Well, you’ve done it. You’ve mustered up the courage (and cash) to book your solo plane ticket out of here! Good for you! You’ve made it past the first step. It probably wasn’t easy, but it’s done now.
Now you’re probably wondering, “What now?”
Here is a list of things you should consider once you’ve booked that solo trip abroad:
Research, Research, Research!
Jump on your computer, your phone, or your tablet and research your little heart out. Find out what places you’d like to visit while abroad, whether it be a historic monument, a castle, a restaurant, or even another adjacent city. I usually use www.rome2rio.com to research my travel destination and ways of transportation and it also gives you a bunch of different ways to get from Point A to Point B with a variation of prices. I swear by this site! It’ll be your new go-to, trust me.
Read more: Tips for travelling within Europe
Book Your Hotels
This can also be part of the first point I listed. Research hotels in the cities you are staying in and see what kind of reviews they have. Are they clean? Are they in a bad neighbourhood? How far is the hotel from the train station? Are points of interest that you want to see close by? Is there free breakfast? These are all things to consider when booking hotels. I like to book all my hotels before heading overseas, since I don’t know when, or IF I’ll have the chance to use a computer, or get free WiFi. The comfort of knowing that when you pull into another city and get off the train, or out of a cab and you have a place booked to stay will take loads of stress of your shoulders. I know it does for me at least. I LOVE using www.booking.com for all my hotels. If you’ve booked enough hotels through the site like I have, you will be bumped up to “Genius” level, which means you are given secret deals. I once got a $700 a night hotel in Galway, Ireland for $100 instead. Helloooo DEALS!
Purchase Travel Insurance
I can’t stress this enough. Always, always, always buy travel insurance if you are leaving your country of residence. Whether you are visiting the US for a day trip out of Canada, or travelling for six weeks in Southeast Asia, ALWAYS buy travel insurance. You never know if anything will happen and it will save you a potential meltdown and astronomically high medical bills. Travel Insurance will give you piece of mind while travelling in case you miss a flight and have to stay in an airport hotel, lose your luggage, flight cancellations, medical expenses if you get sick, you need another flight because of a natural disaster etc. It’s always better to pay the extra cost for insurance, than get stuck crying and wiping your tears away with that big, fat bill! I always purchase extra travel insurance from my bank (www.tdcanadatrust.com), which offer pretty good deals, as they go by your length of travel and your age, but I also hear excellent reviews about World Nomads.
Share Your Itinerary
Once you’ve booked some hotels and for the most part know where you’ll be staying and where you’ll be heading, make a list of your hotel’s addresses, phone numbers etc and your flight info with someone you trust back home, such as a parent, relative, or friend. You never know what will happen overseas. My parents had NO idea that my first time solo to Norway, that I missed two connecting flights due to time and weather until I got to my hotel in Norway and had access to the internet. Happy thoughts though, but still, shit happens!
Read more: How to Create the Perfect Travel Itinerary
Have a Backup Plan
Sometimes you’ll miss a flight, a train, or your hotel accidentally forgets that you booked a room and now there is a struggle to find you a new room. All three of these things have happened to me and they are NOT in my control and it sucks…big time. By having a backup plan, or some additional information regarding other means of transit to your hotels, or train schedules, local cab company numbers that any information desk can call for you if you are stranded, you will feel a little less stressed out than if you have NO idea what to do next. I’ve even had some locals lend me their phones to look up some info at train stations, more than once actually!
Enjoy The Planning Process & Journey
Most importantly enjoy the planning process and the journey itself. I absolutely LOVE the part of solo travel where I can sit down on Pinterest all day and plan where I want to go, what I want to see, how I will get there, where to eat, what a locals do for fun that aren’t touristy traps. It’s SO much fun planning a trip when you are discovering and learning about these things in a new country. It also familiarizes yourself with the streets and city layouts, so when you get to where you’re going, you don’t end up eating at some garbage fast food joint because you don’t know where to eat.
Read more: Why I love solo travel
Have you guys been anywhere solo and have some success stories, comical stories or solo nightmares you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear them. xo