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Solo Travel: Four unexpected essentials

I like to think of myself as an international badass seasoned solo traveller. It is my preferred way to see the world. For me, there is nothing more cathartic than knowing I can survive without anyone — knowing that my own company is enough.

But as romantic as the notion may be, there are of course certain 'awkward situations' that I find myself in, that others may not. And I feel I am qualified to tell you what those situations are, as well as the tools you'll need to overcome them (you're welcome).
1. Headphones
I love meeting new people on my adventures. Without the people I meet, my experiences would certainly feel more empty. But, to put things politely, we all (especially me) need time to be alone and unwind. My favourite time to do this is when I'm moving from place to place — this is my 'social avoidance' time. 

So what do I do? Well, I stick in a pair of earphones — even if I'm not listening to anything. It sends a message to everyone else that you do not want to be disturbed. If they don't pick up on that cue, there's a chance they are an affectionless psychopath (run!). Oh, and if you're not sure what headphones to buy, read this post for a helping hand (NB: the headphones above are only acceptable on an audio tour).

2. A cover story
Now you know that little look you get when you tell people your friends you've decided to travel solo? The 'bloody hell, you're brave' look? Yeah, that one. Isn't it addictive? Doesn't it make you feel like you want to scream 'I TRAVEL SOLO' from rooftops and wait for the world to fall at your feet? But here's the really shouldn't tell everyone. 

Whilst you're on the road solo, listen to your instincts and cherry-pick who you give your real story to. And for everyone else, 'you're just waiting for some friends,' or 'you're staying with your aunt/uncle/brother.' It's okay to tell a little white lie for safety's sake.

IMG_08903. Time out
On my recent trip around the states, I spent a total of 50 nights in shared accommodation. I told myself I could handle it and that my priority was to save money. On top of that, I spent no more than 3-4 nights in each location. I should also mention that I am the kind of person that is not only okay being alone, I genuinely enjoy it. So no privacy, combined with the pressure to get out and see as much as humanly possible in a short space of time resulted in a mid-trip burnout. I felt really quite stressed and down.

So what was the solution? Well, by the time I reached Seattle, it was forecast to rain solidly for 3 days. So in place of my usual shared dorm, I forked out for a tranquil Airbnb by the sea. It was about 3 times the price of a hostel bed, but man, did I need it. Just a few days to slow the pace and feel okay about doing nothing (I stayed in my pyjamas and watched Netflix solidly for 3 days — totally necessary).

IMG_11634. Camouflage
No no, I'm not talking about war paint — I’m talking about blending in with the locals.

For the first 4 weeks of the USA, I used a backpack as my day bag. But I soon realised this screamed 'traveller,' so replaced it with a regular handbag. I went for one that had a long strap that I could wear across my body so that I could keep a close eye on my stuff. Also, when I'm walking from place to place in a city, I like to pretend I'm 'walking to work,' it changes my body language and makes me less of a target. But the point is, just be wary of how you appear. Leave the pink polka dot suitcase at home.

What about you? Anything you'd add to this list? Let me know in the comments.

Check out for more solo travel tips. Or click here (Link: to visit my YouTube channel.




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