Things I’ve Learnt From Travelling Solo

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)

Cabin Zero backpack

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.

Laura drinking cocktails at Firelake Leeds

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?

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. April 16, 2018 / 6:04 pm

    I have never been away on my own and I really love the thought of a weekend by myself, somewhere hot in a nice hotel. These are great tips, I think itโ€™s fab you found your very own personal tour guide and a new friend through twitter!xx

  2. April 16, 2018 / 8:45 pm

    I did ! Just recently actually and it wasn’t like a journey like yours ,it was to a weekend writers festival in Doolan ! I knew no one. I was so nervous but I enjoyed it and made a few new friends . I never gone proper travelling alone , I don’t think I’d enjoy my own company for too long . You seem to be well able to do it ,I admire that !nice that you made a friend via Twitter !!!

  3. April 16, 2018 / 10:02 pm

    I think I wouldn’t really enjoy the silence much either. Well, not beyond a few days I’m sure!

  4. April 16, 2018 / 10:16 pm

    I love the idea of your laminated essentials list to keep track of the things you need. Great idea! You are fab travelling alone!

  5. April 16, 2018 / 11:52 pm

    I can relate to so much of what you have been describing here, because i have been a few places recently and being on my own with the family, well it has its own set of challenges.
    Also, I recently lost some feet of my tripod, which are kind of hard to replace for a Tripod which cost me an arm and leg. So yeah, that can be an expensive thing when your a photographer and reply on a tripod. Man, the silence thing, yeah. Walking around without no one to talk to, that just does my head in sometimes. You can only listen to the same music so many times before it becomes BORING! But by listening to just to your favourite music stops you feel your not lonely too (well it does for me anyway).

    Great post.

    John M

  6. April 17, 2018 / 7:59 am

    I honestly prefer to travel solo; you’ve only got yourself to worry about then and can do exactly what you want. I’ve never taken a selfie in my life, so that’s not a problem. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. April 17, 2018 / 8:05 am

    I have never travelled alone. Although it is a very appealing thought but that is probably because I always have a baby and toddler attached to me

  8. April 17, 2018 / 1:00 pm

    Amazing tips Laura, I’ve never had the opportunity to travel alone. To be honest, I’d probably spend the entire break hiding away in the room with a book. Haha!

  9. April 17, 2018 / 8:38 pm

    I would have never done that. Good for you for doing so. And yes phones and data are quite handy when you feel like talking to family or friends

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