Are you about to set off on your travels all on your lonesome? Feeling a bit daunted about backpacking by yourself? Check out these 10 simple tips for solo travellers that will get you feeling pumped for your next adventure.
Open up to fellow travellers!
Hostels have many plus points. Granted, one of them is that they are considerably cheaper than the Ritz, but another is the amount of common areas they have. Take advantage of this chance of meeting new people! Don’t sit there with your head buried into your guide book, or zoned out by your iPod – make eye contact with fellow travellers and say hi.
Stay in smaller dorms
They may be that little bit more expensive than the larger dorms, but by staying in a smaller dorm it makes it far easier to get to know your roommates. Whether it’s a conversation about the person snoring in the top bunk, or where they got those trainers you love, you’ll find it easier to speak to your roommates.
Go on organised tours
Book yourself on a tour and you’re sometimes forced to introduce yourself to a group of people. “Hi, I’m Mandy and eh, I like dogs” may seem like a stupid thing to say before setting off on a walking tour of Rome, but three hours later you may find yourself discussing the best dog food for Spot with your new best pal.
Volunteer at festivals and special events
What’s going on in your next destination when you’re there? Is there a festival you’re going to catch? Better still, is there a way you can get involved? Do a bit of research and see if there’s something you get your teeth into. You’ll be working with a team of other people and will have a bundle of new friends in a matter of hours.
Cook in the communal kitchens as much as possible
If you’ve somehow managed to not meet a single sole by taking our advice on the above two points, this one is foolproof – do lots of cooking in the hostel kitchens. After the weather, food is the world’s most popular topic of conversation. Rustle up a storm and somebody is bound to comment “Oooooh, that looks nice!”. Equally, if you’re hogging the frying pan you’re bound to make a new friend that way.
Research! Research! Research!
As arriving in a strange destination on your own for the first time can be slightly intimidating, do a bit of research before you get there. See what is the best way to get to your hostel from the airport, bus or train station. Then get your bearings of your whereabouts in the city. The last phrase you want to have to say to a local is ‘Can you help me kind person? I’m lost…’
Go out, drink and be merry!
There is simply no denying the fact that the human race is a more sociable one once a few glasses of €2 wine and warm beer are consumed. Many hostels have bars so if they do, show your face and you’ll meet people in no time. If you still don’t fancy looking like a loner as you sit at the counter staring into your drink, see if there’s an organised pub crawl going on. But in saying all of that, there is equally no denying the fact the human race becomes a slightly more idiotic race after the consumption of alcohol so if you do embark on a night of (what could be) drunken debauchery, do watch what you drink.
Fool those muggers
Now don’t fret! Getting mugged isn’t part and parcel of a trip on your own. But unfortunately it is a sad fact that you may find yourself at the hands of a petty criminal at some stage. Thankfully, there are ways to make sure this doesn’t happen:
- Carry a spare wallet with you with some small notes in it. The despicable human trying to rip you off will get what they’re looking for and you won’t lose as much as they’d hoped for.
- There’s no doubt that getting lost in a city can be a great way of discovering it, but have a fair idea of where you’re going once you leave the hostel. This way you may not have to whip a map out in the middle of the city. And if you do need to refer to one, and there are some undesirable looking folk about the place, dip into the nearest café to look at it instead of going one step short of having a flashing neon light saying ‘tourist’ above your head and taking it out on the street.
- Pop a local newspaper under your arm – what better way to look like you’ve been living there all your life!
Get covered with travel insurance
There is no other way to give yourself piece of mind than by getting travel insurance before you set off. Hostelworld works with World Nomads who offer policies that cover medical emergencies and evacuation, trip cancellation, personal belongings, personal liability and resumption of your journey. Book your travel insurance here.
Keep in touch with back home
While you’re going up elevators to the top of the Eiffel Tower or lazing on a beach in Thailand, don’t forget about loved ones back home. They’re bound to be concerned about you as you jet off on your own to a land far, far away so do them a favour and keep in touch with them regularly.