Travelling solo is an incredible experience. But if you’ve never done it before, it can be intimidating. Whether you’re going it completely alone or doing a group tour solo, here are 10 tips to make your first solo trip amazing!
1. Let Go of the Idea That You Won’t Make Friends
Making friends can seem like a daunting task. One of the best things about doing agroup tour is that you’ve got an instant group of friends from the moment you step off the plane! I remember walking into my first hostel on my solo trip and feeling so overwhelmed. However, I soon learned that all it took to make friends was a simple “Hi!” and a smile. Whether people are solo or in a group, travelling has a way of bonding people together. Compliment someone’s shirt, invite them to play a game of cards, or just ask where they’re from and you’re sure to at least get a friendly conversation.
2. Stay Open Minded
When you’re travelling alone, something going wrong can seem like the end of the world. Whether the weather’s bad, you left something important at home, or things just aren’t how you expected, just take a deep breath and stay calm. Shit happens, and even if you don’t have a friend or family member to rely on, you’re never alone. Just talk to your group leader or the hostel staff, or speak to other travellers since, odds are they may have found themselves in the same position at some point and know what to do! Just keep in mind that everything will be okay even if it doesn’t go exactly to plan.
3. Stay Safe
Travelling with a Group Tour is the safest way to do it, but it’s always best to have a backup plan! If you’re on one of our trips, you’ll get a ‘Get Home Safe’ card on nights out just in case. Never forget to tell someone where you’re going if you head out alone, whether you’re walking away from the group or heading out for the day. You should also always know the number of the nearest consulate and the local emergency number for worst-case scenarios. I’ve never had to use either, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
4. Do Your Research
I can’t tell you how many people I came across while travelling that were wildly unprepared for the day’s activities. There were people hiking mountains in jeans, walking in rainforests without rain jackets, and on beach trips without sunscreen or sandals. If you’re unsure of what to expect, Google is your best friend. A quick search can save you a lot of pain and confusion. Fellow travellers and/or your group leader are also great resources – don’t be afraid to ask questions!
5. You Can Buy Things There
So many people make the mistake of over packing for their trip, and trying to drag around a backpack that’s half your weight in hot weather is not fun. A general rule is to pack what you think you’ll need, then half it! You should never leave for your trip with a full backpack. It makes it hard to repack when moving destinations, you’ll have no room for souvenirs, plus if you’re debating bringing something; you can always buy it at your destination if you really need it!
6. Get Off the Beaten Path
While a lot of places deemed ‘touristy’ are still worth going to, one of the best parts of travelling is finding the ‘secret’ spots that are yet to be discovered by the masses. One of my favourite parts about my trip to Thailand was Khao Sok National Park – a place that not many travellers get to go to – the relatively untouched nature of it made it all the more special. Doing a tour means you get to visit many places that most tourists don’t know about or struggle to get to by themselves.
7. Try New Things!
Travelling has a way of pushing you outside of your comfort zone, and travelling solo is no exception. I’ve been exposed to more activities, foods, and unique places than I ever could’ve dreamed of. It’s so easy to let those opportunities pass you by – not to try a new food because you’re uncomfortable or not go on that hike because you’re tired – it’s almost always worth it to do it anyway. Trying new things and having experiences that you can’t have at home is what travelling is all about, and it’s also how I’ve met some of my favourite travel companions.
8. Don’t Skip Out
It’s no secret that travelling can be expensive, and it can often be tempting to pass over opportunities to save some money. Stick to your budget, but have fun! Skydiving in Australia and scuba diving in Thailand were two of my biggest expenses, but I wouldn’t trade either of those experiences for the world. Free things are amazing, but money spent on experiences is rarely wasted.
Travelling solo was a great way for me to detox from social media and let go of my need to always know what was going on. While I still posted constantly, I let go of my habit of spending hours scrolling through Instagram and watching everyone’s Snapchat stories. While it’s important to keep in touch, try to focus on what’s going on around you. You’re in new places experiencing new things – your friend’s Instagram post and your brother’s text will still be there when you get back. As an added bonus, it’s a lot easier to make friends when you’re not glued to your phone!
10. Have fun!
Travelling alone can be one of the most exciting and positive ways to experience a new destination. You leave yourself open to meeting amazing new people, making awesome new friends and can keep yourself and your onward travel plans flexible.
The majority of our group members are travelling solo, so joining one of our group tours is a really easy way to meet likeminded people and make friends to continue your travels with!