5 Tips for Female Solo Travellers

23 January 2018

5 tips for female solo travellers I picked up after spending a month in Cambodia
So, summer 2017 saw me pack a rucksack, board 2 planes to Cambodia and spend a month there travelling on my own. I booked this trip in the previous December as a sort of taste of the gap year I wish I'd had. My parents dropped me at the airport, and from then on I was self-reliant. I volunteered with an agency Monday to Friday for 3 weeks and had accommodation provided for me. Which leads to my first tip:

Don't worry about feeling lonely whilst you're there!! Unless you are staying in private hotel rooms and ordering room service every night, you are bound to cross paths with lots of other people, many of whom are in the same situation. I became really good friends with the people I was living with, despite only spending a few weeks with them. (Coincidentally, this weekend I'm actually travelling to London to meet up with a group of the people I met whilst travelling!) So, if feeling lonely whilst out there is holding you back - don't let it!

Start conversations with people. Whilst in a hostel in Siem Reap, I was talking to a friend I'd made out there about our plans to visit Angkor Wat (featured in the above photo) the next day. A guy in the hostel overheard this conversation and said he was keen to see the temples too... So, I invited him along and soon 3 became 4. He was a solo traveller also and quickly became part of our group for that weekend. So much so that we then took him with us to all the other things we did that weekend... None of the above would have happened if he hadn't started that conversation.

Be extra cautious. There definitely is safety in numbers, so, when doing anything that could be considered risky take extra precautions... For example, don't go wandering the backstreets of a city late at night, and don't accept deals that seem way too good to be true. Both of the aforementioned situations could be perfectly harmless, but when travelling on your own it is important to be alert.

Keep in touch with people at home. Now, this might sound like a given but it's really important to let people at home know what you're doing and what's going on. I tried to message home once a day, just with a quick update to say that I was alright and my plans for the day etc. This meant that when I visited islands that had absolutely no signal/wifi, people at home weren't worried when I disappeared off the radar for 3 days.

Confidence: fake it til you make it. Even if you're totally unsure of what you are doing it's a good idea to not let it show. Firstly, because acting confident has been shown many times to lead to an increased feeling of confidence. And, also, looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights can lead people to take advantage of this and charge you more for things, ask you to pay for things that aren't necessary and just agree to things you wouldn't usually. So, fake it baby, fake it.

Do you have any tips for solo travellers?

My 2017

18 January 2018

2017 was a great year. Well, it was on the whole at least. I met a lot of new people, saw a lot of new places and did a lot of new things. For me, 2017 was the year of freedom and the year of growing up.

2017 saw me;
Solo travel around Cambodia for a month. Yep, at the risk of sounding like a typical gap yaar student, it honestly was a life-changing experience. Whilst out there I volunteered for three weeks, as well as travelled the country and saw the sights.

Have an incredible family holiday in Florida. We did the whole Disney/Universal thing and it was fab. We also took a day trip to Clearwater Beach, google it - it's gorgeous! One of my birthday gifts was tickets to see Ed Sheeran whilst out there! Oh my, he was incredible!

Attend my first festival and oh my, it was incredible. It wasn't ideal planning, being in the middle of the exam fortnight, but it had such a good vibe and the music was incredible. Mutiny Festival 2018, I'll be coming for ya. On a similar theme, I also saw Dua Lipa this year and she was incredible. I absolutely love her album and hearing it live was sick.

Finish first year with a first and move into my first student house. I love uni, I'm not going to be shy about it. I absolutely love living with my best friends and all the things that come with uni. That being said, our uni house this year is not perfect, let's just say we have some furry guests... but it's character building I suppose

Spent three days living in someone's converted shed in Devon. Okay, so it sounds a bit dodgy, but it was an airbnb and we had a great time. The only thing to note is that there was no shower and the toilet was a compost one... There's no better bonding experience between friends than emptying a sack of poo at the end of the trip

Cook my first proper roast dinner, roast potatoes, roast parsnips and all the trimmings. It was delicious, even if we were drunk on prosecco whilst we made it. I'm excited to eat 2018's house Christmas dinner already

A whole range of other crazy things happened in 2017, but here's a quick summary of some of the best parts. I'm excited to see what 2018 has to offer...

Things To Do In Edinburgh

13 January 2018

So, two days after the worst hangover I've ever had (thank you New Year's Eve 2017) a couple of friends and I headed to Edinburgh for a little city break. I'd never been to Scotland before, so this trip was full of firsts, including my first UK domestic flight. Which, can I just say is an absolute hassle when you have more toiletries than sense and only a carry on bag to put them in. Anyway, we flew from Bristol to Edinburgh for £40 return, and if you're local to me I would definitely recommend, it was only an hours flight and for £20 each way I'm certainly not complaining. 

We stayed in a Travelodge, and it was as expected; nothing glamorous, just somewhere to sleep and a bathroom. That being said, it was very centrally located, so if you're looking for somewhere budget to stay, it's certainly worth a look.

Whilst there, we did allllll of the touristy things. We went and saw the castle, albeit only from the outside because as the stingy students we are, we didn't fancy paying £17 to go in. Despite this, it certainly is a must do, as is walking along the Royal Mile. There are loads of little boutiquey shops and arty cafe's to pop in and out of, so a good wander around is a nice idea.

One of my favourite things we did was climbing the Scott Monument. It has 204 steps, all of which are in narrow winding staircases, but the view from the top is so very impressive. Definitely worth doing if you don't mind heights and climbing staircases as narrow as your body.

During a wet afternoon, we headed to the National Musem of Scotland which is absolutely full of things to do and see. I don't think we even saw 2% of the museum, so a look around there is a good way to kill an afternoon or two. A highlight was a piece of rock with 'weird rock' as it's title, how scientific.

As for food and drink, we didn't go anywhere particularly exciting to eat, nowhere worth writing home about at least, but we did find a couple of interesting bars. The first being the Inn on the Mile, the cooler, more trendy of the two, and Waverly Bar, which had a Gaelic folk band playing live the evening we popped in. 

I didn't have any haggis nor any shortbread or whiskey on our trip, but my friend did buy a tartan scarf and I enjoyed some Edinburgh gin (the rhubarb and ginger one, delicious!!) so we ticked a few things off the list. There are obviously a lot more things to do in Edinburgh but here are a few of the things we squeezed into our 3-night jaunt... 
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