Travelling Solo can be one of the most amazing experiences in your life. It might be a bit challenging, maybe a bit scary or surprising but at the end of the day it is absolutely awesome.
You will come back home with a lot of memories, a lot of new experiences, a personnel growth a enriched soul and a big smile on your face. Travelling Solo helps you learn more about yourself, make you face your fears and follow your passion. Is it easy? Well its not that easy but also its not hard at all.
Is it for everyone? It is definitely for every curious mind and free soul. For a Girl coming from the Middle east, it is not that common and frequent to go on a trip alone. So if I can do that, well am pretty sure everyone who is u up to it can!
Back in time it was something I would never consider, or maybe even scared of. “Travelling alone? What would other people think? She doesn’t have friends or family to travel with?” or even worse “What would I do on a trip by myself? I would probably die from boredom….” During all those years It was always a No No for me to travel alone, until I had to spend like a day or 2 in a city by myself and found out that it was okay… actually it was nice!
And it was in 2018, when I finally jumped into this wonderful experience. I wanted so badly to go to Portugal, and didn’t find anyone interested to go on that trip with me So I decided to go on that Journey SOLO. And guess what? It turned out to be one of the best experiences in my life!
Since then, I went on several trips on my own. And I can tell you each one of them is so special to me and I could make some great friends and wonderful memories. So my advice to you, is to put your fears aside leave your comfort zone and try at least to do 1 SOLO trip on your own. You will never regret it but in the contrary you will connect more with yourself, and have a better vision of the whole world around you!
As for my General tips, check out this list of my top 10 tips for travelling Solo. 🦋
- Plan ahead of time
- Book a day flight
- Pack light if not pack smart
- Carry good identification and emergency contacts
- Wear your confidence
- Always tell someone you trust where you are
- Go for day trips
- Meet locals in coffee shops
- Dine alone and enjoy it!
- Walk around the city
1- Plan ahead of Time⏱
Planning should be the most important part of your trip. A large percentage of the trip’s success remains in the perfect planning. Wait have I said perfect? As we all know there is no such thing as perfect but the most accurate convenient way of a plan. And for it to be as neat as I described It it has to be planned ahead of time.
How to plan your trip?
In my opinion, the hardest part remains in choosing the destination you wish to go to and after that, everything becomes easier. The first thing you need to do is to gather your thoughts and know what is your target or purpose for this trip. It can be:
- A purely touristic trip
- A relaxing vacation
- A trip to meet new cultures & especially food
- A trip to do some shopping
- A trip to explore some activities or sports
Once you define your purpose, chose the appropriate number of days for your trip and then begin your research. Tackle the search engine and of course the Travel blogs😊 and search for anything that comes to your mind. Try to make a tentative itinerary after sorting out the main things you would like to do or explore.
My tip: Check the city map and try to gather the attractions and things to do depending on their location. Your Itinerary should be made depending on your own pace. But also not over full in order for you to enjoy each attraction or landmark.
What to consider when doing that plan?
So basically your plan will depend on the chosen destination and the purpose of your travel. But in anyways there are a few things to consider while planning your trip, those being:
- The hotel Location
- The means of transportation to be taken
- The Airport pickup
- The SIM card if needed
- Also, in case going on day trips the need to book those train tickets online ahead of time or those day tours.
2- Book a day flight✈
You might be wondering why would I suggest a day flight but to arrive to an unknown destination during the day should be crucial for you especially if you’re travelling alone.
When you take a day flight, you reach the airport in its full vibe. All stores are open, exchange Markets, Telephone shops…So in case you need any of those, they are all available at your reach. Also, it easier to find taxis and most importantly frequent public transportation in case you opt for this option.
Most importantly, if you booked a hotel in an old down town in some narrow streets, arriving during the day makes it easier for you to walk there. And finally you will be able to localize better yourself and memorize some referral points.
3- Pack light if not Pack smart🎒
This one might sound like the hardest one to stick on, and it actually is. After going on many trips packing which was my worst nightmare became so easy to be done. I can hear some of you telling me but Anna seriously how can you consider packing is easy?
This is mostly for us Ladies! Hey it’s not about packing all of our closet😅 This would be the hardest job ever! It’s simply about packing light or well smart. How can packing be smart? Simple. Count your days, check your itinerary and try to visualize some outfits in advance. In addition to that, always pack a sweater even if you are traveling in summer, a swimsuit and your basic medicines.
You don’t actually need more than that! The only three crucial things that you need are Your Passport, your credit cards and your phone. Else than that, trust me you can always buy. So try to pack as light as you can because trust me it would make your life so much easier. You might ask me why is that?
Why packing light makes your life much easier!
- You don’t have to carry so much weight on your own. And you can possibly fit your belongings in a carry on and keep it with you.
- It would be much easier for you to carry your luggage in case you are switching cities by train or even going on various flights.
4- Carry Good identification & emergency Contacts📰
This must be the most important one and the tip and we should all take it so seriously. In case you are travelling alone it is very important to keep emergency contacts saved in a safe place. Make sure to keep that information not only on your phone, because this one can be lost or can ran out of battery anytime.
Carry a small notebook with you where you can write down all the valuable information about the trip along with those emergency contacts, the hotel name, your new SIM card number or any other relevant information.
As for your passport, this is the most valuable document and the one you should stick to the whole time.
- Localize your embassy, in case it is needed at anytime during your trip.
- Carry your passport on you wherever you go.
- if you feel a bit uncomfortable with that or worried about it and you preferer to keep it in a safe a the hotel, make sure to carry a copy of that on you.
- Also most importantly make sure that your travel insurance is valid. Carry a copy of that either on your phone or on a piece of paper.
