10 Underrated Cities in Europe You Need to Visit ASAP

There are countless cities in Europe, but I bet only a dozen or so pop into your mind when you start dreaming about your next European vacation. The most popular cities in Europe are popular for a reason, but you should also consider visiting some underrated cities in Europe.

Especially the underrated cities in Europe on this list because they are set to explode with tourists once more people learn about them.

In fact, some of the cities on this list have already started to become up and coming destinations, so you better visit them quickly!

I’ve travelled extensively through Europe, but I haven’t visited everywhere. So, this list is based on the cities I’ve visited and think are underrated.

I haven’t made it to Georgia yet (sad face), but if I had, I’m sure a city from there would make a list.

What I’m trying to say is this is by no means a comprehensive list of underrated cities in Europe, but it should get you pointed in the right direction.

There are cities in Wester, Central, and Eastern Europe, so no matter where your European trip takes you, you should be able to stop into one of these underrated cities in Europe alone the way!

And please tell my your favourite underrated cities in Europe in the comments! I’d love to hear them, and the community would love to hear them as well. 🙂

10 overrated cities in Europe (& where to go instead)

1. Tallinn, Estonia

I’m going to start with what I think is the most underrated capital city in Europe.

Granted it is more popular now than it was when I visited for the first time in 2017, but it still isn’t on most people’s radar.

Tallinn has everything you could ever want in a European city.

It has one of the most gorgeous old cities in Europe, lots of fun things to do outside the old city (which most people ignore), and is super affordable.

You can visit Tallinn as a day trip from Helsinki, Finland, but I recommend spending at least two or three days to get a full sense of the city and what it has to offer.

If there is a performance during your time in Tallinn, I highly recommend you go to the City Theatre for a play or ballet performance.

Tickets are very affordable, and the inside of the building in spectacular.

You’ll likely fall in love with Estonia on your visit to Tallinn and may want to explore more of the country. If that’s the case, I highly recommend you visit Tartu.

It is actually my favourite city in Estonia!

Tallinn, Estonia

Top 3 Things to do in Tallinn

  • Visit the old city
  • Explore Toompea Castle
  • Wander around Kadriorg Park

Important Information

CurrencyEuros
Best Time to VisitMay-September
Days Needed2-3

2. Timișoara, Romania

Now it is time to move on to what I think is the most underrated city in Europe (in my own personal opinion).

I adore Timișoara and find myself dreaming of going back more than any other Romanian city.

Romania as a whole is widely underrated and a country I recommend to all my friends and family. But even within Romania, Timișoara doesn’t get as much love as it deserves.

Not only is it stunningly beautiful, calming, and idyllic, but it also has a very interesting history and is where communism started to fall in Romania.

There are other cities in Romania with important communism histories as well, but Timișoara’s is extra interesting. You’ll understand it more once you get there and start learning about the history.

Timișoara is one of the most vibrant cities I’ve visited. The sights and colours are intoxicating, and if you’re anything like me, you want to spend all your time walking around or sitting at a café soaking up the atmosphere.

Be sure to bring your camera and lots of extra batteries!

Plus the food in Timișoara (and all of Romania) is to die for. Pack your stretchy pants because you’ll be eating a lot!

Timișoara, Romania

Top 3 Things to do in Timișoara

  • Visit Victory Square
  • Tour the Communist Consumer Museum
  • Walk through Roses Park

Important Information

CurrencyRomanian Leu
Best Time to VisitMarch-June
Days Needed2-3

3. Kaunas, Lithuania

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Kaunas before. Ah, yes, I’m not surprised most of you haven’t!

I guess that’s why it made the list of top underrated cities in Europe!

I honestly hadn’t heard of Kaunas until a few days before I arrived in the city. I was backpacking through the Balkans and wanted to see more of Lithuania than just Vilnius.

A short Google search later, and I found myself booking a hostel in Kaunas, and it was one of the best hidden gems I visited on that entire three-month trip.

Kaunas is located in central Lithuania and is only 1.5 hours away from Vilnius by bus.

It is a fairly quiet town, but there is still lots to see and do.

There is one long promenade in the old part of town where most tourists flock to. It is full of life, and is a must-do for anybody visiting the city.

But it isn’t the only thing to do in Kaunas.

A lot of tourists miss the heart and soul of Kaunas because they stick to the old part of town and don’t venture out to the more local areas.

There is a ton of great artwork painted on the buildings around town. Even just wandering around aimlessly for a few hours will result in you finding more than one piece of artwork to snap a picture of.

You can (and should) also explore the historical part of Kaunas by visiting the old castle and fortress.

And, of course, there are a few churches you can wander through and marvel at.

However, I must admit my favourite part of Kaunas was the Devil’s Museum. It is a museum dedicated to just collecting artwork, sculptures, and trinkets that depict the devil.

When I was there, it boasted that it was the only devil museum in the world. I visited in 2017, so I’m not sure if it is still the only devil museum in the world, but it was certainly the first.

I know this is an odd thing to recommend to you, but it was honestly so much fun. The museum is multiple stories tall, and it is just so wonderfully odd that you can’t not visit.

I would 100% go again the next time I’m in Kaunas.

But, if devils aren’t your thing, there is still plenty to keep you occupied while you’re in Kaunas.

Kaunas, Lithuania

Top 3 Things to do in Kaunas

  • Visit the Devil’s Museum
  • Explore Kaunas Castle
  • Tour the Ninth Fort of Kaunas Fortress

Important Information

CurrencyEuros
Best Time to VisitMay-September
Days Needed1-2

4. Brighton, England

Brighton is one of the most underrated cities in Europe for sure. It is popular with people in the UK, but I’ve never met anybody else in my personal life who has visited Brighton.

Even though it is only 1.5 hours away from London by train!

Brighton couldn’t be more different than London, and it gives you a completely new peak inside what England has to offer.

The city is super laid back, and you get out of the hustle and bustle of London for a while.

The weather is delightful, the food is outstanding, and you can walk to pretty much any tourist attraction you want to visit.

And they have world class tourist attractions!

The whole city is a breath of fresh air compared to London.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore London, but it is nice to get outside the capital city and explore a different part of England.

You can visit Brighton as a day trip from London, but I personally recommend spending at least two days there.

There is plenty to see, do, and eat. You don’t want to be rushed or feel like you’re missing out on what Brighton has to offer.

Just be sure you try out the food! There are plenty of fresh seafood restaurants along the seafront, but my personal favourite is going to The Lanes to eat.

The Lanes is an old section of the city where narrow streets twist and turn. You walk around and get lost in the streets.

There are plenty of small spots, cafés, but, more importantly, the best restaurants in the city. You can eat at pretty much any restaurant and be guaranteed a good meal!

41 things to do along the Brighton seafront

Royal Pavilion Brighton

Top 3 Things to do in Brighton

  • Visit the Royal Pavilion
  • Get an unbeatable view of Brighton at the British Airways i360 Viewing Tower

Important Information

CurrencyPound Sterling
Best Time to VisitJune-September
Days Needed1-3

5. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo was a travel experience unlike any other. You immerse yourself in the history and tragedy of the Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian War, and you can’t help but be emotional during your entire trip to Sarajevo.

It is without a doubt one of the most underrated cities in Europe. There is so much modern history that everybody should experience in the city, and you should definitely add it to your bucket list.

Not only does Sarajevo teach you a lot about the Bosnian War and what people went through, but it also teaches you a lot about resilience.

The city is vibrant and full of life. If you weren’t aware of the city’s past, you would think it was like any other city in the region.

One of my favourite things to do is stand outside around noon to listen to the church bells and the Adhan (the sound that notifies Muslims it is time to start praying) sounding off at the same time.

It is the perfect representation of what the city of Sarajevo has become.

The city is welcoming to everybody and anybody.

Not only does Sarajevo have an interesting (and tragic) modern history, but you can also stand on the bridge where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated and where WWI began.

There are certainly still some issue with corruption, which is the big reason why BiH hasn’t been allowed in the EU yet, but it is slowly but surely getting better.

In a few years, I’m sure Sarajevo will not longer be one of the most underrated cities in Europe and tourists will be flocking to it.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Top 3 Things to do in Sarajevo

  • Visit Gallery 11/07/95 and learn about the tragedy of Srebrenica
  • Walk along the 1984 Winter Olympics bobsleigh track 
  • Wander through the Old Bazaar

Important Information

CurrencyBosnia and Herzegovina Convertible Mark
Best Time to VisitMay-June and Early September
Days Needed3-4 (if you want to make a day trip to Mostar)

6. Sofia, Bulgaria

There is so much to see and do in Sofia. It is an unassuming capital city, but it is definitely one of the most underrated cities in Europe.

It has an interesting mix of modern culture and history. You want see street artwork right next to old ruins.

The city is truly unbeatable, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Sofia during a holiday, you’ll experience the history and culture of Bulgaria that locals still take seriously.

No trip to Sofia is complete without taking a day trip to Rila Monastery.

It is the largest and most well known Orthodox Church in Bulgaria, and you can even crawl inside a cave where the St. Ivan of Rila spent 20 years of his life praying in solitude.

It is an experience you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world!

