Travelling alone can be a very eye-opening and liberating experience. It hones your sense of self-reliance, and you don’t have to please anyone (other than yourself!) when deciding what to do, where to go, or who to see… but it is quite different from travelling with a friend, loved one, or in a large group. Here are my top tips to help budding solo travellers do that lone
wolf explorer thing right!
The number one tip for solo travellers is to watch out for those pesky single supplements. Yes, that’s right: some hotels like to charge you extra because you are on your own. Unfair or what?
Okay, so they normally have two people in the room, using the facilities and spending money in the area… so you can kind of see why they do it, but it can really put a crimp in your plans if you want to travel solo.
So what can you do about it? Well, first of all, you need to pick accommodation that isn’t going to present this problem. That means checking everything very thoroughly before you book, unless you want a nasty surprise at the end of the process.
Moreover, go for accommodation such as youth hostels, which are perfectly set up for single travellers. They offer a bed in a shared dorm for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room anyway. And if you really must have a place to yourself, many have single rooms that you can rent for a slightly higher fee.
Another option is to book your accommodation and transport through a dedicated solo travel service. These are companies that run trips with the single traveller in mind. That means no single supplements!
It also means that you are part of an organised tour with transport and accommodation arranged for you, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of sorting it out yourself.
As an added bonus, the trip will be filled with other solo travellers, so you’ll be surrounded with people who are in the same position as you to share your adventure with. In fact, it’s a perfect option for newbie solo travellers: it can help you to learn how everything works and to build up your confidence before you launch into an adventure of your own planning.
Something else a solo traveller need to be particularly aware of is looking after their health and any medical issues they have. If you know of a pre-existing condition or allergy before you leave, it’s a good idea to stock up on your medication, as well as to get a medical bracelet in case anything happens and you are unable to tell the emergency services about your problem.
Also, for solo female travellers who know that they will be travelling through less-developed parts of the world, or camping out in the wilds, it can be a good idea to order your contraceptive pill online before you go. Then you can avoid the stress and inconvenience of having to deal with your period until you are in a more convenient location.
Okay, so if you are particularly susceptible to feeling lonely, you might not be thinking of going on a solo travel trip anyway. But people travel solo for different reasons – it’s not always their first choice.
It may be that they have been through a break-up recently, or a bereavement, or even that no one else could spare the time or money to take this trip with them. So they find themselves on their own even though they would have preferred to go with friends.
Also no matter how hardy the traveller, there are always going to be the odd moments of homesickness. Even if it’s just to hear you best friend’s voice, or to get a cup of tea that actually tastes like the stuff you get back home!
So how can you deal with emotions when they occur? Well, it’s important to stay in contact with friends and family…which you can do very easily now through social media and smartphones. In fact, if you so choose, you can have almost constant contact through apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat.
Of course, this might not be for you, and that’s fine too. Just ensure that you have regular contact with everyone by phone or email, which also gives you the opportunity to share your amazing experiences! This can really help to remind you that although they are far away geographically, you are still in their thoughts as much as they are in yours. It’s a great boost to allow you to forge on with the rest of your trip.
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