Travelling solo - the ultimate first timer’s survival guide

Travel 2019-1-16
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Recent research has revealed that more than three quarters of Brits have travelled alone, or plan to in the future. Here is our ultimate survival guide to help you get through your first solo trip.

A recent study by Travelzoo revealed that more than 75% of Brits either have or plan to travel alone, with 60% of those leaving their partners behind to do it.

It can be a life-changing experience, but for first-timers, the prospect can seem daunting. That's why we have put together this handy guide to help you on your way.


Make a plan 

The sense of adventure is often the most exciting part of travelling alone, but it’s still a good idea to have a basic itinerary prepared. Wherever possible, list the city, town or even specific hotel you'll be in if you know. That way you can share this information with someone close to you, so they know how where you are if they need you.


Pack light

Don’t get carried away when packing; the bare essentials should be enough to get you through. If you can get everything into a carry-on bag then you have one less thing to worry about, as there is no chance of the airline losing your baggage or having to pay extra fees to have it put into the hold. It will also be easier for you to get around without large suitcases in tow.


Back up your important documents

Make a couple of copies of your important documents, such as passport, travel insurance, prepaid reservations/confirmations etc, and leave with a loved one in case of an emergency.

Alternatively, for complete self-sufficiency, put them onto a memory stick or an online cloud for easy, instant access. Just make sure you don’t make copies of your credit cards/bank cards as this could open you up to financial crime.


Make a bucket list

It's important that you leave plenty of free time for spontaneity to make the most of your trip, but if there are things you've always wanted to do in certain places, make sure you write those down and visualise yourself doing them before you head off. 

The last thing you want is to forget about them once you're there or to get distracted by other things. You'll regret it when you get back to reality.


Embrace the quiet

The idea of being bored or lonely is often the biggest turn off for people travelling alone. If you've found 'the fear' taking over and putting you off, try to think of it another way. You'll have tonnes of spare time to think about things and clear your head, and your friends and family are only a phone call away if you're having a bad day. Plus you're bound to meet new people who could end up becoming lifelong friends.


Learn a bit of the local language

A few choice words and phrases will really help you on your travels without requiring too much effort. Learn to say please and thank you, ask for directions and the names of some basic food and drink items. This will show the locals you have put in the effort and they are more likely to want to help.


Staying safe

Travelling on your own can be an empowering experience, but don't forget that being alone can make you vulnerable. These are our top tips on staying safe while you're gone.

can make you feel vulnerable, but don’t be a target for pickpockets and unsavoury characters. Ensure you keep your phone out of sight unless you really need to use it, and even then, try to find a quiet spot. In some countries, owning a smartphone is unattainable so this may increase the risk of it being stolen. Below are some important dos and don’ts:

DO

  • Invest in a money belt
  • Have a decoy wallet with a bit of cash in case you are targeted
  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Research places before you go to ensure you know the parts of town to avoid
  • Keep valuables out of sight - safely locked away if possible
  • Trust your instincts - if something doesn't feel right, leave

DON’T

  • Keep all of your money in the same place
  • Show off your valuables
  • Walk around with earphones in

Many solo travellers will tell you that experiencing the world on their own was one of the best things that they have ever done. So what are you waiting for?
If this article has inspired you to take the plunge and book that trip you always wanted to go on then let us help you spread the cost with our low cost holiday loan. Our low cost loans are available from just 3.3% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000.

Let us know if you’re solo travelling this summer by tweeting us @Hitachi_Finance using the hashtag #solotraveller

Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.
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