your destination, you may not know the safety levels of the area and to wander around alone at night and possibly getting lost is not the best way to start your trip.
  • Never leave without your paperwork: Taking a copy of your important travel documents, such as passport, medical insurance, plane tickets etc, is the smart way to travel and by retaining copies, you will ensure that you won’t be caught out if anything should go wrong. Also take a written copy of your hotel’s name with you in the local language; if you should get lost or forget where you’re staying, the locals will be able to help you. However, trust your instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, whether it is your accommodation or the local vibe, then leave. You are your own security on this trip so learn to trust yourself.
  • Make the most of the experience: Wherever you are, make the most of your time there. If you are there for a long period of time, sign up to a course and maybe learn the local language or learn how to cook the local cuisine. If your stay is a short one, take a tour of the area with a guide as this will give you a chance to meet other travellers and to make friends, or simply go to the same shop or cafe so that you can get to know the staff and they will get to know you; this will also be a comfort as you will see a friendly face in a country you are unfamiliar with. Go out in the evenings, even if you have just arrived and don’t know anyone in the area, this is still possible to do alone. Whether you go to a bar, club or the theatre, it is all part of the experience.

Worries and Fears

Everyone who has travelled alone has worries and concerns and is even scared at the thought of being alone in a strange city, it is a natural part of the trip. If you do feel alone, scared and want to go home, here are some tips to get you through the tough times.

  • If worry sets in and you feel alone in a strange city, ask yourself what it is you like to do at home; do you enjoy sitting in a coffee shop with a book? Do you enjoy a walk in the park? Do you enjoy a bit of shopping? Whatever it is, do it in the country you are in, this will help you to relax as it is creates familiarity in an otherwise alien country and it will prompt you to explore the area more.
  • Take a moment to reflect on what brought you on this journey and what you wanted to see and experience on the trip. Purchase a notebook and write down all of your fears, your feelings and what you want to get out of the solo travelling experience, this will help you to put things back into perspective. Book yourself onto a guided tour for you to see the sights but to also get your bearings and ask as many questions as possible about the transport system, best places to go and good places to eat. This will give you a starting point and ensure that you make the most of the experience.
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