Hi! My bestie Steph is back today with a topic I love: solo travel. I believe it’s extremely important to experience traveling alone. It can be daunting but oh so rewarding. Over to Steph for her tips!
Hello again! I’m back to recap my amazing trip to visit Logan in London. Our friend Meg headed back to the States on Tuesday, and with Logan back at work for the week, I had a few days to wander London solo. I am a huge proponent of solo time, especially solo travel time. I’ve wandered Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego by myself. It can be a bit intimidating, but so rewarding. Here’s some tips I’ve learned as I’ve planned and explored solo.
5 Tips for Planning Solo Travel Days
1. Plan variety for each day
Research is my thing. I love reading travel blogs and TripAdvisor reviews; I searched and searched for all the good things to do in London and then made a big list. There were many museums and markets and shops and cathedrals. With three full days, I could have gone to all the museums on one day, then had a full shopping day the next. However, I’ve found variety each day is better. I split the museums across the days with one each day. I went to the shops I wanted to visit based on the area I was in. On my first day I took in history at The British Museum, got some fish & chips at a pub for lunch, explored a couple bookstores and wandered Covent Garden. The second day I explored Borough Market, walked by The Globe and St. Paul’s Cathedral, took in the beauty of the National Galleries and made a Boots run. Add a little culture, a little shopping and walks to each day. You’ll never get bored or too overwhelmed.
2. Highlight the things that bring you joy
The absolute best thing about solo travel is getting choose to only see the things that bring you joy. Hit up the nerdy museum that only you might find interesting. Eat the favorite food that no one else likes.
For me, I am an avid reader. It might be a slight addiction. Like Rory Gilmore, I always have a book on me. I knew I wanted to buy at least one book as a souvenir, so adding some bookstore explorations were at the top of my list. I visited a few bookstores. First was The Folio Society. The Folio Society produces gorgeous copies of classic novels. The shop is slightly hidden away and small, but it was so fun to peruse the gorgeous editions in person that I’ve oogled online. I also went to Foyles. Foyles is a reader’s dream bookstore. There are six floors of books!!! I actually returned a second day for tea and a scone in their cafe on the fifth floor. I recommend it!
3. Don’t forget the food
Solo dining can be a bit intimidating, but don’t be scared of it. The worst thing you could do is only eat fast food because you’re afraid to say “table for one.” The food of a new city is just as much a part of the culture as a museum. If solo dining is still a bit intimidating, a good alternative (especially in Europe) is a market. I went to Borough Market one morning for a brunch of sorts. First was Monmouth for some coffee to sip as I took my first trip around the market. Then, I sampled a duck confit wrap, some cheese, homemade ravioli, and banana bread.
4. Be completely flexible
I had a list of the places I wanted to visit each day. It evolved as I got closer to my trip, but I was fairly set once I got to London. Then, I wanted to sleep in one day, so I did and spent a little less time at V&A. I got a little hungry one afternoon, so I stopped in a cafe for a latte and a scone. No regrets. I really wanted to visit Harrod’s, but once I got inside I wasn’t feeling it, so I left. You might be walking to your next destination and see a shop you didn’t know about. Or stumble upon a unknown museum. Go in! You are in the driver’s seat. The unexpected can sometimes yield the best rewards.
5. Embrace the solo adventure
Take pictures, make memories and have fun.
Stephanie is twenty-something gal. When she’s not trying new restaurants in Chicago, she’s exploring a new city or kayaking at her lakehouse. She’s an avid reader, podcast listener and foodie. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @stephaniehermes.