To top it all off, the food in Sofia is incredible! I doubt you could find a bad meal in the whole city even if you were trying to.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Top 3 Things to do in Sofia

  • Visit Rila Monastery
  • Tour Alexander Nevsky Cathedral 
  • Visit the Museum of Socialist Art

Important Information

CurrencyBulgarian Lev
Best Time to VisitApril-May or September-October
Days Needed2-4

7. Zagreb, Croatia

Croatia is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, but people tend to focus on the coastal towns and completely ignore Zagreb.

I love Zagreb and was blown away by the city.

When I visited Croatia in 2015, every single blog I read about where to go in the country said don’t bother visiting Zagreb. It is boring and not worth visiting.

Well, there was one specific thing I really wanted to do in Zagreb, so I ignored the advice of all the blogs I read and spent three days in Zagreb.

Let this be a reminder that you shouldn’t take what bloggers say (even me) as the absolute word of truth. We’re all just sharing our own opinions. Do lots of research and make the travel decisions that suit you best!

Zagreb is colourful, full of life, yet homey and small at the same time.

You can walk pretty much anywhere in the city within half an hour and be treated to beautiful sights along the way.

One of the most popular things to do in Zagreb is take a day trip to visit Plitvice Lake. It is a gorgeous lake, but I prefer Krka National Park.

Krka National Park is located just outside the small town of Šibenik and is a short bus ride from Zadar, which is where I recommend staying if you want to visit Krka National Park.

In any event, Plitvice Lake is well worth visiting, but you should spend a few days exploring the city as well.

You’ll be thankful you did. I know you’ll fall in love with Zagreb!

What I wish I knew before backpacking Europe alone

Zagreb, Croatia

Top 3 Things to do in Zagreb

  • Spend an afternoon exploring Mirogoj Cemetery
  • Wander around Upper Town and take a million photos

Important Information

CurrencyCroatian Kuna
Best Time to VisitApril-September
Days Needed2-4

8. Lviv, Ukraine

Lviv is a city I wasn’t planning on visiting but used it as a transfer point from Ukraine to Poland.

Unfortunately, I was only in the city for a day and a half, but it was long enough for me to fall in love with it!

I was debating whether I should include Lviv or Odessa on my list of underrated cities in Europe, but Lviv won out by a hair because I think there is more to do there.

But, if you’re in Ukraine, you can’t go wrong with visiting Odessa as well.

Lviv is by far the brightest and most vibrant city I visited in Ukraine. It feels like a small town but is actually quite a large city.

Even as a tourist, when you walk around the centre of Lviv, you can’t help but feel comfortable and at home.

But be sure to get outside the centre of the city and explore everything else the city has to offer!

And please, please, please come with an empty stomach.

As I’m sure you can guess, the food in Lviv (and everywhere in Ukraine) is outstanding. You’ll want to eat and eat and eat until you’ve made yourself sick and can’t stuff another bite into your mouth.

Yes. I’m speaking from experience.

A lot of people don’t think to visit Ukraine while they’re in Europe. Whether it is misinformation that Ukraine is unsafe or they don’t realize how much the country has to offer.

Either way, you’re missing out on a lot of amazing sights and experiences if you don’t visit Ukraine.

Kyiv is outstanding, but you should also visit Lviv while you’re there.

Lviv, Ukraine

Top 3 Things to do in Lviv

  • Climb city hall for the best views of the city
  • Visit the Armenian Cathedral
  • People watch at Rynok Square

Important Information

CurrencyUkrainian Hryvnia
Best Time to VisitMay-September
Days Needed1-3

9. Dundee, Scotland

Dundee is overlooked and is one of the most underrated cities in Europe. Not many people know about it, but it is the perfect addition to any Eastern Scotland road trip.

It is in an ideal location and the best city to spend a few days between the lowlands (a.k.a. Edinburgh or Glasgow) and the highlands.

I mean technically Dundee is part of the highlands, but it isn’t too north and isn’t what people picture when they think of the highlands.

Dundee is the perfect mixture of a modern town with deep historical roots.

I’ll admit that the only reason I planned to spend a few days in Dundee the first time I was in Scotland was because I wanted to visit the RRS Discovery.

Anybody else weirdly interested in Shackleton’s expeditions or is it just me?!

But, I’m so glad I planned three days in the city as a way to break up the driving and moving from hotel to hotel every day or two.

The city is so much more than just the RRS Discovery, and I wasn’t bored for a moment the three days I spend in Dundee.

The city is young and hip, which I didn’t expect. It has a great vibe, wonderful pubs and restaurants, and tourist attractions that suit anybody’s interests.

If you’re planning a road trip in the eastern part of Scotland, Dundee is a must on your itinerary.

Dundee, Scotland

Top 3 Things to do in Dundee

  • Learn about Arctic expeditions on the RRS Discovery
  • Visit The McManus Art Museum
  • Tour Glamis Castle (a short drive or bus ride outside Dundee)

Important Information

CurrencyPound Sterling
Best Time to VisitMay-August
Days Needed2-4

10. Wrocław, Poland

Just like Lviv, I used Wrocław as a transfer point. I was in northern Poland and had to get to Prauge.

I didn’t want to go all the way from the north of Poland to Prague and decided to find somewhere to stop along the way, and that place was Wrocław.

For a city I didn’t think much of when I booked my stay, it ended up blowing me away.

It is such a unique city.

Wrocław has the same architecture as the rest of Poland, but it quirky.

There are over 400 statues of gnomes all over the city. Most of the are small, but a few of them are larger.

The gnomes started popping up around the city in the 1980s as a satirical and funny protest against communism.

Since them, gnomes have been popping up all over the city, and many of them are wearing unique and silly costumes or props.

It is weirdly addicting to spend hours wandering through the twisting streets of Wrocław trying to find as many gnomes as possible.

I have pictures of dozens of different gnomes, and it makes me giggle every time I go through my photos from my trip to Wrocław.

In addition to gnomes, Wrocław has what is known as the Cathedral Island. It is the oldest part of the city that is home to a number of different cathedrals and churches. The island is accessible by three different bridges and is surrounded by water.

Other than the gnomes, Cathedral Island is the most unique part of Wrocław. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything like it anywhere else in Europe.

Be sure to check out Hala Targowa when you’re in Wrocław. It is the best place to find fresh food, unique gifts, and cheap treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Wrocław, Poland

Top 3 Things to do in Wrocław

  • Go gnome hunting
  • Explore Cathedral Island
  • Visit the The Royal Palace and the Historical Museum of Wrocław

Important Information

CurrencyPolish Złoty
Best Time to VisitMarch-May
Days Needed2-4

A Friendly Reminder About Internet Safety While Travelling

You rely extensively on public wifi when you travel. Unless you have your own pocket wifi, you’ll 100% be relying on free wifi.

Public wifi is great because it allows you to connect to the internet without spending any money, but it comes with its risks.

Public wifi is just that. It is public, so anybody can connect to it.

And before you tell me that your hotel wifi has a passcode, it is still considered public wifi because anybody can access the passcode!

With so many people using public wifi, it puts you, your devices, and your privacy at risk.

All it takes is one person with bad intentions, and your European vacation is ruined because someone stole your banking information.

You do not want to have to go through the hassel of canceling debit and credit cards while you’re abroad.

It takes a lot of the fun out of your trip, and it leaves you in the difficult situation of trying to fund the rest of your trip without your normal cards.

I’ve had a few banking issues while abroad, and I can tell you that it is a major headache to deal with. I haven’t had my information stolen, but I can only imagine how much worse that would make it!

The only way you can protect your online data and information when using a public wifi network is installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts a forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for anybody else to access your information.

A VPN makes using public wifi just as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the passcode.

My Favourite VPN

As you can imagine, I’ve used a lot of different VPN providers during my years of travel. Honestly, I hated all of them and cancelled my subscription after the first year.

VPNs are notorious for slowing your phone down, and I would often find myself putting my privacy at risk by not using my VPN just because my internet access was so slow.

That all changed when I discovered NordVPN.

I’ve been using them since 2018 and have no plans of ever switching to a different VPN provider.

The reason I love them so much (and why I recommend them to my fellow travel lovers) is because they are the fastest VPN on the market.

You can’t notice a change in your internet speed when you’re using your NordVPN, which is basically unheard of in any other VPN.

One subscription protects up to six devices, so you can protect all your devices (and possibly the devices of a friend or family member) for one low, low price.

Seriously! The cost of a two-year subscription is less per month than the cost of a single latte.

It is a tiny price to pay to protect your online data and have peace of mind when travelling.

My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online data and privacy.

Conclusion

Are you inspired to check out any of the underrated cities in Europe on this list?!

Again, this isn’t an extensive list. There are countless other cities and towns in Europe that are underrated.

I wanted to add cities to this list that had a little something for everybody and were easy to get to.

Use it as inspiration for your next trip. Even if you don’t visit any of the cities on this list, find a hidden gem in the part of Europe you’re travelling to and take the time to visit that city.

You’ll never be disappointed that you stepped off the normal tourist trail and experienced something that most tourists don’t get to!

15 Unforgettable Things to do in London Alone

London is the city I’ve visited most in the world. I absolutely adore it and continue to go back and and time again. There are countless things to do in London alone, so you’ll never get bored no matter how many times you visit the city.

It may seem like a cliche to say London is one of the best cities in the world and everybody should visit at least once in their life. But some things are cliches because they’re true!

