10 Tips for Traveling Alone

Happy Monday!

I’m back this week with a very important (and very relevant) topic: solo travel. While studying abroad last semester, I knew I wanted to take at least one trip alone for a few reasons. First, I wanted to have a very productive and busy weekend, which was definitely easier to plan without having to coordinate a schedule with others. Also, there was a part of me that just wanted to prove to myself that I could plan and go on a trip entirely by myself. You might remember that this first solo trip was a long weekend of “backpacking” (it was only four days) through Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. I have another semi-solo trip coming up soon, so I thought I would share some of my tips with you all for solo travel, since it’s definitely something most people avoid!

  1. Do your research! Your trip will be a lot more comfortable and less stressful if you plan where you’re staying, your transportation, activities, etc., in advance, so that you know you’ll have things to do and you’ll be safe while traveling. Look into the hotel, airbnb, etc., that you’re staying at to make sure it has good reviews, and try to get local recommendations from friends/family of things you can do/places you can visit.
  2. Plan to be busy. Especially since you’ll be by yourself, it can get boring if you don’t have much to do. It might be an exhausting trip, but you’ll be much happier staying occupied than sitting around relaxing (for the most part!)
  3. Pack a lock for your things – especially if you’re staying in a hostel or a more public residence. This will keep your things safe overnight, and will also be useful if you’re doing activities throughout the day and don’t want to carry everything around the whole time.
  4. Plan your meals ahead of time! From my experience, breakfast and lunch are pretty easy to figure out, but it can definitely be weird eating dinner alone, so making sure you have somewhere to go will be helpful.
  5. Plan dinner dates – going along with my previous point about eating meals alone, it can be nice to have a phone call or facetime date planned so you’re not really eating alone.
  6. Figure out transportation ahead of time. You don’t want to get stuck without a ride home or to the airport, so research transportation options in the area you’re traveling ahead of time and see what’s available near you. Whether you need to book a taxi in advance, or confirm that Uber operates in your city, this will relieve lots of stress while traveling!
  7. Be careful at night! Especially if you are a girl (unfortunately), be aware of your surroundings, and try to stay in groups/in public places if possible. Be responsible and try to avoid any potentially dangerous situation. While I was in Eastern Europe alone, I completely avoided any danger and simply stayed in after dinner (which helped me start my days earlier anyways!)
  8. Keep track of important belongings, especially when you’re alone.
    In general, you should keep tabs on your phone, wallet, and passport, but when you’re by yourself, you don’t have a friend to fall back on if something happens to these. Keep them in a safe place and be careful of pickpockets!
  9. Know where you’re going. Of course you won’t know exactly how to get everywhere you’re going, but having a general idea of landmarks and names of sights or restaurants can help in the case that your phone dies or you need to ask for directions. Quickly mapping out your day before you head out can help a lot.
  10. Meet new (or old) friends! Lots of people are trying solo travel nowadays, so it’s likely you’re not the only one where you’re going who is alone. Especially if you’re staying in a hostel or similar residence, there are always lots of young people who you can hang out with. Similarly, if you know someone who lives in the area you’re visiting, plan to catch up!

Personally, I think everyone should try solo travel at least once while they’re young, because even though it can be scary/uncomfortable, it’s definitely a great learning experience and truly shows you how independent you can be. Not only that, but if there’s somewhere you really want to explore and can’t seem to get a group to go, this is a great way to completely design your own schedule and your own trip so that you can accomplish everything you’ve been wanting to.

During my first trip alone, I learned the hard way that I really don’t like being alone. That being said, I wouldn’t change anything about the experience, because in the end I had a great weekend and it made me more comfortable doing things on my own. I packed so much into those four days which I don’t think I would’ve been able to do otherwise, and I’m now looking forward to planning more solo trips so that I can enjoy traveling alone.

I hope these tips are helpful and that this encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone when it comes to traveling. I’m excited to finally be taking a couple more trips soon, so I’ll have some new content for you in the future. Subscribe below to come along with me, and I’ll see you all next week!



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Backpacking through Eastern Europe (Solo!)

What a weekend! Another wild experience, very different from most of my trips so far – so another LONG recap!!

This weekend I decided to travel through a number of Eastern European cities. Alone. Why? I’m not really sure, to be honest, but this seemed like a good way to experience each city to its fullest capacity, have some time to myself, and explore things I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise. I booked a non-refundable, one-way ticket to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, so that I couldn’t back out, and from there I planned my backpacking journey through Eastern Europe.

It started Thursday morning with a very early three-hour flight to Prague. Going into this weekend, I was still exhausted from the previous weekend’s trip to Morocco and hadn’t had enough time to get settled back in Madrid, so getting to Prague was a bit hectic. I wasn’t able to plan too much beforehand, so I kind of just showed up and decided to wing it from there. I went straight from the airport to the Prague Castle, and that was the start of my journey. I didn’t know much about Prague beforehand, but the city has so much history and is so rich in culture. There was SO much to see, so I spent the entire day walking around and making the most out of my 24 hours in the city.

