Just like going to the cinema or eating alone, traveling alone is still seen as taboo; and I really don’t understand why! I love traveling with my family and friends when I can, but there is something so special about traveling alone. I recently took a solo train-trip through Switzerland and had a great time. If you follow my six tips when planning your next trip alone, you’ll be sure to have the best time.
- Take pictures
Even though this seems so simple and obvious, it is insanely important! Because you’re traveling alone, when you go back home and want to reminisce, you only have your own memory and no one else’s. What’s a better way to remember your trip than with pictures? I take lots of selfies. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other people to take pictures of you! I specifically look out for other younger tourists, because they are probably not in a big hurry to go anywhere, they’ll know how to work your phone camera and they might want a picture of themselves in return. Who knows, you might even make some travel buddies at the same time!
Top tip: While I travel, I like to make a vlog and send it to my family. If you’re too busy and don’t have time to fully explain your day to them, a quick 2-minute video showing them your surroundings and telling them what you’re doing is great for them and for your memories.
- Keep in contact with family and friends
To finish my dissertation I went to Venice, Italy, alone for a week. I called my friends on day 5 and they still talk about the state that I was in! I realized that I hadn’t really spoken to another English speaker in 5 days and I was so excited to finally talk to someone. Staying in contact with your family and friends will keep you up to date with what has been going on back home, and it will help you stay grounded. Additionally, it’s a good way to stay safe.
- Be safe
Keeping your parents/friends updated with your whereabouts can allow them to better help you if you’re in a tough situation. I carried around a backpack most of the time, but whenever I used transportation or was in a crowded area, I would always put it in front of me, fully zipped. If I knew I was going out at night for dinner, I would usually just take a crossbody bag and keep it in front of me for extra safety. I usually went out to dinner reasonably early then went back to my hotel for the night, but if you take main streets and maybe taxis between places at night you should feel safer.
- Be planned, but be flexible when you can
Before traveling, I had all of my accommodation and flights booked, and nothing else. I had bought one train ticket that gets me through all of Switzerland for the week but didn’t plan when I would go on the trains. Having an outline, such as booked accommodation, keeps your holiday moving. For restaurants I would ask the locals and different hotel receptions, they usually know best. I also like to ask about local tours, they’re a great way to meet new people and learn everything from a good source! A lot of big cities have free walking tours every day, so look out for those.
- Don’t forget your essentials
You can waste so much of your day if you forget something important and you need to go back to your accommodation. Every morning before I left my room, I’d check for my phone, wallet, portable phone charger, headphones, sunglasses and my kindle!
Top tip: If you’re afraid of eating alone then bring a book/kindle. You’ll look far more sophisticated than staring at your phone the whole time. I specifically like a kindle because I don’t take up luggage weight with the books.
- What do you want to achieve?
Usually when I travel solo, I like to give myself a goal. Whether it be to write a draft of an essay whilst on the train, or to read a book that I’ve been too scared to read because of its length – I feel like it makes you feel less lonely if you have a goal. Also, it gives you something to do after dinner and before bedtime if you choose to go back to your room.
Do you have any more tips for traveling alone? Leave them in the comments below!