The good news is not only are there plenty of things to do alone in London, but the city is very easy for solo travellers to navigate.

Even if it is your first time travelling alone, London isn’t too big of a beast to tackle.

The city is so used to and open to solo tourists. Nobody bats an eye at you if you’re wandering around alone or eating alone.

Close to 40% of London’s population weren’t born in the UK. Even though it is a huge city, it is a melting pot of culture, food, and people.

Taking a solo trip to London is a choice you won’t regret.

If you’ve already decided you want to visit London alone, here are my top things to do in London alone.

There are tons of other things you can do in London by yourself, but I wanted to create a list of places to go alone in London where you won’t feel weird in the slightest being there alone.

As much as I love going for tea in London, that isn’t on the list. It is totally fine to go for tea alone in London, but it may make some newer solo travellers feel uncomfortable.

This list is for both the beginner solo travellers and the experienced solo traveller!

1. Rent a Bike and Ride Around Hyde Park

One of my favourite things to do when I’m travelling alone in London is rent a bike and ride around a park. Hype park is a great option because it is huge and has lots of sights you can stop and look at.

There are bikes you can rent all over London and in multiple places in Hyde park.

You get half an hour free, and then it is quite expensive to pay to use the bike after that.

The good news is that once you return your bike before 30 minutes is up, you can rent another bike 10 minutes later and get 30 minutes for free again!

That’s my sneaky little tip for renting bikes in London and never having to pay! I use this trick quite frequently.

You don’t have to return the bike to the same rental area you got it from. You can return it to any rental rack run by the same company!

There is a little basket on the front of the bike to hold your stuff, and you’re on your way.

Normally, there are quite a few people riding bikes around Hyde Park, so be on the lookout for other bikers, pedestrians, and horses.

Yes. Horses!

Don’t Forget!

Another important thing to remember is that you cannot ride your bike in Kensington Gardens, which are connected to Hyde Park.

Be on the lookout for signs indicating where Kensington Gardens begin, so you don’t break the rules.

One last thing to be aware of is people drive on the left-hand side of the street in London (the opposite side that we drive on in North America).

If you take your bike out on the road, be sure you’re riding the right direction and being safe.

I’m not going to share my horror story of accidentally coming across a roundabout when biking in London and trying to sort out how to use it on the fly going the opposite direction I’m used to!

Needless to say, that was the end of my biking for the day, and I walked my bike back to the nearest return rack.

Hyde Park

2. Visit the Queen’s Gallery

The Queen’s Gallery is one of the most underrated attractions in all of London, and I think it is one of the best things to do in London alone.

The Queen’s Gallery is right next door to Buckingham Palace and is a gallery where the Queen displays items from her personal collection.

The exhibit changes quarterly, and you get to see artwork and artifacts you would never otherwise be able to see since they’re straight out of the Queen’s private collection.

I’ve been there a number of times and had the chance to see some incredible collections including a Leonardo da Vinci collection that included original hand drawings.

Yeah. That was absolutely incredible.

The reason I think this is such a great thing for you to do in London by yourself is because everybody is listening to the audioguide and moving at their own pace.

Even people who come in groups get separated throughout the gallery and meet at the end.

If you’re hesitant about travelling alone, not a single soul will notice you’re alone. And if they do, they’ll simply assume the rest of your group is somewhere else in the gallery.

Plus, the Queen’s Gallery is super affordable, and if you get the back of your ticket stamped, you can reenter the gallery for free whenever you want for a year.

If you’re lucky, you just might be able to catch one exhibit the first day you’re in London and a new exhibit at the end of your trip.

It is rare for that to happen, but if it does, count yourself extremely lucky!

Get over your fear of solo travel

3. Visit a Free Museum

There are 20 free museums in London for you to explore!

There are art museums, history museums, science museums, museums about the City of London, museums about the banks, library, and so much more.

No matter what you’re interested in, there will be a free museum you can wander around for a few hours and explore.

It is so nice that there are so many free museums throughout the city. It is a nice break from paying for some of the most expensive attractions like the Tower of London.

Give your wallet a bit of a rest!

Some of my favourite museums are located in the Kensington area. The Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum are right next to one another and are two of my favourites in London.

Another hugely popular free museum in London is the British Museum. It is always back full, and you can see some of the most unique artifacts in the world.

Museums are some of the best places to go alone in London because people are so absorbed in exploring the museum that they don’t pay attention to what is going on around them.

If you go during a weekday day, it will likely be pretty quiet and full of school groups. They’re busy running around doing their projects and don’t care about you.

They can get a bit loud and aggressive at times though so be aware of them. I like to leave the room if there are a bunch of little children running about. Come back later, and it’ll be a much more enjoyable experience.

Museums are often a good place to find free wifi in London so keep that in mind if you’re ever in a pinch and in dire need of internet access.

British Musem

4. Tour the House of Parliament

Just like the Queen’s Gallery, touring the House of Parliament is one of the most underrated things to do in London.

You get to go inside Westminster (not the church but the big famous building that has Big Ben) and tour around the actual place bills and laws are debated in the UK.

Before you start dozing off, it is actually quite interesting!

You can either take a guided group tour or go on a self-guided 90-minute audio tour. The audio tour is what I did and what I recommend for solo travellers.

It gives you more freedom to go at your own pace compared to taking a guided group tour.

There are only limited days you can tour the House of Parliament, so I recommend buying your ticket online in advance. You can also show up at the ticket office across the street from Westminster right outside the metro station and try to snag a last-minute ticket.

I will admit that touring the House of Parliament is a bit expensive (as most sights in London are).

Tickets range from £19 to £29 depending on what type of ticket you qualify for. You can find a list of ticket types and prices here.

This is a surprisingly fun and unique way to spend an afternoon in Central London.

Even if you’re not too into politics, the inside of the House of Parliament is stunning and well worth the price of admission alone.

You also learn about a number of interesting historical events that took place in the building.

All in all, this is definitely something you should considering doing when alone in London if you have the money and can get a ticket.

5. Take in a West End Show

One of the best things you can do alone in London as night is go to a West End show. I go to at least one show every time I’m in London and absolutely love it every single time!

The West End is similar to New York’s Broadway. There are dozens of theatres in the district, and you can choose from a wide variety of different shows.

I don’t recommend you purchase your tickets in advance through the theatre unless there is a specific show you’re dying to see.

There are two different ways to get discount theatre tickets either the day of the show or a day or two before it:

  • TKTS booth in Leicester Square
  • TodayTix app

I personally use the app 99% of the time. It is so convenient, and you can book your tickets on your phone from wherever you are and not have to worry about going all the way to Leicester Square.

Not only that, but the TKTS booth often has a long line to get tickets. It isn’t uncommon for you to waste an hour or so waiting in line to get tickets.

That just isn’t how I want to be spending my time in London!

With TKTS, you get your tickets right at the booth when you purchase them.

With TodayTix, you have to pick up your tickets at the box office at the theatre. Be sure to arrive at the theatre early enough to get your ticket and bring photo ID.

I’ve never had a problem collecting tickets when I purchase through the TodayTix app.

I just walk up to the box office, say I’m collecting my tickets, and they give them to me!

West End Show, London

A Word of Warning

I’ll always encourage you to go to a West End show. They’re absolutely fabulous and a fun way to spend a night alone in London.

However, there is one thing you need to be aware of, and that is intermission.

I always feel a bit weird during intermission because there is never any wifi in the theatres, and I can’t scroll around on my phone.

I just sit there and wait for the show to begin again.

So, if you’re going to a West End show alone, have a plan to make the intermission time fly by!

Bring a book, go for a walk around the theatre, or grab a snack or drink.

Many London hotels provide guests with a complimentary smart phone they can use during their stay.

If you’re lucky enough to stay at a hotel that offers this, catch up on the news or random Google searches. You won’t be able to access your social media, but at least you have a phone to keep you distracted!

Lastly, if you’re a frequent traveller, you may want to consider investing in a Solis wifi device.

It is your own personal pocket wifi device that gives you access to the internet pretty much anywhere and everywhere you go.

There are a few countries it doesn’t work in, but it does work in the UK.

You always have access to the internet, can scroll social media, keep in touch with family and friends, and use Google Maps to your heart’s content (big selling feature for me).

I got my Solis in 2019 and adore it.

Be sure to use code TRAVELSWITHERICA for 10% off your purchase if you decide it is the right internet solution for you and your travels!

6. Join a Free Walking Tour

Free walking tours are one of the best things to do in any city you visit! You get to explore part of the city with a local tour guide, and it doesn’t cost you anything except a tip.

Please be sure to always tip your free tour guides! The only money they make is from your tips!

There are tons of free walking tours in London, and you can find a free walking tour for pretty much any interest you have!

There are tours about Jack the Ripper, Harry Potter, WWII, Graffiti, different areas of London, and, of course, the royal family and history.

You can choose from a variety of different tour operators based on what you want to see and what time works best for you.

I’ve used Free Tours by Foot a number of times in London and have had a good experience each time.

But I’m sure you’ll have a great experience no matter who you go with!

This is without a doubt one of the best things to do in London alone because you’re joining a group of other tourist and listening to a guide.

There will be a lot of people on your tour, and it is easy to stay at the back of the pack and go unnoticed if you want.

