Travelling alone. Cool, brave idea – or absolutely bloody terrifying?
Yup – there can definitely be a stigma associated with travelling alone. But we think a lot of that comes from a lack of imagination.
Sure, travelling alone can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t need to be. And it’s definitely not just for hippies ‘finding themselves’ or 30 year old losers still living with mum. Travelling alone has something to offer for everyone. If it’s a step you’re thinking of taking, good for you!
So, where do I start?
A quick search online will tell you that there’s a number of different types of solo travel and that it’s far from a rare thing to head out into the big bad world alone.
Picking a destination
Start by thinking what you want out of your trip, and where you might want to go. Here are some of our favourite solo travel destinations, which are safe and well set up for solo travel:
As with any trip, you’ll need cash to travel alone. It’s also worth costing in the fact that as a solo traveller, you’ll likely need to pay a single supplement for a room instead of splitting it. The worst thing to do is to underestimate costs and end up missing out on experiences because you ran out of money. Because that sucks.
But one of the best perks about going travelling aged 40 rather than aged 18? You’ve got a bit more disposable income to play with. You can afford to do bigger, better, more unforgettable stuff. AWESOME!
Read more: Why spending time alone makes us happy
Some people’s main beef with solo travel is the safety aspect – especially for women. Most places in the world are really safe, and with just a little bit of common sense you shouldn’t have any problems. Here are a few of our key safety tips for staying safe on the road:
- Do your research – avoid being scammed or worse by clueing yourself up on typical tourist pitfalls and the safest places to hang out
- Never have your valuables visible on the go
- Avoid walking alone at night
- Dress appropriately for the culture of each destination
Our top tips for travelling alone
Have an open mind
Without sounding totally hippie dippy – travel can change your life. But only if you let it. Being open and friendly will impact your experience for the better. You’ve got to be willing to take some chances, step out of your comfort zone and do some crazy stuff you’d never do at home.
Be prepared to meet some friends for life
The people you travel with see you at your best and worst. They’re there when you watch the sun come up on the top of the mountain. But they’re also there when you’re swearing you’ll never drink again after too much tequila. When you travel alone you’re free to build pretty strong relationships with your fellow travellers, and it’s awesome.
When you’re in your 30’s and 40’s, you might not want to stay in hostels. This can make it seem trickier to meet people. Our top tip? A good way to meet friends is to book experiences and day tours, like street food tours, cooking classes, or a walking/cycling tour.
On the other side of the coin, if you want some “you-time”, travelling alone is the perfect opportunity.
Read more: Solo travel fuels this major happiness habit
Decide what you want out of your trip
Why do you want to travel? Is it to discover a place you knew nothing about or is it more about the people you meet along the way? Deciding this before you go will help you pick the type of trip you take as well as your destination, helping you to structure your travels and make sure you get as much as possible out them.
Throw yourself into every opportunity
Road trip? Why not! Mountain hiking at dawn? Sure! Kayaking in the caves? HOLD ME BACK! When you travel alone, you’ve gotta throw yourself at every opportunity. Deal with the repercussions afterwards. If you don’t try, you’ll never know. One thing you don’t want to come back with after travelling? Regrets.
Read more: 5 fears of solo travel and how I face them
Photos by Flash Pack & Shutterstock