They say travel is the only thing that makes you richer and no generation knows this better than mine; there isn’t a single millennial I know who hasn’t been bitten by the travel bug. Some like to travel with friends; others like to make it a family occasion. And yet, there is a distinct group of people who enjoy travelling alone. While it can seem intimidating, especially if you’re a woman in this patriarchal world we live in, I highly recommend it. I took my first solo trip last year and it was one of the best trips of my life. Here are some tips to make your first solo trip successful!
(These are aimed at women but can be applied to anyone, really)
- Plan ahead and plan well: I planned all the details of my trip at least 2 months in advance from major expenses like flights and travel within England to small things like how much I would budget for food and souvenirs per day. I took a limited amount of money with me and knew that I would need more money each week as I went to multiple cities over the course of two weeks. I also researched the average cost of food, transportation and souvenirs so I could make a budget with a decent margin.
- Prepay as much as you can: This goes hand in hand with planning well and while there will always be unforeseen expenses, paying ahead for whatever you can help you maintain your budget throughout the trip. For me, I prepaid my flights, accommodations in all the cities that I stayed as well as my travel within England which included trains from one city to the other.
- Research your destination: One of the reasons I feel my trip was so successful was because I researched all of the sights that I wanted to see, including how far or close they were to my accommodations. I also mapped out how many attractions were in a certain geographical area so that I could see multiple sights in a day without having to spend a lot of time travelling in between locations. I also googled how I could save money on sightseeing as I did with the London Pass (no, they’re not sponsoring this article). It allowed me to see several famous tourist spots for one flat price. If you visit London and are there for at least a week, I highly recommend it.
- Pick a destination that meets your travel needs: Are you looking to explore a new area that you haven’t seen before? Are you looking to relax, unplug and escape from your daily hustle and bustle? Are you looking to check off major sights in a big city off of your bucket list or do you want to lay on the beach and enjoy the sun? Figuring out what you want from your travels will allow you to pick a destination that suits your needs and do the research necessary to have a successful trip.
- Get a phone that is unlocked/has access to the internet: Yes this is an added expense, yes it might take away from your souvenir money, yes it can be a hassle trying to find a vendor but it is so worth it. We really cannot survive without the internet in today’s day and age and even if you’re looking to unplug, having internet on your phone will be a lifesaver during an emergency. Plus, travel apps like Google Maps or Citymapper come in handy when you’re in an unfamiliar city.
- Pick a place that has access to public or other forms of transportation: England is an ideal destination for anyone who wants to travel solo as there is easy access to public transportation both within cities as well as from one city to another. I bought unlimited bus passes that were valid for a week each which covered my transportation while in the city. This allowed me to save money in the long run and I didn’t have to worry if I had spare change for public transportation.
- Pick a destination where you know at least one person: One of my best friends lives in Manchester and I have an uncle in London. While I did my sightseeing solo, it was comforting to know that I had people I could reach out in case of an emergency.
- Don’t be afraid to be who you want to be: When I’m at home, I have a pretty standard routine and it rarely changes. So I knew if I didn’t see everything I could possibly see in two weeks, I’d look back and regret it, even if it left me exhausted. And now that I’m actually looking back, I’m so glad I took every opportunity to go out and see things, meet people and experience everything England had to offer.
- Make friends along the way: I’m convinced that women are amazing and will take care of each other whenever they sense another woman is in danger. Throughout my trip, I met other women who were travelling solo and we shared experiences, recommendations and life stories. In some cases, they came to my rescue during my time of need and in other instances, I found a buddy to tag along with during sightseeing. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t exercise caution when you meet someone new; but trust your gut and if you feel safe enough to do so, don’t be afraid to make new friends.
- Have fun! This is cliche but travelling is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. On my first trip, I found myself feeling more confident with each passing day and I can guarantee that there is always some beautiful life lesson hidden in all of our travels.