The first step's the hardest, but you can travel solo successfully!
I know what it feels like to take that first step.
Whether it`s making your first flight booking (and then paying for it!) or booking your first night of solo accommodation. All of a sudden this idea you had is fast becoming very, very real. And that`s nerve-wracking.
Like breaking out in a cold sweat nerve-wracking!!!
But you can do it. Why? Because so many people have done it before you. So many people write, rave, and blog about solo travel that we can`t all be wrong.
And before long, you'll be trying to convince everyone on how good it is too, and teaching others how to travel solo successfully!!
Exploring the Cinque Terre solo-style.
Travel hacks to help you travel solo successfully!
For some people it may not be their thing, but the fact that you`re reading this, gives me an inkling that deep down you want to give it a go.
Maybe start by going somewhere familiar or a short weekend trip.
My first trip before I went crazy on my four week trip to Croatia and Italy, was actually a week to see a friend in the far north of New Zealand - a five hour drive from home. It was actually the drive that got me thinking - I stopped at markets, craft shops, cafes - it took forever!! But it was fun, and I did what I wanted.
And it was just the beginning.
My far North NZ getaway!
Why travel solo?
IT`S LIBERATING, AND IT'S THE ULTIMATE IN SELF-CARE!!!
It's really, really liberating! (just in case you missed it the first time!)
For me travelling solo was about giving myself some space from the busy-ness of family and work life. I sort of felt like I was drowning under the responsibilities of work and home life and I just needed a break. I was once an adventurous, independant traveller and I wanted to prove that that person was still alive!
Some thought I was strange, possibly crazy, but others thought it was a great idea. I am extremely grateful that my husband and family were supportive of my trip. Although I think even he thought I`d gone a bit barking mad!
But it was the best thing I could have done. I became a much better decision-maker about what I wanted. I was more organised, but I was also more chilled. My self-confidence and self-belief has sky rocketed. You can't put a price on that.
I'm now the biggest cheerleader for solo travel and especially the importance of solo travel for women.
Solo travel = lots of feet shots!
Solo travel is life-changing!
On my solo travels I loved making decisions based on what I wanted to do.
- Did I feel like breakfast now or later?
- Did I want to go into this museum or not?
- Did I want to stay another night here or leave early for my next destination?
Anyone who has travelled with others, will know how you don`t get these choices.
I could eat where I chose, go to bed whenever I chose, and I could get up extra early without disturbing anyone.
Up super early to beat the crowds!
Are you interested in solo travel???
This was certainly a question I asked myself. And it's so normal to have doubts.
I travelled by myself when I was 25 to the Greek Islands. I had no idea where I was going or staying. I was a bit nervous about being a Nigel no-friends, but I actually had a blast.
I did a lot of travel to some pretty intrepid places in my younger years.
Fast forward 25 years and I was off on my first solo trip, leaving behind my husband and two teenagers. A rather big leap into the unknown, travelling for four weeks by myself in Croatia and Italy.
This time I had the internet and a smartphone to make it so much easier. But the fear before I left was very, very real.
I`m smiling on the outside but nervous as hell on the inside. Awaiting my flight to Dubrovnik!
Touchdown on my first solo travel mission!
Within an hour of arriving in Dubrovnik I knew I would be fine. I chatted to American tourists on the bus into Pile Gate. I merged with the 1000's of tourists down the main street of the Old Town.
I figured out where I was staying. I had dinner at a café just outside the walls looking over the coastline. All my fears had disappeared. I was going to have the best time.
So yes, I can travel solo, and so can you. I have continued to mix my travels either by myself, or with family and friends.
But it is something you need to try for yourself - don`t just take my word for it.
Enchanted with Dubrovnik!
Choosing where to travel alone.
There are so many places to travel solo but it`s got to feel right for you. Here`s a few questions to get you thinking about where you`d like to travel.
- Do you want to visit different cultures, English-speaking countries, or maybe your own country?
- Do you want to have a relaxing holiday, or a hiking or cycling trip?
- Do you want a gourmet food or a wine-tasting trip?
- Do you want to break up your solo time with daytrips with organised groups, or meet up with friends for part of it?
Probably the best thing about travelling solo is that you can selfishly indulge yourself and do whatever YOU choose to do!!
A tropical island getaway, perhaps?
Be open to meeting others while travelling solo.
Travelling solo doesn`t mean you are alone. There are lots of opportunities to meet others.
Personally I find that as a single traveller you are more approachable than two or more people travelling together. I often find locals wanting to chat because I`m by myself. They don't see nme as a threat.
I guess the solo travel is also a bit of a novelty...I frequently get asked where is my husband and who is looking after your children!
Striking up a conversation can happen anywhere - on a bus, at a ticket office, while on a hike, at your accommodation, while waiting for your pizza to cook.
Meeting fellow Kiwis on the Cinque Terre hike.
Not strangers - just friends we haven't met yet.
I've met so many people from all over the world - I met...
- The most amazing young people at hostels.
- A Wyoming mother and daughter on a train from Naples to La Spezia.
- A Chinese mother and son at a rooftop café in rural China.
- Some local children doing their homework in the family restaurant.
- A couple in Santorini who ran a post office (I stayed for a cup of tea!) and so many more.
- I did a daytrip from Dubrovnik to Montenegro and had a day of chatting to my fellow bus companions.
You are not alone.
A daytrip to Montenegro had me hiking up this hill in Kotor with my new friend!
She took the photo!!
Looking for more solo travel inspiration?
Check out my blog for travel stories and inspiration on travelling solo. I often add in some travel tips amongst the stories, so do have a read of it.
What I really hope is that you create your own solo travel stories - after all, that is where this all started for me! And my whole thing is about inspiring others to give it a go, step out of the comfort-zone, and take a risk (not a big risk!) Just a wee one!