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Travelling Solo? Here’s How to Plan Like a Pro!

June 12, 2017

Travelling Solo? Here’s How to Plan Like a Pro!

June 12, 2017

travelling solo

This morning on Timehop I got a notification telling me that it was five years ago to the day that I booked my solo flights to America for four months. I was 19 and looking to go on an adventure between my first and second year, so I couldn’t think of anywhere better to go than California. 

That beiTravelling on your own shouldn’t be limited to your gap year. Going solo allows complete self-indulgence – you decide on the location and itinerary, so no compromises to be made there. It also requires self-reliance, but provided you plan well in advance and take sensible precautions, it can be incredibly liberating and enjoyable.

Since this type of travelling is becoming increasingly popular with adults of all ages, I’ve decided to put together a quick guide to help you plan your next solo adventure like a pro (even if this is your first time!).

✈️ First things first

After deciding where you want to go and when, check for available flights and prices on travel comparison sites like Skyscanner or Kayak. Once you’ve found your flights – and before booking them through a comparison site – it’s worth checking their prices directly on airlines’ websites as, sometimes, you may get a better deal there.

Pre-book long-term parking if you’re leaving your car at the airport as it saves you time and money. There are incredible airport parking deals on comparison sites like Looking4Parking, so don’t leave it until you get there to sort your parking out.

It may seem more adventurous to find a room when you arrive, but what happens if there are no vacancies? Booking accommodation in advance means you’ll have a detailed itinerary with contact details to give to family and friends. Try to find a room without single supplements.

Solo tourists can be targets for inflated taxi fares when abroad. Do your research to find the average price, then order a transfer using a licensed firm. Check out travel forums for recommendations.

For more tips on how to plan a super cheap holiday, check out this blog post I wrote back in March.

It’s a good idea to check your passport and renew it well ahead of when you intend to travel. Also, look into what visas you may need. If you intend on taking part in any activities classed as hazardous (e.g., quad biking or whitewater rafting) you may need add-ons for your travel insurance. You should also let the insurance company know if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, otherwise you may not be covered if you need medical treatment. Some destinations will require getting vaccinated against specific diseases. You can find out what’s currently being recommended by the NHS here.

Even if you don’t think you’ll be driving abroad, take your driving licence in case you do end up needing to rent a car. And, while you may plan to change most of your money abroad, bring a supply of local currency with you to pay for taxis or meals when you arrive. A prepaid travel card is a great backup, too, plus it means you’re not incurring any nasty credit card costs.

? What to take

It’s amazing what you can cram into hand luggage. You’ll save so much time and energy by not having to wait at the baggage carousel. There are packing hacks on YouTube showing how to turn a carry-on into the Tardis. Rolling is a great way to use up every bit of space, plus clothes don’t wrinkle as much. Try to get by with three pairs of footwear: flipflops for the beach, a comfy pair for sightseeing, and a pair for going out.

A large scarf can transform into a travel pillow, cover-up, blanket and even a window lind. Don’t forget a sewing kit, first-aid essentials and earplugs. Some cultures frown on tourists wearing skimpy or scruffy clothes at religious sites, so pack a smart casual outfit. Backpacks hold a lot and are lighter, but I don’t think you can beat a hard case on wheels for offering the best protection and convenience. And if you’re hoping to bring back lots of goodies but you’re worried you won’t have space, why not pack some old clothes that you can leave behind at the end of your holiday?

? Travel Safety

Here are a few tips to remember.

  • Book a hotel room that’s off the ground floor, if possible, and if you’re in a hostel, see if by paying extra you can get a private room so you’re not sharing with strangers. If you’re arriving late and staying at a rental property, find out the name of the person greeting you, with a photo if possible.
  • Don’t deviate from the itinerary that you’ve shared with your ‘watch circle’ unless you update everyone first.
  • Get certified copies of your passport, driving licence, insurance certificate and all other important documents, and store them separately to the originals. This way you have backups if a document is lost or stolen. Post offices will certify copies for a small fee.
  • Don’t wear flashy jewellery or designer clothes (unless you’re going to Switzerland); you need to blend in. Leave your iPhone 7 at home and take an old model instead. Thieves will be far less interested in obsolete tech.
  • Keep your money in several places and use a money belt inside your clothing. Thieves cut handbag straps and can lift wallets without your knowledge. Try to leave anything of value at home or use the safe, if one’s provided.
  • The clever Athena device (along with the ROAR app) allows you to tell people you’re safe with just a couple of taps.

? Make the most of travelling solo

Experience as much as you can and make every second count. Ditch the beach if necessary, so you can experience all the culture and lifestyle your destination has to offer.

Why stick in one place when you can go where you please? Book multi-centre holidays for variety and contrast. And, if you’re up for a new adventure, try something new!

One of the best things about travelling alone is that you’ll make new friends. Excursions offer great opportunities to do this. Don’t be surprised if you’re ‘adopted’ by other travellers who travel in a group, but don’t feel obliged to accept every invitation.

This is your trip and you have no one to please but yourself. So, whether your solo trip lasts a weekend or a month, live it to the max!

Kirsty Leanne

  • Josie Brownlee June 13, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Ooh fab ideas thanks so much! I’m heading out on my own later this year and cannot be more excited! These are really good tips for getting organised thought thanks so much – and I like the staying safe tips, never really thought about ground floor accommodation!

    JosieVictoriaa // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

  • Laura July 4, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    This is such a thorough and helpful post Kirsty! 🙂 really beneficial for anyone doing a solo trip. I’d really love to do one but haven’t quite worked up the courage yet!

