A Savvy first step.
For starters, my solo adventure didn’t start as a solo trip, it was meant to be myself and a friend during our second-year summer at university, but she pulled out due to family problems, so instead of putting all the research and excitement to waste I thought F**k-it and went. I honestly think it’s the best thing I have ever done for myself, it dropped me right outside of my comfort zone and made me thrive as a consequence. Having studied travel and tourism at college I knew a bit about planning itinerary’s, researching, costings and the general travel jargon, so I pieced what I could together and off I went. I was 19 and off to Indonesia for two months on my own, with only a 10-day kayaking trip booked at the start and a return flight.
I must say out of nervousness I visited the bathroom many times on the train to the airport, at the airport and on the plane, but I was assured that this was normal, after all this was also my first time flying on my own, so extra nerves were to be expected.
Top tip to be taken from this experience, many bathroom trips, is something to be anticipated if you are about to embark on a solo trip of your own!
Now, when you’re traveling on your own its all on you really, there’s no one to remind you to do stuff and double check what you’re doing, therefore many cockups are to be expected. My first was made fairly early in my planning process but unravelled during my stop over, when my airport transfer messaged me asking where I was! Yep, oh shit. I’d not considered the time difference, so not only had I booked a transfer but also a hotel for a few nights. So…. Some panic messaging occurred, 1: apologising to the driver and asked if he could pick me up the next day at the same time and 2: emailed my hotel explaining that I am coming just a day later, so they wouldn’t give my room away! I rectified it all fairly quickly but money was wasted in the process, but let’s just say I won’t make that mistake again.
Very hot and sweaty Savvy traveler
Cockups and mistakes.
To be expected and anticipated during travel, even more so when traveling on your own, just remember don’t get annoyed at yourself, just rectify them and don’t stress. One of my many mistakes was booking a small changeover flight from The Komodo Islands to Denpasar, then Denpasar onwards to Lombok, I booked the cheapest flight, the departure times and the arrival times were decent, however the day before catching the flight I realised I had a 10-hour stopover in Denpasar, WHAT A MONG! I decided to get a taxi out to Nusa Dua Beach and spent the day exploring, swimming and chilling on the beach! So, not a problem in the end, it was actually really nice, I got to explore a different place, which wasn’t initially in my plan.
Top tips: Don’t make any rash decisions when you’re tired, it never ends well.
When solo traveling, I most definitely preferred hostels over home-stays, B&Bs and hotels, these probably would be ok if you were traveling with another person, but on your own they’re fairly isolating, and they generally tend to be quite far away from most amenities. When it comes to finding hostels I found ‘Hostel World’ was one of the best sites along with booking.com, I found its best to look at both sites when booking, this allows you to get an idea of the best prices and locations. When looking at hostels, it’s quite important to look at the ratings, you ideally want ones in the 8’s/9’s and above, along with cleanliness rating up there as well, remember its backpackers that rate them. Our standards as backpackers is fairly low, therefore for a backpacker to mark a hostel low it’s generally a bit of a red flag. Another tip is to look at the reviews of the hostels, as this is essentially where the written feedback is and all the insight into the hostel with all the juicy information including tips for the local areas as well.
Top Tip: Hostels often provide added services, these can be transfers, breakfasts, tours, social evenings, etc. It’s well worth looking out for these especially breakfast included, because it can be hard trying to find somewhere that serves breakfast, this will depend on where you're traveling, I know in Asia its near impossible, as they don’t really eat breakfast. When I’m catching flights, I make sure that where I’m staying does airport transfers included, to prevent that added hassle. Social hostels are an absolute gem, try to stay in these as often as you can, this is where you’ll make friends, memories and get fresh and hot off the press personal tips for destinations.
Tip: try to get to your accommodation before 4 o’clock, this will allow you to get your bearings, rectify any possible booking issues and if your room isn’t up to standard it will give you time to sort these issues/find alternative accommodation if needs be.
There’s so many different types of transport out there, more than you could ever imagine; Edwin Skackleton (83 year old pensioner) beat his target for 100 different modes of transport in one year by using 136 different modes. Fair play, how many different types have you used?
Just about to leave the Apls, I've had a truly amazing time but very ready for the next big adventure. Next weeks blog will touch on my favourite ski gear, aurevior for now.
I can almost smell the Yorkshire puddings!