In February I ended up going on a work trip by myself. It was the first time I had ever travelled solo, excluding a few trips over to England to see my family. I was going to Raleigh for 10 days and although I had been there before and had a good idea of my way around I was still a bit apprehensive; which leads me to the first tip.
Be confident. Hard to do at first but once you get over your initial fear and nervousness travelling alone is a great experience. I’m lucky in that I don’t mind travelling, but if airports & flying are an issue for you make sure you bring things with you to help you relax. If you like reading, bring a book, there will almost always be in-flight entertainment on long-haul. Or if you’re going short-haul download a movie to your phone or tablet and the flight will be over before you know it. Be confident in your abilities to look after yourself.
Visit the placed you’re interested in
Whether this is cultural, an activity or simply a restaurant, when you’re by yourself you can visit whatever you are interested in. For me, I like a bit of culture, good food and as much shopping as I can get. So, when I was in Raleigh that was exactly what I did, With the whole weekend to myself I checked out the Museum of Natural History and spent pretty much a full day in the mall. The whole week was spent eating good food, really good food!
Butterfly Exhibit – Museum of Natural History, Raleigh
Ask to sit at the bar
Which leads to the next tip; if you’re heading out to a restaurant by yourself, ask to sit at the bar. The first one or two restaurants that I went to were a bit reluctant to give up a table for two for just one person. One restaurant said that there would be a 30-minute wait, but my table was ready after 10. After that, I started asking to sit at the bar, that way you’re only taking up one spot and you will more than likely end up making friends with the servers and bartenders. Also, don’t be afraid to leave the hotel. My first night or two I ate dinner in the hotel but with such a small menu I knew that I would be sick of eating the same one or two dishes for 10 days. So, in a way, I was forced to get out and explore.
Seared Ahi Tuna & Cheesy Mashed Potatos – Oyster Bar, Raleigh
Everyone seems to love a solo traveller
From my quite minimal experience of solo travel, everyone seems to love the person who is sitting alone at the bar. In the hotel I stayed in I ended up befriending the receptionist, bartenders and servers. They all said hello to me and a lot of the time the bartenders would end up standing at my table chatting away to me while I sipped at my Sauvignon Blanc; an order that was almost at my table by the time I got back from dinner. It was pretty much the same wherever I ate; I spent most of my time chatting to bartenders and servers. I definitely felt welcome wherever I went.
Shrimp Tacos – Totopos Mexican Restaurant, Raleigh
Enjoy your own company
On the flipside to being everyone’s new best friend, learn to enjoy your own company. I always thought that I didn’t do well by myself, that I was always a people person. But by travelling alone I have learned to enjoy my own company. I’m still a people person and very much enjoy being around people but at the same time, I’m not afraid to spend time in my own head. I think it has helped with my training; I used to think that I would train better if I have a gym buddy to come with me, but I’ve realised that I’m much stronger and focused when training by myself.
Master the art of selfies and food-stagrams
One of the downsides to being by yourself is that you don’t have a photographer on hand to capture every smokin’ outfit and effortless pose; so you’ll get real good at taking selfies and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll get really good at snapping pics of all the great food that you’re eating. During any trip that I’m on, my Instagram will be full of food pics and outfit pics.
OOTD – Top: American Eagle, Jeans: Hollister, Boots: Zara
I’m really hoping that this will inspire you to get out and do a bit of exploring by yourself! Keep an eye out on my blog over the next few weeks for more Travel tips and a full post on Intermittent Fasting and my experience with it!