How To Prepare For Your First Solo Trip
It’s good to prepare for any trip but especially a solo one. If you’ve never done a solo trip before, preparation will really help you to have a better experience. Follow my tips below so your first solo trip can run as smoothly as possible!
Do a trial run
Don’t throw yourself in the deep end. Before your first solo trip, go to a new, local city by yourself as a day trip or overnight stay. This will give you a better idea of what to expect for the ‘real thing’. Prepare for this trip as you would the main one. In other words, follow these next steps for your trial run as well as the main trip! If you can manage more than one trial run before your proper trip, even better.
Have some key contacts
Talk to close friends, family or someone else you can rely on and agree that you’ll let them know where you are frequently (and agree on how frequently). Also, take note of your destination’s emergency numbers, including medical and police numbers.
One thing you definitely don’t need when solo travelling is excessive luggage. You’re probably going to be carrying your stuff around for a while so only pack what you really need. Heels, eyeshadow palettes, five different pairs of jeans… you just don’t need them. If you’re going somewhere that’s mild in temperature, take lots of thin tops that you can layer rather than chunky or textured fabrics that take up a lot of room.
Another way to save space is to have things in their digital form. For example, rather than taking a load of books, download ebooks or take a Kindle.
Planning what to do during your solo trip will have multiple benefits. It’ll make you more confident as you’ll be acting with purpose rather than wandering around aimlessly. As nice as it is sometimes just to see where the day will take you, you’ll stand out more as looking like a solo traveller (and appear more vulnerable) and you may get lost.
Before your trip, see what options there are in your destination(s) for solo travellers. For example, is there a walking tour you’d like to go on where you can meet people? Are there any particular landmarks or attractions you’d really like to see? Research, research, research! Even make some bookings in advance. Solo travelling can be overwhelming and intimidating so this will help to give you a sense of focus.
Take some home comforts
Even if it’s just an album of photos on your phone that make you happy. It can be anything. Solo travelling can be lonely, tough and can make you homesick so it’s important to have something with you to bring comfort. Download one of your favourite films to your laptop/phone, or take a notebook where you can write down your thoughts. It’s probably best not to take anything too sentimental that you could potentially lose during your trip.
Take care with valuables
It’s not smart to flash your valuables around as this could attract the wrong person’s attention. Don’t leave them lying around or put them somewhere where someone could easily grab them. For example, if you have a load of cash, the outside pocket of your backpack isn’t the best place to put it. Someone could easily unzip the pocket and take the cash out without you feeling a thing. Instead, take advantage of any compartments that are less easily accessible.
Set some rules
It’s good to decide on these before you start travelling so you can get into the right mindset. For example, you might decide to not drink alcohol during your trip or only have a maximum of three drinks when with other people (and this is where I remind you to watch your drinks).
Personally, I try to avoid being out in the dark alone while travelling. It’s sad but I’d rather feel safe and not take any risks. I try to get up earlier so that by the evening I’ll be more worn out and don’t have to kill so much time staying inside, I can simply relax and get an early night.
The GOV.UK website will inform you of any potential threats to your destination (if you’re not from the UK, there should be an equivalent for your country). You don’t want any surprises when you get to your destination that make you wish you’d checked beforehand!
Learn some local language
Even if it’s just a few key phrases, note down some of the local language(s). This will be particularly helpful if you’re going somewhere where English isn’t commonly spoken. You never know when it might come in useful. You could also download an app such as Google Translate. It doesn’t work perfectly but can help when you’re struggling to communicate with someone.