I planned my first solo trip quite randomly: my husband was travelling to Sweden to visit a friend and I didn’t feel like staying home alone, so I started checking for options and ended up booking a trip to Budapest.
As a slow-at-being-social person I thought it would be a quite weekend of almost meditative silence and border-line lonely meals. I couldn’t be more wrong. I ended up with two new good friends, loads of positive stories and a new understanding of who I am. No need to say that I loved it and I highly recommend a solo travelling experience to everybody. Budapest might have played a big role in being the perfect fit.
Tips from my personal experience as a solo traveller:
1 AVOID FOOD, KEEP ON SNACKING
At least for me, eating is the most challenging activity to do on my own. I find it incredibly sad. But when I read about all the traditional pastries Hungary is famous for, I had an idea: why should I go for serious meals when I can feed myself with delicious snack? That’s what I did for most of the time and it was great. Budapest has also a lot of street food courtyards and they are the perfect place to eat on the move.
At the same time sitting at a restaurant without company gives you an amazing prospective over the crowd around you. I realized for example that couples rarely speak while dining together and it looks surely sadder than being there on your own. I promised myself that I will pay attention to it in the future and try to be an interesting partner when out for food with my husband.
2 STAY AT A HOSTEL
This doesn’t require much of explanation I guess. Hostels are the best place to meet fellow solo-travellers and they are a great affordable option. When booking consider that the cheapest of the cheapest option is going to be the favorite for young travellers, as you go for more privacy, gender division and relatively more expensive options you are going to find more experienced travellers. I chose a bed in a female dormitory at the Maverick Lodges and it was perfect. And I don’t use the word “perfect” lightly.
Their almost-Japanese-style bed separation, the privacy it created, the generous size of the bathrooms and the active, flexible and friendly staff couldn’t have been any better.
3 HAVE A WISH LIST AND PLAN ALONG THE WAY
You don’t need to have a full schedule planned and I speak as a I-must-see-everything traveller. Being on your own gives you all the freedom to do everything you want, trust your judgment, level of tiredness and interest in things. You are going to create the best fit for yourself.
4 BE CAUTIOUS AND PRACTICE THE RATE CONVERSION
As a solo traveller (and in my case a female solo traveller), it’s necessary to be receptive to possible negative experiences. Booking a super central accommodation and moving around by bike will give you the best chances to avoid them. Practicing the conversion between different currencies is going to avoid scamming and the general feeling of not knowing if you are paying too much for something.
5 FIGURE OUT HOW TO TAKE SELFIES
While prefering to take pictures than having my picture taken, I would have been really sad with no pictures of myself during the trip. For this reason I studied how to use my camera remotely, practiced taking shameless selfies and ended up with amazing pictures I am most proud of.
6 CHECK IN ADVANCE HOW PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION WORKS
You don’t want to waste time trying to figure out your way around and it can be very frustrating if you are tired and have nobody to take the lead.
7 DON’T WORRY ABOUT BEING ALONE
First of all there are so many other solo travellers that you are not going to be alone, nor unique. The travelling platform has already shaped itself for this kind of experience and it’s not going to let you down. If you really fear boredom I heard that a good trick is to schedule a call or chat with friends or family to have something to look forward to and a sure occasion to interact and share your daily activities.
8 PACK LIGHT
This tip applies to all kind of travels in my opinion, even more if you travelling on your own. Except for the tripod and selfies enthusiasts, nobody is going to care about your changes of outfit nor there are going to be pictures documenting it, that’s an extra reason to pack for comfort and favorites.