So you’ve decided to see the world on your own – go you, you wild and curious soul! I’m telling you, this is a decision you won’t regret, and speaking from experience, it will be one of the greatest adventures of your life.
Nonetheless, travelling alone comes with some daunting challenges. So I’ve compiled this list of tips learned from my own solo expeditions that all you independent voyagers out there can use in your own planning.
1 - seek advice from a travel agent
I know, I know. It seems really old-hat and wimpy. But if you’re travelling alone for the first time, I highly recommend getting a travel agent to help you out with some of the logistics – especially if you’re travelling to multiple cities. I’m certain I would have been lost without my travel agent if I hadn’t commissioned her for my first big trip, and it was a comfort knowing I could contact her if something went wrong.
I went to a student and youth travel agency that guarantees the best fares for travellers under 26, and I had my agent book my flights and train fares from town to town.
Yes, these are all things I could have done on my own, but utilising a free service that guaranteed the lowest airfares, saved me time, and a lot of stress, seemed like a no-brainer.
The rest of the stuff – accommodation and activities, I took care of myself. Because there is still some fun to be had in planning a big adventure on your own! Plus, there are some things that a travel agent can’t book for you, like my next tip.
2 - when possible, book a room on Air BnB
A con to travelling alone, is not having a friend to split a room fee with – which means your potential cost of accommodation may have just doubled if you’re looking at mainstream hotels.
Enter, Air BnB. I’ll vouch for this service any day (FYI, not sponsored). Out of the six citiesI visited on my first solo trip, in five of those I stayed in Air BnBs.
I booked single rooms in either the owners’ homes, or a BnB-style share house. I had my own bathroom in all of these, but one, and I had a shared kitchen where I could prepare my own meals. This reduced my spending significantly.
Another bonus I found with choosing to stay in share houses, was being able to meet and talk with other travellers from all over the world. A hotel room on your own can get pretty lonely, and it’s nice to hear what other travellers are getting up to, and what they discovered that day, rather than getting advice from a hotel clerk.