SOLO TRAVEL GIRL

by - April 06, 2018


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 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, maybe you’re not in the same financial place, maybe the country becomes a risk to travel to. 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.




I do have the odd solo travel question slide into my Twitter or Instagram dm’s, so here are some of my top tips for solo travel…

If you’re travelling to a place like Jerusalem, North Africa, Egypt, check the news for a little while just to be on the safe side. I went to Tunisia in 2014 an there were plenty of red-flagged ‘do not travel to’ zones surrounding it, and the year after that very beach I’d been tanning myself on was gunned down in a crazy terrorism massacre. Just be aware of where you’re travelling to and the current political climate. Of course I wouldn’t even consider checking for places like Asia, Europe etc.

I’m always a little more alert when travelling, I’m really observant anyway, and I tend to take note of things even without realising. If I ever feel like something isn’t quite right I’ll pay even more attention and move away from that situation. The rest of the time I’m happily strolling around streets and mountains.

In all of my solo travel to date I’ve always booked onto a tour. For Thailand I booked my first week 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. My Scenic Scandi trip last summer was booked with Topdeck, and half of my Iceland trip over Christmas was again with Topdeck – 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). I loved my Scenic Scandi family, it really was the most amazing trip (you can read all about it HERE), and whilst I adored Iceland it wasn’t quite the same Topdeck experience and I’m hugely thankful that I stayed an extra two days and booked independent excursions (you can read all about it HERE). Every trip is going to be different, but be optimistic and outgoing and it’ll more often than not be a brilliant experience. I do think now that I’d rather get to a country and go on day trips, as I did in Iceland. It was such a great way to be in charge of what I wanted to see whilst not being totally alone.




Because I do travel solo I tend to book hotels/hostels/airbnb’s near main locations or in cities, as day trips can be booked from almost anywhere. It’s nice to be in walking distance of a few spots, restaurants, cafes etc., and I’ll often Google map my way around. 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 Topdeck’s Scenic Scandi trip; 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!). I haven’t gotten up at crazy o’clock for the sake of a sunrise though, I prefer a sunset anyway……….

Eating alone isn’t as bad as it seems either. Whilst I wouldn’t dream of venturing out to dine alone where I live, I do happily do it when I’m away – even in other cities in the UK. I had my first ever ‘solo dinning’ experience in the UK last year and yes it was pretty scary, and the place had such bad signal that my phone couldn’t even save me, but nobody cared. I had a fabulous dinner, a cocktail, and then I wandered around a bit before heading back to my hotel. It’s that easy. Who knew! It’s even better abroad because everyone else is doing it, and you’re experiencing new food and new views as you go.

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. Travel insurance. Really. 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’re interested, I normally use Alpha Travel Insurance.




I hope this helps encourage you to take the plunge and book that trip, or at least answers some of your queries and worries. If you have any other questions for me please do drop them in a comment below, I’m more than happy to answer questions! Or if you have any solo tales or tips to share, please please do!

Claudia xo




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4 comments

  1. Love this! Very inspirational for anyone who's thinking of travelling but, like you said, has nobody to go with. I can think of a couple of times that's been me, and I should've just gone anyway!

    thenorthleft.co.uk

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    1. Aww thank you!! I hope it inspires a few people to book that trip and go for it!

      It’s definirely a tough one for a lot of people, almost everyone I talk to gives me funny looks when I say I go alone haha!

      Claudia xo

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  2. This post speaks to my soul! I love to travel solo and completely agree with everything you said. Doesn't matter if no one can join you just go! My favorite trips are the ones I have gone alone!

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    1. Oh my gosh, so sorry for the late reply, I didn't get the notification! Eep! But yes, I totally agree... if I waited for people to come with me, I'd never go anywhere, and I'd rather be out there seeing the world!

      Claudia xo

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