You’ve saved up the cash and prepped yourself for the ultimate travel experience. The only problem is, no one else is quite as ready for the adventure yet – but that’s okay. Solo travelling has really taken off over the last few years and there are endless perks to taking on the big wide world by yourself.
Travelling to new places by yourself is liberating, exciting and far more eye-opening than travelling in a group. But it’s natural to have concerns, especially if you’re travelling alone for the first time. When it comes to flying alone, staying safe and keeping busy, you’ll want to be prepared before setting off. Our tips for travelling alone will help you to wave goodbye to those niggling worries and help open your mind to the possibilities.
Popular Myths About Travelling Alone
If you’re thinking of solo travelling, don’t get talked out of it by listening to other people’s fears or daunting myths you’ve read online. The world is your oyster, and most of the problems people are apprehensive about when travelling alone are completely avoidable. For instance:
“Solo travelling is lonely”
For some people, the beauty of flying solo while travelling is why they love it so much. You have complete freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without relying on anyone else to help you along the way. It’s a personal challenge that provides a huge deal of satisfaction – and it’s extremely peaceful! But for those that are worried about getting bored or lonely on a trip, there are things you can do to combat this. By definition, yes, you’re alone. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely. Staying in hostels or shared B&B’s is the best way to meet like-minded people who are also travelling alone. They’re also super cheap, and most of them hold social events that bring travellers and backpackers together. If anything, travelling alone gives you more opportunities to get to know new people from a variety of backgrounds. Not only will you learn a lot, but fellow travellers can also give you some great tips on where to head to next!
“You’ll get bored by yourself”
When people say ‘only boring people get bored’ it’s hard not to believe it. You’re finally on that once in a lifetime adventure you’ve always dreamt of, seeing different places every day and embracing completely foreign cultures. When you’re travelling, there is so much going on around you that, even if you blink, you could miss out on something spectacular. It might be a cliche to say that solo travelling helps you to find yourself, but in essence, it isn’t far off. And keeping yourself busy isn’t hard when you’re on the road.
“It’s more expensive when you’re doing it alone”
This is true to an extent, because you’re not splitting the price of meals, accommodation or expenses with anyone. And in many hotels across the world, solo travellers will be charged a ‘single supplement’ for a room. However, there are quick fixes to this. If you’re happy to stay in a shared room or crash in a bunkbed, you can check into most hostels for as little as £6 per-night. But if you’re looking to push the boat out and give yourself the luxury of a private hotel room, try and book your stay in advance on comparison sites – and look for hotels that offer single occupant rooms. It works out cheaper to know where you’re headed before you go, so if you plan ahead and do some research on the best value rooms, you’ll be able to budget effectively. Outside of the basics, travelling alone is likely cheaper due to the fact that you’re doing everything on your own terms. For instance, if you want to eat at authentic, cheap street food stalls every day, you can – there’s no one stopping you!
“Travelling alone is too dangerous”
This is often the main concern for people thinking about travelling alone. And while it’s a bit of a myth that solo travelling is dangerous, you will be at higher risk of being unsafe if the only person looking out for you, is you. Even in day-to-day life, being in a group is safer – and this is common knowledge whether you’re travelling or not. Most countries you’ll travel to will be perfectly safe and it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter any problems. Still concerned? Put your mind at ease by remembering a few key things:
How to Stay Safe While Travelling Alone
Staying safe is the key to a carefree, happy trip. Regardless of where you’re going on your adventures, there are a few things to think about:
- Take extra precautions – it’s might be as simple as not walking with headphones in when you’re wandering through less crowded, unfamiliar neighbourhoods, or always ensuring you have enough phone battery to make an emergency call if you need to.
- Do your research – before heading anywhere, clue yourself up on any high crime or common pickpocketing areas so you know where to avoid.
- Dial down the ‘tourist’ look – walking around with your backpack on is unavoidable, but walking around wearing a designer watch or holding an expensive camera on a neck strap isn’t very sensible. Try to blend in with the locals if you can. You’ll also have a more enriching experience this way.
- Keep a log of numbers – it’s tricky if you’re in a new place every day, but you should always ensure that wherever you are, you keep a note of any local emergency service numbers. If you’re mainly in cities, it’s also worth reading up on where your national embassy is located.
- Know the laws – we’re not saying you need to know the ins and outs of every law for every country, but sometimes the basics will help. For example, in Poland, you’ll be arrested on the spot if you’re caught jaywalking (crossing a road anywhere other than a suitable crossing even if there’s no traffic), whereas in the UK, it’s perfectly normal. So be aware!
Top Tips for Flying Alone
It’s also common for solo travellers to have reservations about flying alone. Whether it’s the fear of flying, being bored on a long haul flight or simply finding the whole process a bit hectic, here are a few tips for travelling alone when flying:
- Book a non-stop flight where possible – one of the most stressful elements of flying is layovers. You might pay a little extra for a non-stop journey, but if you find connecting flights a bit of a hassle (especially if you’re travelling alone), it’s worth it.
- Get to the airport in time – frantic airport rushing is bound to make your journey much more stressful. If you’re worried you’ll get caught up in traffic or come face to face with road closures on the way to the airport, why not make things easier by booking into a hotel room the night before? That way, you can get a good night’s sleep and be at the check in desks within minutes. Perfect for starting out your solo travelling adventure.
- Make your flight as comfortable as possible – if you have a fear of flying, the obvious remedy is to take some sleeping medication so you can drift off and avoid it. But there are other things you can do to make your flight much more comfortable. For instance, treating yourself to an airport lounge experience before your flight will allow you to unwind, relax and get into a good headspace before stepping on-board. You could also upgrade your flight by opting for extra legroom, priority boarding and preferred seat selection.
Wherever you’re heading, solo travelling is guaranteed to reward you in more ways than one. If you plan ahead and prepare yourself for every outcome, you’ll have the time of your life.