Your ultimate guide
Have you ever had a dream holiday destination but no one to go with you? Maybe this is the year you decide to embark on an exotic holiday on your own. We asked Niamh Walsh, Senior Editor at travel search platform HolidayPirates for her advice...
'When travelling alone for the first time, it can be tempting to go radio-silent and immerse yourself in your travels, without a thought of home. However, while you should focus on new experiences, you shouldn’t disappear – make sure someone at home has an idea of your itinerary, as well as copies of important documents, like your passport. It is also a good idea to schedule a check-in time with your family or close friends, to keep them up-to-date with how you are doing, but also to be aware of anything important that is happening back home.'
Make a digital safe
'In addition to providing your nearest and dearest with copies of important documents, it is also worth saving a copy in a secure space online – Dropbox is a great option for this. You will be able to access these documents quickly in the case of emergency, without having to rely on someone else in a potentially different time zone to get back to you. It is also always worth carrying a portable charger with you, just in case your phone runs out of battery and you urgently need access to your Drobox account.'
Stay aware of your surroundings
'While travelling around most of the world is a very safe and enjoyable experience, it is important that you don’t forget about safety measures. Not disclosing the fact that you are travelling solo to everyone you meet can pre-empt theft, while checking your iPhone for directions in the late hours might be safer in a café or bar, than in the middle of a street. It is also worth having a ‘safety fund’, just in case you feel that your hotel is a bit sketchy, or if you want to order a taxi instead of walking to your accommodation late at night.'
Expand your network
'Once you’ve decided where you want to go, ask around friends and family, perhaps they know someone’s cousin who has moved to your travel destination and who wouldn’t mind giving you a few local tips, or even a mini-tour. Similarly, while on your travels, strike up conversation with others staying in your accommodation. Those travelling with you or other solo travellers are bound to make great companions and share their knowledge with you.'
'What many of us forget before embarking on a solo trip is that the long flights and train journeys are often spent on our own – and while it is great to be alone with your thoughts, it can become a bit boring. Travelling solo is the perfect opportunity to read the book you keep meaning to read, or to listen to some a podcast series – Serial and S Town aren’t the only ones, with thousands of podcasts of all genres available on platforms like Acast. You can also utilise your travelling time by learning the local lingo and language learning app Babbel is a great choice.' (Try these other travel apps for size, too.)
Think about number 1
'Travelling with friends, family and our loved ones is great, however, it always involves compromise. Perhaps you can’t stay in the boutique hotel you had your eye one, or no one wants to go to the Picasso Museum with you. Well, when you are travelling alone, the only person you need to worry about is yourself! So enjoy the me-time, relax, unwind and do whatever it is that makes you happy!'
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