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8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers

Travelling alone gives you a sense of independence and unlimited freedom. You get to do what you want when you want. At the other end of the spectrum, travelling without a companion can stir up feelings of fear, loneliness, and vulnerability. Whether you are about to travel alone for the first time or are flirting with the idea of solo travel – our tips will help you make the most of your trip.

1. Travel to a location that aligns with your personality

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

Yes, travelling alone is a great opportunity to push yourself and try new things. But don’t go overboard. If it’s your first time travelling and you have no contacts in your chosen location, you are likely to have a better time if you choose an area that matches your interests and lifestyle. For example, if you like the hustle and bustle of a city, travel to a buzzing and cosmopolitan metropolis. On the other hand, if you love the idea of an adventure travel trip, you’ll be better suited in an area that offers a good selection of adrenaline-rush activities.

2. Connect with technology

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

Due to the power of technology, with the right travel apps, you will feel less alone during your solo journey. Make sure you download the plethora of apps that are out there before you board your flight. For instance, there are apps like Trover that are set up to connect you with other solo travellers. Foodies should download EatWith, this culinary app puts you in touch with locals hosting dinner parties. For those of you who are always on the lookout for the best flight deal and want to know the best time to buy the cheapest flight, Hopper has your back. Air travel isn’t always smooth. Your trip could be cancelled, delayed or overbooked. Suffering a flight mishap without a companion for support can add stress to your situation. The good news is that there are flight compensation apps like AirHelp. If your eagerly-awaited trip is cancelled, you can use AirHelps’s free compensation checker to find out if you are eligible for compensation up to £500.

If you are entitled to reimbursement, AirHelp will work hard to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. When you get to your destination, networking sites like Meetup will connect you to fun local activities, events and like-minded people. Travel social media groups and forums are likely to give you more good leads on the best apps to download.

3. Plan a basic itinerary beforehand

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

When travelling alone you’ll want to leave room for spontaneity. However, for peace of mind and to avoid stressful situations, it’s good practice to organise your trip before you hit the tarmac. Get an idea of what you want to do when you get to your final destination. Work out daily costs, where you plan to stay and how you plan to move around the area. Devising an itinerary in this manner will allow you to make the most out of your trip. When planning your finances for a trip, it’s good practice to cut your coat according to your size. In other words, create a budget and stick to it. You don’t want to have a great time travelling alone and come back home to be greeted by a bleeding bank account. Plan and budget your trip based on what you can actually afford and not on what your credit card can pick up. This will help you stay out of debt and end your trip on a positive note. The good news is there are travel and budget itinerary apps that are set up to do the grunt work for you when it comes to organising your holiday.

4. Enjoy your own company

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

This may go without saying, but there will be certain moments during your solo travel where you’ll be put to the test in this area. For example, when you are sat at a restaurant table with me, myself and I. When travelling solo, don’t hide in your room. Eating out alone can be an enjoyable experience. Some people are happy to use this time to reflect. Others like having their armour, that is, coming to the restaurant with something to do. This could be reading a book, sourcing out new places and activities or writing a travel diary.

5. Choose accommodation wisely

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

It’s natural to feel more vulnerable when you are travelling alone and staying in unfamiliar territory. However, there are things you can do to find a good balance between being safe and choosing somewhere that aligns with your budget. Your search engine should be your new best friend when trying to source a place to stay for your trip. Use it to find suitable accommodation options and to investigate what kind of reviews these places are getting. You are likely to find that after reading a couple of reviews for a particular hotel or Airbnb property, you’ll get the information you need to decipher what the place offers in terms of safety, the nature of the neighbourhood and more. Another key point to add is that if you are staying in a hotel, make sure it has free Wi-Fi. That way you can use Skype, WhatsApp video call and the like to keep in touch with your family and friends.

6. Capture the moment

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

Taking pictures during your solo travel is a good way to freeze memories in time and relive fond travel experiences. If you want to capture yourself in your holiday pictures, the obvious choice is to ask strangers to take a picture of you. Although this is an option, depending on the kindness of strangers may leave you with a picture that’s unfit for the public eye. Think chopped off body parts and unflattering angles. If you want to have more control over how you appear in your pictures, your best bet is to invest in a camera tripod and learn how to use it. Luckily, there are plenty of easy-to-follow tripod tutorials online. Posting pictures of your trip on social media is also a nice way to show your friends and family that you’re alive and kicking.

7. Learn some of the local language

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

When travelling solo you are bound to enter situations where being able to speak the local language will help. For instance, being able to greet, say thank you, order food, or ask for directions to the toilet are all handy little phrases. Having some knowledge of how to communicate with people will also give you more confidence as you navigate your way through a new area. It’s also a good way to break the ice with locals. Who knows, they may appreciate your willingness to learn their language and give you great insider tips. Luckily, there are apps to help you learn the basics in a language like Duolingo and Google Translate.

8. Better safe than sorry

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

Avoid actions that will put you in a vulnerable situation. For instance, don’t drink yourself into a drunken stupor. You don’t have a friend to keep watch—you are in charge of you. Be adventurous, but be cautious. Learn how to read certain situations. Curiosity should put you on a road less travelled, but not literally on a deserted road. When travelling alone learn to blend. Unfortunately, this especially applies to women travelling to places where there are still strict female dress codes. You’ll want to avoid offending the locals or bringing unwanted attention towards yourself. It’s also advisable to have the district’s help numbers like the police stored in your phone. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use them.

Just do it

8 awesome tips for first-time solo travellers Global Grasshopper

Practice makes perfect and this mantra applies to solo travel. The idea of travelling alone may seem daunting, but day after day during your trip, you are bound to learn new things that make you enjoy your trip much more. We hope you enjoy your solo trip and create lots of positive memories!

Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

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