Travelling solo can be the most amazing experience. You put yourself outside your comfort zone and learn so much about yourself. It can open your mind and make you realise you are so much more capable than you ever thought. But of course it isn’t always easy.
This is the advice I would give to anyone who is considering travelling solo in order to make the most of the experience and have an amazing time. Not about the practical things you need to know but more about your mindset and how you approach things.
Don’t Plan every detail
Don’t feel like you need to plan every little detail and know exactly where your going and where your going to stay. No matter how much you plan ahead, things aren’t going to go to plan. You will meet people and change your mind. Have a rough idea but be flexible and open to change. You will have more fun.
Don’t worry so much
Don’t overthink everything, or worry about every little thing. Just get on the plane – you can work everything out once you get there. This is coming from someone who was having major anxiety attacks before I left for my first solo trip, and wasn’t even sure how I was going to make it through the flight without having a full on panic attack. Guess what …… I did. The best way to overcome your fear is to not really have a choice.
Fear is a natural feeling
It’s normal to fear the unknown. But our fear is usually always for no reason at all. There will be times when you feel out of your depth. Just except this feeling and carry on regardless. You will realise you can handle a lot more than you think you can.
Try new things
Don’t be afraid to try something new. What’s the point of travelling all over the world if your just going to do the same things you always do. Try that strange looking food even if your not sure what it is. Do that cave tour, or jump off that rock or boat, even if your scared. Just say yes & take risks. You may not enjoy everything you do, but you won’t regret it.
Things will go wrong
Some things will definitely go wrong at some point. But these will be the stories you end up sharing and comparing with other travellers you meet along the way. And I can pretty much guarantee someone will always have a much worse story than yours. And when things do go wrong there will be someone you barely know who is happy to help you out. Which leads me on to the next thing.
Most people are pretty nice
Most people are decent and good people – one thing you will definitely realise at some point is the kindness of strangers. Every time I’ve found myself in a bad situation there has been someone who I hardly knew who has done something to help. Or just took my mind off of it and made me enjoy my day/night.
Forget about your guidebook
A guidebook is great to get a bit of an overview and some background knowledge on a place. But don’t become obsessed with it. Put it down or leave it behind at a hostel for someone else. And get out and explore a place for yourself. Ask a local for recommendations and advice if you need it, or talk to people at your hostel. You won’t find out about the real heart and soul of a place on the pages of your guidebook.
Just slow down
Don’t always be in a rush to fit everything in or to get to as many places as you possibly can. You don’t need to rush around ticking every possible thing off your list. Take it easy and hang out in a coffee shop for hours just people watching. Or chill out in the local park. Take time to find out about the culture of a place, meet the locals, and learn something new. If you don’t get a photo in front of every tourist attraction in the city…. who cares. Chances are a lot of the people who did probably didn’t enjoy it a whole lot anyway.
Don’t be so shy
When travelling solo of course it can be hard going up and talking to people you don’t know. It’s not easy to join in a conversation with a group of people. But whats the worst that can happen? Ask if you can join in with the game people are playing at your hostel no one is going to say no. Just take out your headphones, stop looking at your phone all the time and say hello.
You are not alone
Your not the only one travelling alone. A lot of the people you meet are all feeling the exact same way as you. Everyone is looking to make new friends. It really is that easy. Even if you are shy, you won’t be alone. I’m not exaggerating when I say it really is harder to not make friends, than it is to make them. You will meet the most amazing people and start some of the best friendships of your life. Just have fun.