Being a solo traveler can be daunting. Your tickets are booked, your bags are packed, and suddenly your wondering if this was a mistake. Maybe you do need someone to travel with and you do indeed need a helping hand.
I was in Vienna, all by myself and scared after hearing someone scream out of my hostel window the night before so I booked a panic flight to London, hoping that being around English speakers would help my nerves. I spent way too much money on the next day flight, ended up lost wandering the streets with no phone data and the sun was going down. After I got my bearings I started to feel more confident as I roamed the streets of London, alone, and wasn’t only enjoying every minute of it – I was thriving.
You can only learn from your mistakes and in turn, prevent feeling like the world is falling down. Here’s what not to do as a solo traveler.
Take Money Out At The Airport
The only place you should be taking money out is at an ATM in your destination country. I always use 7/11 but you can usually find them anywhere. ATMs will always have the correct currency exchange so you won’t get scammed with inaccurate rates or fees.
Bring A Backpack
When I was 18 I backpacked Australia for 6 months and I started out with a backpack because, well, that’s what you do, right? Wrong. Backpacks are hard to pack and you need to take everything out to get to one thing. They hurt your back, you look like a foreigner and they just aren’t practical anymore unless you’re hiking Macchu Piccu. In a small hostel I saw a man using a suitcase and that completely changed my mind on the possibility of not using a backpack. Unless you are hiking up mountains or roughing it in the woods then opt for a carry-on size suitcase. What screams tourist more: a small suitcase or a giant backpack hanging off of you? Join the carry-on revolution because backpacks are not necessary anymore.
Over packing is the enemy of travelers. If you leave with a full suitcase you are risking an overweight bag and not being able to buy things while your abroad due to space constraints. Plus, it’s just heavy to lug around while you are travelling. You can buy everything you need, if you need, once you get to your destination country!
Go Off The Grid
Yes, going completely off the grid seems glamorous and who doesn’t dream of running away to an exotic location? But the reality is…it never hurts to play it safe. Alway tell family where you are going and how many days you will be spending at your next destination. You can even let someone know what train or flights you are taking, and always update social media just to give people, and yourself, peace of mind knowing you are safe.
Arrive To You Destination At Nightfall
This isn’t a, “you’re going to get kidnapped,” tip. This is a, “your life will be easier,” tip. When you arrive at nightfall, you don’t get a chance to learn about your surroundings, you don’t have a good grasp on time or direction and it leaves you feeling vulnerable. You can be a lover of the night but when you are in a foreign place, being out alone at night can play tricks with your head. You don’t want to be wandering around at night with your luggage in tow. If you do arrive at night take an Uber. They ensure you aren’t getting in a random cab and will be on record to where you are going. Safety first!
What are some of your solo travellers tips?