Free walking tours are also a great way to meet other travellers. Many people who join free walking tours are younger, and you may be able to meet some people to tour around with for the rest of the day.

No matter what, I highly recommend taking a free walking tour near the start of your trip.

I’ve been on countless free walking tours all over the world, and they provide so much valuable information about the city you’re visiting you wouldn’t otherwise have.

A free walking tour can put a city in a whole new perspective and give you a new way of looking at it for the rest of your trip.

Big Ben, London, UK

7. Visit Kensington Palace and Explore the Gardens

Kensington Palace and its gardens are a very interesting thing to do in London. If you have any interest in the royal family or the history of the royal family, this should be a must-do for anybody visiting London.

You get to tour various parts of the palace including the King and Queen’s sleeping rooms, ball rooms, and art rooms.

There are also limited time exhibits that often feature outfits worn by royal family members.

Kensington Palace is a unique opportunity to learn quite a bit about royal history and the modern royals.

Kensington Palace is a popular attraction, so you’ll want to purchase your ticket online in advance.

You can just show up to the palace the day you want to visit, but there is a good chance all the reservations are full, and you won’t be able to tour the palace.

Even if you don’t want to go inside the palace, you should spend some time walking around the gardens.

They are huge and feature a lot of unique sights and statues for both royals from long ago and more recent royal family members.

Kensington Gardens connects to Hyde Park, so you can easily visit both in a single day.

Kensington Palace may seem like one of the odder places to go alone in London, but, trust me, it is worth the visit.

True, there isn’t an audio guide you can hide behind like some of the other attractions, but, just like the rest of the museums, people will assume you’ve just separated from your group.

If they even notice you at all!

Don’t let being nervous about being a solo traveller in London hold you back from visiting the sights you want to see!

Things to do in Kensington

Kensington Palace

8. People Watch in Trafalgar Square

I love people watching, and there isn’t a better place in London to people watch than Trafalgar Square.

It is a hub for tourists, street performers, and all things odd and interesting.

Grab a coffee to go and sit near Trafalgar Square while you drink it. You never know what you’ll see.

The square often has a number of pop-up events and markets, so you may get to experience an even more unique side of London.

Trafalgar Square is definitely full of tourist and not a place you’ll find many locals, but it is an interesting place to take a quick break, watch tourists, watch a few street performers, and take in the hustle and bustle of the area before you move onto somewhere else.

It is a just a short walk from Westminster on the way to the West End and China Town.

Most tourist will naturally walk through the area, so you may as well slow down and enjoy the chaos.

Click here and use code TRAVELSWITHERICA to receive 10% off my favourite Instagram presets!

9. Take a Day Trip

London is such a small taste of what the UK has to offer. It is super tempting to stay in London and explore everything it has to offer, but you should consider taking a day trip.

There are tons of cities you can visit on a day trip from London that only take a few hours to get to by train or bus.

My top picks are Brighton, York, and Bath.

All three cities give you a taste of a different side of the UK and gets you out of the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you can only choose one, I highly recommend Brighton. I love it so much!

Taking a day trip outside London may seem intimidating when you’re travelling alone in London, but it is actually super easy.

You just need to hop on the train, get off, wander around the city, and hop on the train again when it is time to leave.

Not only is taking a day trip one of the best things to do alone in London, but it also helps you develop your solo travel skills and become a more confident traveller!

41 things to do along the Brighton Seafront

10. Go Back in Time at the Globe

I never miss the chance to watch a show at the Globe if there is one playing when I’m in London. It is an exact recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe, and they put on authentic Shakespearian plays.

Now, I’m not a Shakespeare fan, but there is something completely different about sitting in the Globe watching a Shakespeare play. It is so much fun!

You should purchase your tickets in advance. I like to pay for a seat, but many people choose to pay for the cheapest ticket and stand in front of the stage.

That gives you the best view, but you also have to be at the theatre super early to get a good spot and have to stand before the show, throughout the show, and during intermission.

It is definitely a young person’s game.

If you’re not in London when there is a play running, you can take a tour of the Globe.

You get to go behind the scenes and learn about the history of the building and Shakespeare.

Both are super fun, but if you can only choose one, see a show. It is worth every pence you pay for it!

Globe Theatre London

11. Tour HMS Belfast

This is another hidden gem in London and one of the best things to do in London alone.

I adore the HMS Belfast. I actually stumbled upon it by accident the third time I was in London and was looking for unique attraction I’d never done before.

Boy am I glad I found this one!

The HMS Belfast is the most significant surviving WWII Navy Warship, and it shot some of the first shots at the D-Day landings.

It is one of the most interesting things to do in London, but so few people know about it.

The ship sits in the River Thames right in front of Tower Bridge and across from the Tower of London.

Tens of thousands of tourists look at the ship every year and have no idea what they’re missing out on.

You get an audioguide and weave your way through the ship exploring all the levels and learning about what life on the HMS Belfast was like.

I promise even if you’re not into this sort of thing, you’ll have an amazing time and be so glad you did it!

You don’t need to reserve your tickets in advance because it is such an underrated London attraction.

You can show up pretty much whenever you want and tour the ship.

Just like the Queen’s Gallery, it is an audio tour, so nobody will notice if you’re standing in front of an area all by yourself. They’ll simply thing the rest of your group is ahead or behind you and not bat an eye.

Plus, they’re so involved in their own tour that they likely won’t even give you a second thought at all.

Everything you need to know about the Oyster Card (and why it is essential to have one)

HMS Belfast, London

12. Walk Along the Thames

The river Thames is one of the most iconic sights in London but so few people take the time to take in its beauty.

A lot of London’s top attractions are near (or on) the Thames, and you should take a little extra time to walk along the Thames.

There are plenty of cafés and restaurants along the Thames. Sit down, have a cup of coffee, and appreciate the Thames.

There is so much history mixed in with the Thames. It has played a huge role in London and the UK’s history, and it deserves to be appreciated.

You can even take a boat ride along the Thames if you want to see more than just what you can cover by foot.

My personal opinion is that walking along the Thames is sufficient, but you may think otherwise!

13. Watch the Changing of the Guards Ceremony

Watching the changing of the guards ceremony is a classic thing to do in London.

The actual ceremony is quite a long, drawn out process that takes about 45 minutes, but you don’t need to (even be able to) see the entire ceremony.

The part you want to watch is the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, and that takes place at 11am.

You’ll want to get there early though to get a good view! 10:45 should be plenty of time to get a prime view, and 10:50 will get you a decent view.

The best viewing area is near the Victoria statue right in front of the palace. The second best is along Marlborough Road, so you can watch the guards marching before the changing over ceremony.

Don’t be nervous about watching the ceremony alone. The people around you will be chatting with their friends and family and won’t even notice you.

If they do, they’ll either assume you’re saving a spot for the rest of your group or strike up a conversation with you.

This is one of those things to do alone in London that some people are nervous about, but you shouldn’t be.

You don’t want to miss out on an iconic London experience just because you’re a little shy about being there alone!

Changing of the guards, London

14. Window Shop on Oxford Street

Oxford street is one of the most famous shopping streets in London. It is filled with both big brands and small shop owners.

There is plenty to see and do on Oxford street even if you don’t spend a dime.

In fact, I think window shopping on Oxford street is one of the best things to do in London alone. You get to people watch and blend in like a local going about their own shopping.

Plus you get to pop in and out of stores to see what is in style or perhaps find a unique gift to bring home to a loved one.

I like to get off the main street and wander around some of the side streets. You get out of the hustle and bustle, and that’s where you’ll find the most unique and local items!

Oxford street is within walking distance of the British Museum, so you can plan to visit both in a single day!

15. Spend a Morning at Camden Market

Camden Market is one of the most popular things to do in London for both tourists and locals alike.

It is located near Regent’s Canal and has over 1,000 stalls selling everything and everything you could dream of.

From music to fashion to food, Camden Market has it all!

It is quite busy, so I recommend going earlier in the day on a weekday to not feel so claustrophobic and be able to move around easier.

The market opens at 10am everyday, so try to get there as close to opening time as possible.

Grab a drink and spend a few hours wandering around the market. It is one of the best things to do in London by yourself, and you won’t regret it!

Food Stall in Camden Market

Conclusion

As you can see, there are tons of things you can do in London alone.

London is truly one of the most welcoming cities to solo travellers, and it is a great city to start your solo travel journey in.

I 100% believe you shouldn’t let travelling alone hold you back from anything you want to do.

Your uncomfortable feeling will disappear once you’re experiencing the attraction. You’ll regret it in the long run if you don’t visit the attraction you’re dying to see.

All of the things to do alone in London on this list are very easy for beginner solo travellers. Nobody will care that you’re alone, and nobody will bat an eye at you.

But, these aren’t the only things to do alone in London. Anything you would be keen on doing with a friend or family member can easily be done alone.

I challenge you to put aside the fact that you’re travelling alone and plan your dream vacation to London!

It truly is one of the best cities in the world!

Flying the Nest Presets Review (Coupon Code Inside)

Bow down to the mighty Flying the Nest Presets and thank them for making your life easier.

If you post anything on Instagram or run a digital nomad business that requires decent photos, you know the pain of editing photos in Lightroom. It takes ages to figure out how to properly use Lightroom to get the desired result, and it can be frustrating.

Not to mention how freaking long it takes to edit a single photo!

