Planning a solo adventure? Whether you're considering going backpacking alone or just fancy some 'me' time on a short getaway, there are a few things you should consider before travelling on your own, as it's a completely different experience to going with a friend. Here are nine top tips to ensure you get the most out of your travels...
1. Give a copy of your travel itinerary to friends or family
Even though travelling alone may be your opportunity to get away and escape from it all, it's still worth providing friends and family with a copy of your itinerary to let them know your flight times, hotel reservations and a rough guide to your plans while you're there. Not only will it give them peace of mind, it will also allow them to be able to get in touch should they need to.
2. Carry around a list of emergency contact numbers
A handy tip, whether you're travelling alone or not, carrying around a list of emergency contact numbers on your travels is a big help. Include your own personal information, along with the name of an emergency contact back home and any other phone numbers you may need, such as your bank should you have problems with your cards, or your insurance company in case you need to make a claim.
STORY: 75 things you need to pack for a holiday - your need-to-know guide
3. Do your research and only book accommodation with good reviews
You don't want to end up in a dodgy area of town or accommodation where you feel unsafe alone, so it's well worth taking the time to do some research in advance. Look out for areas that are popular with travellers if you're hoping to meet new people, and look out for places with positive reviews so you can have a good idea of what to expect before you arrive and don't have any nasty surprises.
4. Do something you've always wanted to do
Travelling alone is the perfect opportunity to do something you've always wanted to do, but wouldn't if you were with a friend or partner. Perhaps you've always fancied learning to dive or taking a local cooking class but they'd rather spend the day lounging by the pool - now is your chance! Not only will you tick something off your bucket list, but you'll have even more exciting stories to tell your friends when you're home, too.
5. Keep a travel journal and take lots of photos
Of course, the downside to travelling alone is not having someone to share the experiences with. But keeping a travel journal and taking lots of photos during your travels will ensure you don't forget a moment and can show everyone exactly what you got up to while you were away.
6. Be an early bird
Going out after dark can be intimidating on your own in a strange place, so start your days earlier to give you plenty of opportunity for sightseeing. Set your alarm early and you'll usually benefit from seeing a place at its quietest, beating the queues for any tourist attractions and meaning you get the most out of your time away.
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7. Stay somewhere with free Wi-Fi
Unless you're hoping for a digital detox or want to really get off the grid, it's likely you're going to need the internet at some point during your time away. As well as helping you to keep in touch with family and friends or sharing your travel photos on social media, it's also a great way to plan your travels and research new places, book travel or tickets to any attractions you might be visiting. Avoid getting stung by expensive data roaming charges by booking in to somewhere that offers free Wi-Fi, rather than charging a fee to access the hotspot.
8. Meet new people
Don't shy away from talking to new people during your travels; practice the language by chatting to the locals or even just a friendly waitress, strike up conversation with fellow travellers or book onto a tour where you may meet likeminded people
9. Don't take silly risks
While you want to open yourself up to new experiences and adventures during your solo travels, it's also important to stay in control and don't take silly risks. Stay on your guard and avoid getting into potentially dangerous situations.
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