What are you aiming to achieve from your solo holiday? Are you looking for adventure? Do you want peace and quiet? Maybe you want to get up close with nature? Think about exactly what sort of trip you want and once you have decided on that, you can start planning…
1. Do you want a short or long trip?
Firstly, if you are planning a short trip, try to avoid booking accommodation that is a long way from the airport or train station. This will keep transfer times to a minimum.
Secondly, wherever possible, try to select accommodation close to the area you wish to explore. This will allow you to…
- Maximise the time you have to explore the local area
- Keep travel fares to a minimum
- You wont have far to travel back to your accommodation late at night
If you are considering a longer trip, you could try hotel hopping or even island hopping, to explore a few areas. This is ideal if you have a combination of things you would like to accomplish and they can’t all be achieved in one area.
I enjoyed hotel hopping in Antigua to visit multiple areas within one trip. A few days in several areas was ideal and reduced the need for lengthy taxis/bus journeys. This made it more cost effective too.
2. Will you require a visa or immunisations?
Once you have chosen a destination, check if a visa or immunisations are required.
Immunisations sometimes require a few injections over a period of time or may need to be ordered in. Make sure you check in advance to allow enough time. Some malaria tablets need to be started a few weeks before travel.
Some countries will require a visa to allow entry. Visas will often need to be applied for in advance and can take a while, so make sure you check if one is required ahead of your trip.
3. Is your passport still valid?
This may seem like an obvious one, but there are a lot of countries that will not allow entry unless you have 6 months left on your passport, from the day you are due to return home.
4. Thoroughly research your destination
As a solo traveller it is very important to stay in a safe area. I have found the following tips useful when considering a new destination…
Wherever possible, if I am thinking about going somewhere I haven’t been before, I will follow a local newspaper, tourist information, restaurants in the area etc. on Twitter. This gives me the heads up on current news and places I might like to visit while I am there. It may also highlight any ‘trouble spots’.
- Foreign Travel Advice
Click on the foreign travel advice link. This will take you to the Government’s website giving you all the latest foreign travel advice for countries. The countries are listed in alphabetical order and offer up to date information on the following topics. ..
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Entry Requirements
- Natural Disasters – such as hurricanes
- Travel Advice Help and Support
Regarding local laws and customs, for example, these may be very different from our own. In Singapore, it is illegal to bring e-cigarettes into the country and in Ghana it is illegal to wear military clothing, including camouflage. It’s a good idea to check before you travel.
5. An Events Calendar
Very often you will find an events calendar online for your destination and you will be able to see main events taking place for a given period. There may be an event you would love to attend and this may influence your travel dates.
If your chosen destination does not speak your mother tongue then try to learn the basics of the language before you go. Being able to say please, thank you, or order a drink in a foreign language goes a long way. I can recommend Duolingo. Duolingo is a free app through through your mobile phone’s Play Store. You can choose daily lessons 5, 10 or 15 minutes long. It teaches you how to read, write and pronounce words and phrases in a fun way from your phone! You can also take part in a language club which allows you to connect with other learners to chat online. Read my language tips post for more information and further ideas.
7. Travel Insurance
Make sure you have valid travel insurance before you travel. Also if you are planning on taking part in any sports or cruising, this may require additional cover.