Tips For Your First Solo Trip

Monday, 26 January 2015 ·

Going travelling alone for the first time, more often than not, is a terrifying prospect and is something I can very much relate to. Four years ago, more or less to the day, I was planning my first ever solo trip and I was definitely more worried than excited, but I can safely say it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Here are my tips for planning your first solo trip… 

1. Where to go?

Deciding where you go can often be the toughest decision but it’s one you really can’t avoid making. So whether you have one place you’ve always dreamt of exploring or you simply close your eyes and pop a pin into a world map get this done first! 

2. Do your research!

Make sure to look into everything from the currency you’ll need, areas of your destination with  a bad reputation to local traditions and customs. Without this knowledge it’s all too easy to accidentally offend someone or worse, get yourself into a dangerous situation so don't skip it!

3. Get organised. 

We’ve all heard the stories of people simply ‘winging it’ and seeing who they meet and where the wind takes them. Don’t get me wrong, this can be a very fun and spontaneous way of travelling however I would recommend booking at least a few nights in advance. Make sure to check the cancellation policies and if something better comes along or your plans change then you can always cancel your original booking! 

4. Is a group tour/trip right for you? 

A pre-organised group trip with a company such as Real Gap or Frontier can be a great way to easy yourself into solo travelling. You can travel to virtually anywhere in the world and everything at your destination is organised for you taking all of the pressure off you and it will put your parents minds at ease! These can last anywhere from a week to several months so if you do your research I can guarantee you’ll find something suited to you. 

5. Want to do more than just travel?

There are so many other things that you can incorporate into any trip so that the benefits last you long after you return home. Whether purely for your own benefit or as something to add to your university application/CV these are a great thing to look in to. You can incorporate any number of things into your trip, from volunteering or learning a language to martial arts training or mountain trekking, there’s something for everyone.

6. Have the basics at your finger tips

There's nothing more disorienting when travelling than not understanding things around you, be it signs, menus or needing to ask for directions. Download a translation app such as iStone - it'll become your best friend! 

7. Pack light

The prospect of packing for a a trip of a month or more may seem daunting but stick to the basics! You can always pick up extra bits and pieces as you go and don't forget you've got to lug it all around with you everywhere you go! 

My three months of travelling was the best thing I’ve ever done and, as cheesy as it sounds, it really helped me develop as a person! Although I was pretty organised and booked myself onto a volunteering programme to start my trip off and did plenty of research it was still a steep learning curve so I hope that these tips will help you in making the most of your next trip. My final word of warning, be prepared to get the travel bug and spend a considerable amount of time from then on dreaming of your next trip! 

Do you love to travel to? Have you got any tricks to being organised or making the most of your trip?

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