Travelling alone can be daunting, even if all you are doing is flying to another country to see one of your friends, or getting a train to a new city to explore or have a meeting.
I love travelling, with friends, with my other half, with my mum. I’ve always had the travel bug and travelling alone can be so rewarding. You meet so many new people, you can stick to your own agenda, there is no pressure to do anything and you can decide exactly what kind of experience you want to have.
But there are drawbacks to travelling alone. Sometimes the world can be a bit of a scary place, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Tips For Travelling Alone
Don’t act like a tourist
This may sound like a fairly obvious one, but try and not act like you have no idea where you are going. Obviously looking like a tourist will be impossible in some places, but you can limit how much attention you draw to yourself. Don’t walk about with a map or a travel guide, use your phone’s GPS and save any places you want to go onto your notes. Check the local fashion & be aware of what you are wearing, I’m not saying change your style completely, just be aware of where you are going and dress appropriately. I get that this sounds a bit ridiculous coming from a girl with pink hair! But trust me, these help you to blend in, even just a little.
Make A Plan
If you know that you are going to be in a specific place for a few days alone, then make a plan. I like to map things out for the day before I leave, so I’m not wasting time in a coffee shop trying to find something cool to do. The flip side of this is travelling alone you can change your plans whenever you want! Pass by an exhibition and want to go? It’s YOUR trip so do whatever you want!
Have an Emergency Kit
When I’m travelling I like to have an emergency kit. I’m quite an anxious traveller so this really helps me keep calm. I always have a fully charged portable phone charger with me, some cash in my bag that’s not in my purse, some valium and the hotel’s card so I know where to get back to if my phone runs out of battery.
Trust Your Instincts
If you get a bad vibe then leave. There is no point in staying somewhere you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. If you are in a situation that you feel like you can’t get out of, then speak to the staff where ever you are and they’ll be able to help. If you are outside then go into a store & ask them to call a cab. I was once followed home after a night out in NYC. I was 21 and met friends for a drink before getting back to my hostel across Manhatten, I was followed off the tube by a guy who was saying pretty obscene things to me, it was only like 10pm and thankfully a bodega was open, I jumped in and asked the cashier to watch as I hailed a cab. Do not be afraid to ask someone for help if you feel unsafe.
Learn A Few Phrases
I’m not talking about becoming fluent in the language before you go, but learning a few key phrases really helps. Learn how to ask if they speak English, and be courteous, answering yes, no and saying please and thank you in the local language will get you a lot further than you think!
You might not be travelling to make friends, but you never know who you might meet. The last time I flew to Barcelona I made a friend waiting for passport control, we ended up getting the same bus into the centre and I came away with a massive list of bars & restaurants to try. That’s just a tiny snippet of how a stranger can make your holiday/travels infinitely better. I still keep in touch with people I met in Australia, and that was 6 years ago! After being asked to take a photo of their group on a tour we ended up travelling with them for three weeks, partying on boats and snorkelling the great barrier reef. You never know who you will meet so try and not be scared of “stranger danger” when you are travelling. As I said though, if something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t!
Try Something New
Travelling alone can be lonely, but it’s a great excuse to try something you would never normally do! Book onto a tour and I promise by the end of it you’ll have some fun stories, have made some new friends and have some amazing photo’s to show for it.