I have decided to write a little bit about travelling on your own, staying in hostels and more that comes with solo travelling. While I may not be the most experienced solo traveller, I definitely like travelling alone and I want to tell more people about it. Too many people still think travelling on your own is boring or is for people who don’t have many friends. Both couldn’t be further from the truth.
A little over a year ago, in May 2015, I went on my first solo trip. The destination was Dublin and I was gonna stay there for a couple of days. None of my friends had time to come and join me on my trip, but I wanted to go bad enough that I decided, hell, I’ll just go on my own then. People go on solo trips all the time, to scarier places than Dublin as well.
I will not lie, though. When I was on the plane, a constant ‘What the hell am I doing’ was going through my head. I had no idea what to do, it was like my third time on a plane and I had never been in Dublin before, let alone in a hostel. Thankfully, a friend of my mom’s had recommended me a hostel, so I didn’t have to figure out hostelworld for my first solo trip as well.
I had the best time my first time in Dublin. Met two lovely American girls who persuaded me at 4am to come with them to the Cliffs of Moher the next day (by which I mean, three hours later). It was an awesome trip and it will be an experience I will carry with me the rest of my life.
However, this was certainly just the beginning of my solo trips. The summer after I went to Dublin, I decided to take two and a half weeks off to travel from Edinburgh down to London. I booked all my hostels in advance, having finally stumbled upon hostelworld and other sites. I booked all my train and bus rides and off I went.
But this still wasn’t nearly enough. This year in March, I travelled through Ireland for two weeks. Starting and ending in Dublin, the city has definitely made a place for itself in my heart.But not only Dublin, the whole of Ireland has captivated me. I promise you, there will definitely be more travel blog posts on Ireland somewhere in the future. In October this year, I ventured to Sweden for the first time, to visit Stockholm for a few days. That was my most recent solo trip.
Having told you all of this, I want to talk about travelling on your own a bit more. One of the main things people kept asking me when I told them I would be travelling alone, was ‘Won’t you be lonely?’ I have to admit I was a little bit scared of this before my first trip. I had never stayed in a hostel room before, so I had no idea if it was easy to make contact with people. Luckily, my first experience with hostels was a great experience.
However, the trip can be as social as you want it to be. If you love being around people, you should be able to find someone to connect with quite easily. Most of the time, the people that are staying in the same hostel room as you are, are up for a chat. Other times, you can just hang out in a communal area and fine likeminded people there. I spent a night in Belfast playing cards with the two German boys who worked in the hostel and a French and German girl who were also just hanging around downstairs. It’s pretty easy to make contact when you’re staying in a hostel.
Many hostels also organise nights out of special events (like a movie night). This might also give you an opportunity to find friends. A pub crawl is a great idea, because when I did one in Dublin, we ended up with about ten people sticking together and taking care of each other.
I’ve heard stories about people making friends while being out in the city on their own, but I’m not that great at it. I prefer to make friends in the hostel and go out with them over going out alone in search of companionship. But, if you are not like that, you shouldn’t have a problem finding friends in a bar of cafe. I did, however, spend a whole afternoon talking to an elderly man working in a museum in Aberdeen. I also went on a tour of the Lake District while I was in Manchester and starting talking to two Dutch guys who were on the same tour as I was. So there’s always that. Even when you don’t expect anything, friendly people might still come across your path.
But, if making friends is not the goal of your trip, that’s also completely fine. Some alone time can be very good for you and exploring a city on your own can be a lot of fun. But more about that in my next post on travelling on your own!