Having recently taken the dive into solo travel I’d like to help you take the plunge too! Here are my top tricks and tips to make sure you feel confident and safe when planning your solo holiday.
Choosing your destination
Location is key. Especially for your first adventure into solo travel.
Choose a destination that you really want to visit, somewhere you’ve always dreamed of travelling to. Even if you’d never pictured yourself going there solo, you’ve still imagined yourself visiting this destination and that will help to motivate you to plan your trip there. The more you want to go the more likely you are to push yourself to be a solo traveller there.
Find somewhere familiar.
If you’re a single girl who is particularly nervous about solo travel then start with a destination that is or feels familiar. By this I mean go somewhere that you have been before with others (or somewhere near to an area you’ve been) or a location that is similar to somewhere else you’ve visited. If you are feeling a bit braver then choose somewhere that you feel like you know. Perhaps because you have researched the area a lot, a friend has visited and shared key intel with you, or somewhere that a TV show you love is set so you’ve got an idea of culture and transport etc. The more familiar the destination feels, the more confident you will be as a solo traveller in this destination as there will be less to worry about as you already know more than the average traveller.
Knowledge is key to confidence and confidence is key to your enjoyment of your solo holiday.
Choose a safe area.
Once you’ve chosen your solo destination, you need to think more carefully about what specific area to stay in and visit. For your first solo adventure choose a city as opposed to an area of wilderness or countryside. You want to be sure that you are somewhere you feel safe where there are plenty of other people and not stranded if something goes wrong.
Research the area you intend to visit for its suitability as a solo destination. If reviews suggest that it’s not a great place to travel alone then you may want to find out why, or even rethink your choice.
You also want to look carefully at the accommodation you choose to stay in. Again reviews help here, and many sites give you reviews from other solo travellers to help you get a good idea of whether it fits your needs as a solo traveller. Bigger hotels/hostels may be better for the feeling of security with there being lots of people around, but if you are sharing a room pick a room with fewer people in. This way you will hopefully feel more secure about your belongings.
Don’t forget to think about your accommodation’s location relative to the sites you intend to see. Here it’s not just about travel time but travel type. If like me you feel more confident on public transport or waling everywhere, make sure you’re within walking distance of the sites or that public transport is easily accessible.
Before you go.
Make sure you have good travel insurance that covers all of the activities you want to take part in, print out the details and take them with you every day, just in case. Research emergency contacts that you may need, such as information about local embassies for lost passports and information about health care in the country you’re visiting.
Personally, part of the concern of solo travel is not having anyone there to help me make decisions or be there if there is a problem. Having these things with you and haing done the research makes you feel more confident and safe when you are travelling.
Make sure you have a decent amount of the currency in cash and place it in different bags so you always have a back up. I would also strongly encourage you to get a card with low fees to use abroad, and again, split your cards up so you don’ have to worry about being stranded or moneyless.
If you’re travelling around different areas don’t forget to check in with someone. Have a dedicated person, a close friend or family member, that you agree to check in with regularly. Make sure to tell them where you and where you will be next. You may also want to give them contact details for your hotels/embassies or a copy of your itinerary. This way if you haven’t contacted them when you’ve said you would there are others ways for them to get in touch and check everything is ok. Just make sure you pick someone responsible and who would take it seriously.
If you plan for problems then you’ll know exactly what to do if they do arise. Making it much less of a problem leaving you calm, relaxed and enjoying your holiday.
Know your area.
Make sure you download maps of all of the areas you are visiting, including the airport as these are often outside of the city centre (you can download them on google maps). THis means you can always see where you are relative to landmarks and public transport, even if you don’t have the wifi or data to plan routes. It gives you peace of mind always being able to find out where you are.
I would also recommend planning routes for key journeys you are going to take in advance, and taking a screenshot or making notes of these- especially the names of the landmarks or stations if you need to ask help from someone (this is an absolute must in countries that don’t use your language).
Think carefully about the routes you are going to take when moving around your destination. As a solo traveller you are at higher risk, especially if you are obviously a tourist. If you are likely to be returning from somewhere late at night, think about the route you will take. What is the safest most lit up way, even if it takes longer. Check how late public transport runs, what it your back up if you miss it? Which areas are those that you should avoid going through? Check travel message boards for this kind of information and don’t be afraid to ask advice from reception at your hotel or hostel. They are locals who will know the do’s and don’ts of the area and will want to keep you safe.
I hope these tips help all my single girls planning their first solo adventure! If you’re more experienced in solo travel what are you top tips for being safe and confident as a solo traveller for the first time? Lets help everyone have the best holiday!
Want to know more about solo travel? You can see my other posts here.
Find me on twitter: @Singlesalliknow