You know when you travel and get the travel bug after you’re home? Well, I think there is such a thing as the travelling solo bug because I’ve done it and since then I’ve done nothing but relive those memories and think about when I’m going again, all on my own. Unless you’ve done it, you cannot even begin to imagine the wonderful feeling that you get when you travel solo. It genuinely feeds your soul. It makes you feel alive, independent… and it’s wildly empowering. There is just something so great about not knowing a single soul in a foreign city or walking around aimlessly through towns exploring what’s around you without waiting on anybody else but you. When I decided to go to Europe solo for several weeks rather abruptly, these were the reactions:
Person 1: Have you never seen Taken? Aren’t you scared? You’re crazy!
Person 2: But what about when you eat… won’t you be lonely?
Person 3: Who’s going to take your photos?
So, I’m going to break it down on why travelling solo is amazing and some advice on what to do if you’re considering doing it, which by the way, you go girl! Also, you may want to get a pizza or a coffee… or just eat anything because we’re going to be here for a while. I feel like I may need to preface this by saying that I’m very content being on my own. I like spending time by myself in my own company and have no issue being alone. Most times, I prefer it. If you’re like me, I don’t think you’ll have any issues because it’s like being at home and doing things but just in an entirely new city. If you’re the opposite and prefer people being around you, I would still recommend travelling solo but perhaps look into a short tour first to give you a bit of confidence. You may end up meeting people on the tour that are doing the same stint after and you can link up later.
Travelling alone, especially as a woman, can be terrifying. I have seen Taken, I do read up a lot on human trafficking and I’m fully aware that I could be sold as a sex slave but I think in this instance, if you’re travelling alone… practice being street smart. Anything you wouldn’t do back home, don’t do there. Don’t walk in dark alleys at night, stay in well-lit areas instead. Don’t pull out huge maps and make it obvious to anyone looking for vulnerable people that you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going, there are several apps on smartphones that have maps and GPS to get you to where you need to be. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Trust your gut, if something doesn’t seem right — it probably isn’t. Make sure someone close to you knows of your whereabouts at all times. I’m not talking about a play by-play on when you’re eating your food or going to the bathroom but more so where you’re staying or your planned activities for the day. It gives you both ease of mind. Last but certainly not least, and this is incredibly important, make sure you know the emergency numbers for the city you’re in at all times.
The only time I felt lonely was mostly when I was looking at amazing buildings or listening to street performers play jazz music and felt very nostalgic to have someone to share that with me. I’m not going to lie, you’re totally going to be lonely. A lot of things I saw reminded me of friends and family and I wished that they were there to see it with me but the moment is temporary and it does pass — you’ll continue on your day falling in love with everything around you and only building more and more stories to share for when you’re reunited.
I love hostels. They are so great for people travelling solo for several reasons. First being that they’re almost always central in the city so you don’t have to venture too far out to see or be where you want to be. Second, considering you want to do as much exploration as possible, you won’t be spending a lot of time in your room and so why spend hundreds of dollars a night when it could be the price of a meal? The hostels I booked were all last-minute (as soon as I got to my next city) and they were still around $30 a night. I stayed in female dorm rooms of either 4 or 6 and half the time, my dorm mates weren’t even there. Hostels have common rooms or a bar and are a great way to meet like-minded people who are doing exactly the same thing as you. Lastly, I would look into any pub crawls that your hostel might be hosting or just have a look on google. I would’ve been way too chicken to go out and party alone but this is like a walking tour but bars/clubs instead. I would have been in my hostel in bed by nine and missing out on nightlife but I was convinced to go by some people who I met at the hostel and we went out in every other city together night after night and it was the greatest time of my life, hands down. Oh, and they’re really clean, modern and have great facilities!
Taking photos can be a little tricky. I was mostly taking pictures of architecture and scenery because I am awkward in photographs and cannot for the life of me, ever, learn how to pose so that wasn’t an issue. I did end up buying a selfie stick but was honestly too embarrassed to actually be seen in public with it so that was a dud. If you have no shame, buy a selfie stick otherwise passersby will always offer to take photos of you because us tourists stand out so easily, no matter how hard we try to blend in.
The main factor in travelling solo is that you are on your own. This is all about you. You can take the time to do anything and everything that you want to do whenever you want to do it. I wrote the word you more than I can think in that one sentence, but I’m being serious. You have the power to decide how to spend your day. If you want to go spend the entire day at museums, go for it. If you’d rather spend the day shopping, spend that money girl. If you’d rather go take cooking classes somewhere or rent a car and go for a drive, you do you. You get to explore everything at your own pace and see what you want to see and that’s something that tours don’t offer you. Everybody is different and everybody travels differently. What I may love, you may loathe and vice versa so this is the time to fill your day with everything that makes your soul feel happy.
Facing your fears and doing something that sounds incredibly daunting can actually be a very good thing once you’ve done it. was nervous coming into it, as much as I like my own company, I’d never done it before and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. But pushing myself out of my own boundaries, meeting new people, going to completely new places has taught me so much about myself and has shown me how inspired, powerful, happy and empowered I feel when I do it and that’s a good enough reason for me. So If your finger is currently hovering over the mouse, unsure of whether to actually book a holiday alone… do it. Life is about experiences and you only live once, shout out to Drake, so throw caution to the wind, go on the most epic holiday, learn about the world and about yourself.