As you may know, I recently went on a solo trip to Europe – it wasn’t my first, as I had completed a semester abroad in the past, but it was definitely the best. I went, on an unplanned, complete whim of a trip to Portugal, Spain and, randomly but beautifully, England!
Now, I’m definitely not the only one who has traveled alone, and there’s a million posts out there giving you tips and trick about traveling. However, as many as there might be, I don’t think there’s any harm adding my ideas to the pile.
Here are my top four tips for solo traveling. 😉
1. Pack as little as humanly necessary. I took two large suitcases, and a backpack. For a 2 week trip. Yes, I completely and totally regretted this as soon as I landed in my first destination. I ended up ditching my large suitcase temporarily in a hostel locker in Faro, Portugal and I learned a big lesson: all I need in a 2-week trip is a BACKPACK, not a suitcase, and enough clothes for ONE week, simple jewellery that goes with everything, 2 good lipsticks, concealer, and mascara. I strongly recommend against a suitcase because many roads/streets are cobblestoned and rough…and you may be far from an airport or train station. It’s just a hassle. Oh, and bring soap and such. That’s about it – the less you carry, the more freedom you have. Less to worry about, easier to get on flights. You can wash things at hostels / laundromats on the way, and trust me, no one is going to care that you’re re-wearing things. Least of all you.
2. Gain a balance between planned and spontaneous. It would be a huge understatement to say I was rather unprepared for my venture. All I did was book flights there and back, and book the first hostel. Other than that, my plan was to get there and *then* decide what to do. This worked in some ways – for example, I was able to have the freedom and flexibility to go to Seville, Spain and London, England – both places that I hadn’t planned to go. However, it also paralyzed me a little: I had to make decisions in the moment and I was afraid to make the wrong ones. I wasted time not knowing where to go and what to do because I hadn’t planned it. I would suggest striking a fine balance: know where you’re going to go, and have a general idea of what to do, but don’t feel the need to plan everything to the T. You want to be able to feel flexible to take a random boat ride, or go to a crazy grungey party everyone seems to know about.
Check out this crazy party I went to in Faro, Portugal 😉