Solo Travel

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The new luddite
Getting settled in
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:40 pm

Solo Travel

Post by The new luddite »

Hi all,

I've always enjoyed travelling (mostly UK but sometimes abroad) and lockdown has got me wanting to go explore a bit when its all over.
In the past its mostly be with friends or family but now most of my friends are settling down and having kids and my family are getting older and not able to so much.

I'm contemplating trying some solo travel but its all a bit intimidating, for a start I don't drive and I'm not so good at all the planning and organising required (I think I could do it it would just take longer).
Most importantly I'm not so good in really unfamiliar places, particularly large crowed noisy places on my own (air ports, large train stations etc are a bit of a nightmare for me).
Going abroad on my own is a big worry especially if there's another language involved can't help but think that if something goes wrong I've got no backup.
Has anyone done any solo travailing ? Do you have any tips or tricks you could share ? Or is it just something to be avoided if your Dyspraxic ?
Xenavire
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Re: Solo Travel

Post by Xenavire »

Well, I went from New Zealand to the Netherlands completely solo. It was exhausting, but I was packing up my whole life which simplified things a little. I got my tickets through a travel agency, arranged for an overnight bus to the international airport closest to me, and kept a bit of money on me for food.

The bus was from 5 or 6pm until 3am with one stop for food around 9pm. Then it was another seven hours until my flight, so I relaxed for a bit once I knew where my gate was. Once I boarded I basically passed out, only waking up for a short time over Australia. Singapore was intimidating, and I never left the terminal. I managed to pick up some Burger King (I was exhausted and didn't recognise anything else), figured out where my gate was, and sat for a couple of extra hours (they had a little movie theatre, playing English movies, so that was fun.)

Once I'd boarded again, I was out cold again until just before we landed in the Netherlands. I was lucky enough to have people waiting for me, but checking out was a bit surreal, I expected them to poke through my bags and everything, so when I was out in public in half the time I expected, I was caught off guard.

As for tips, try to keep it simple. Make lists of what you need and what you need to bring back. Check times, double and triple check all your flight details. Make sure you are never late to the terminal, even if it means sitting on your butt for hours. Basically, any precautions you might take alone, you go extreme and double down on it.

I dunno what to do once you are actually there, since the only other travel I did was to the UK,and living somewhere is a lot different from sightseeing, so my Netherlands experience isn't helpful.
Tom fod
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Re: Solo Travel

Post by Tom fod »

I've v much found myself in same boat so have done some small group trips with travel companies that offered interest holidays to the US, Canada and Europe where I've met new friends. I've not done this so much since moving into my own flat but do want and need to resume doing so.

I'm also a non driver so have had to take coach / train etc. I've always found it helpful to create an itinerary with all essential details like times of trains /coaches, Platform numbers, Flight nos and other things to help reassure myself. I must admit a lot of my travel has been to places where people speak English well and or want to practise their English. We are so lucky there though it is good to learn some words in the local language. I've lost my passport twice on trips to the US but regained it again in both instances without needing to seek Consular Assistance. Not a great experience so I brought a passport wallet I can hang round my neck.

Dependent on your level of anxiety you may wish to consider the sunflower lanyard scheme as showing one, can unlock additional help if needed. Generally speaking it's not for me as I'm a bit too fiercely independent. Hope this helps. Happy to discuss more if that would help.
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)
The new luddite
Getting settled in
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:40 pm

Re: Solo Travel

Post by The new luddite »

Thanks for the response guys, seems like the consensus is yes you can travel on your own you just have to be extra thorougher in your planning and prep.

Its interesting that you say you went from New Zealand to the Netherlands cos those are the two top places on my list to go, New Zealand especially I've been told its basically the prettiest place on the planet by a couple of people, plus I'm a huge Lord Of The Rings Geek and I really want to see the Shire :) .

I've thought about one of those group tour things they might be a good option, I've looked at train journeys through the Rocky Mountains through the States and Canada which look amazing although I'd have to save for like 5 years or remortgage the house.

BTW thanks Tom you cleared something up for me, I've seen groups of people wondering round with those Sunflower Lanyards and wandered if they were a fashion thing or actually meant something now I know and it wont bug me anymore :)
Xenavire
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Re: Solo Travel

Post by Xenavire »

NZ is a beautiful place, yes, but my experience living there wasn't a particularly positive one. I needed to get out. My advice to everyone I tell about NZ - perfect for a vacation, significantly less great as a place to live. Although, there are perks - their COVID-19 response was great, and they have the benefit of being, shall we say, non-sardined. Low (relative) population to landmass has serious benefits at times.
Tom fod
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Re: Solo Travel

Post by Tom fod »

You're welcome.

Closer to Home Puzzle Wood in the Forest of Dean (FoD) and other Scowles (abandoned collapsed ancient mine workings) on/around Lydney Park Estate Glos are believed to possibly have inspired Tolkien. FOD is lovely. My month in NZ with friends in Dec 2000/Jan 2001 was great. Especially liked tubing through Waitomo Caves.

Never done deep level trip into Clearwell in FOD as yet but seen their Xmas Lights, though not their Ghost.

Done a fair few self Guided cycle tours with Dad in Netherlands and visited some of the WW2 battlefields too.

Canadian and US Rockies are great too. Just need that Lottery Win and a return to normality so I can revisit.
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)
The new luddite
Getting settled in
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:40 pm

Re: Solo Travel

Post by The new luddite »

Puzzle Wood looks really nice very Tolkienesque (if that's a word) might be worth a look once lock down is all over.
Xenavire why was it you felt you had to get out of NZ ? Was it the fact that there aren't may people ?
OttoGabriel
New member - welcome them!
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:51 am

Re: Solo Travel

Post by OttoGabriel »

I wouldn't advice solo travel. Only for short distance so as to avoid getting exhausted and fatigue. Plus its good to enjoy trips with your loved ones, its much more intriguing. When I did solo travels, I ensured most stop overs to enable me relax and enjoy the journey.
Tom fod
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Location: SW UK

Re: Solo Travel

Post by Tom fod »

I guess solo travel can be a bit of a misnomer and it isn't necessarily a walk across the empty quarter of the Arabian Peninsula or through the wilderness of Alaska with only bears and wolves stalking you.
I did a number of trips where although I went out alone, It was to join a small group tour.

For instance I had a week organised tour of Malta in 2014 (iirc) with 3 or 4 days on the end to do my own thing.

My other trips were with Trek America where I met new folk from all over, who I spent 10-14 days with and our tour leader drove us around from campsite to campsite.

There are various options including cruises.
Tom
Moderator/Administrator

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)
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