Tips for the rookie solo traveller
I have recently returned from my first solo trip, three weeks in Europe for an Australian is a very steep learning curve. I picked up a lot of advice from others and found out things myself.
1. Carry a pen and paper. Pens are always useful, customs forms need to be filled out. If phones go flat it a piece of paper can record phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
2. Cheap fold up travel backpack from Kmart is brilliant to have in your kit. Put any shopping there and keep it out of sight and in one place. Perfect place for a water bottle too.
3. Trains in Europe come in different brands. Just because you have a ticket from A to B and you are at A and a train is going to B, just check that your ticket and the train are the same brand.
4. Keep small change at hand at all times. A lot of toilets in Europe have to be paid for, usually around 50 euro cents to one euro.
5. A watch is a lot easier to keep track of the time than reaching for your phone all the time.
6. Keep a couple of portable chargers ready for phone, camera, etc. and make sure you have spare memory cards.
7. Use something like travelblog.org to create your personal travel journal online, you can also share your posts to save you having to contacting friends, relatives, etc to keep them up to date.
8. Carry a water bottle and be prepared to empty it before customs check points, you can usually find somewhere on the ‘other side’ to refill it.
9. Have a printed map with the name and address of your accommodation that you can show to taxi drivers, etc. This is particularly important if you are dealing people who don’t speak your language.
10. You know those dorky looking sets of light weight travel bags for inside suitcases that you see on ebay……. BUY SOME! It makes life so much easier to find what you are looking for without upending the whole bag.
11. Take copies of cards, passports, bookings, maps, etc, etc and save them on the cloud. I shared my itinerary, emails confirming bookings (they have contact details on them) with my kids so they knew where I was at anytime.
12. Have a SIM with data at all times. Yes, I know I’m a tech head, but seriously, it is essential to have access to the ‘net for maps, opening times, purchase tickets (often the huge lines you see at attractions are waiting to buy tickets) and contacting folk.
13.Get yourself the app rome2rio, also online rome2rio.com All you do is enter two places and it gives you all the options how to get from A to B with links to websites to get tickets and timetables. The places can anywhere from streets away from each other to being on opposite sides of the world. Rome2rio also can tell you how long the trip will take. I found it really accurate.
14. Get a currency conversion app and keep it with your favourites. Very important to keep a clear head when deciding if a purchase is good value (or not).
15. After my cross body handbag snapped the strap in Italy, I bought a cheap bag ($10 on the ship, so chances are it would be even cheaper on ebay). It had lots of pockets and was relatively flat. It was much better than what I had, everything had it’s place and I could easily locate pens, passport, chargers, etc
And the most awesome advice….
The absolute most fun I had was the last morning I was in Athens and I had heaps of data and my mobile was fully charged, I video called using Messager my daughter in Australia and walked around Athens for over 90 minutes…….. sooooo much fun. Next trip I am going to plan to do this much more. In Greece, I got a SIM with 5gb for something like 8 euros.