TIPS FOR THE FIRST TIME SOLO TRAVELLER
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While there is a ‘national day’ for pretty much everything (yes, even fruitcake tossing and ferris wheels), there’s one we can most definitely get on board with - Plan a Solo Vacation Day! This special day on 1 March encourages you to get out and explore the big wide world on your own. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of it.
If you’re a first-time solo traveller it can be scary to think of venturing off on your own. You may have only travelled with your family or friends before so there’s always a safety blanket there. We can assure you that having someone else to travel with is not an essential piece of the puzzle. Take your trip as an opportunity to get to know yourself and figure out how you like to see the world. It’s easy to let other peoples’ opinions or actions affect the way you do things yourself – imagine what you can achieve when you shake off the noise and head out on your own!
This isn’t to say you should keep your sense of spontaneity on the mantlepiece at home – but a vague route with some stop off points booked in will help you say on track with both timings and finances. Winging it can be fun, but you’ll see your travel fund disappear much quicker if you don’t have regular checkpoints to regroup and assess where you’re at. Planning ahead is key to making your trip last as long as possible so you can cover more ground. We recommend treating yourself and booking somewhere a little fancier for the end of your trip; future you will be tired, broke and definitely thankful that you thought this far ahead. YOTEL is the perfect place to end your trip with city-centre locations and sleek design that will make you feel right at home.
‘But wait, isn’t this supposed to be all about travelling solo?’, we hear you say. Yes, this is about travelling solo – but when are you really on your own when you’re exploring new cities and staying in hostels with likeminded adventurers such as yourself? Take the leap and meet some new people, you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn from others you wouldn’t otherwise meet at home. If you’ve got a few destinations lined up why not invite your new mates to come with you! You might find out they’re rude or snore very loudly along the way… but don’t sweat it. Simply say your goodbyes and head out on the road again. Challenging yourself like this can be a really important for when you’re ready to go back to the real world.
Logic and instinct will get you very far on your solo travels. Depending on where you travel, you are likely to be vulnerable to others taking advantage of you – this could be anything from getting charged too much for a cab ride or getting pickpocketed when you least expect it. Yes, you’re out to enjoy yourself but stay vigilant and trust your gut. Don’t flash your favourite watch or leave your favourite bag lying round where you can’t see it. It’ll save a lot of money and a lot of time that is best spent on exploring!
Safety is also key. If you’re getting on a bike, wear a helmet. If the sun’s out, put some sunscreen on. Just be careful, promise?
You’ve booked your flights, sorted insurance, organised a couple of hotel stops – what next? Packing! There’s something pretty liberating about shaking off the excess and having everything you own on your back - all the more reason to pack light. This will save you from those sneaky airline charges and most importantly, achy shoulders. If you’re struggling to pack light, at least pack smart – find out how with our tips on packing to maximise space. Technology is also going to be your best friend (usually dependant on your data plan or nearby WiFi). Stock up on those travel apps and keep yourself organised. Find my friends can also be very helpful for keeping worried family members from calling you everyday to check on your whereabouts.