It is a total time suck, and you have better things to do.

Plus, if you’re a blogger, Instagramer, or content creator of any kind, you have to pick and choose what skills to learn and what skills are best outsourced.

For me, editing photos was a skill I was not committed to learning. It is an important skill, but when there are products like presets that allow you to beautifully edit your photos in one click, why not take advantage of them?!

I’ve tried a number of presets before, and by far my favourite are the Flying the Nest presets.

They are actually the only ones I would recommend to you!

They’re extremely easy to use, create beautiful edits, and there is enough variety in the presets you get that you can get different vibes depending on what style you’re going for.

Oh, and if you’re just here for the coupon code (I don’t blame you), use code TRAVELSWITHERICA for 10% off your entire order through the Flying the Nest shop!

Different Preset Collections

Currently, there are two varieties of Flying the Nest presets you can purchase:

The Global Collection comes with 7 different preset options and the On the Road Collection comes with 8 different options.

The two collections are actually quite different from one another and compliment each other nicely.

You won’t be getting any similar presets if you purchase both collections!

Flying the Nest Video Editing Masterclass Review

Flying the Nest Presets

Choosing Between the Flying the Nest Preset Collections

Choosing between The Global Collection and the On the Road Collection can be quite difficult.

Especially if you can only afford one collection!

Deciding between the two collections really comes down to how you want your photos to look.

The Global Collection is (in my opinion) bolder and full of deeper colours. The On the Road Collection gives you more of a soft, pastel feel.

I have both collections and find myself using The Global Collection far more than I use the On the Road Collection.

I prefer the deeper, darker, bolder feel of The Global Collection, but I know a lot of people prefer the softer look that comes with the On the Road presets.

It all comes down to personal choice, style, branding, and vibe.

And if you’re like me and want every Flying the Nest preset, you can save a bit of money by purchasing The Collection, which includes every one of the Flying the Nest Presets.

If you’re on the edge between the two collections and can afford it, I recommend purchasing The Collection.

You save $10 and have more options on how to edit your photos.

Deciding Between Mobile Presets and Desktop Presets

The Flying the Nest Presets are offered in both a mobile and desktop version. Both versions have the same presets, so there isn’t a difference in the product you receive.

Choosing between mobile and desktop comes down to how and where you use Lightroom to edit your photos.

I personally recommend the mobile presets because the mobile Lightroom app is free.

Since you’re not doing any heavy editing thanks to the preset, you probably should stick to using the free version of Lightroom rather than paying for the desktop version.

My thinking is that if you’re investing in the desktop version of Lightroom, you’re probably doing some serious editing or are a professional photographer.

In those instances, you probably want more control over every single aspect of your edit and have the skills to use Lightroom to its fullest potential.

If you’re like me and don’t want to learn Lightroom and want to quickly and easily edit photos, using the Flying the Nest presets on mobile Lightroom is the way to go!

Just be very careful and double check what version of the presets you’re buying. You don’t want to accidentally purchase the desktop presets rather than the mobile presets because you weren’t paying enough attention!

Flying the Nest Presets

How to Install the Flying the Nest Presets

One of my favourite parts about the Flying the Nest presets is how easy they are to install! It takes less than thirty seconds, and anybody can do it even if they’ve never used Lightroom before.

But, instead of me telling you how to install them, why don’t we let the lovely Jess from Flying the Nest tell you how!

Who Should Purchase the Flying the Nest Presets?

Well, anybody who wants to!

Whether you’re a content creator like me or just love taking photos, anybody and everybody can get value out of the Flying the Nest presets.

Presets make your photos pop and make them look more professional.

Even if you’re just posting Instagram photos for your friends and family, using a preset can turn a photo you’re disappointed in because it is too dark into a photo you’re excited to post.

And if you’re a content creator like me, having stunning photos is a must, and presets are even more important.

Trust me.

I spent a long time using the built-in filers on Instagram, and a lot of my photos looked terrible because you can’t change any of the settings.

Using the Flying the Nest presets has definitely upped my Instagram game, and I’ve noticed a steep increase in followers and engagement since I started putting a little more effort into my photos.

Oh! If you’re interested in growing on Instagram, you may also be interested in the Flying the Nest Instagram Growth Masterclass.

Flying the Nest Presets

Conclusion

The Flying the Nest presets are a game changer.

They make editing photos for Instagram, a blog, or your own personal use so easy. It takes seconds to apply the preset, and your photo is transformed into exactly what you want.

The variety in the Flying the Nest presets is what gets me. Even though there are only 15 presets in total, there is more variety in the style of photo you can create than in most preset packages that offer dozens of presets.

You can really tell that Jess and Stephen put a lot of care and effort into creating the best presets possible.

I know you wont’ be disappointed if you decide to purchase them!

Don’t forget to use code TRAVELSWITHERICA for 10% off your order!

How to Have a Perfect Solo Trip to Disney World

Many people are worried about taking a solo trip to Disney World. They think they might stand out or won’t have any fun on a solo Disney trip.

I’ve been to Disney World alone a number of times, and it has always been a really fun experience.

In some cases, going to Disney World alone was more fun than going with family or friends!

You have so much freedom on a solo trip to Disney World. You choose what you want to do and when you want to do it.

And if you want to completely change your plans on the drop of a dime, you can! You don’t have to consult with the rest of your group.

It can be very liberating!

However, there are some important things you need to know before going to Disney World alone.

A few things you have to consider and a few extra tips to get the most out of your solo Disney trip.

Luckily, I’ve compiled everything I’ve learned through my many, many solo Disney experiences and am sharing them with you!

You’re guaranteed to have a magical trip!

Tips for flying alone for the first time

Stay at a Disney Hotel

Okay. Okay. You may hear the phrase stay at a Disney hotel and start to hear your wallet crying.

Disney hotels are notorious for being expensive, but I think they are well worth the price- especially when you’re alone at Disney World.

The main reason I think staying on property is a great decision for people visiting Disney World alone is the free transportation provided by Disney.

Disney free transportation that you can take from your hotel to each of the four theme parks and Disney Springs.

Every hotel has buses, and some hotels have one or two other modes of transportation (either the monorail, skyliner, or boat).

You can easily get around the entire Disney World property without much hassle. You don’t have to rent a car and drive yourself or worry about paying for an Uber every time you want to go somewhere.

I’ve heard some people complain about Disney buses specifically saying they’re too few and far between and take ages to get anywhere.

I’ve never ever had that issue, and I’ve stayed at a number of hotels across Disney World property.

I prefer to be at the parks early for rope drop and come home before park closing, so that’s probably why I’ve never had an issue.

If you like to get a later start or stay later at the park, you may want to consider a hotel that has access to transportation other than the buses.

There are other perks that come with staying at a Disney hotel that are just the cherry on top!

Extra magic hours, coupons for mini golf, and the ability to book individual Lightening Lane passes before the park opens.

All things considered, the extra cost of staying at a Disney hotel is well worth it in my opinion.

Boardwalk Hotel Disney World

Photopass is Essential

I love love love Photopass. I’ll scream it from the rooftops and never stop talking about it.

I tell everybody I know who is going to Disney World to invest in Photopass. A lot of people are hesitant, but they always tell me how much they loved it after their trip and how they’ll never do another Disney trip without out.

And I don’t blame them! I’m the same way!

Photopass is an additional add-on feature you can add to your Disney trip. You get unlimited photo downloads of the photos Photopass photographers take of you.

There are countless photo opportunities throughout the park, and most people walk away with hundreds of photos after a week-long vacation.

You get photos in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom, throughout the World Showcase in Epcot, with characters, and sometimes there is a Photopass photographer wandering around Disney Springs.

The possibilities are truly endless.

As someone taking a solo trip to Disney World, you don’t have a friend or family member to take your photo during your trip.

You either have to take selfies, not have any photos of you on your trip, or invest in Photopass.

And Photopass is without a doubt the best option.

Oh! I totally forgot to mention there are even magic shots included with Photopass when the photographer adds an extra little something something into your photo. Most of the time it is a Disney character joining you!

If you want to get Photopass, be sure to purchase it before the start of your trip. If you decide you want to purchase it once your vacation begins, the price goes up quite a bit.

But, seriously, invest in Photopass. You can thank me later. 😉

Tiana Magic Kingdom Characters

Consider Getting a Park Hopper Ticket

When I visit Disney World with friends and family, we tend not to park hop very often. Maybe once a trip if at all.

There are so many things everybody wants to do in each park, and it is often easier to dedicate an entire day to a single park.

Either that or we lose track of time and don’t end up park hopping because it is so late in the day!

But, that isn’t the case when I’m on a solo trip to Disney World.

I park hop like nobody’s business and visit multiple parks per day pretty much every day I’m at Disney World.

There is something about having the freedom to do what I want when I want that ends up in me popping over to Epcot for a quick bite to eat or to Hollywood Studios to ride a thrill ride.

Having a park hopper ticket certainly isn’t essential if you’re going to Disney World alone, but you may want to consider it more than you do on other Disney World vacations.

If there is one trip you’re going to park hop on, it will be a solo Disney trip!

Click here and use code TRAVELSWITHERICA for 10% off my favourite Instagram presets!

Take Advantage of Single Rider Lines

Single rider lines are a huge time saver. Even if you’re at Disney World with a group of people, taking advantage of single rider lines is still a good idea.

