You’re finally taking the leap to go on your first solo trip. You’re excited, nervous, but excited. You’ve been scrolling through Pinterest, Travelgram, and Facebook Travel groups, you’re incredibly inspired. It’s now time to plan, but where do you start? What do you pack? What are you supposed to do? Well, first things first – read below and I’ll tell you how to plan your next Solo Trip.
1. Know Where You’re Going
This might seem like a given, but it is a vital step in planning your next trip. You know you want to go to Asia, but you’re not sure which country yet. Make a moodboard, brainstorm, scroll through Pinterest. Why do you want to travel? And what do you see most? What do you want to be doing on your trip? Surfing? Australia is a good choice. Visiting castles? Perhaps the UK. Find out what you want to see while travelling and settle on a country, or countries!
2. Research the Place You’re Going To
This goes hand in hand with point 1, however, this deserves to be a whole point. You know where you’re going, but you know nothing about that country. Yes, I have mentioned it before and I will mention it again – Facebook Travel Groups! This is a great way to find out the best places to visit in the country you’re going to. It’s also coming from real people who live there or have been there before. This goes with point 3 but look at itineraries to see what the best places to go to. I also recommend researching the more practical details about your destination, i.e., national language, main cities, etiquette that might be different from where you come from. Also, with COVID-19 being a pandemic across the world, you should check if you can actually get into the country. You’ll also need to check the climate – I don’t recommend thongs (aka flip flops) and shorts in Switzerland.
3. Start Making a Budget
This kind of goes with the next point, but making a budget should go first because you don’t want to book accommodation or activities you won’t be able to afford. This will also help you determine a lot about your trip – how you travel (i.e. car or train), where you stay (i.e. hotels or hostels), and kind of things you get up to. This also goes hand in hand with the above point. Research the country you want to go to and see if your budget will match up with how expensive that country is. If you don’t have a heap of money, then perhaps Switzerland wouldn’t be the best place – A 4 Star Hotel in Romania is $85 aud per night, a 4 Star Hotel in Switzerland is $500 aud per night. A Budget is definitely an important thing to do when you start planning.
4. Start making an Itinerary
You know where you’re going, you have your budget, now what will you be doing there? Make sure you know what your travel style is as you make your itinerary – do you like cruises? Or bus tours? Or travelling by train? These are all very important things to consider as they will impact how you organise your itinerary. I also recommend knowing which days you’ll go to certain places as this will ensure you won’t have any mishaps on your journey.
5. Get Organised
Depending on your destination, you might need a visa. You also might need to update your passport. Another thing to keep on top of is your vaccinations, especially with COVID-19 now spreading across the world, you’ll need to be prepared with vaccinations.
6. Find Your Accommodation
You should always book at least your first night of accommodation. This will allow you to have peace of mind when you arrive at your destination, and you won’t be looking for a place after a long journey – you’ll probably be exhausted. Also, if you’re travelling around during the summer then it’s likely that a lot of accommodation will be almost booked out or will be completely booked out. I also recommend finding accommodation that has at least 4/5 stars, or better 5/5, and make sure you research all accommodation options. You’ll want somewhere that’s close to the city centre and the train station – you don’t want to be walking alone at night back to your accommodation, especially when its far away. Plus, walking anywhere for ages is never fun when you’d rather spend the day exploring, rather then getting from Point A to Point B. I’d also recommend using Trip Advisor for reviews, these ones are the most honest and will be more factual to how the accommodation actually is. Once I trusted the reviews of Hostel World for a particular hostel in the South of England (I won’t name and shame but check out my trip advisor review for Bath Hostel). There was 1 toilet on my floor, I was in an 8 bedroom dorm and there were other dorms on my floor. The toilet sink was leaking. I couldn’t find the showers until the end of my stay there – they were 3 stories down and there were 3 showers between several dorms, which had between 4-8 beds each. Despite being in England, only 1 member of staff (out of atleast 8) spoke English – the rest pretended to speak to not speak English to the guests (and spoke English to other staff members). So, as a rule of thumb, do your research.
7. Give Your Trip Itinerary to a Trusted Person at Home
Now, this isn’t to make your loved ones at home jealous by reminding them you’re on holiday and they’re not, that is why you post on social media. I highly recommend giving a family member, or a trusty friend, your trip itinerary so someone knows where you are while you’re travelling. They will be able to know where you’re suppose to be and they’ll know where you’re suppose to be staying. In case you’re not where you’re suppose to be or something goes wrong, they have the right information to help you out.
8. Plan How You Will Feed Yourself
This is incredibly important as you’ll need to know where to get food, what kind of food your budget accomdates for – a good idea is to buy some basic items at the supermarket for breakfasts and lunches, and perhaps for some dinners as well, and then you can treat yourself to bakery breakfasts, pub feeds or a 5 star restaurant every now and again. I was once in Inverness when I didn’t plan my food properly – my hotel said they had room service and they didn’t, everything was closed, I hadn’t eaten much and all I had were shortbread biscuits. I tried ordering food from Uber Eats, but that had saved my hostel address in York so I accidentally ordered a Pizza in York and not in Inverness. By 1am I was incredibly hungry and there was nothing open, I also couldn’t afford to eat at the hotels restaurant. I learnt to budget more carefully, and to plan my meals while travelling!
9. Make sure you have planned to have fun!
This is where Pinterest, Google, and those trusty travel Facebook groups come back to good use. This may be a no-brainer, but actually, make sure you’re doing things you will enjoy. No point going to Stonehenge if you have no interest in it (btw I highly recommend it 😉). Don’t go to a place because it’s recommended by literally everyone, go to it because you’re generally interested in it. If you’re going to have more fun shopping in London than you would be by visiting Stonehenge, then go shopping (Stonehenge has been there for 3000 years, it can wait a few more days for you to visit…or not visit).
10. Use Trip Advisor
You’ve probably heard of this amazing site, and if you haven’t used it for your travels yet then this is your hint to make an account. Wherever I go, I will always use Trip Advisor to be my trusty advisor to know about the place I am going. It is stacked full of reviews on almost everything, from accommodation to food to top tourist sites. The amazing thing is, it’s free and you can have an account, which will allow you to save, or favourite,
There you have it! My top tips for how to get started on planning your next solo trip. Of course, there is a lot more that goes into trip planning, but that’s for another post. Hopefully, these tips will help you get started and feel more confident about planning your next adventure.