and how to survive traveling alone
1. Create a private Facebook group
I have a private Facebook group of my emergency contacts (parents, close friends, etc) who gets bombarded with information prior to a trip as I share itineraries, accommodation and flight details, reservations and anything else they need to know or I think they should know. Try and tee up a reliable friend who you can trust and depend on and maybe even a fellow solo traveller who can reciprocate this deal when they embark on a solo trip of their own.
2. Take a copy of your passport
I have a photocopy of my passport available on my Google Drive so i’m able to access it anywhere with internet connection. I also carry a photocopy and ensure my emergency contacts all have a copy too.
3. Take a list of emergency contacts
Before every trip, I research the contact numbers and addresses for both the Australian and British Embassies, the airlines, my bank, my mobile provider, my accommodation and most importantly the emergency lines for the country I’m in. I have this printed and available on my Google Drive so I don’t have to mess about trying to find them if I need them.
4. Have some back up funds
Going on holiday alone definitely carries its risks and the last thing you want is to lose your money and what is usually an access point to adventures and fun! It’s good to have a back up plan. That plan might be as simple as having a back up travel card if your main card becomes blocked or being aware of what companies allow a friend or family member to wire you some funds in the event you lose your card or access to your money.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
During my solo time away, I have accepted that certain things would happen along the adventure way and that sometimes these things would have been out of my control even at the best of times. I learnt that the best thing to do if these unexpected things did happen was to embrace them. Lost bus ticket, buy another one. Missed train, jump on the next train. Accidentally booked hostel for wrong night, plead with hostel owner to change the date of the booking. Phone ran out of charge, make a friend at café who has their phone plugged into a charging point and ask them for a quick charge. It’s crazy what can happen if you just ask. Once I ran out of charge on my phone when I was in Portugal because that was this freak cold snap. I didn’t have a clue where my hostel was and this was before I invested in a power bank (if you haven’t done so already, you should). I just went down to this train station and asked this guy in this random phone shop if I could use the charger and he agreed! Life. Saver. The power of just asking is actually pretty phenomenal and we shouldn’t be afraid of doing so.
6. Take some earplugs!
As it seems a little unnecessary to pay extortionate hotel prices for just one person, I tend to book hostels for my solo adventures … unless I’m going to Eastern Europe or the Balkans where hotel costs are much more in line with my budget. I’ve stayed in hostels quite a bit but I can appreciate that the idea of staying in a hostel is highly discerning to some. It might be the sharing a room thing, the fact you have shared bathrooms or the presence of the loudest snorer in goddam history in your dorm. But word to the wise, be prepared. Choose the bottom bunk and hang sheets up, pack flip flops for the showers and take ear plugs because you’re going to need them!
7. Take a selfie
Why miss out on instagram-worthy photos just because you’re alone? Don’t be afraid to ask someone to take your picture because the chances are you’ll never see them again. But if you’re not quite brave enough for that, the iPhone comes with a self-timer.
And that’s it!
Plan, prepare and embrace the freedom that follows on from being the sole decider your day’s adventures!
Being open to exploring places by yourself is fun but understandably leaves you feeling a little apprehensive about the unknown. My solo travels have been some of my best. From unexpectedly making friends over breakfast at the hostel and walking until your heart is cardiovascularly content during the day to just generally being more open to new experiences and shamelessly taking selfies in public places.
Firstly, make your safety a priority. Safety is most likely going to be your primary concern when going on holiday alone. Before any trip I take, alone or with friends, I have some crucial pre-travel steps to protect me should I run into any trouble. This is especially worthwhile if you’re going on holiday alone, to put not only your mind at ease – but your parents too!