Let me tell you all about how it feels being a solo female traveller after my first ever solo trip.
It is something I see and hear a lot about from studying Tourism to working in the travel industry. I always see stories of how empowering solo travel is, especially with being a woman.
I thought for a long time it is something I never could do.
But…2018 brought a few hard hitting things into my life with my mum having a major operation and being an absolute superhero throughout the whole process. It really opened up my eyes into grabbing every moment.
I had always wanted to travel to Prague and for some reason I always relied on needing someone to come with me. I guess I always had that fear of me being on my own somewhere new, being all by myself and feeling unsafe. I spoke to a fair few people and they all mentioned that Prague is a great place to start as your first solo trip, so I booked it.
I had a week booked off work and I saw flights from Jet2.com for only £50.00 each way from Manchester, it fitted me perfectly. I felt so nervous after I booked my flights that I ended up searching for the most perfect hostel. I thought it would help me ease my nerves of being on my own if I stayed with some different people.
I am going to be posting about the Roadhouse Hostel, Prague is it was the most wonderful place and as soon as I arrived I felt immediately at ease. I was greeted with a free beer and the guests playing board games.
I had heard several people mentioning of some difficulties of being a solo female traveller such as not feeling safe, or feeling sad going out on your own especially for dinner. Here is what I really thought:
1. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want
Before I left for Prague I did some research and new certain bits that I wanted to do. Such as seeing Reon Argondian’s Magical Cavern on Petřín Hill and having the birds eye views from the Old Town Hall Tower.
The best bit was actually not having a plan for the day. I set an area that I wanted to cover but if I saw a side street that looked interesting I would just walk down it. I walked for hours on end doing nearly 17,000 steps every day without anybody complaining that their feet hurt or wanted to back to the hostel.
2. You will meet some pretty incredible people
Before I even caught my flight from Manchester I was sat speaking to an older lady who had been to Prague a lot. She was reassuring me about when I get to the other side what tickets I need to get for the public transport. She was so lovely and I instantly felt better after talking to her.
When I arrived and caught the bus and metro to the hostel I came across some Brits who were travelling the same way that I was. We helped each other get around and it felt great to team up and I even ended up leading the way.
The main highlight was the hostel, I met so many awesome people that I probably never would have met. People from the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Japan. We played games on an evening together, went bowling and I even attended a black light show with one girl that I met from Texas.
I have made friends for life who live all across the world and I know if I end up on their side of the world I have people to contact.
3. Dinner was an odd experience
I listened to a podcast by Condé Nast about Solo Female Travellers and they all mentioned how sitting for dinner on your own is quite daunting. You see couples, friends and families having fun and having a laugh together. I ate a restaurant called U Tří růží, a friendly craft brewery. The staff were so friendly and I could tell they were aware that I was travelling alone so they actually made more of an effort with me.
My top tip is check the recommendations board in your hostel or ask at your hotel. It will help you to find some friendly places to have your dinner. The staff make all the difference for your experience.
4. The Hostel made all the difference for me
Thinking about my experience at Roadhouse in Prague actually makes me a little bit emotional (I know…what a saddo). It really does their service was outstanding and they really encourage you to get involved especially as about 99% of those staying were travelling solo.
It was so interesting meeting people from all over the world and we had the family dinner every night and like I said we went out sometimes on an evening together or just chilled.
It was really nice to be out by myself all day, walking around all the sights but coming back to the hostel and we all discussed our days together. It helped to share tips and places that we might have missed so I could then plan my next day. It was sad to see people leave and I felt sad to leave but I know that next time I’m in Prague I have accommodation sorted straight away.
5. Plug in, silence is not always golden
It can be nice sometimes to just walk around and take in the sights with the silence around you. I found it strangely reassuring to have my headphones on playing some music as I made my way around Prague it felt like a comfort blanket. There were some times when I took them off and just took in the moment but they really helped to not feel so alone with no-one to have a conversation with as you walk around.
I had my two best buddies with me, being my wireless headphones and my wonderful Canon X-T100. My camera served me so well and all the photos in this post are my own. I have been using Lightroom with some presets provided by Em Sheldon which were so helpful for me to edit my images.
Just to finish off this post I want to share just a few words of wisdom for any of you that are doubting about travelling on your own:
- Even though I studied and work in travel, I still get anxious about travelling especially when I first get into a new destination just aclimatising to something new. If I can do this trip then you can!
- You will learn a lot about yourself as you are the only person to rely on, you booked your trip and you will get the most out of it that you can.
- You put yourself in a position where you will meet people, people you probably never would have spoken to before. It is a time to switch off, put your phone down and get off social media and just take in somewhere completely new all on your own.
The Travel Bug has well and truly bitten me now and I just keep looking at new places to go to, I am looking at New York and Amsterdam with maybe a sprinkle of some summer sunshine in there as well. I would like to do at least one more solo trip this year to help me grow even more in confidence and spend more time just in my own headspace.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this and that is going to give you the boost to book your own trip. Is there somewhere you have been wanting to travel to but haven’t plucked up the courage yet?
Go on…do it.
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Thank you for reading,