Updated: Feb 23
So you’ve booked your ticket, packed your bags, and are practically out the door when the solo travel doubts start creeping in. You booked a solo trip to challenge yourself, to test your limits and explore the world, and maybe even do a little soul searching, but now you doubt whether or not you have it in you.
Now you’re in need of someone to reassure you that this was a good idea and not the worst one you’ve ever had. That’s where I come in! This article is exactly what you need; my top tips to encourage your decision to travel solo.
Travelling solo can be a daunting thing; especially as a first timer and even more so as a woman. On my first trip overseas I was overcome with thoughts such as “what the hell am I doing?!” from the moment my plane landed at Heathrow. However since that very first trip, the only time I’ve been overcome with those thoughts again is when I’m not travelling! I learned a lot of things on that very first solo trip and I continue to learn even more with each trip I take.
From the terrifying tales your parents will tell you to the crazy stories the media comes up with, everyone seems to want you to think travelling alone is the most insane and unsafe thing a person can do. They are lying. Travelling solo is perfectly sane and it will be as safe as you make it. As long as you’re vigilant, follow these tips, and don’t share cabs with strangers (we’ve all seen Taken by now), you’ll be fine.
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time You should know how to get to your hotel from the airport before your land so you’re well prepared. Also make sure you know the routes to any of the major attractions you want to see on your trip. Spend time researching if you can walk there or if you’ll need to take a cab or public transportation. If you’re taking a cab, be sure to find out how much the fare is before you go and if you’re taking public transportation make sure you check the schedules so you're not waiting alone for a long time.
Copy Your Passport and Important Documents This is something all travellers should do regardless of it they’re alone or not. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your passport and flight details somewhere in your suitcase in the event that your passport gets lost or stolen. I also always make sure my family back home has a copy of this information as well, just in case. It's a good idea to make some digital copies also. Simply take a photo of your documents on your smartphone and email it to yourself, that way you have a copy ready to download anywhere in the world that has wifi.
Pack Light This is just going to make your life a whole lot easier and give you a lot less to worry about. Not having to carry an overweight suitcase up and down stairs or across cobblestone streets will make you look like less of a damsel in distress, aka a prime target, and will also give you a lot less to worry about when re-packing at the end of your trip.
Keep Your Family and Friends Updated It’s always a good idea to keep your family in the loop about your travel plans. Let them know where you plan on visiting each day and give them an estimated time of when they should hear from you. Not only will this give them peace of mind, but in a worst case scenario they may be able to provide an estimate of your last known location.
Learn How to Say No If someone is making you uncomfortable, maybe by being a little too interested in your travel plans or getting a little too personal you need to know how to say no and be firm about it. When you’re alone there’s no one else to scare of the creepy guys you may encounter, you need to do that for yourself. So learning how to stand your ground and say no is very important when travelling solo.
Meet Other Travellers While it’s important to say no to potential threats, don’t shut everyone out. Use your judgment when meeting new people and be open to the idea of making friends. You’re bound to run into at least a few fellow travellers on your journeys, so don’t be afraid to befriend them. Being alone on the road can get lonely and it’s always fun to make friends from across the globe!
Do Not Get Drunk I feel silly to even put this on the list because it seems like common sense, but women are still getting drunk in bars alone and being taking advantage of. If you’re travelling alone you need to be very careful with drinking; I would refrain from it at all when in public that way you can avoid being a potential target.
Avoid Looking Like a Tourist Blending in is the number one way to not be a target while travelling. Locals are much less likely to try to attack or steal from other locals; they’re targeting dumb tourists, so it’s important to avoid looking like a dumb tourist at all costs. Make sure to dress like the locals, don’t wear anything too flashy or that will attract any negative or unwanted attention. It’s also a good idea to refrain from checking your map in the middle of the street. If you find yourself lost and needing to consult your map, dip into a coffee shop quickly to peak at it. Nothing says dumb tourist more than looking dazed and confused with a map in the middle of the road.
Walk Around – But Ditch the Headphones Walking is not only the cheapest and easiest way to get from place to place, but it’s the best way to get familiar with your surroundings, which is very important when you’re alone. However, you should not be walking around with music blaring in your ears. First off this separates you from the beautiful city you’re supposed to be exploring and makes you a prime target for an attack or theft.
Be Friendly Smile at people and be kind and the favor will always be reciprocated. I find locals are more than willing to help you out as long as you’re nice to them. Kindness goes a long way!
Join a Tour A great way to get the solo travel experience while not being fully alone is to join a tour group. You can sign up for the tour alone, and then once you land overseas and meet up with your group, you’ll be surrounded by fun, like minded travellers who all have one common goal; to have a great time. Tour groups also give you the freedom to venture off alone if you so desire and then return to the group after, or stick with your new pals and explore your destination together. I’d recommend travelling with a tour group to anyone who is apprehensive about solo travel. Since you’re here, why not go ahead and sign up for a sailing tour around the Croatian islands? ;) Koda Sail will make it the highlight of your summer and you’re bound to meet some amazing and lifelong friends.
Big thanks to Emily for sharing her top tips for travelling Solo.
Emily is Canadian girl on a quest to explore the earth while trying to save it at the same time! Make sure you check out her travel and health blog airplanesandavocados.com to get a unique insight into sustainable and healthy travel
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