just travelling solo blog

Now What? – My Solo Travel Tips

I’ve been travelling for 12 hours now. I have been unfortunately assigned a seat beside an alcoholic lady who, for like every 5 minutes needs to use the bathroom. I’m in the aisle seat and she’s in the window seat. I know you can imagine how that’s like. I haven’t had a real sleep. After this 12 hour flight, I have another 2 hour stopover in Helsinki plus another 2-3 hours flight from Helsinki to Paris CDG airport.

OK. Plane landed, passengers start to deplane one by one. I get off and start to walk towards the arrival area. I picked up my backpack from the baggage claim carousel and walked to the exit. I’m in Paris! I made it! …. So now what? I’m here on another continent, a non-english speaking country, well they never speak english even if its obvious I’m not a local, and alone. What scary shit have I put myself into? Don’t get me wrong here. I love travelling solo. I’ve done it a lot of times. But every time I reach a new destination, there’s that small voice inside me saying, you’re here, so now what?

It’s a thought we all, solo travellers have, I think. You’re here, so now what? What are we to do to explore and deep dive into this new destination? But I tell you, and also assure you, it’s perfectly normal. Every time you have something new in your hands, there’s always that feeling of being unsure, hence that question. Its the same thing that you have when travelling solo to a new destination.

OK, get your act together and put up that brave face. There must be some activities other solo travellers do out there when they arrive to a new wonderful destination. You’ve done your research and have all the information. You are armed. You got this. Again. You got this.

It’s been a while since I’ve been travelling solo, so I share you my list of activities that you can do when you’re on your own in a foreign country. Fun things to do actually, so here it goes

Do a photo walk

Ditch your map, grab your camera or phone and go out there, go around the block where you are staying. Feel the ambience. Learn where the important places are, learn where the nearest drugstore is, or nearest local market, nearest boulangerie, nearest ferry or bus station, pub or cafe. Take a photo of everything that is new and interesting to you. Take a photo of what is being sold at the local market, take a photo of what’s going on in the ferry station or the local cafe or pub.  For me, I love arrival areas. I love the comings and goings.

Related Post: 5 Essential Tips to Awesome Street Photography

Sit and watch

Go in cafe or pub. In a pub I usually sit at the bar and look back at the whole dining area. I love watching people reaching out with warm hugs to the people they’ve been waiting for. I simply love this kind of scenes. How about you? What’s your style of sit and watch?

Admiring this 4 toddlers in a cafe in Wellington, New Zealand
Admiring this 4 toddlers in a cafe in Wellington, New Zealand

Go local


Go to the local market. Talk to the guy selling that apples or an unknown fruit that you’re seeing for the first time. Smile and make a conversation. Shouldn’t be that hard. Just smile first. Everything is easier when you’re smiling and make the first positive approach. If the guy turns out to be a snub, then you move on to the next one. When you go into the boulangerie, greet the lady behind the counter and ask her how her day is going. You’ll be amazed at different answers you get. I tried this trick and got snubbed at first few tries and the third lady gave me a lesson on how many different fruit tarts you will find in Paris! Amazing!

Join classes

Do your research on the destination you are travelling to. Maybe there is a class or activity that you can join in that will give you a fresh perspective on an old destination. Cooking class while you’re in Thailand perhaps? Or maybe a wine tasting session and tour in New Zealand?

Group tours

I enlisted the service of Paris Greeters before arriving Paris. It was fun and I gained a new friend and a new insight to what is Paris usually known for. Imagine walking thru the streets of 13th arrondissement and learning about their street art and how it is being used by the new generation to express their views on current events.

You can read about my wonderful experience with a Paris Greeter here.

When I was in northern Sweden, I joined the Aurora hunting tour and accomplished my mission of seeing the aurora! Here’s my previous post on this amazing amazing amazing experience.

Aurora Hunting Tour, Sweden
Aurora Hunting Tour, Sweden

Travelling solo is not all fun and charming activities. Sometimes you will find that you get bored and that you want to share your daily experience with someone. Well that’s what the social network and the free wifi is for. Call your mom or sister and show her around your new “villa” via video call. I’m sure they miss you and you miss them. Sometimes, during your long walks, you realize  you’re lost. Dude, don’t fret. Just ask around. I am pretty sure the locals are more than willing to help you with directions. You just gotta ask. Again. You got this.

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien Click To Tweet

So just go and enjoy your trip!


Just go #justtravellingsolo

A photo posted by carla abanes (@justtravellingsolo) on

Do you enjoy solo travels too? You can share you memorable experience in the comments section below! Sharing is giving!

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