Travelling by yourself can be daunting, especially the first time you do it. I’ve been taking trips alone for four years now; here are some of my solo travel tips to make that initial experience less scary.
Think about your destination
It’s much more common to see people by themselves, whether solo travellers or locals, in a city than in a smaller town or beach resort. That’s not to say you shouldn’t visit these places, but if you think you’re going to feel self-conscious, you may be better taking your first trip alone to a city, where you will usually blend in more easily.
Think about where to stay
Different types of accommodation offer different opportunities. If you stay in a hostel, you’ll meet other solo travellers and you might find other people to see the sites with – plus many hostels organise social activities such as dinners and pub crawls. Alternatively, an apartment rental gives you space to yourself and your own kitchen for preparing meals if you’re nervous about being out and about alone.
Consider alternative dining options
I actually enjoy visiting restaurants alone, whether home and away, but dining solo is something which worries many people when it comes to travelling alone. If you think you’ll feel too self-conscious sitting at a table, consider other options; you may prefer to eat at a bar, get takeaway food, or do a grocery shop and have a picnic. If you do fancy eating out in restaurants, check out my tips for dining solo.
Decide on a “back story”
People may question you if they realise that you’re alone. The vast majority of the time, this questioning will be harmless; they’ll be genuinely interested or curious in why you’re there by yourself, and probably admiring of your initiative! However, you may wish to have a “back story” prepared as to why you’re not actually alone, just in case you do feel uncomfortable; trust your instinct on this one. I find that in cities I’m more prepared to say I’m there by myself; in smaller places such as beach resorts I tend to say that I’m visiting local friends who are working that day, or I’m there with a friend or my boyfriend and they’re unwell or doing something else.
Always have a book or journal with you
There are times when it can be hard not to feel self-conscious alone – when waiting for food in a restaurant for example – so I always have a book or my travel journal in my bag, ready to whip out when these moments strike. This also gives the impression that you’re busy, which can help to ward off unwanted attention.
And a sixth tip…enjoy it! There’s nothing quite like solo travel; being able to do what you want, when you want, not having to compromise on anything, and finding your own way around a new place. Give it a go and I guarantee you will return feeling more confident and independent, and ready for more!