Welcome to my second blog post on travelling on your own! In my last post, I talked about some of the prejudices attached to travelling on your own and showed you some options on making friends while travelling on your own. In this post, I’ll be talking a bit more on exploring a city on your own. While my travelling style may differ from your or while I might enjoy visiting different museums or areas, I still hope you enjoy reading this.
The first thing to decide is which city you want to go. I like going to the UK, Ireland and I want to discover more of Scandinavia, so cities in those countries are an easy pick for me. However, I also want to go on a road trip down the coast of Portugal at some time, so that’ll be a new challenge. I have never been outside of Europe, but I reckon the general idea of going on a journey is the same. Generally speaking, I do like to stick to countries that are considered save for a woman travelling on her own.
I am a planner. I love to plan things and I don’t do well without planning. And while not everything absolutely has to go according to plan, I do book all my hostels in advance and prefer to book train or bus rides in advance as well. My longest journey was for two and a half weeks, so that was very doable. However, if one day me dream of roadtripping from the east coast of the US to the west coast should come true, I might have to let go of my perfect planning. But for now, I like to be prepared. I want to know which hostel I am staying, where it is and how I get there from the airport (or trainstation or however you arrive in the city). I like to know what neighbourhood it is in, so I know if I can walk around in that area safely at night. If it’s far from the city centre, which it usually isn’t, I’d like to know a bit more about the public transport system.
One of the things I look for in a hostel room, is if the bathroom is ensuite or not. I prefer the bathroom the be ensuite, which means it’s in the room. If it’s not ensuite, it’s usually somewhere down the corridor. It’s not an absolute turn off for me to not have an ensuite bathroom, but I really dislike having to walk on the corridor with all of my stuff. I’ve also noticed that there’s a bit more space in an ensuite bathroom. There’s place to put your towels and other stuff. The last bathroom I used wasn’t ensuite and I had to hang all of my stuff on hooks on the door, with only a flimsy shower curtain protecting my stuff from the water. That wasn’t ideal.
In most hostels you can pick whether you want the room to be same sex or mixed. I don’t really mind a mixed sex room, so I usually go for that, though I also sometimes book same sex rooms. I honestly don’t care, but I can imagine people preferring one or the other.
I do prefer a room that holds at least eight people. I’ve stayed in smaller rooms before, but I find it’s harder to make contact with people in smaller rooms. There’s less of a change you’ll connect with people and a bigger chance you’re put with a group of friends. In a larger room, I find it easier to make friends and connect with people.
When I’ve picked my city, booked my hostel and any kind of train or bus ride, it’s time to actually go on my city trip. I bring the usual luggage, so clothes and care products. If my suitcase is too full or if I can only bring small packages of shampoo and other stuff, I might just buy that in the city and toss it out when I leave again. I make sure my suitcase can be locked for when I’m out during the day and my suitcase is in the hostel room. I’ve never had any problems with my stuff, but I would like to be on the safe side. Some hostels also offer lockers, so definitely use them if they are provided.
And that concludes about everything I wanted to tell you. As I said in my previous post, I’m not a very seasoned traveller, but I have done my fair share. I have found my methods and stick to them, since they seem to be working for me. I hope I might have helped someone in travelling alone!