Travelling solo is one of the best ways to travel. There’s no compromise and not only does it give you the freedom to do what you want, but your trip becomes yours, and yours alone. Meeting random strangers can be the best moments you’ve ever had, and you wonder how you ever managed to travel with others before. But it doesn’t come without its challenges so before you zip up your backpack or suitcase and board that bus to the airport, here’s some tips that every solo woman traveller should know before they get on the open road.
Before You Travel
– Sign up for self-defence lessons.
– Research the countries before you travel for any areas that you should avoid.
– Read about the local customs and etiquette.
– Ensure you are aware of the laws of the countries.
– Download an app to learn the language.
– Set up a Skype account to keep in touch with people from home.
– Unlock your phone
– Leave an itinerary with your family.
– When crossing the roads, cross when the locals do.
– Eat where the locals eat.
– When changing money get as many small dominations as possible.
– Always keep pocket tissues or a toilet roll with you.
– Attend a free walking tour when you arrive to get your bearings.
– Always check the room before you depart in case you have left anything behind.
– Plan (but not too much).
– Focus on doing something that makes you happy every day.
– Remember to rest and have a day off from travelling.
– Respect the culture and the people.
– Always go with your gut instinct.
– Know that you will meet others.
– Act confident even if you don’t feel it.
– Never panic.
– Make the most of every minute as before you know it, you’ll soon be home.
You can meet others practically anywhere: on a bus, in a cafe or on a walking tour, but if it’s more social interaction that you need, then hostels are one of the best ways to meet like-minded others.
Hostels were created with the idea of mingling with strangers and you’ll find many holding daily or nightly events. Travellers are a friendly bunch especially if they are solo as well and you’ll often find that they will just invite you to go exploring with them for the day. Speak to others in your dorm room, sit in the common area and ask people for tips on what to see and do. Ask the reception desk if they have any tours or nightly events that you can take for guaranteed company. Be open to others and just smile, they may be needing the company just as much as you.
Having no expectations
Most importantly, be prepared that not everything will run on time or go as smoothly as you want. Know that you will miss a bus or train but it’s all part of the experience. The secret is to have no expectations, allow enough time for everything and be as open as you can to other’s cultures, no matter how different they are from your own. It may seem daunting at first but travelling solo will be the best experience you’ve ever had. Just don’t do anything abroad that you wouldn’t do at home and you’ll have an amazing trip!
It’s time to release your solo wanderer…
Lisa Eldridge has been solo travelling for the last 17 years. Her book, A Female Guide to Solo Travel, is a comprehensive how-to guide for any woman looking to travel solo.