Travelling solo has its perks. There’s no need to ask your husband if you need to stop at Pottery Barn or spend 20 minutes convincing your best friend that your hotel room is a great deal. But it’s not without its challenges, particularly if you’ve never done it before. Fear not, we have some tips for the solo traveller to help you gain confidence and have fun.
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First and foremost, don’t be afraid of the solo trip!
According to experts at birdling, travelling alone can be an adventure of a lifetime, allowing you to meet local people, eat your way through town and experience new things. In addition, as a solo traveller, you’re more connected to the cities you visit. “You need to talk to people more,” says Pauline Frommer, travel expert and daughter of the late travel guru, Arthur Frommer. “You have to rely on yourself and venture out into the unknown. You can’t wait for somebody else to take you to dinner or show you around. You have to go out and do it yourself. To me, that’s the beauty of a solo trip. You’re forced to explore and make your discoveries. It’s like living in the moment for an entire vacation.
Set (reasonable) budget
Travelling alone does not mean that you have to cut down on all luxuries. If you can afford a vacation, you can afford a solo trip. But remember that you must establish a reasonable budget. Do not let yourself go crazy with shopping or indulge in gastronomy if it is not possible in reality.
Plan a reasonable itinerary
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to assume you’ll be able to see everything in one day. Instead, do your research and figure out how long it will take to get from place to place. Don’t take the advice of cab drivers or other people on the street who will try to upsell you on places to see, restaurants or tours. You don’t need to see it all. If you’re in an unfamiliar city and want to do it all, you’ll end up rushing from place to place and will be exhausted (and crabby) by day’s end.
The main reason you book an extended stay is so that you can experience a new destination without feeling rushed. And once that happens, you’ll be more inclined to explore the city and try more things out on your own, rather than stick with what you already know.
- Be logical with your plans
Making plans can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to go on a last-minute trip or aren’t sure where you want to go. The good thing is that you don’t need to make plans until a few days before your trip. You’ve got time to figure out a game plan without being rushed.
- If you need help, ask for it
If you’re travelling alone and need help with planning or creating itineraries, plenty of apps are available. TripIt, for example, makes it easy to create itineraries on the go and share them with others who may be going with you or who you’re travelling to see.
- Ask for a room alone
If you have any problems because of your solo status, you need to be able to handle the situation without assistance. You may request a room away from the lobby and other guests. Hotels can be very loud. This is especially true in party cities like Las Vegas. If you have trouble sleeping because of the noise, ask for a room away from the lobby or someplace out of the loop.
- Leave home Behind
If you’re feeling homesick while on your trip, remember that the purpose of a vacation is to distract yourself from everyday life. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get tied up in feelings of loneliness and miss the real purpose of your trip.
- Maintain your routine
You can usually maintain your regular schedule if you’re on a business trip. Still, it’s even more important for the solo traveller as you don’t have anyone else to talk to or keep you accountable for eating and sleeping. You can break away from routines but do it intentionally – don’t let your life get off track.
- Keep Things Light and Enjoy the Ride
Don’t pack your life into a suitcase. Travellers sometimes make the mistake of packing too much because they think they will be prepared for every possible situation if they have everything. But don’t fret; you don’t need every outfit, weekender bag, and pair of shoes to be comfortable. Pack lightly, use laundry machines when you can, and always watch for free local amenities.
- Be safe, not sorry
I know you are eager to explore, but safety comes first. You wouldn’t want to waste precious vacation time recovering from an injury, so take it easy and pay attention to where you are going and your surroundings. Use common sense to avoid dangerous situations as much as possible.
- Go at the right time
Going during non-peak times will avoid the crazy crowds and exorbitant prices that tend to come with peak season travel. Peak season varies by destination, but it is generally between April and October. If you are flexible with your dates, you can often save up to 50% on the cost of travel during these off-peak times.
- Music is a great way to pass the time and bring joy to your travel experience.
So purchase a USB drive, fill it up with your favourite tunes, and do this now! iTunes has a selection of songs specifically designed for maximum volume output, which is perfect for the loudspeaker on your rental car.
Travelling is a blast. It’s exciting to see all the awesome things you’ve only seen in pictures, and the feeling of adventure when you hit the road solo is hard to beat. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. The most important thing to remember is that everyone has their own special needs when travelling alone. If you’re not used to it, going on a trip without any relation can seem very intimidating, but I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds.