Travelling solo for the first time can be a terrifying and thrilling adventure. My first trip was a four month solo backpacking adventure across Europe, over that time I made plenty of mistakes, missed buses, booked last minute flights and woke up some mornings without a place to sleep that night.
With the help of my fellow solo travel friends I have met along the way I have put together ten tips for your first time travelling solo.
Stay in Hostels
I know this will scare a few of you but hostels are an excellent way to meet people and not feel alone. Hostels have come a long way over the years and as long as you read the reviews, do your research and book in a central location, I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.
Talk to other travellers
Travelling solo can be quite lonely and isolating, you’re having the time of your life but you don’t have anyone to share those experiences with and your family at home are happy but don’t understand this new found freedom. Talking to other travellers and listening to their stories can be a great way to feel connected and make new friends. You never know who you might meet and where those friendships may lead. Even if they don’t go anywhere you still had someone who made the experience more beautiful than it already was.
You can miss so much of a city by catching public transport everywhere. In my travels I have had some of the best experiences by walking everywhere. Roaming the streets of Rome, with a gelato in hand, people watching and finding the more authentic Italy. Or dancing through the streets of Paris marvelling at the beautiful lights and finding the most gorgeous coffee shops and book stores. You just never know what you might come across and it takes the stress off crowded tourist buses and missing a train stop.
Visit local coffee shops and restaurants
Coffee shops and restaurants are a great way to meet people, experience authentic hospitality and people watch. Too often we find ourselves looking for a taste of home abroad and will stick to what we know, in turn missing the opportunity to have some memorable experiences, like getting adopted by a beautiful Italian family who made the best gnocchi all while trying to set me up with there son.
Embrace and conquer your fears
Don’t be afraid to try something you have been afraid to do, take the risk, it may turn out to be the best thing you have ever done and if not, there is always travel insurance.
Speaking of travel insurance, this is a must for every trip. You never know when something might go wrong. When travelling by yourself you have no one else looking out for you and although you may go a whole trip without any problems it is still best to have it just in case.
Waking early is a great way to get out and see a city before the crowds, to take in the locals getting ready for the day and it is also the best time to snap those perfect Instagram pictures.
Travel with a book
Often when travelling solo you can find yourself with plenty of free time. This could be simply relaxing on a beach in Nice, waiting in line at the Louvre or while sitting in a coffee shop. You will feel less lonely while immersed in the lived of your favourite characters.
Many hostels have book exchanges where you can swap your book for another that has wondered the globe in search of a new owner.
Look after yourself
Travelling alone means you have to be aware of yourself and your surroundings constantly. It can be quite exhausting so make sure you eat well, have rest days and maybe indulge in a beauty spa.
After two months non-stop back packing I booked a little hostel in Corfu with Breakfast, Three-Course Dinner and was on the beach. It was a great way to recover and refresh myself for another two months on the road.
You’re on this whirlwind adventure, embrace it. Embrace the culture, embrace the people and embrace this new version of you. Solo travel allows your the opportunity to discover more about yourself, to push your boundaries and become your most authentic self.