Things I Learned Travelling Solo
Travelling on your own for the first time can be pretty daunting, but it can also be insanely rewarding. Here are some things I learned on my first solo trip.
Stay in hostels
Not only will this save you money, but it will also help you meet other travellers and find some people to explore with. I met up with people I met in hostels in BC in different spots around Canada, and it made my travel experience so much better. It also helps keep the loneliness at bay on the days when you're feeling a little homesick.
Sign up for tours
There are cheap and free tours available almost everywhere you go. Sign up to some of them to experience something a little different. If you're staying in hostels, check the noticeboard. And browse through TripAdvisor. There's almost always going to be a tour you can join. You never know what you might see, or who you might meet.
Speak to other travellers
I can't stress this one enough. These are the best people you can speak to about the place you're in. They can give you recommendations for everything - food, drinks, places to go etc. And if they're travellers too, you might make a friend you can join forces with again down the line.
Go to local events
Flea markets. Sports events. Festivals. Expos. They all offer a way of exploring the place you're in. You can catch epic sunsets, buy some unique handmade product that is only available there and then, and experience the culture of the place you're in, in all sorts of ways.
Keep people updated
As fun as travelling alone can be, safety should always come first. Make sure someone knows where you are/where you're going at all times. If you have a smart phone, allow someone to track your whereabouts in case something goes wrong. Hopefully you'll never need it, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Travelling is exciting, but it can also be limiting. By keeping your options open, you can reduce costs. More than that, you can allow yourself the chance to change your plans. This allows you more opportunities to experience things, and create memories that you might otherwise have missed.
Don't pack too much
You might find that when you actually start your trip, you don't actually use all of the things in your bag. That's what happened to me, and within two weeks I'd dumped nearly half of my stuff. Why? Because they weighed me down and I was constantly on the move. They also stopped me from picking up knick-knacks along the way due to lack of space.
Speak to the locals
They're full of knowledge, and will be able to guide you to a more authentic experience. I met a super cool hiker in Tofino, kept in touch, and when I reached her home city of Edmonton, she became my tour guide. Showed me a side of Edmonton I wouldn't have seen otherwise, and introduced me to some really cute cows.
Stay in touch with the people you meet along the way
We're travellers, and so are they. By keeping in touch, your global network will grow, and before you know it, you'll have friends with everywhere. Might not seem useful when they're in Australia and you're in the UK, but when you eventually get around to going Down Under, you have someone you can visit or get some travel advice from.
Solo travel is one of the most rewarding and freeing things you will ever do. You get to choose where you go, what you do, who you speak to and everything else. It will allow you to learn new things about yourself and how you see the world. And when it's over? You'll want to do it all over again.