In 3 weeks, I have a one way ticket to Egypt. I’ll be there for a while, then in Europe for a longer while. I’m working on a farm in Switzerland through WWOOF for a few months and then going to backpack around and explore as many cool places in Europe as possible. I don’t have a ton of money and I’m going to be living as cheaply as possible.
We have a diverse group of well traveled people on these forums. I’m looking for any tips, advice, or cool stories relating to solo travel.
My experience was in no way as extreme as yours is about to be, but I’ll tell you a few things that are beautiful about travelling alone… So I bought a bus, ticket, and hotel package for Imagine Music Festival in Atlanta under the impression that a few close friends of mine had purchased the package as well. To my dismay they sold their spots for the bus at the last minute, leaving me nervous and alone. I posted a status on the facebook group stating that I was riding out alone and that I was stoked to meet everyone; as a result of the status I received a facebook message from a girl in the group who reached out to me. She offered for me to stay in the same hotel room as her and two of her girlfriends. I excitedly accepted the offer. The night of the bus departure they picked me up from my dorm to meet the group… the second my butt hit the car seat we all instantly became friends. It’s been two weeks since the festival and I’ve been hanging out with my new friends almost every day since we left. I feel closer to those girls after one weekend than I do with some people that I have known my whole life… the point is that when people (the ones worth knowing anyway) learn that you’re “alone” they’ll make that much more of an effort to accept you with open arms into their lives so that you’re not alone anymore. Good luck on your travels friend, and allow good vibes to blaze your trail to adventure.
@amytelka, I dont have any tips but just wanted to say, that’s fucking AWESOME!!!! and i’m proud of you and hope to do similar awesome things in my not too terribly distant future. What made you decide to do this and how did you start working toward this goal?
I’m in Europe for a month right now but I have family here so I have it really easy. I guess what I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of exchange students from everywhere that are eager to practice languages and party with new ppl.Also most people understand English but are afraid to speak it, except the children are more than willing to speak with you. Also flea markets are awesome.
The hostel network seems to be pretty good overseas and in some countries you can get a card that gives you discounts to hostels anywhere (found this when I went to Australia). Its also a good way to meet young people, other itinerant travelers, expatriates…
One other thing is that if you intend to travel by rail, you should buy your ticket before you leave the US. You can get a great discount on rail ticket passes as a foreigner, but usually only if you buy them while you are still in the US. (I got one that was $600, normally $2,000, to travel anywhere I wanted on the train system in Australia the entire time I was there, but I had to buy it before I left the US and prove US citizenship once there to pick it up)…
I also noticed that people on a continent where there are so many different cultures base their identity much more in their lineage and culture in contrast to the others, bc they’ve been fighting or distinguishing themselves from each other for so long. They don’t understand in the US no one identifies very strongly with their nationality, even as an American bc there aren’t as many opportunities to represent yourself in contrast to others that way. So the self concept is very different in that regard. No one is nearly as proud of the state they are from bc it’s united and there is barely any lineage.
Just relax. It’s much easier traveling alone in a lot of ways. You can do whatever you want, go at your own pace, remain totally anonymous in random cities, and just observe things. It’s actually pretty awesome.
You also don’t have that false sense of security of being able to identify with your little group, while looking at everyone outside of your group as anonymous strangers. It will force you to look at “outsiders” from a different perspective than you’re used to. You’ll have to reach out and be vulnerable to people you don’t know.
Highly recommend traveling alone.
I went on a guided tour this summer to Costa Rica–really scary and exciting, it was my first time travelling alone, as a college girl, in a new country. I think it was a good introduction to solo travel, because I learned about how to get new phones and phone cards, go through the airport system, had the guide to translate Spanish for me and guide me towards interesting destinations. I also had some genuine interactions with Costa Ricans–played soccer with these 2 guys at a small school in the country (I sucked, they rocked), and got high with a hotel guy who was my age at a hotel near the Arenal Volcano. It was beautiful, the sky was purple, the volcano was silent and large in the distance, and I could see the fields stretching out in the night. It made me really think back on the hustle and bustle and artificiality of American society and consumerism. That day’s been on my mind since I got back. I’m looking to really travel alone next time, because those guided tours can emit a “touristy” feel which is not really the genuine, intimate contact that I want with a country, but it was a good start. Also you get helpful health tips and pharmacy/grocery store directions from the tour guide which is useful if you don’t speak the language. The people with me on the tour were friendly but it can get boring because they were mostly older, laidback Americans (and I’m your average young and rebellious and risk-taking person). I did get to know a 10th grader and we talked about anime like Teen Titans and Avatar, and Pokemon, and how her doctor dad collected legos and Pokemon cards. That was cool though.