“To travel is to live”- Hans Christian Anderson
I would never trust someone who says otherwise. Traveling changes us. It shows us the world with a completely new perspective. It makes you realize how beautiful and serene the world around us is. Travelling makes us stronger, confident, and wise. From India to Europe, every country has something to learn from. You can go in groups or solo, as per your wish. Speaking of solo journeys, I recently went on a trip to Europe, and I must say that traveling alone in Europe has probably been the best spontaneous decision of my life. I’ll tell you why.
The experience of travelling solo in Europe will gift you an experience you will never be able to forget. I stepped out of my comfort zone, pushed my limits, explored the unexplored, and discovered the personality I never thought existed in me. I have been slogging in the corporate sector for 6 years, and every year, I wait for my collected leaves to unleash the wanderer in me.
Take a look at the 5 facts I learned about traveling alone in Europe. Got any questions? Let me know through comments.
5 Things I Learnt About Travelling Alone in Europe
Being a woman, you may get all sorts of suggestions from different sources about solo trips. I bet most of them would be negative. The truth is there are risks. But, once you look past the risks, you will get the best moments of a lifetime. Let’s begin.
1. I can deal with pretty much everything
For most of us, solo trips are the biggest fear. I wasn’t an exception either. I was definitely curious. But, the fear of being an ‘alone traveler’ lurked in my mind. The fear just vanished when I landed in Europe at the airport. I thought, “I made it and I am alive!” People from abroad may also worry in regards to the concept of solo traveling. You get to beat the odds and make it happen. If I can do it, anyone with a passion for travel can.
The journey wouldn’t be a bed of roses completely. For example, I had to negotiate with an aggressive, and stubborn ticket officer to help me re-plan my journey at the eleventh hour. But, this is where you realize that you have grown up. Let your voice be heard, keep your calm, and make things fall into place. After my solo trip, I am quite confident that I could be even deal with the monstrous Demogorgon while traveling.
Okay, that was a bad joke.
2. If you really want something, you got to take the risk
Many travelers, including me, love traveling. But, they are not really okay with solo trips. It can be due to the budget or the risks involved when you travel alone. Visit Europe and you will know that there’s no looking back anymore. I will tell why. In Europe, every city feels very close together. It seems to be like a doodle. With 50+ countries, Europe is the hub of amazing cultures, food, history, and landscape. Geographically, the area in Europe may seem small and that is why you may experience a short space of time.
I have experienced an excellent system of public transport, pedestrianized zones, and cycle routes. It is completely safe for female solo travelers and there is no shortage of transport even at night. You can join freecycling or walking tour to relish the magic of Europe. You can also find a hostel that provides you the information in regards to costs and rent bikes in some hostels in Europe. Take your time and plan your day. With the right plan, you can learn a lot about history, and connect with loads of other travelers.
3. I have learned to trust people
People in Europe are way more generous than we can ever think. In this era of digitization, all of us have built a coat of suspicion and barrier around us. Solo trips in Europe can break this barrier and help you trust people. Yes, you need your wits while on a trip. But, you got to trust people as well. Just understand when to do what and to whom. You may go through situations where you have to put your faith in strangers.
I met plenty of solo travelers on my way around Europe. I stepped out of my comfort zone and interacted with strangers only to realize this world isn’t that bad. You are never actually lonely when you travel solo. Trust me, you will meet open-minded solo travelers everywhere who can teach you something new. No wonder, people consider this place the most successful destination in the world. You will end up making friends from all over the world.
4. Hostels of Europe are evergreen
Do not EVER forget to stay at a hostel in Europe. There wouldn’t be anything more amazing than an experience at a hostel in Europe. You can find hostels of all sorts of shapes and sizes. Hostels are friendly spaces, and everyone greets you warmly out there. Thus, don’t be nervous if you have to share a room with someone. However, you can also look for dorm rooms, specially meant for women or you can also book private rooms. Striking a conversation at bars or pubs are common in Europe, and that is where you are most likely to meet other travelers.
Many hostels have various events up their sleeves. Some of the most common events are cooking classes, karate lessons, day trips, walking tours, yoga classes, etc. You can choose the hostel on the basis of your requirement, or you may choose a cozy hostel if you just want to spend in solidarity. You may book a spacious one if you want to host a part out there. Do not forget to read the reviews as posted by other travelers about that hostel before booking a room.
5. It’s a tad cheaper than what I thought
I know many of you worry a lot about the burden of the budget when you are on a solo trip. What if I tell you that traveling in Europe can be done in a shoestring budget? Research carefully, and you can book cheap flight tickets. You can also choose to travel on a sleeper train to save a night’s money. Buy local foods, travel in low season, stay at hostels, and plan your daily expense beforehand. Then it will be easier for you to maintain a pocket-friendly budget throughout the trip.
You may not have to pay for everything you enjoy in Europe. There is some awesome stuff out there that you can do for free. The events are something like the free museum tour in London. I would suggest you not to get worried over the budget. It is possible to travel to Europe in a tight budget as well. After all, you will find an abundant supply of cheap foods, beer, and fantastic sights.
Europe can mold you into a way smarter person than you are now probably. Is it safe? You got to be smart, and careful while traveling. No matter where you go, it is not safe IF you don’t take care of yourself. Keep some important phone numbers at hand to be able to call them in times of trouble, if any.
What are the advantages of solo traveling?
Solo trips are dangerous, at times, when you become too careless. But, that doesn’t overweight the advantages of solo traveling at any cost. You can discover a new place all your own without anyone’s help. Let’s check out the advantages now.
1. It’s okay to be selfish
I am a mother to kids, aged 10 and 14, who never miss a chance to fight with each other and scream their lungs out. My boss is never tired of shortening deadlines. On a solo trip, I do everything I love. I don’t do it for anyone, and that’s when I know it’s okay to be selfish. I pamper myself in the lap of nature. How is that wrong?
2. Read books, as many as you want
You can’t really read books when you go with a group of friends or family. But, solo trips let you focus on books, and dive into the world of imagination. Solo trips give you the advantage of enjoying a break from the day to day struggles of life. You can read to your heart’s content without worrying about the pressure cooker put on stove or mails from the corporate.
3. You meet amazing people
I met a breast cancer survivor on this year’s trip to Europe. She was an avid reader, and there wasn’t anything on Earth she did not know. Solo trips let you wander away from your old set of friends and meet new interesting people. Chat with locals, and you will be making friends automatically. Socializing is also crucial.
Are you planning to go on a solo trip to Europe any time soon? If you are not, I guess you should do. Everyone deserves a break, and nature is the best break you can ever have. Book your flight tickets, drop the mail for leave to your boss, and pack your luggage. A one in a lifetime experience is waiting for you. Good Luck!