5- Wear Your Confidence
So this one is your key for you not to be considered as tourist. You might ask yourself why wouldn’t she want me to look like a tourist? I am a tourist and happy about it😅 Well because as simple as it is in some places and neighborhoods its better for you not to look like tourists.
Why is that?
Because well it wont show that you are lost and need directions. Sometimes some people can take advantage of some tourists. Also its so much better to look like you know where you are heading especially if you are taking a taxi. Taxis in some countries can take you for a longer ride for extra cash.
And of course, in some less safe countries, being a tourist might seem like a good target to steal money from or anything else. And We wouldn’t want any of this to happen! So yes Wear that confidence and that smile of yours. (Not so much of a smile though😛)
Now you will ask me what if we are really lost and need directions?
In that case, try to reach any coffee shop or boutique and ask for any directions you need. Or if you are anywhere near an information desk head towards it. And always consider asking your Hotel Personnel for any general direction or information that comes to your mind.
6- Always tell Someone you trust where you are
I always tell someone back home where I was each day or even give him/her a copy of my schedule. It could be anyone a parent, member of your family, a friend, anyone that you can really trust and rely on. But why is that so important?
Well knowing that you are travelling Solo, this means that most of the time you are alone and away from home. Which means away from your comfort zone and your daily routine. Having someone you trust aware of your whereabouts will give you safety and comfort knowing that you are backed up.
What do they need to know?
Give away your hotel name, the areas you aim to visit during each day and if you are going on any day trips, flight or tour. In case you are meeting up with strangers, this one is up to you to giveaway names to that trusted person. But since its a trusted one I would suggest that you mention that for more security reasons.
It’s simply like keeping a track so in case you are in need of any support (which I hope you will never need) you will have it in no time.
7- Go for day trips
This one is my favorite one and the one I highly recommend. Day trips and guided tours are the best ways to fill your Solo time with the greatest memories and souvenirs. The best thing of travelling solo is being able to do whatever you want anytime you want. Also one of the most beneficial things is meeting new people and new cultures. And the best way to meet other people and mostly tourists in the most entertaining way is by going on some guided tours.
It can vary from a long day trip outside of the city you are in to the simple walking guided tour in the city. Always consider that as an option and as I mentioned it in the tip number 1, include those day trips in your planning.
I have honestly met some great people during guided tours with whom I kept great contact. And if you feel like it you can schedule some other plans with those friends you made and share your travel ideas which would be super cool. Traveling Solo and meeting friends along the way is the best thing that can ever happen to you and those day trips could be the best way to do so.
But is it all?
Well of course not. By taking those guided tours you will experience all of those:
- You will get the chance to learn more about the landmark or city you are visiting
- You will spend some time free from planning worrying about what to do next and all the logistics that come along.
- For those of you who like taking pictures, well you will have someone telling you from where to take the perfect shots and well to also take you in pictures.
8- Meet Locals
Whether traveling Solo or not, meeting locals can be one of the most exciting and beneficial thing to do during a trip. Some of you might tell me that why would I want to meet people since I decided to go on a trip SOLO? Meeting locals is not gonna ruin your SOLO trip on the contrary it will make it even better. You will still get to enjoy your free time alone and do all those things you were aiming for but with a local touch. And what would be better than some local recommendations?
Meeting locals is actually super cool because you will get the chance to learn more about the country’s culture, write down some recommendations and of course some directions. Also you can spend some time talking with others with no pressure and maybe who knows if you get along, have some company over dinner and why not a private tour.
Where is the best place to meet locals?
The first place that comes to my mind is Coffee shops and bars. You are not gonna be searching for locals in the most touristic places because they will be avoiding them. So try to look for this cool neighborhood and those nice coffee shops or bars.
You can also try the Food Market places🤩 Where you get to pick your food and share your table with others. This is a great opportunity to meet locals as those others are mostly residents.
9- Dine alone and Enjoy it!
This one might seem strange especially the first time. And for someone coming for the Middle east where we are used to eat with 10 people around the table, it seemed impossible. Am talking in the past tense because I finally overcame that fear and actually enjoyed it!😍 And well if I can do it you can do it too! SO if you feel uncomfortable about it, try to plan it ahead of time. Hey you don’t need to dine each night alone in a restaurant, but try to do it at least twice during your trip.
It always felt weird for me during the first two nights in the city. So I used to grab something to go or simply dine in the Hotel Lobby. Until I decided to face this situation and go for that dinner on my own. And yes I enjoyed it so much and felt sorry for not considering that earlier.
So in case you are really not yourself and you might really feel lonely eating by yourself at night in a restaurant, try some of those😊
- Consider a dinner with a live band or a live show
- Search for those friendly restaurants where you can share a table with others
- Go for street food Markets where you can chose your food and also share a table with others
- Try going to open food Buffet where you get to mingle with a crowd.
10- Walk around the City
The best way to discover the city and enjoy it the maximum way possible is by getting lost in its streets. Allow yourself to go on that journey, wander in those narrow streets and old souks. Eat from local shops on the way and talk to locals. Enjoy finding the hidden gems and be proud of it.
Walking around the city should be a pleasant experience and a crucial one for any Solo traveler. As it is the best way to really learn about the culture and get to know the city. Also and most importantly the best way to spend some time alone entertained and connected to the city. Although it is very enjoyable to do this a SOLO traveler, keep in mind two important things:
- Don’t stay late: Staying so late walking around in an unknown city might seem a bit spooky. You can get lost more easily or frequent delinquent people in narrow hidden streets. So make sure to stroll down those streets more or less during the day!🌞
- Stay Sober: Alright I am not trying to be your mum or anything😅 But when you travel SOLO you should try to be more responsible in order to keep yourself more Safe. So drink, enjoy but do all of those moderately!