7 tips and must-dos for women planning some solo travel
Solo travel is the best.
It just is, alright? Going away on your own absolutely trumps going away with other people in every possible way.
You're not keeping to anybody else's schedule, you can change your plans at any given moment, you're far more likely to make friends - the list goes on.
If you've never taken a city trip by yourself, first things first - book one immediately.
And then once you have, consult the following list to ensure that you give yourself the most class - and the most safe - city break ever.
1. Stay in a hostel
Heading off on your own for the first time might be incredibly daunting and mildly terrifying, leading to you inevitably opting to stay in a hotel on your own to minimise the Honestly what the fuck am I doing? feeling.
Don't though - hotels when you're alone are (shockingly) lonely and you're far less likely to feel comfortable in your surroundings if you're hanging out by yourself for the majority of your down time.
The film Hostel gave hostels a bad name but the vast majority of them are completely safe. Before you book, read a tonne of reviews, check out some pictures, and make sure that wherever you're staying has lockers, Wi-Fi, and a decent communal area.
Hostels with female-only dorms are pretty much everywhere too, so if you'd feel more comfortable bunking with a load of women over a mixed dorm, you won't have trouble finding somewhere to suit your needs.
2. Make friends
Easier said than done in most cases but in the solo travel situation, not at all.
The very fact that you're on your own will make you instantly more willing to chat nonsense to strangers in any given scenario.
Going away with mates is all well and good, but the chance of you meeting some new people and really getting to know them over the course of your trip is extremely slim - you've already friends with you, why would you need more?
Make some new friends, swap recommendations, share life stories, and any sense of loneliness you might start to feel will be nothing but a distant memory.
3. Go on walking tours
Not convinced that you'll be able to meet anyone on your solo holiday?
Go on walking tours and you will. That's what they're designed for - well, that and providing a tour of the surrounding area but let's be honest, they mainly exist to bring people together.
Doing a walking tour on your first day in a new city will also let you get your bearings a lot faster.
Never underestimate the value of somebody leading you around a load of places - incredibly helpful.
4. And pub crawls
See above for justification with added alcohol.
Organised pub crawls are probably one of the best - if not the best - ways to meet new people while also having a good, drunken time.
And while going on one alone might fill you with intense self-doubt and localised panic, it's not a weird thing to do and you won't look like a loner.
Just make sure that you're totally aware of where you are at all times, know your alcohol limits, and don't stray from the group.
5. Google Maps is your best friend
Use it at all times.
Going for a wander around the city to kill some time via exploring? Google Maps.
Trying to find a slick bakery that someone recommended you hit up? Google Maps.
Sitting in your hostel completely still and totally aware of where you are? Google Maps.
At the very least, it's handy to know exactly where you are at all times, and at the most, it could save you from a serious Yeah I am seriously lost in a foreign city situation.
6. Take other people's recommendations seriously
It's all well and good to scour the internet for things to do and places to see, but online recommendations date and, honestly, aren't always accurate.
Chat to people about what you're planning to do with your days, ask what they've seen, and get them to suggest some places for you to go.
You'll be particularly glad of this when it comes to eating out. Finding somewhere decent for food when you don't know anybody in a city is pretty much a roulette.
Ask others where they've been, where's good, and where's not going to break the bank - it'll be worth it.
7. Pretend you're not a tourist
If you don't act like a tourist, people won't think you're a tourist.
That's not to say that you need to run around exhibitions and museums acting as if you've seen it all before, but when you're moving from place to place, it's a good idea to look like you know where you're going and what you're doing.
Tourists are pickpocket's targets no matter what country you're in, so to ensure that you keep yourself and your belongings safe at all times, just fake it.