There's No Better Time Than Now To Start Travelling
I get a lot of funny looks when I tell people I’m going somewhere or have been somewhere all on my own, as if a girl isn’t capable of being brave, tough, and adventurous.
I actually really love to travel alone, and whilst it sounds daunting and a bit petrifying, the scariest part is often just making it to the airport gate on time. I’ve only once felt unnerved or unsafe; maybe that’s down to confidence or the countries I’ve visited, but even if there was a little lingering fear I’d like to think it wouldn’t stop me from solo travelling.
My first solo trip was a big two-month backpack adventure around Thailand at the end of twenty-eleven; I was 22. I bought a huge 70L rucksack, a smaller 35L day pack, booked my flights, and was off. I honestly didn’t even think about it. I was so excited to see a country that I’d always wanted to see that the excitement far outweighed any fear of running into potential issues, or flight delays, or safety concerns. I just wanted to go. My mum on the other hand was having a bit of a nervous breakdown over it, sorry mum. In fact, she still gets really anxious any time I travel alone. Again, sorry mum.
If you want to see a place, and you have no-one who’s willing to go or can’t afford to go with you, girrrrl (or guuuuy) just go. Why should you have to curb your want for adventure just because someone can’t go with you. Be brave. What if in 6-12-24 months you can’t visit that place for whatever reason? Maybe you’ve met someone and are settling down, you got a new job, or maybe you’re not in the same financial place. Get it booked and take that plunge.
You honestly learn so much about yourself when you travel solo, and you never stop learning. Every trip brings new insights, new challenges, new excitement. My Norway/Finland/Estonia trio-trip showed me how strong I really could be, and that even being so far from family and having something as crippling as kidney stones I still kept going and finished that trip of a lifetime. I honestly don’t know if I’d have been so strong being at home. I lost one earring on that trip too (I didn’t break down like Kim K), and things like that turn into hilarious memories that you’ll laugh about for years to come. You learn to be more confident, more outgoing, more courageous, you’ll try new things, you’ll pick up tips from other travellers, you’ll find new ways to explore… you’ll grow.
In all of my solo travel to date I’ve always booked onto a tour. For Thailand I booked my first 9 days with Thai Intro (find out about the tour I took HERE), the rest of the time I was completely solo; it was a nice way to start a big trip in a crazy country, and a great way to meet fellow travellers to continue my adventures with. My Scandi trip last summer was also booked with a tour, and half of my Iceland trip over Christmas too – the rest of my Iceland trip was made up of independent excursions. These tour-group trips are great for making friends and having a pre-planned itinerary, plus you really don’t have to worry so much about finding food and you’re never alone (unless you choose to be). Every trip is going to be different, but be optimistic and outgoing and it’ll more often than not be a brilliant experience.
I would really like to get into the habit of visiting one city in a country and then moving to another city, and another, and experiencing more of the country than just one spot. This is one thing that I LOVED about my group tours; that we moved around almost daily. Such a perfect way to see a country or two or three.
I always wake up fairly early when I’m travelling. I love to get out and see places before the tourists descend, but usually I travel off-season and so I get pretty lucky with quiet spots (woo hoo!).
And finally, always always alwaaaaays buy travel insurance. No matter what. Buy it to cover the days you leave and return to your home too. If I didn’t have travel insurance in Norway my kidney stone dilemma would’ve cost me a good £500. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune either; I never pay more than £20 (and yes, I read the small print). Because I take photos as I travel I always have a fair amount of gear on me, so I make sure to add on an extra package that covers technology specifically - it covers the costs a lot better than a standard policy does. If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel!
I hope this helps encourage you to take the plunge and book that trip, or at least answers some of your queries and worries! Time to get out there and explore the world.
This article was written by PerfectlyClaudia, read more about her travels here, or check out her Instagram @perfectlyclaudia