Why I Started Traveling Solo & Why I Still Do It
I started traveling solo because I realised that, if I wanted to see the world, I had no other choice! I had tried to plan countless trips with friends and was constantly let down by people backing out at the last minute. I decided to take matters into my own hands and went on a 2-week trip to Costa Rica by myself. I was instantly smitten with solo travel, and I've been doing it ever since!
I Travel As Much As I can
Pre-Covid, I traveled usually once a month. Being based in London, we have access to ridiculously cheap airfares across Europe, so it's super easy to go on a city break to a new country for a couple of days.
Nowadays, I usually travel once every two months or so - and I'm keeping things mostly UK-based since travel restrictions have created the perfect opportunity for me to explore more of my home country.
My favourite activity to do when traveling is actually visiting museums! Unlike a lot of travelers, I'm a huge museum fan, and I could easily spend a full day going from museum to museum. There's just so much to learn!
How I Chose Where To Travel Next
This is always a tough decision for me because I struggle to choose where to go - there are so many choices! The main factor that helps me decide where to travel next is the cost of the flight. If I find an insanely good deal for a destination I'm interested in, I usually just book it impulsively - that kind of makes the decision for me! My trips are usually 4 days long, as I have to fit travel around my full-time job. For this reason, I take lots of trips over long weekends.
Once I decide on a location, I head to travel blogs, Pinterest and Lonely Planet and start researching the best things to do, restaurants and day trips from my destination. I pin everything to my Google Maps, and then I can use those pins to create an itinerary for the trip.
How I Pack For My Trips
I almost always travel hand luggage only, so picking out clothing that I can wear for plenty of different occasions, going with other items of clothing I pack and is durable is essential. I always pack my Kindle with me on a trip. Physical books are super bulky, and I'm very indecisive when it comes to choosing what to read. Having my Kindle with me means that I can bring my entire library on the road with me.
How I Meet Other Travelers While On The Go
The best way to find travel companions as a solo traveler is in hostels. You'd be surprised at how many other solo travelers there are out there! Many hostels hold events such as a happy hour or group tours to get everybody together, and from there it's very easy to make friends with everybody.
Whilst traveling in Costa Rica I actually met one of my best friends. We hit it off in the hostel instantly and decided to continue traveling together for the rest of our trip. Since that trip, we have reunited to travel together in Vietnam, London and Germany!
I Was An Au Pair In Spain For Three Months
I used Workaway.org to find my job as an Au Pair in Spain, so the whole process was actually very easy! I was definitely nervous to be traveling alone for the first time, but I was also ready for it. I had spent my entire life dreaming of travel, and being an Au Pair was the ideal way for me to start traveling without much money at all.
The biggest challenge for me whilst I was an Au Pair was definitely homesickness. I had always lived with my parents and had never traveled by myself before. In fact, I had never been away from home for more than two weeks, so moving to Spain for three months was definitely challenging! I didn't expect to be homesick, but if I had prepared myself for it I think I would have been able to cope with it better.
It took me a few years after the Spain trip to start traveling solo again. I went on quite a few trips with friends, but I was getting frustrated that my friends were reluctant to save up and commit to going traveling. This was the reason I decided to try solo travel again, and I'm so glad I did!
Why I Started My Blog
I was constantly being asked by people how I afforded to travel, how I had the confidence to solo travel and how I found such cheap flights, and I realised that I had a lot of knowledge to share with the world on how to travel. I've worked super hard to grow my blog, and my goal has always been to break down the barriers and get more people traveling!
Most of the people I speak to don't travel due to either thinking they don't have enough money or thinking that they don't have enough time. For this reason, I focus on making super-detailed budgeting guides and bite-sized itineraries that show that you can travel on a budget without sacrificing comfort and that it's still worth traveling even if you only have a day or two to spare.
My Biggest Budget Travel Secret
My biggest budget travel secret is that I LIVE on Skyscanner. I probably check it every day! Using their 'everywhere' function and keeping my travel dates flexible is how I found return tickets from London to Oslo and London to Vienna for less than £20!
Countries I’ve Travelled To So Far
I've currently traveled to 30 countries, but a while back I stopped focusing on the number because it meant I was prioritizing new countries rather than returning to places I loved to explore more of them.
I have SO many bucket list destinations, but currently, I'm dreaming of Colombia and Malawi. I love visiting destinations that are not as popular because it usually means there are a ton of hidden gems to uncover.
How I Manage Work And Travel
I'm not going to lie - it can be a challenge! I work full time, am studying for my degree at the same time, and also work on my travel blog and juggle social life/sleep/other hobbies.
My biggest tip is time blocking. I'll set out a schedule for my day including deadlines for when I want to have completed tasks by, and that keeps me accountable. I also add time blocks for things like watching TV or meeting with friends, because if I don't schedule it's so easy to neglect.
Top Solo Travel Challenges
The biggest challenges of traveling solo are probably those times where, for whatever reason, you haven't met any travel companions. It can get pretty lonely when that happens. Luckily, it doesn't happen very often!
The best way to travel a lot around the 9-5 unfortunately involves losing a lot of sleep! You can easily get away for the weekend and fit a city break in without taking any vacation leave from work, but to do this you'll need to catch the earliest flight possible (so you'll have to get up at, like, 4 am), and getting the latest flight home - so you sometimes won't get home until after midnight! It's exhausting, but it's totally worth it. To recover, I try to take it easy for the following week after work and do lots of sleeping and relaxing.
What I Wish I Had Known When I First Started Traveling
I wish I'd known that nobody knows what they're doing when they first start solo traveling, and not feeling very confident is totally okay. Before my flight to Costa Rica, I was so nervous and totally freaking out! I forced myself to get on the plane, though, and within hours of landing, I was certain I had made the right decision and felt confident again. So, if you're really nervous, don't sweat it! Like everything, confidence with solo travel comes with practice.
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