Last March I went to Majorca for a long weekend, by myself. I’d been really nervous about going and whilst I enjoyed myself 90% of the time, I did learn a few valuable lessons I will find useful on future trips. I thought I’d share the things I’ve learnt from travelling solo on the blog so you guys can learn from my stupidity!
You are the only one who will be carrying your bag
Unlike holidaying with a partner or friend, who can watch your bag whilst you go to the toilet and help you lift it into the overhead locker, solo travelling means you will be wrangling your own bags. I’d recommend making sure you can lift it above your head (shout out to the stranger who helped me on a train when I could not!) and that it’s not too big to go into the toilet cubicle with you. Unattended luggage is never a good idea and your bag runs the risk of being blown up by airport staff thinking it’s a suspect package. I love my Cabin Zero back for solo travel-it’s big enough to fit everything I need and it’s pretty sturdy too, but I can keep the weight down by saving space at the top (which is where I put my jumper once I arrive at my destination)
If you forget something, you’ll have to rebuy or do without
When I went to Majorca, my first ever solo trip, I forgot travel adapters. I realised as I walked into my hotel room on arrival, and spent my first two hours in Palma trying to find somewhere that sold them. THIRTY EUROS later, and I could use my straighteners and charge my phone. I now have a laminated ‘essentials’ list that lives in my suitcase, so I can tick off that I’ve packed everything for each trip. It’s always really silly but obvious things I forget, like my toothbrush or hairbrush. I’m a dope.
Silence isn’t always golden
I do enjoy my own company, and solo travel has taught me just how much. But, I’ve also learnt that, unlike what I always thought, I couldn’t deal with being on my own forever. After a couple of days I get bored and need someone to talk to-so I hope for a friendly face at the next table in a cafe or bar.
Data is so helpful
As well as being able to speak to friends when I’m feeling lonely, when I travel alone I rely on my phone so much. I have apps that tell me how to get from one place to another on public transport, apps that translate key phrases for me if I’m finding it hard to make myself understood, and apps that tell me how much that gorgeous top is in pounds. Without data, I would be stuck.
Selfies are good enough
When there’s no one to take photos of you, and you don’t trust strangers with your camera (or you know they won’t be able to use it) there’s nothing wrong with taking selfies at the attractions you’re visiting. These days we can all take a pretty decent photo of ourselves and don’t be afraid to keep spinning around until you’ve got that landmark in exactly the right spot behind you.
Solo travel doesn’t have to mean hostels
I’ve done cheap travel quite a few times now and never stayed in a hostel (apart from in Amsterdam with Kirsty, Ashton and Tamzin-and our ‘hostel’ was a private room for four with a private bathroom, so hostel by name only) I’m definitely not a sharing a room with strangers to save money kind of girl. But, I’ve also never spent a fortune on a fancy hotel. I use sites like LateRooms to find a cheap hotel, or check what Air B n B has to offer in the location I’m going to. I’d rather spend a little more on my accomodation, knowing I won’t be out drinking late at night on my own and so will be spending less on cocktails than usual.
Twitter finds new friends
When I first went to Majorca I met Cristina via Twitter. She kindly agreed to meet up with me to show me around Palma and we spent a day together, then I took another trip to Palma the year after to hang out with her. We’re still in contact and at some point I’ll go back to Palma to see her again. When you’re going somewhere new, you can always find people who have been there on Twitter, and you can often find people who are still there-if you’re up for making new friends.
Have you done any solo travel? What have you learnt from it?