After seeing the castle and it’s neighbor, St. George’s Basilica, I walked over to a highly recommended cafe, The Farm, to get out of the rain. This little restaurant was the perfect welcome to Prague. I had a latte and the yummiest french toast, and I was able to relax for a while, recharge, and plan the rest of my day. After lunch, I walked through Letenske Sady, a nearby park, and it was so nice to see so much nature and leaves changing color – it’s still hot in Madrid! The famous Prague metronome is also in this park, with an amazing view of the Vltava River. I then crossed the bridge into Old Town, which was so cool to walk around – it truly felt like late fall in a medieval style town, and there were even some Christmas decorations out. Here I saw the famous astronomical clock, the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, and the Old Jewish Quarter. I also tried Trdelnik, a rolled pastry covered with cinnamon sugar and filled with ice cream – so delicious!

On my way to my hostel, I passed over the Charles Bridge, which truly amazed me. Not only the view over the river and the cityscape in the background, but the energy of everyone walking around and bands playing as you cross over – it was all so cool to experience. On the other side of the bridge I walked by the John Lennon Wall as well, which is now covered over by graffiti (mostly focused on peace and love), but still such an interesting part of history. For dinner I tried a traditional Czech restaurant that was an underground tavern type of place. I got a caprese plate, and potato soup (a traditional Czech dish).

Friday morning I woke up early to catch a train to Vienna, Austria, so I grabbed a quick breakfast on the way and set off on the four hour drive. I arrived around 2pm, so I stopped first at a local cafe to get a quick lunch, and then set out to explore the city. Vienna’s city center is very modernized, with lots of shopping areas and restaurants. I walked through here a bit, and also stopped to see St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Mozart’s House, both of which are in the city center. I then took a long walk toward the outskirts of the city and spent some time in Augarten, a large park in Vienna. After a long couple of days of traveling and walking, it was nice to sit on a bench and relax for a bit (especially now that the weather was warmer too).

On my way back toward the city center, I walked through Karmelitermarkt, a small street market, and then I passed the Soviet War Memorial, which was so remarkable. I checked into my hostel early that evening and rested up since I’d have lots of walking the next day! Saturday morning I had a few more hours to explore before heading to Budapest, so I started out at another recommended cafe, Café Sperl. This was a very traditional style, classic looking cafe, and the food was so delicious. I then spent some time walking through Naschmarkt, which is a street market almost a mile long with over 100 vendors. Here they sold food, textiles, souvenirs, and other antique goods. Soon it was time to catch my bus to Budapest, and three hours later I was in Hungary.

Upon arriving to Budapest, I immediately began sight seeing since I only had limited time here. Budapest is split into two sides by the Danube River: Buda and Pest. I arrived on the Buda side, which happens to be the hilly side, so I got the hiking out of the way on Saturday. I started by hiking up Gellert Hill (which was much higher than I expected!) to see the Liberty Statue. Once I finally got to the top, the view was so worth it. I spent some time here as the sun began to set, and then I walked about a mile down the river to Buda Castle – another incredible view! The castle was right next to the Budapest History Museum, so I was able to explore both. The buildings were built so elegantly, and the foliage was so colorful – it gave me a taste of a Boston fall 🙂 At the top of the castle were walkways and bridges that stretched out over the edge, so you could really tell how high up you were. Being able to look over the entire city and see the river stretch for miles in both directions is a view I can’t even begin to put into words, and pictures can only somewhat show. Standing at the top was so peaceful, and I found a wave of appreciation for all of the hidden treasures this world has to offer.

On my way to my hostel, I stopped at a street food market called Karavan to grab a quick dinner, and they had every food truck you could think of here! I then got a long night of sleep, because by this point in the weekend I was so exhausted. Sunday morning I had a few more hours to explore before my flight back to Madrid, so I spent the day on the Pest side of the river. I first walked through a farmer’s market right by my hostel, located in Budapest’s most famous ruin pub, Simple Kert. I passed by the Dohany Synagogue, which is the largest in Europe. I then walked over to St. Stephen’s Basilica, and then the Hungarian Parliament, which are tied for the tallest buildings in Budapest. The Parliament building might be the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. It was right on the river, and it was so large and so old fashioned, with vines of red and orange leaves all around it.

I then made my way to the Chain Bridge, which, yet again, had more amazing views. By this point I was starving, so I stopped at a small cafe for a cappuccino and a cinnamon bun (they’re so good in Hungary!). I walked along Váci Utca (Váci Street) for a bit, which is the main shopping area of the city. Finally it was time to say goodbye to Budapest and head to the airport.

This weekend was definitely a major learning experience. First, I learned that I hate being alone. I’m glad I was able to experience all of these incredible places, and I’m glad that I learned I don’t like traveling alone, but it would have been nice to have friends with me. I thought a solo trip would be something I’d really enjoy, but I’m definitely looking forward to traveling with my friends again! In the end, I think my favorite leg of the trip was Prague, because I was able to see all parts of the city (which were so beautiful) and stay occupied all day – that being said, I don’t think I would go back because I do feel like I saw everything. Budapest is a close second, and I think if I had friends to share more experiences with, I would have loved it a lot more, so that is definitely a place I want to return! Vienna was amazing as well, but I just didn’t vibe with the city as much as the other two.

I’m so grateful I was able to do so much in one weekend and gain so much more knowledge of Eastern Europe. After a long period of non-stop traveling though, I’m ready for some time back in Spain!

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