    Laura
    Laurascarousel.co.uk

  • I'M KIRSTY LEANNE

    My mission is simple. I want to help change the way travel looks, showing both brands and society that plus size people really do travel too. In a community where plus size travellers are made to feel unwelcome, I want to inspire and advise people like me on how they can make the most out of their own incredible travel experiences.Join me as I share my own personal experiences, my best tips and tricks and all of the challenges I face along the way. It won’t always be an easy ride, but it sure as hell will be a fun one.

    Together, we can change the way that travel looks today

    WHAT TO EXPECT

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To enter, all you need to do is visit the link in my bio and enter your details. GO GO GO! 👉🏻
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Does this happen to anyone else? 🙋🏼‍♀️
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If you want to read some of the new posts I’ve published recently, they include:
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✨ Plus Size Travel Tips For Long Journeys
🙊 My Top Five Travel Mistakes
🇺🇸 10 Things To Do If You Only Have 48 Hours In Nashville
♿️ A Guide To Airport Assistance with @georginagrogan_
👭 A Plus Size Guide To Group Travel
⛺️ Top Tips For Camping While Plus Size
❤️ Why You Should Do A Trek America Trip Right Now
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In this photo, I’m actually sat in front of two of the Three Brothers in Riga (the yellow and the blue buildings). The three historical houses in Old Town Riga were built closely together, with legends saying they were given their name as they were constructed by three men of the same family. Not only that, but they are also the oldest medieval dwelling houses in Riga. 🏘🏡🏠 #riga #liveriga #rigaoldtown #rigailoveyou #riga🇱🇻 #rigainmycolours #rigalatvia #latvia #rigatraveltour #rigaofficial #threebrothers #rigainsta #rigastories #visitlatvia #latvia🇱🇻
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📧 As I have so many exciting things coming up as well as lots of new content to share, I decided to launch the first ever plus size travel newsletter. I’ll be sharing tips and tricks, offers and exclusive invites to those that sign up. The link is in my bio if you’re interested in getting involved ☺️
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🎄 On the 11th December I’m hosting a small PSTT meet up at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. We will be meeting at 6pm for drinks, food and fun. Comment below and let me know if you think you can make it 👇🏻
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🌴 Spaces for Bali are starting to fill up and I’m so so so excited for the group that is slowly starting to come together. We are already starting to get to know each other and it’s making me super excited for what is to come. If you want to find out more information about how you can join Plus Size Travel Too in Bali, there’s a link in my profile bio ❤️
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🙌🏻 If you haven’t already, you can also join the Plus Size Travel Too Facebook. We’re only a small group but it is a lovely safe space for people to ask questions and share their experiences. Again, there is a link in my bio ✨
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💖 Finally, I will be releasing the results of The Plus Size Travel Too survey very soon. Thank you to everyone who filled it out.
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Writing this post has made me so excited for what is to come and if you stick around, 2020 is going to be EVEN more exciting. Let’s change the way travel looks together 💪🏻 #plussizetraveltoo #plussizetravel #plussizetravelling #plussizetraveller #plussizetravelblogger
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Despite three days on my feet at WTM, yesterday I decided to brave a four hour walking tour of Riga in Latvia. Our guide was incredibly passionate about the city and honestly, it’s easy to see why. From the colourful mittens to the fascinating history behind some of the most stunning buildings, it’s safe to say Riga definitely has character 🧤🏘
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The beautiful building behind me is known as the House Of The Blackheads, which was built in 1334. Originally a meeting place for meetings and events, the building was destroyed in the Second World War. Rebuilt in 1999, it is now known as the most photographed building in Riga 📸 #witsriga #wits #womenintravelsummit #riga #liveriga •
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📸: @marty_sandiego
    • Hello from Riga ❤️🇱🇻
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Okay, okay. I know this photo wasn’t taken in Riga but after a busy day exploring the city yesterday, I haven’t had a chance to go through any of the photos I took yesterday! I really need to put the insta back into Instagram 🙊📸
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That’s cool Kirsty, but why are you in Riga? 🤭
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I’m here for the first ever Women In Travel Summit Europe! In just under an hour I’ll be hosting and participating on a panel that shares how to achieve success on a global scale. We’ll be covering pitching to brands, asking for money and overcoming rejection. Hands up if you’re going to be there? 🙋🏼‍♀️ #WITS #WITSRiga
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It was such and honour to be on the panel alongside @marty_sandiego @sassywyattofficial @philwaukee and @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch and I think that together, we challenged some of the stereotypes we face and the issues that surround diversity and inclusion 🙌🏻
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Although I feel a sense of pride from what was achieved yesterday, it was so so heart breaking to look around the room to see that most of the people in the audience were there to support us, rather than the room being filled with people who actually needed to hear what we had to say. There were very few key players and decision makers there and honestly, they’re the ones that needed to show up 🤭
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As big of an achievement as this it is still shows that we have a LONG LONG way to go.
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Thank you so much to @marty_sandiego for the opportunity and thank you to @visitoakland for sponsoring the ‘Every Traveller Matters: One Perspective To Another’ panel ❤️🙌🏻 #wtm #wtmlondon #wtm2019 #ideasarrivehere #diversityandinclusion
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It’s been a long time in the works but after lots of planning, me and @gadventures have put together the perfect 9 day Bali itinerary for Plus Size travellers. Travelling from Kuta to Gili T, you will have a chance to explore Bali’s famous temples, swim with sea turtles whilst snorkelling and go island hopping for a few adventurous days. With incredible experiences and great company, I honestly can’t wait to host the trip of a lifetime 🙌🏻
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Important details about the trip:
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🌴 23rd - 31st October 2020
☀️ £599pp (Without flights)
🗺 Kuta, Kubutambaham, Ubud, Gili Trawangan
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🚍 32 seater bus for maximum 16 travellers
🍽 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners incl
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