Our social media guru Tatiana, 25, tells us about her solo travels over the last 4 years. She shares with us her best tips for travelling alone and gives us a glimpse into her experience: the good and the bad.
Read our previous article about solo female travelers for more tips and advice.
Hey Tatiana. You first travelled alone 4 years ago because your friend dropped out of the trip – how did you feel setting out on your first solo travel in comparison to the ones that followed after?
I was more excited than anxious. I had been dreaming of that travel for such a long time! It was 3 years since I had started to save money to visit Hawaii. I just thought, “Ok, my friend gave it up, but I want this adventure, and I’ll have it”. I guess it was my ambition and the adrenaline in me that gave me courage to go by myself from Paris. Once I arrived, I felt freer than I had ever felt in my life before. I discovered parts of my personality I could never imagine: being able to take care of myself abroad, being able to sleep at strangers homes. That aspect of traveling was more special for sure, because it so far out of my comfort zone. It made me grow up and realize that when there’s a will there’s a way. Even if you’re a single lady at the other side of the world nothing can intimidate me or stop me.
Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about traveling solo? First you need to do your research and get clued up about the country you’re planning on visiting. Is it considered safe? What are the places you should avoid? Unfortunately if you’re women this background research is a must! But don’t let this intimidate you – be confident! Ask people for help, be open-minded, don’t be scared and enjoy that freedom. Don’t be afraid to explore and don’t assume everything is dangerous – the majority of the time people and places are safe as long as you are aware of your surroundings. How do you stay money savvy on your travels?
Before fixing my budget, I research the cost of living in that country and search for the cheapest flights. Then I decide which activities I want to do and which I can realistically afford. I always try to find the best valued accommodation: hostels, Couchsurfing, a friend’s place, sometimes Airbnb if I have a bit more to spend. Then, I fix the budget that I should not exceed according to the possibilities I noted. When in the country, I try as much as I can to keep to my budget. When I travel, I don’t like to have precise plans about where to go, and I like to take time to stay with the people more than touring all the tourist activities, this also helps to stay money savvy I think! You’ve taken some huge trips in your lifetime – did anything stand out in a particular country as striking?
I would mention two places for different reasons. Hawaii was striking for her unspeakable beauty and relaxing atmosphere. The Aloha spirit, as they say, is everywhere. It’s indescribable; you just feel it in your body. It’s a state of mind. Cambodia was striking because of the population: mostly kids and teenagers everywhere! The history of the country is slapping you in the face as soon as you walk into the streets. There’s a confused feeling of sadness and great hopefulness for their future. What is your favorite travel memory?
My best travel memory is my arrival at Hilo airport in Hawaii. The air was wet and warm, the air scent was a mix of flowers and I don’t know what else. My Couchsurfer host, Bob, was there to greet me. The youngest 66-years-old man I had ever met. It was already the night, and when we arrived at his house, there was already a party in full swing with three other Couchsurfers. I partied straight away after landing from a 22 hour flight. It was like being in a crazy and amazing dream. And your worst?
My worst memory is when I was on a bus in Cambodia. I wanted to reach Siem Reap from the city of Kep. I had around 8 hours of bus with no toilets inside and no idea when would be the next stop. 15 minutes after I entered the bus, it became more than apparent for me that I needed to pee urgently! I really was going to pee any second. I had to harass the driver to drive as quickly as possible to the closest stop. I started to breathe hard like a pregnant woman to contain myself, it was horrible… until he finally stopped the bus. Best moment ever. You’ve been in Budapest for 5 months now? How do you feel about the city?
I really like the spirit of Budapest. At first there is a strange feeling, like you can’t quite put your finger on the year, it’s an interesting mix of 1950 and 2015. Then, you just get used to that particular look and atmosphere and realize that it’s this combination that makes it special and unique. The city center is very dynamic, with lot of bars (especially the ruin bars during summertime), people go out a lot and you will never get bored at night. You will always find some cool place to hang out with friends, some places to eat. I have to mention that one of my favorite things to do is to chill out along the Danube River at night – it’s so relaxing and Budapest looks beautiful when lit. I am now waiting for the winter coming in few months…
Where is your next destination? My next big travel will be for sure New Zealand with my boyfriend. I don’t know yet when I go, but I will!