Travelling by yourself is one of the most liberating, fun and rewarding things you can do. It’s the ultimate freedom – you choose where to go, what to see and when to see it. Travelling alone can also be a bit daunting the first time so here are some of our top tips to make sure you get the most out of your solo adventure.
Planning a trip is almost as exciting as the actual trip and when you’re travelling solo preparation is super important. Learn as much as you can about where you are heading, not just about the sites, but the culture, laws, lifestyle, weather and so on. The more you know the better.
Accommodation can make or break a trip, especially when you’re flying solo so do your research. Choose accommodation that is well-reviewed, in a great location with friendly and knowledgeable staff and a good atmosphere. Hotels with a bar, lounge or communal area can be a great for meeting fellow travellers.
One of the most exhilarating things about travelling alone is that you are free to do what you want. It also means that you have to rely on yourself so comprehensive travel insurance is an absolute must. Take copies of all your travel documents and leave them with family or friends as well. It’s a good idea to get your money sorted beforehand – usually a combination of cash and prepaid credit cards and debit cards is good.
It’s tempting when travelling alone to pack absolutely everything into your suitcase, but our top tip is to travel light. Ideally, you’ll want just one bag that you can take as carry-on luggage. Not only will this speed your exit from airports, it will make life so much easier if you only have one bag to carry around.
Avoid being overwhelmed by giving yourself time to adjust to your destination and spend the first day relaxing. Take time to study maps so that you know where the major landmarks are in relation to your hotel and which way is north. This will help tune your navigational instincts.
When you’re ready to explore remember it pays to be proactive. If you get lost, go ahead, smile and ask a stranger for help. Being proactive means you’re unlikely to ask the wrong person. Standing around looking frazzled is likely to attract the attention of the wrong person. Dress discretely. Flashy jewellery and expensive camera equipment will get you noticed.
Start your day with the birds. By getting up early, you not only beat the crowds but can set a relaxed pace to your day. The extra vigilance and sensory overload of travelling alone can be exhausting so plan for and indulge in downtime. An evening in front of the TV with room service can be the perfect way to recharge your adventure battery. Another idea is to join day tours so you can be part of a crowd for a day.
The idea of dining alone intimidates a lot of people but it’s actually great fun. Use the time for planning, or take a good book – having something to do will make you less self-conscious. If you’d rather eat in a group ask at your hotel for any local cafes with communal tables. Many fancy restaurants offer great value lunchtime dining which is usually a little more relaxed.
If you’re nervous about going out after dark, think about a dinner and show event where you’ll have set seating. Speak to hotel staff about where to go and what to do. They will be able to book a taxi for you and give you advice. If you’re out at a bar, say hi to the bar staff and make sure you stay sober.
Travelling solo is one of life’s greatest adventures. The best thing to pack is your sense of adventure – so go on, be brave, be curious and have fun!
When travelling alone, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re out of cash or your credit card isn’t accepted, that’s why we recommend travelling with a Mastercard Cash Passport. Accepted at ATMs, banks and major hotels, it’s the easiest and safest way to take your money travelling. With a MasterCard Cash Passport you can lock in the exchange rate before you travel and won’t have to accept what is offered at the airport.
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