When was the last time you did something that scares you? If you’d have said to me five years ago that I’d be travelling around the world on my own, I wouldn’t have believed you but here I am, solo travelling, seeing the world and working while I’m on the go. And do you know what? It feels great!
Back then I was really independent with so many aspects of my life but while I would travel down to London and across the country quite regularly for work, I had never flown abroad on my own before, or anywhere solo for that matter! I’m much more well rehearsed in solo travel now and it all started when I had to fly back from a trip to Morocco on my own. I was panicking like crazy going to the airport and kept checking and double checking all of the notice boards but once I got on the plane and buckled up, I felt much more settled and by the time I reached Manchester Airport, I was feeling pretty pleased with myself and actually felt inspired to go on another solo voyage.
The opportunity came the following December when I travelled to Dubai to meet my friends, in celebration of my friends 30th birthday. They had all travelled from a London airport and I initially wasn’t going to go as the drive down to London on top of the travel to Dubai would have been too much but then I decided to chuck my worries in the F-it bucket and book up but flying from Newcastle. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I was of myself when I got off the plane in the Middle East. It was such an empowering experience and my confidence grew and grew.
Since then I’ve flew out to Portugal and down to London on my own and I’ve even gone solo travelling around Bali in what was the most life changing trip of a lifetime. I’m often asked about my travel tips but since I announced my Plus Size Holiday Retreat in Turkey this summer that’s perfect for solo travellers, I’ve had a lot of messages from people who are worried about flying on their own and asking for tips. In today’s post, I wanted to share some of my top tips with you when preparing for solo travel.
Preparation is essential for any holiday, let alone a solo trip so start your planning early. Research your destination on google, look at Lonely Planet and check out Trip Advisor, especially the forums. If you’re a woman, get yourself on the Girls Love Travel which is an amazing resource for girls who love to travel all over the world. There’s over 1 million members so wherever you’re going in the world, there’ll always be someone who lives there and someone who has been there. Post on the board, as your questions and gain so many amazing recommendations for where you’re headed to. I did this when I went to Bali for the second time; I was going solo for an extended trip and I was nervous about back packing but the girls put my mind at ease in minutes. I couldn’t believe how much love and support I had from everyone and it was such a vital resource for me. I even made a friend for life from the group while out there and I hope to fly back out to see her again one day.
Once you’ve decided on a destination, whether thats one place or several, get your travel sorted straight away be it via a plane, bus or train. I find that once your actual transport is sorted, the trip feels more real and you can relax a little knowing where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Its easy when you use a travel planning and booking platform such as Omio to organise your travel as you can search, compare and buy all in one place to make sure that you’re getting a great deal.
Once your transport is sorted, I’d recommend booking your accommodation as again, I find that the stress of travelling is greatly reduced when you know where you’re going to be staying.
Something that really reassured me when I went to Bali was knowing when that when I got off the plane at the airport, I had a driver waiting for me and since then, I never leave my transfers to chance. When you know your flight times and have your hotel booked for example, then I’d suggest booking your transfer or driver. That way, you’ll know someone is waiting for you when you get into arrivals.
Keeping your passport and money safe while you’re travelling is so important. I bought a Rebecca Minkoff back pack ahead of my Dubai trip and it proved to be a very good buy while I was away. It had lots of zip and clip compartments but the best thing about it was that there was a zipped pouch on the back of the backpack that would fit my passport and money in which made it really safe as when I had my backpack on my back, no one could get to that zip pocket. You can also buy money pouches on a cord that you can wear across your body and under your clothes. Its a good idea to divide your money and cards up on your person and through your luggage too so that if you are a victim of theft then you wont be left without anything.
I think its always a good idea to take a credit card with you when you travel as they’re a much safer method of payment and are a great back up should you need to use it. A prepaid visa card or travel money card is also a great option.
Before you travel, take a copy of your passport and also take a photograph of it on your phone. Make sure you have your travel insurance documents printed out and also saved onto your phone and write down any important numbers so that if you were to lose your phone, you’d still have them.
Once you have everything booked, you’ll be needing a light weight suitcase to pack your things into. Pack wisely, take only what you need and make sure you can lift and wheel your case along with ease. Don’t forget a selfie stick for those solo photos and consider buying a little tripod from Amazon to help you to capture so many memories from your trip. If there’s apps for the flights and accommodation that you’ve booked, get those downloaded and make sure you have all of the numbers necessary should you need to contact your travel insurance, etc while you’re away.
Make sure you share your itinerary, hotel and transport details with your family and friends back home so that the people you would normally check in with know where you are.
Flying can be daunting when you’re on your own but it can also be a really exciting exhilarating experience and I promise you that when you get there, you’ll feel such a huge sense of achievement! The experience is definitely worth it; we’ve only got one life and if we live it well, once is enough. So get yourself out there, see the world and don’t hold yourself back through worry or fear.