A single rider line is a special line you can use to save time at Disney World. People in the single rider line are used to fill empty seats on a ride, so the ride is always at capacity.

For example, if a ride allows three people per row, and the group in the regular queue only has two people in it, someone from the single rider line will be used to fill the empty seat.

You cannot choose what seat you get, and you will be separated from the rest of your party using the single rider line.

Not that that’s an issue when you’re on a solo trip to Disney World!

Some single rider lines move quite quickly (like Test Track) and some move quite slowly (like Rock ‘N’ Rollercoaster), but they should all save you at least a little bit of time compared to the regular queue.

If you’re lucky, you may even be able to walk onto a ride like Test Track through the single rider line and skip the 90-minute wait!

Unfortunately, not may rides at Disney World offer single rider lines, but if you see one, jump into it!

These are the rides that currently offer single rider lines:

  • Test Track at Epcot
  • Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom
  • Rock ‘N’ Rollercoaster at Hollywood Studios
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Hollywood Studios

Of the rides that offer single rider lines, using them at Test Track and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will save you the most time.

Those single rider lines move very quickly and save you a ton of time.

Rock 'n' Rollercoaster (Disney Hollywood Studios)

Don’t be Afraid of Table Service Restaurants

Sometimes it can be intimidating to have a sit down meal at Disney World. Many solo travellers choose to only eat at quick service restaurants and skip table service restaurants altogether.

That is a huge mistake!

Disney World has incredible table service restaurants, and you’re missing out if you skip eating at them.

Plus, cast members are so kind to solo travellers. They often go above and beyond to make sure you feel comfortable.

Anything you need or want, they’ll do their best to do for you.

At a lot of table service restaurants, you can ask to sit in a corner or at a table facing the window.

This will help you feel more comfortable and better ignore the other people dining.

And remember! The other people are paying no attention to you. I know solo travellers hear that all the time, but it is even more true at Disney World.

The poor suckers around you are busy wrangling their children or resting their exhausted feet.

They don’t give a hoot what is going on around them and won’t bat an eye at you eating alone.

Unique tips for eating alone

Don’t Discount Epcot Festivals

If I didn’t sell you on eating alone at table service restaurants, don’t discount the Epcot festivals as the perfect place to try unique food without having to eat at a traditional restaurant.

Epcot hosts four festivals every year:

  • Festival of the Arts
  • Flower and Garden Festival (my personal favourite)
  • Food and Wine Festival
  • Festival of the Holidays

Each festival includes food booths that feature special items from different countries. The serving sizes are small (often only a couple of bites), so you can easily try a whole bunch of different things from various countries.

It is a super fun way to have a unique meal at Disney World.

Just be sure to make a budget and stick to it! It is super easy to get carried away and spend way too much money sampling all the food.

You can load money onto a gift card at Epcot. It makes for a super cute souvenir and the perfect way to stop yourself from going bankrupt.

Once the money you loaded onto the card is gone, you have to stop sampling all the food!

Flower and Garden Festival

Take the Time to Meet Characters

Meeting characters may not be at the top of your list of things to do on your solo trip to Disney World, but you shouldn’t miss out on them.

Meeting characters was never my jam until I started taking solo Disney trips. I randomly started meeting characters the first time I went to Shanghai Disneyland as a way to pass the time during the middle of the day when the ride longs were way too long.

Ever since then, I’ve taken the time to meet a few characters on every solo Disney trip.

It is kind of fun, and you get some amazing photos when you have Photopass.

You make some great memories meeting characters, and the characters often spend a few extra seconds with you to make it an even more special experience.

The best park to meet characters in without a long wait is Epcot. Many characters wander around the World Showcase and don’t have more than a five-minute wait to meet them!

Tips for meeting characters at Magic Kingdom

Chip and Dale Main Street USA

Consider Buying Tickets to a Special Event

Disney World offers guests a number of add on experiences you can purchase including special events like Mickey’s Not-So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

These two events give you an extra taste of the holiday season.

You see the characters dressed up in their special Halloween customs or Christmas outfit, there are special parades and shows, an exclusive firework show, and you either get to trick or treat or collect Christmas cookies.

There are great fun and well worth the extra money.

If you have the chance to go to one of these special events, I highly recommend it.

However, the very best events you can attend at Disney World are the After Hours events.

Disney only sells a few thousand tickets to these events, and you get VIP access to either Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios for three hours.

Every ride is basically a walk-on, and you can ride everything you want multiple times during the events.

Some rides even let you go around again without getting off (like Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin). Others you have to get off and go back into line again, but you walk right onto the ride when you get to the front of the queue.

I’ve been to the Magic Kingdom After Hours event many times and have had nothing but an amazing experience.

You can easily ride every single attraction in the park and can even ride a few of them multiple times if you want!

I recommend considering an extra event like the parties or an After Hours event because they are special.

You either get a unique experience at the party or get to ride a million rides at the After Hours event.

They can save you a lot of time and leave you with amazing memories.

Yes. They can be expensive, but if you have the money to afford them, they are well worth the cost.

Especially as a solo traveller.

Have a Distraction for Lines

No matter what, you’re going to have to stand in some rides at Disney World. Even with Genie+ and Lightening Lanes, it is impossible not to spend at least a little bit of time in line waiting for rides.

It is during these times that being alone at Disney World starts to feel like you’re alone. You don’t have anybody to talk to, and the time seems to pass by painfully slow.

The best way you can combat the tedious line waiting is to pre-plan and have something to keep you entertained while you’re in line.

You can read a book (which is sometimes challenging in dark lines), listen to a podcast, play games on your phone, or explore the queue in the My Disney Experience app.

There are many ways to make the time in line go by faster, but you need to have a plan before your solo Disney trip starts!

Just be sure you’re being internet safe while in lines (and everywhere at Disney World). You’re connected to a public wifi network, and it is very easy for anybody to hack into your phone and steal your personal information (like you’re banking numbers).

You don’t want to deal with that headache while you’re on a magical Disney vacation. And you especially don’t want to deal with it when you’re alone at Disney World.

The best way to keep your online data safe and private is by installing a VPN on your phone. It essentially puts a forcefield around your phone that makes it impossible for hackers to get in.

A VPN makes using public wifi networks just as safe as your home internet where you’re the only person who knows the password.

It is a small but important thing to do when travelling. It is irresponsible to travel without a VPN protecting your devices.

Right now it may not seem important, but you’ll be cursing yourself if your data is stolen.

The truth about wifi at Disney World

Slinky Dog Dash (Disney Hollywood Studios)

Conclusion

Taking a solo trip to Disney World is one of the best travel experiences you can have. If you love Disney parks, then you’ll love going to Disney World alone.

Taking a solo trip to Disney World gives you complete flexibility and control over your trip. It is unlike any other Disney experience.

As long as you keep the tips in this article in mind when planning your Disney World vacation, you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life on your next solo trip to Disney World!

Just be sure to say hi to Mickey and Minnie for me!

The Truth About Wifi at Disneyland (Spoiler: It’s Awful!)

I first visited Disneyland in 2018. Up until then, the only US Disney park I’d visited was Walt Disney World. I expected the wifi at Disneyland to be just as strong and effective as the wifi at Disney World.

Boy was I wrong, and it really threw a wrench into my first Disneyland trip!

The wifi at Disneyland being awful probably isn’t a huge deal if you live in the US and have a cellphone data plan.

However, if you don’t live in the US (like me), then you need to know how to plan for the Disneyland wifi situation.

Because you can’t rely on the wifi in the parks to get you through the day (unfortunately).

You need a plan on how you’re going to access the internet at Disneyland outside of the wifi provided free to guests.

Don’t Think You Can Get by Without Accessing the Internet

The first thing you need to know about the wifi at Disneyland is you can’t live without it.

With the introduction of Genie+ and Lightening Lanes, it is more important now than ever before that you can access the internet while at Disneyland.

And reliably access the internet!

You do so much on your phone through the My Disney Experience app that you can’t do a Disneyland trip anymore without using the internet on a regular basis.

You can mobile order food, check wait times, get Lightening Lane passes, see food menus, when parades and shows are for the day, and so much more on your phone through the My Disney Experience app.

Not to mention you’ll probably want to share your photos on Instagram to make your friends and family jealous of your amazing trip!

So, if you’re on the fence and think you may not need to use the internet while at Disneyland, now you know you need to use the internet to have a full and efficient Disneyland trip.

Now, let’s talk about how to have reliable access to the internet and not solely rely on the wifi at Disneyland.

Click here and use code TRAVELSWITHERICA for 10% off my favourite Instagram presets! They’re perfect for your trip to Disneyland.

Have a Plan Before You Go

Don’t be like me and not have a plan on how you’re going to access the internet at Disneyland.

And relying on the wifi at Disneyland isn’t the plan you think it is. 😉

Using Data on a US Phone Plan

If you live in the US and have a data plan, then your plan is pretty easy. Just use your phone’s data and be on your merry way.

This is by far the easiest way to reliably access the internet while in Disneyland without having to rely on the wifi at Disneyland.

Disney California Adventure (DCA)

Using Data on a Foreign Phone Plan

However, if you’re like me and aren’t from the US, things get a little trickier.

If your phone plan offers it, you can use your phone’s data and pay for the extra daily charge for using your data outside your home country.

