Traveling Solo

hello

so thinking of going away mid june-ish and kind of don’t really want to go with anyone else. i’ve always gone away with friends or whatever never by myself.

just thought it might be an idea to have a topic where this also might be the case for other people. then others share their experiences.

if anyone’s got any ideas for places for me to go as well be appreciated. would quite like just a few nights somewhere with stuff to do. i don’t want to end up sad sat in a hotel room.

peace and love.

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Cities are easier. Find a gig you fancy and base it around that?

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Barcelona. Did it twice alone this year (and once with a pal). Two of the best holidays I’ve had.

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100% (saw Joanna Newsom in Stockholm once. Doubt I would have gone on my own had I not had the excuse to see her)

If you’re new to solo travelling then a city break is definitely a nice gateway into it. Haven’t done solo travelling in years but I’ve had some lovely city breaks on my own, doing what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Travelling solo does have the tendency of forcing you to talk to other people as well. When you’re away with friends or in a couple you can become a bit insular, I find.

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I went through a phase of this. My ex was a teacher and so used to go away in the summer. I worked in university admissions and so couldn’t book in the summer. But she was a big fan of solo travelling and I fancied giving it a go so we ended up doing that. I was also learning German at the time so would do a lot of travelling based around doing language courses and trying to practice my language there.

When I first got together with my wife we were due to go to Brazil for the first time together but then it ended up being the exact point my was due to give birth and my wife thought i’d hate the trip so decided to go without me, so I booked in a mega trip travelling on my own.

Now I have a kid it’s unlikely I’ll ever do much of this again but I do love it.

My trips:

Travelling around NW Germany (Cologne, Munster, Bremen)
Southern Germany (a week in Munich, then Stuttgart and the Black Forest)
Big tour around Central Europe (Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Prague, Berlin)
A weekend in Riga, Latvia (just killing some time when my wife and son were away)
California (replacement for going to Brazil) - Two weeks in LA but with a long weekend in SF in the middle.

The long and short of it is that it can be INCREDIBLE when it’s right (total freedom to explore and follow your curiosity around a city) when you’re in the right place (both geographically and psychologically) but depending on your personality type it can be lonely/isolating.

I would generally stay in hostels but I’m absolutely fucking awful at that “Hey guys mind if I join you” thing that helps a lot in those situations. But then generally if somebody “hey guys…” me then I’m able to hold up a conversation and met some pretty nice people on the way.

My top tip is to overprepare things to do. Have a list of literally everything you could possible think of to do in a city and research the hell out of it before you go. If you’re travelling on your own and can think of literally nothing to do to entertain yourself then it can be quite depressing.

Some of the things I’ve done included visiting old gestapo headquarters, touring around ghost towns in the Mojave desert, underground catacombs in Budapest, the bone church of Prague, etc.

Then there’s the cool stuff that you can stumble into just wandering around looking at things and seeing where you end up. One of my all time greatest finds was driving through the Mojave when out the corner of my eye I spot this Chinese statue just like, dropped in the desert. Like some kind of weird GTA easter egg.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpBlaFSB-aX/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet
https://www.instagram.com/p/BpBlAkUBPjl/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

Theres loads of stuff like this that I’ve found and done on trips where 100% if there were other people around I wouldn’t have seen it, or I would have seen it but had to keep on driving, or nobody else would have cared about it. Having the total freedom to be like, you know what? I’m interested in this thing I just found and I’m going to spend as long as I want on it suits me down to the ground.

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Key questions:

Do you want to socialise with people while you’re out there? Stay in a hostel (even if you have a private room there will be common areas and events). Go on free walking tours - make sure to bring some cash to pay the guide at the end, even though technically you don’t need to - you can make friends on these. Bar crawls organised by hostels or local groups are amazing for this - you can find them in Prague, Berlin etc.

What kind of trip do you want? Do you want to relax and unwind or go out exploring? It can be liberating to sit on a beach completely by yourself but I prefer city breaks personally as I don’t feel like I’m missing something. It’s easier to navigate a city alone as you’re not compromising or having to match someone else’s pace.

Do you just want to do one place or several? I find that hopping between a few places keeps me engaged, if I stick around in the same place for a while I can go a bit into my head. I really like cities where there’s not too much to do, but enough to keep me occupied/enthused for a few days and then moving on to the next place. In the Balkans and Baltics you will need buses to travel between places as the rail network is either poor or non-existent. Trains are fine in most other places although coaches may still be cheaper.

Watch out for scammers - whether it’s people putting bracelets on you without your consent and trying to charge you for it, people giving you clipboards about donating to charities and then going into your bag under the clipboard to steal money, that kinda thing.

