Ever thought to travel alone?
Longing to explore the world is something most of us have in common. But what happens when we find ourselves without a suitable travel companion? There may be many reasons not to embark on a solo holiday, but the fear of doing it alone should never be one of them. With the right preparation and a splash of courage, holidaying on your own needn’t be daunting, and could be just what you need to temporarily escape your life. So, to kickstart 2016 with a bang, here’s all the information you could possibly need to travel alone without feeling lonely.
Decide what you want to gain from your holiday
The thing to do before you’ve even booked your trip is establish what it is you’re looking to get out of the experience. Are you a history buff who’s eager to learn all there is to know about ancient architecture? Or is soaking up the sun with a book in hand your idea of relaxation heaven? By thinking about what your purpose for going on holiday alone is, you’ll be making sure the trip is fulfilling and fun.
Do you want to meet new people?
There’s something very liberating about being anonymous when abroad – it gives you the opportunity to shed your skin and open yourself up to new people and places. Inevitably, there will be the odd moments where you feel slightly uncomfortable being in situations you’d normally have company for, but it won’t be long before you see all the benefits of solo holidays. When you’re on your own, people are more likely to approach you than if you’re travelling with a group.
Opt for casual venues such as coffee shops and pubs rather than restaurants, as they provide a relaxed environment that encourages chit chatting with fellow explorers. And, as you have no obligation to spend every minute with people you’ve met on a trip, the amount of social interaction you have will be completely on your own terms. For sociable people, it’s definitely a good idea to steer clear of secluded locations. Likewise, if you’re someone who prefers a lot of quiet time, an organised package holiday for solo travellers is probably something you should avoid.
Do you want to take part in an activity?
Going alone on holiday will make you see your surroundings in a completely different light. Without the restrictions of having to cater to a travel companion’s needs, you can see and do exactly what you want, fully immersed in your own thoughts. If spending a week lounging on a beach isn’t really your thing, why not centre your holiday around your hobby? Whether you decide to visit a sunny golf resort or the ancient ruins in Greece, striking up casual conversation with fellow travellers along the way won’t be a problem. After all, everyone else will be at these locations for the same reason as you are!
Do you want to overcome the fear of travelling alone?
There’s not a lot that can trump the feeling of knowing you’re capable of taking on the world on your own. Stepping off the plane, you’re bound to experience a whirlwind of emotions when realising how liberating it is to be comfortable in your own company. Sometimes an activity such as a cooking class can make the idea of being alone abroad seem less daunting, as you’ll be around people in a safe environment. Make sure to chat to the locals and other solo travellers if you like, but also set time aside for reading or people-watching. In an age where technology seems to be more essential to us than fresh air, an escape abroad is a good time to reflect on our everyday life.
Staying safe when travelling abroad
People dreaming of going on a solo holiday will often list the fear of it being dangerous as the main reason for not taking the plunge into the unknown. But, if you do your research before venturing on your adventure and use your common sense throughout the trip, there’s no reason being alone abroad has to be any less safe than it would in the UK.
Picking a place to stay
When it comes to preparing for your trip, the internet is your trusty friend. Check reliable sites like TripAdvisor for reviews of not only hotels, but also the areas they’re located in. If staying at an AirBnB is more up your street, make sure you’re picking a place with lots of good reviews – whilst a great option for affordable accommodation, at the end of the day, you are spending the night at someone’s private home.
Keeping your valuables safe
One of the perks of solo tripping is meeting new people along the way, so try not to isolate yourself completely, thinking that’s the only way to stay safe. By talking to local residents and other holiday-goers, you’ll learn about all the hidden gems your destination has to offer.
Storing scans of important documents in a Dropbox folder online will give you peace of mind in knowing that if you lose your stuff, you’ve got a solid backup plan for travelling back home. Never keep your all your money in one single place – hiding some of it in an unusual place like a tampon box or a hollowed-out lip balm case will help keep your funds from falling into the wrong hands.
Travelling alone doesn’t mean being lonely
Let’s be honest. If given a choice, most of us would probably not even dream about eating, drinking or travelling without company. The thought of feeling lonely or awkward might be too daunting to even think about. Furthermore, we live in a society which actively tells us that we couldn’t possibly ever enjoy creating memories unless they’re shared with someone else. But travelling alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely, it just means that you’re a person who wants to make up your own rules for happiness, and enjoy the total freedom that comes along with that decision. And honestly, what better way is there to start a new year than by discovering new places, new faces, and quite possibly even a new you?
Find more backpacker tips in Lisa’s book “A Female Guide to Solo Travel“.