For example, I’m Canadian, and my phone plan charges me an extra $8 per day to use my data while in the United States.

You have to set up this option on your phone before you use your data in a foreign country, but you can easily do it online in less than five minutes.

If you don’t set up this option on your account, you’ll be shocked at your phone bill when you get home because you’ll be charged a ridiculous amount per megabyte of data you used while at Disneyland.

You don’t want to be stuck paying that phone bill!

This is a great option if you’re travelling to Disneyland alone.

It is the most affordable, and you know you’ll get reliable access to the internet.

Using Pocket Wifi

Using your phone’s data plan is a good way to access the internet at Disneyland for solo travellers; however, there is a more cost effective way to access the internet if you’re travelling with a group of people.

And that is pocket wifi.

I always use pocket wifi when I’m at Disneyland with friends or family. You can rent one pocket wifi device and connect all your phones to it.

Most pocket wifi devices allow you to connect 6 to 10 different phones to a single device, and they often don’t cost more than $10 a day!

So, if you’re visiting Disneyland with a group of people, it is without a doubt more cost effective to rent one pocket wifi device and connect everybody to it rather than everybody paying to use their data for the day.

Of course, there are a few downsides to pocket wifi.

The main one being that you have to be within a certain distance of the device in order to access the internet.

Normally is isn’t more than a couple hundred of feet, so if you and your party are splitting up for a large portion of the day, you may not want to rely on pocket wifi to access the internet at Disneyland.

You can pick up a Sumo pocket wifi device at LAX and return it there when you leave as well. It is very convenient.

To be transparent, I’ve never used Sumo pocket wifi, so I can’t vouch for how good or bad their product is. It is the best one I could find when doing my research through.

5 secret places to meet characters at Disneyland

Solis Wifi

I personally use my Solis Wifi when I’m at Disneyland.

It is my own personal pocket wifi device that I purchased back in 2019 and use whenever I travel.

For me as a frequent traveller, owning a pocket wifi device and not having to rent pocket wifi everywhere I visit is a huge advantage.

I’ve used my Solis at Disneyland twice now and both times it has worked perfectly.

I’m able to quickly access the internet, do what I need to do on the My Disney Experience app, and stay in touch with family and friends.

I don’t recommend Solis Wifi for people who don’t travel all that often. It is an investment.

Actually, I think the base price of buying a Solis is very fair. It is the cost of accessing the internet that I wish were a little more affordable.

But, the easy way around the cost of the daily wifi passes is purchasing a monthly wifi pass. It ends up being much more affordable as long as you use your Solis to access the internet at least seven days a month.

If you like the sound of Solis Wifi but aren’t a frequent traveller or want to try it out before committing to buying it, you can rent a Solis Wifi device for your trip.

It is super easy to rent Solis pocket wifi, and they mail it directly to your home.

You don’t have to worry about wasting your time at the airport trying to find the pocket wifi rental place and then dropping it off when you’re done with it.

It certainly isn’t the option for everybody, it is a really good option for frequent travellers.

I know my Solis has elevated my travel experience ever since I started using it!

Complete Solis Wifi review

Know Where You Can and Can’t (Theoretically) Access Wifi

If you do decide to risk it and want to rely on the wifi at Disneyland, you need to know where you can and cannot access the wifi.

You theoretically should be able to access the wifi at Disneyland in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Again, your luck may vary because the internet is so weak.

You can also access free wifi at Disneyland hotels even if you’re not staying at one.

You cannot access the free wifi at Disneyland when exploring Downtown Disney, which is very unfortunate.

Some table service restaurants offer their own complimentary wifi, but not all of them do.

And you won’t be able to access the internet while wandering around the stores and street of Downtown Disney.

Fingers crossed one day they expand the complimentary wifi to the Downtown Disney area. (and make the wifi signal good enough that everybody can easily connect and use the internet).

Toon Town Disneyland

Be Internet Safe

It is essential that you’re safe when you use the wifi at Disneyland.

It is an open wifi network without a password that thousands of people use per day, so it puts you at high risk of having your online data and information stolen.

Most people who access the free wifi at Disneyland are using it for the same reason you are: to use the My Disney Experience app and social media.

However, it only takes one person with the wrong intentions to have all your online information stolen.

You don’t want to go through the trouble of having to cancel bank accounts and credit cards because somebody stolen your banking information while you were trying to have a fun day at Disney!

The only way you can protect your online information while travelling is by installing a VPN on your devices.

A VPN essentially puts a forcefield around your phone that prevents prying eyes from seeing your online information.

It makes using a public wifi network just as safe as using your personal home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

You may not think it is worth the effort to install a VPN on your devices, but it only takes a few minutes and can save you a huge headache down the road.

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs over my years of travel and hated most of them.

VPNs are notorious for slowing your phone down to the point where using the internet is frustrating because you can’t get anything done.

My frustrations with VPNs changed when I discovered NordVPN. I’ve been using them for years and years now and have no plans to ever change to a different VPN company.

The reason I like them so much (and why I recommend them to my fellow travel lovers) is because NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market.

I’ve never noticed it slowing my phone or laptop down, and I’m able to use the internet exactly as I do at home without a VPN on.

This is especially important for a trip to Disneyland. The wifi at Disneyland is already slow enough, and you don’t need a VPN slowing down your phone even more!

You can connect up to six different devices to a single NordVPN subscription, so you can easily protect your entire family for one low price.

It costs less than the price of a single latte per month for a NordVPN subscription, so you have no excuse not to protect your online data and privacy.

My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel (especially to Disneyland), you can afford to protect your online privacy and information with a VPN subscription.

Just Get a Photopass Card and Worry About Downloading Them at the End of Your Trip

If you choose to splurge and get Disney Photopass (or purchase Disney Genie+ where Photopass is included), save yourself the headache and just use a Photopass card rather than trying to scan the code on your phone.

It takes a lot of your phone’s battery to open the My Disney Experience app, open the Photopass section, and have the Photopass photographer scan your barcode.

It is a thousand times easier and faster to just get a physical Photopass card from the first photographer you take photos with an use it for the entirety of your trip.

You can scan the barcode of the Photopass card and download the images onto your phone quickly and easily anytime you want and as often as you want.

I know this isn’t really a tip about using the wifi at Disneyland, but it is an essential phone tip, so I thought I would include it!

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Disneyland

Screenshot Any Lightening Lane Reservations

If you purchase Disney Genie+ or any individual attraction Lightening Lane reservations, take a screen shot of your reservation as soon as it is confirmed.

This is especially important if you’re only relying on the wifi at Disneyland rather than data or pocket wifi.

I cannot tell you how frustrating it was the first time I was at Disneyland using MaxPass trying to access my Fastpass (may it rest it peace) barcode through the My Disney Experience app and not being able to because the internet was so bad.

So. Frustrating!

Taking a screen shot of your reservation totally eliminates the possibility of getting to the attraction and not being able to get into the Lightening Lane because you can’t access your reservation through the app.

You can just pull up the screen shot and be on your merry way!

Where to find the best ice cream at Disneyland

Need to Prove Disney Genie+ Purchase for Photos at Hotels

This is an interesting little tip and thing to consider when using the wifi at Disneyland.

If you have a meal at a hotel that includes a Photopass photo, you need to prove your purchase of Disney Genie+ that includes Photopass to get the photo for free.

When I dined at Goofy’s Kitchen (highly recommend!), I had to prove to the person who came around with the photos I took with Mickey before the meal that I had Photopass included in my MaxPass purchase.

That was back in the good ol’ days before MaxPass died. May it rest in peace as well.

To do this, I had to open the My Disney Experience app and make a Fastpass reservation (know known as Lightening Lanes).

To access the My Disney Experience app, you need access to the internet. Even in the restaurant inside the Disneyland Hotel, I wasn’t able to properly connect to the complimentary Disneyland wifi and had to use my phone’s data.

Now, I haven’t been to a hotel character meal with a Photopass photo opportunity since the introduction of Genie+.

I’m not sure if the process is still the same or not, but it is something to keep in mind when you’re coming up with a strategy on how to access the internet at Disneyland.

Take a Deep Breath and Don’t Get Too Frustrated

Okay. Admittedly, I need to take my own advice here, but try not to get too frustrated if you have troubles connecting to the internet at Disneyland.

You’re on an epic vacation in one of the most fantastic places. If you can’t connect to the wifi at Disneyland, try to take a deep breath and stay calm.

Eventually, you’ll find a solution or wander to a lonely corner of the park and be able to access the wifi.

I know it is easier said than done.

Especially if you’re trying to get a Lightening Lane reservation, but there is not sense getting worked up and ruining your Disneyland vacation over the wifi at Disneyland.

Disneyland California Pixar Sulley About Travels with Erica

Conclusion

I sincerely hope you don’t have any issues accessing the wifi at Disneyland. I hope your trip goes smoothly, and there are no bumps in the road.

However, that probably won’t be the case, and it is in your best interest to have a plan on how to access the internet while at Disneyland.

If you have a US phone plan, you’ve got it easy! You can just use your phone’s data and easily fix the problem.

It is a bit trickier for people who don’t have a US phone plan.

You either need to pay to use your phone’s data in a foreign country, rent pocket wifi, or bring your own wifi device.