I’ve done:

2014: 6 weeks in Balkans (Belgrade, Sarajevo, Mostar, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Priština, Ohrid, Skopje, Thessaloniki, Plovdiv, Sofia)

This was amazing - being a solo woman (white) people really went out of their way to help me navigate; hostel owner in Ohrid drove me to bus station a couple of times as the bus I was planning to get was sold out and the next one was a few hours later, in Sofia an old man closed his ticket kiosk to chaperone me to the platform I needed for the tram and waited with me for it to arrive so he could show me how to validate my ticket. Because there are fewer tourists, the hostels are smaller and more personal and people will go above and beyond to help you out. It’s also cheap as shit (the whole trip cost under a grand). I don’t think any one place on my trip would have worked for a longer trip but moving on every 3/4 days worked wonderfully. Note - don’t fly into Belgrade and then try to hop into Bosnia, just fly direct to Sarajevo

2015: 3 weeks in Baltics and Scandinavia (Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Malmö, Gothenburg, Oslo)

Scandinavian hostels are really industrial with very limited facilities, Copenhagen one was fine but can’t recommend the others. Don’t really recommend travelling solo unless you have the resources for a hotel. Baltics are good for a solo trip though, travel between the 3 countries is very easy/cheap (I think I used Flixbus). Got persistently harassed by a man in Riga old town one night which really threw me off for the rest of my trip and is the only time I’ve ever really felt unsafe on my solo travels. Tallinn has an amazing walking tour and I had an enjoyable night out with people from my hostel although it ended with vomiting in my bed.

2017: half a week in Luxembourg and Bruges

Luxembourg is pleasant enough but there’s fuck all to do there. Bruges is fine.

2018: 4 days in Nice/Monaco

Fine. Some rowdy Americans in my dorm, one of whom wanted me to go outside with her and smoke weed on the street barefoot. Can’t say whether I did or not, officer.

2019: week in central Europe (Zurich, Liechtenstein, Ljubljana, Bologna, San Marino)

Bologna is brilliant and has great vibes, very affordable, I think it would be a great city to go out in with people from a hostel. San Marino is lovely as a day trip but you could also do Florence if you wanted.

2022: week in Bodrum, all inclusive

Yeah so all inclusive holidays by yourself are an interesting bag. It’s not really set up for solo travellers and I was completely ignored by the entertainment team although the waiters/reception staff took a shine to me. Wouldn’t recommend unless you’re desperate to sunbathe, it’s a bit lonely.

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About to do first ever solo trip to Barca for Primavera this year, but given I know so many disers going I think it’ll feel more like a nice few days by myself at either end of a big music events with friends

Still a little apprehensive about it but also p keen. Do I want to do art gallery then cocktails then read and fall asleep in a park? No one can stop me!

It’s good in some ways (no fannying about co-ordinating multiple times off, don’t need to compromise on activities, etc) but it can be a pain in others (can’t save by splitting hotel rooms, no-one to watch bags if you have to queue for stuff). I’m going to Canada alone soon and I’m bricking it a bit because I’ve never left Europe alone.

Out of interest, what did you make of Zurich?

As I go there semi-regularly I’m always interested in opinions of people who have been there.

It was ok but left me fairly cold. Partly because it’s so expensive, it feels a bit corporate as well.

I loved the cheese bit in the supermarket and the view across the lake of the mountains


I went to FC Zurich v Lugano and enjoyed the section of Zurich ultras being madlads to my right but was really tickled by how few Lugano fans had made the 2 hour trip - I counted about 10 of them. Tonbridge took more away to Truro (6+ hours away)!

I didn’t find it an inspiring place in general though.

Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me.

It’s the undisputed cultural capital of Switzerland but it just feels so sterile. I guess its saving grace is its transport links. From Zurich HB you can pretty much get to anywhere in Europe by train.

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@bluto what kind of stuff do you enjoy doing? There’s a place for almost every taste.

From my limited experience, solo travel can be really fun, it’s cool to work entirely to your own rhythm and not second guess your own plans. Sometimes it’s fun to be sociable and hang out with new people, sometimes it’s nice to rattle about in solitude for a few days. Evening meals can be a bit of a kicker, which was definitely less of a problem in Asia but felt harder to resolve in Seville.

Great thread! (In that it’s very relevant to my interests)

Off on my first solo trip in September - 2 weeks in Toronto/Montreal/Chicago.

Debating whether hostels are a good idea. Like the idea of meeting people and chatting shit but also tee total and hostels don’t seem ideal for that. Pretty content to be left to my own devices most of the time but will defs need some interaction over 2 weeks.

Every hostel I’ve stayed at has been fine in that respect. A lot of them do organised fun which includes drinks (e.g. local bar tours) but in all honesty I’ve never stayed at a hostel where I thought “this would be awful if I didn’t drink”.

And there’s always different groups, including the people who only want to get drunk and bar hop and the people who want a more sober experience.

The only difficulty can be on a weekend night when a you get a constant flow of people coming back from the bars in the night, waking everybody up. If you get a room like that and you’re a light sleeper, it sucks.

Cheers guys, really enjoyed reading people’s experiences.

I guess I want to go to a city and explore but also like drinking at night, aware that can sometimes be awkward at night (I love it but feel like I sometimes get some looks).

Barca may be a goer, I’ve been before but it was a long time ago now.

Will continue to think, the whole cost of living thing may put stuff on hold.

I did a 5 month spree on my own but I did a lot of coach tours - this was when my tolerance of people was a lot higher (I was on the better side of 30)

Sometimes I’d just go on Skyscanner and “explore” which showed the cheapest destinations from where I was at the time. Discovered some cool places I’d never heard of that way. Sometimes I’d just want to go to the beach for 5 days and drink beers at night.

There was a lot of lonely downtime but it’s what you make of it really. Can walk into any bar and start chat with a stranger if you have no anxiety about it

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