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Travelling alone could be either an exciting or a daunting prospect. On the one hand, you have the freedom to do what you want and when you want to do it. But what happens if you get stranded somewhere? Or will you be safe alone at night? There’s lots to consider if you’re planning on flying solo, but done right, you can have one of the best experiences of your life.
We’ve put together some top tips to help you stay safe and sound on your travels. Plus a few excellent ‘solo traveller friendly’ hotels and resorts to really make your adventure one to remember. Here you will find some of the best travel deals available.
Save up and stick to your budget
Wouldn’t it be great to return from a trip and know that it’s all been paid for. It’s not difficult to have a great holiday if you have money to throw at it, but many of those travelling solo (such as gap year students) try and do it on a tighter budget.
- Try to travel out of peak times. You’ll find that both flights and accommodation are somewhat cheaper. Plus, booking as far in advance as possible can help save you those all important pounds.
- Tourist traps can be a nightmare for your wallet. They’re usually popular for a reason, but sometimes venturing off-the-beaten-track will allow you to see things which are unspoilt and more magical. Furthermore, you won’t have to spend loads or queue for hours to experience it!
- Souvenirs are overrated. Instead of bringing back a suitcase full of carved animals and fridge magnets, focus on making memories instead. It’ll make your travel happier and your bags lighter.
- Buying visas for here, there and everywhere can really eat into your pennies. If you’re really on a budget, try and plan your holiday with cheap and easy visa processes.
Choose your destination carefully
You may not want to totally avoid remote places when travelling alone, but big cities with easy access to public transport, sightseeing, restaurants, and bars are a good option if you’re new to the solo travelling scene. The United States, Spain and Australia are usually popular options for solo travellers, and San Francisco, Barcelona and Sydney are all great places to visit and feel safe on your own.
The Bartlett Hotel and Guesthouse near Union Square, San Francisco is a great option for solo travellers. It’s safe, central, and within walking distance of good restaurants, as well as Chinatown and North Beach. You’ll find people around until late at night so you can feel comfortable walking home from dinner or the theatre. It also has easy access to public transport so you can explore more of the city. If you want to stay a little closer to home, Barcelona is a great choice. Plaza Catalunya near Las Ramblas is the perfect spot as it’s very central, has great transport links, and there are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants close by. Casa Kessler Barcelona is a 2-star hostel which makes for an ideal base. With a 24/7 reception, as well as bicycle rental and free WiFi. It also offers a library, a terrace and an airport shuttle, plus 35 comfortable rooms that are ideal for backpackers on a budget. If you’re up for the long-haul, Bed and Breakfast Sydney Harbour, is an excellent choice for those wanting to explore what Australia has to offer. It’s a five-minute walk from The Rocks and provides free wireless internet access in all areas. Surrounded by local bars and restaurants, it is within walking distance from Circular Quay Railway Station and The Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is also a BBQ area on-site for guests to enjoy.
Top solo-friendly accommodation
Because more people than ever are travelling solo, hotels are now offering guests a wide range of perks.
Japan is a unique destination, but if you’re visiting for the first time, it’s easy to feel a little lost. To help you get your bearings, why not spend your first night at the famous 5-star Shangri-La Tokyo? Jump on the bullet train from the airport and Shangri-La’s red jacket-wearing attendants will meet you on the platform. They’ll also arrange guided tours by English-speaking guides, for an easy way to explore this exciting city.
Solo travellers generally spend less time in their hotels, and are more likely to spend their cash on experiences rather than larger rooms. This is something the clever guys at citizenM in Amsterdam are very aware of. The smaller rooms mean lower room rates, but it has also allowed designers to create large, airy public spaces which you’ll love to hang out in – whether you’re Skyping friends back home or planning the next leg of your adventure. Steel House in Copenhagen combines the benefits of a hotel with the sociability of a hostel. Beyond the shared dorms, there’s a beautiful lounge area, gym and pool.
Buy travel insurance
Imagine if you were injured or became ill while on holiday. Emergency medical treatment abroad can be very expensive. And depending where you go, public hospitals could be very basic. It’s good to have peace of mind that you’re covered if the worst should happen.
The average cost of a medical claim of £1,300 has risen by 40% in recent years. But it’s not uncommon for medical treatment to run into thousands. Treatment in a USA hospital for a stomach bug alone could set you back £100,000. Compare cheap travel insurance and make sure you’re protected on holiday.
If you’re travelling alone , you don’t want to be lugging a huge suitcase around with with you. Having to keep asking that friendly local to help you up and down steps. Take a small suitcase which you can’t overfill with lots of ‘unnecessaries’ or ‘just-incases’. Travelling light gives you extra freedom and flexibility that you just don’t have with heavy luggage. You’ll be able to use public transport much more easily and you can keep your luggage close to you, meaning you’re less likely to lose things as it’s easier to keep track of your belongings.
Remember to pack just the essentials, and if space is limited, wear your bulkiest items to save room in your case. If you’re staying in a hotel, you’ll likely be provided with shampoo and shower gel, and often a hair dryer, so leave these at home. Look out for hardworking products that do a few different jobs. 2-in-1 products like BB creams that have SPF, and stock up on sample sachets of products that come free in magazines. Cut down on tickets, books, magazines, a laptop, games, notepads, music, maps and travel guides and simply pack a tablet. But don’t forget the charger, and a suitable adapter plug for wherever you’re travelling to.
Stay in touch
Although you’re probably looking forward to a nice break and some ‘me time’, it’s really important to stay in touch when you’re travelling alone so at least someone knows your plan in case you should get yourself into trouble. Make sure you check in with family or friends regularly, especially if you’re not planning on staying in one place. Luckily, most mobile networks these days let you use your data abroad at no extra cost (check with your provider), but there are plenty of places around now which offer free WIFI. Let’s face it, you’re never too far away from a Starbucks, no matter which country you’re in. It’s easy to drop someone a quick text or phone call, but we also have lots of social media apps which makes it even easier to stay in touch, such as WhatsApp (call or message), Facebook and Instagram. Even just an Instagram update with you sipping a cocktail by the pool shows all’s safe and well!
You’ll probably not want to draw too much attention to yourself when you’re travelling alone with that ‘I love Barcelona’ t-shirt, which could shout out that you’re new to the city and possibly a little vulnerable. But it is a good idea to make a few friends along the way. Consider going on trips and tours, which would be a nice way of meeting other tourists and really enjoy the travelling alone experience. If you make a friend or two, you could meet up with them at other points on your trip. Or become a regular at a local restaurant so you can become friendly with the staff. A good way to make friends and who knows, you may even get a discount. Or eat at that communal table which we normally try to avoid. A table for two leaves no opportunity for a solo traveller to be social. Eat at the bar and you could be mixing with the locals in no time.