First solo budget travel trip.
The year was 2010 – The year my life changed forever.
After years of fantasizing and thinking “I wish I could do that” – I finally stopped thinking about it and took the plunge. I quit my job, I sold as much as I could (it wasn’t much) and saved as much as I could (again, it was no way near enough.) My first backpack was bought, it was packed and off I went to embark on my first solo budget travel trip with the little amount of money I had managed to save.
Granted, I had been on a few ‘lads holidays’ before (typical Brit abroad booze filled holidays) but this was my first real ‘traveling’ trip of any substance. I chose to go all in, not just for a few weeks or months but a full year backpacking through Australia (Backpacking Australia: my overview.) However what was meant to be a one year traveling trip to find myself. – Turned into 6 years of continuous solo budget backpacking around the world. And, If you’re wondering, I still haven’t found myself.
Although I can now be considered a seasoned solo budget traveler, it wasn’t always the case. Back in 2010, I was just as novice and wide-eyed as anybody about to head out on their first solo budget trip.
Your first solo budget travel trip.
All of us who make the decision to travel solo are a little mad, a bit on the weird side (some more than others) our minds don’t operate ‘normally’. – Why else would you chose to go to a foreign country all by yourself?
At the end of the day though, everybody who chooses to travel solo has their own reasons, and you will have yours. It could be as simple as there’s just nobody else who can travel with you. It could be to challenge and prove that you can do it or you might just want to give it a go. You might be running away from your problems or something even deeper – Whatever it is, it’s your reason. (If you’re interested in why I travel solo, have a gander at this – Solo traveling: Why it suits me!)
Just remember, it doesn’t matter who you are or what the reasoning behind your decision is; solo budget travel will challenge you. It won’t just take you out of your comfort zone, it will yank you out of it! Especially if you’re looking to do it long-term – but that’s half the fun and why some of us love it so much!
Your first solo budget travel trip will be one big learning curve.
No amount of planning and research will truly prepare you for your first experience – It’s going to be a crazy, unpredictable ride filled with incredible highs and lows. My advice for you? Strap in and get ready for the ride!
Your first solo budget travel trip will change you, it will teach you, challenge you, test you, push you, it will open your eyes, and at times it will even try to break you. Solo traveling, well budget traveling of any type isn’t always glamorous and rosy. There will be days when you question why you’re doing it, days you will feel lonely, times you will miss home, times when you feel down-right depressed; It’s just part of the learning curve.
However, if you can learn to cope and deal with the bad, then coming out the other end of the proverbial shit pipe solo budget traveling can be so fulfilling and enriching. You will grow as a person, you’ll learn so much about yourself, your character and what you are made of. Solo budget traveling is like a life lesson on who are you, how you deal with the knocks. Yes, there will be hard times but you will reap the rewards. You will have incredible experiences, your mind will be filled with unforgettable memories and stories(Unless you’re like me and don’t have the best memory). Take it from me because of solo budget traveling, I’m a completely different guy to the one who left for Australia in 2010.
So, will solo budget traveling for you?
I won’t lie, Solo traveling isn’t for everybody, some people like myself swear by it, while others prefer to travel in their own way. There is no right or wrong way to travel, some people prefer luxury travel, traveling in groups or with a partner, some people prefer short holidays. I always say, you should travel how it suits you best.
So, After your first solo budget travel trip, from your whole experience, the good, the bad, the highs and lows; you’ll know and decide if it’s for you, or just not your cup of tea.
Throughout my traveling years, I’ve come across so many first time solo budget travelers. Some have thrived and found their calling in life while others have realized it’s not for them for one reason or another. Just as people have their own reasons to why they want to try solo traveling they will have their reasons to why it did or did not work out and it will be the same for you.
A certain type of person?
It’s funny because, before my first trip I thought you needed to be a certain type of person or have a certain type of character to be able to travel solo. – But I was so wrong! I’ve met so many different characters and personalities solo traveling around the world, from confident, arrogant, pretentious, stupid (No common sense), weird, crazy, to quiet, shy, introverts, nervous, anxious.
Some of the most inspiring people I’ve me traveling are the ones you challenged themselves to do it. The ones that wanted to prove to the friends and family who said they wouldn’t last that they actually could.
A little story.
One of those people, a friend of mine now, has over the years really shown me how much solo traveling can help somebody grow. He was a nervous wreck the first time I met him, so much so that a few of us in the hostel actually took him under our wing to help him. He couldn’t get his head around currency, his head was in the clouds, he was a perfect target for petty criminals. And, that’s the great thing about solo travelers, we help each other out. A few of us helped him settle, taught him a few things and helped him feel comfortable in his new environment.
Anyway, long story short, a few months down the line, I bumped into him again and although he was still quite shy and nervous you could clearly tell he had come out of his shell, he participated and interacted with people with more confidence. Over the years we’ve kept in touch and to this day he travels solo and always thanks me for helping him through his first few days. That first trip helped him grow as a person so much.
I’m not saying this will happen to everybody, on the flip side, I’ve come across people who have decided to back home after having a set back, or not willing to take a knock. If you’re a person that needs to have everything handed to you, or you’re not willing to be knocked down once or twice then solo budget travel might not be for you. Sorry if that offends you, I’m just being honest.
However if getting knocked down doesn’t scare you, if you’re willing to ride the bumps to smell the roses then solo budget travel will be an unforgettable adventure.
Things to get used to during your first solo budget travel trip.
During your first solo budget travel trip, there will be so much you learn, things you have to do and get used to like:
- Get used to plans ever-changing, thinking on your feet and having to re-adjust your options.
- Be prepared not to be prepared.
- Learn to budget (I learnt the hard way)
- Coping without a support network around you.
- Learn what budget traveling life is really like.
- LEARN TO USE COMMON SENSE (Seems to missed on a lot of travelers.)
- Looking after your own things, keeping a tight eye on personal and important belongings like your passport.
- Become efficient at packing, unpacking and packing.
- Become accustomed to moving from place to place.
- Get used to overnight travel (sleeper buses, local transport.)
- Look for cheaper (Accommodation, food, activities etc)
- Organizing how to do tours/activities by yourself without getting ripped off, learn to haggle and get better deals.
- Shopping and Cooking for yourself, or learning to do it for yourself.
- Doing your own laundry.
- Cleaning up after yourself (Your mum ain’t there to help you, and nobody else is going to clean up for you.)
- Learning to pay attention to your surroundings.
- Getting used to enjoying the moment.
- Enjoying to your own company, enjoying spending time with yourself (Sometimes it’s hard.)
- Learning to get from one place to another all by yourself. (using maps, or google maps)
- Ok, this one sounds stupid but you have to get used to waking up at different times for different reasons.
- Learning to make friends on the fly. (Some friendships last for a few days, others a lifetime.)
- Times you have to eat by yourself (I’m still not totally comfortable with this.)
- Making hard decisions by yourself, and not letting outside voices influence you. (Like when you need to move on but people are telling you to stay.)
- For some people, learn to socialize and take part in group activities.
There is so much more you will come across, learn and come to terms with on your first solo budget travel trip but those I’ll leave for you to find out. At the end of the day, your first trip will be an unforgettable time. It will stay with you forever, and maybe like it did with me, it might just change your life.
If you’re heading out on your first solo budget travel trip and have a lot of questions swimming around in your head, I’ve put together a comprehensive solo traveling F.A.Q’s page of pretty much every question I’ve been asked about solo traveling. Solo traveling F.A.Q’s – Your questions answered.
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