All three options work, but you need to figure out what option you’re going to use before you arrive at Disneyland.

Have a magical trip!

Oh! Please say hi to Mickey for me when you’re at Disneyland!

What I Wish I Knew Before Backpacking Ecuador Alone

Ecuador was the first South American country I ever visited, and I absolutely loved it! It is an extremely beautiful and vibrant country, but there are a few things I wish I knew before backpacking Ecuador alone.

I definitely didn’t make backpacking in Ecuador any easier on myself.

Before backpacking Ecuador alone, the only place I’d backpacked alone was Europe.

Let me tell you that backpacking in Ecuador and backpacking in Europe are two very different experiences.

They’re both amazing experiences, but I wish I were a little more prepared and less naive when I went to Ecuador.

Thankfully for you, I’m sharing everything I learned about backpacking Ecuador alone, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did!

Follow the tips in this article, and you’re guaranteed to have an amazing (and stress free) time backpacking in Ecuador!

Tips for travelling alone for the first time

Know Basic Spanish

I know this sounds a bit obvious, but not knowing much (really any) Spanish before backpacking Ecuador was the biggest mistake I made.

As I mentioned, I’d only travelled alone through Europe before that trip, and I was used to basically everybody speaking English.

Or at least being able to get by for the most part without knowing much of the local language.

While you can certainly travel alone in Ecuador with little to no Spanish, knowing some Spanish goes a long way.

I was at the bus station just outside Quito on my way to Baños and was parched. I went to the stall selling beverages and asked for a water in English.

The lady didn’t have any idea what I was trying to ask for, and I ended up pointing to a random clear drink hoping it was water.

It wasn’t. It was some super sugary soda-like beverage that was the furthest thing from refreshing in that moment.

What I’m trying to say, is if you’re backpacking Ecuador alone, you can’t expect anybody to speak English even in major cities.

If you want to communicate with people, you need to have a little bit of Spanish and be able to stumble your way through a sentence.

Or at a minimum have access to a translation device.

El Cisne Cathedral at Ecuador

Don’t be Afraid to Explore Baños Alone

Baños is the adventure capital of Ecuador. There are countless fun things to do, and you can easily push yourself out of your comfort zone.

I went zip lining, paragliding, and biked to the nearby waterfalls.

You can also go white water rafting, hiking in the jungle, and pretty much any other extreme activity you can think of!

Baños is a stop for almost everybody backpacking Ecuador, but a lot of solo travellers are nervous to get out there and try some of the activities the town has to offer.

They feel awkward showing up to a group activity alone, are scared to get lost biking, or need someone by their side to push them to do the fun, exhilarating activities.

I’m here to tell you there is nothing to be nervous about!

The people who organize and run the activities are used to solo travellers, and nobody bats an eye that you’re alone.

In fact, all three people who were in the same paragliding group as me were solo travellers!

Plus, you can often get private tours. I was the only person on the zip lining course I did, and it was an incredible experience!

If you’re hesitant at all about visiting Baños while backpacking Ecuador alone, don’t be!

It is super easy to enjoy all the fun activities in Baños alone without feeling awkward.

If you’re really concerned about it and are staying in a hostel, ask one of your roommates if they want to join you for an activity or two.

PS- most of the activities are affordable, and you can enjoy them without breaking the budget!

Overcome your fear of solo travel

Banos Ecuador Zip Line How to Save Money to Travel

You Shouldn’t be Afraid of the Buses

Before backpacking Ecuador, I did a lot of research out where I wanted to go and what to expect on my trip.

Time and time again I can across bloggers saying the buses in Ecuador were dangerous, and travellers needed to be extremely cautious when using the bus to travel between cities.

They said to keep all your belongings on your lap. Not to put anything in the overhead bin or under the seat.

Blog after blog told me to sit at the front of the bus on the right-hand side, so the driver could see me.

I was super nervous about the buses in Ecuador, and all the bloggers talking about how unsafe the buses were made me second guess whether Ecuador was safe or not.

Well, I can tell you that the buses are no more or less safe than any other bus I’ve been on during my many years of travels.

They aren’t inherently more dangerous than a bus in Estonia or Taiwan.

If you take the same reasonable precautions you take anywhere else in the world, and you’ll be fine.

I never felt unsafe on a bus in Ecuador, and the bus rides were actually some of my favourite moments while I was backpacking Ecuador.

The scenery was breathtaking.

But be Prepared for Bus Rides that Feel Longer than They Actually Are

When preparing to write this article, I thought back to the bus ride from Cuenca to Guayaquil.

That bus ride was amazing. We drove through the mountains, and it was by far the best bus ride of my entire trip backpacking in Ecuador.

I Googled the bus trip between the two cities and was shocked to learn the bus ride was only three hours!

It felt like I was on that bus for at least five hours if not more.

The buses in Ecuador are the best way for backpackers to get around, but they aren’t always the most comfortable.

They often have squished seats, and you’re packed in tight beside your neighbour. This definitely makes the trip seem longer than it actually is.

So, if you’re using the buses to get around while backpacking Ecuador alone, be sure you have something to entertain yourself because the bus rides are going to feel a lot longer than they actually are.

Bring a book, download a podcast, or plan to sleep on the bus.

Don’t Shy Away from Day Group Tours

I don’t normally recommend group tours when I talk about solo travel.

There isn’t anything wrong with group tours, but they aren’t my travel style. I don’t take organized group day tours unless it is extremely difficult to travel somewhere by myself.

That being said, Ecuador is one of the places I think it is beneficial to take organized day tours.

I took two organized day tours during my trip to Ecuador, and it allowed me to experience parts of the country I wasn’t able to experience alone.

If you’re in Cuenca (which you should definitely visit while in Ecuador), it is essential you take a day tour to Carajás National Forest. It is one of the most beautiful places in the entire country.

Group day tours are inexpensive in Ecuador, and you get a lot of value out of them.

I’m not saying you should do everything on a group tour, but it is worth the extra money to take a tour to visit a part of the country you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

I found that the hotels and hotels I stayed at often offered group day tours at a fair price.

You don’t have to book more than a day or so in advance, and you support a local business rather than a major multi-national tour company.

It is a win win!

Backpacking in Ecuador

Be Internet Safe

Anywhere you travel it is essential that you’re internet safe.

Most people talk about physical safety when travelling, and not enough people talk about the importance of being internet safe.

You rely on public wifi networks while travelling. This puts you at an increased risk of having your online data compromised.

If you’re not internet safe, anybody can access your online data through your phone and laptop.

They can steal your banking information and completely ruin your trip.

The only way you can protect yourself when using public wifi is to install a VPN on all your devices.

A VPN makes using public wifi networks just as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

And, yes, hotel and café wifi networks that are password protected are still public wifi networks because anybody and everybody can get access to the password.

Essentially, a VPN puts a forcefield around your phone that makes it impossible for anybody else to access your online information.

Not protecting your online data is one of the biggest risks you can take while travelling, and it isn’t a risk that is worth taking!

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot of different VPNs during my many years of travel and hated all of them. VPNs are notorious for slowing down your phone or laptop to a crawl and making them extremely frustrating to use.

I oftentimes would turn off my VPN and put my online data at risk of being stolen just because the VPN I was using was so darn slow.

That all changed when I discovered NordVPN.

I’ve been using NordVPN since 2018 and absolutely love it. I have zero plans to ever switch from them and wholeheartedly stand behind my recommendation of them.

The reason I love NordVPN so much (and why I recommend them to my fellow travel lovers) is they are the fastest VPN on the market.

They barely slow down your devices, and, in fact, they are the only VPN I’ve used where I’ve not noticed a slow down of my phone or laptop at all.

Plus it is super affordable!

One NordVPN subscription covers up to 6 devices, and a two-year plan costs less than the price of a single Starbucks latte per month!

My philosophy is that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online data, privacy, and information.

Have Small Bills

Ecuador uses the USD, so it is very convenient for travellers.

However, you can’t show up with a bunch of $50 bills and think your trip will be a success. Especially if you want to shop at local street vendors.

You need to have small bills to pay for most things in Ecuador.

I personally wouldn’t bring anything bigger than a $20 bill. That gives you the best chance of being able to use it everywhere you go and not have to worry about breaking the change bank of small vendors or restaurants.

You can also rely on credit cards in Ecuador.

Many stores, restaurants, and hotels accept credit cards, but you still need cash on hand for places that don’t.

You don’t want to miss out on buying the most beautiful scarf you’ve ever seen because you don’t have cash to pay for it!

Cuenca, Ecuador

Don’t Skip Guayaquil

Every single blog post I read before my solo trip to Ecuador said skip Guayaquil.

There is nothing to see and do in Guayaquil.

Guayaquil is the worst city in Ecuador.

And on and on and on about how Guayaquil is nothing special, and you’ll regret spending part of your precious time in Ecuador in Guayaquil.

So, I only planned 1/2 in Guayaquil during my backpacking trip to Ecuador.

And I only visited Guayaquil because I needed to fly from southern Ecuador back to Quito to catch my flight home.

If I didn’t need to do that, I wouldn’t have visited Guayaquil at all.

Let me tell you that I’m so happy I visited Guayaquil!

I absolutely loved it and wish I spent more time in the city. It is vibrant, has unique attractions, and is a laid-back city.

By no means is it the most exciting city in Ecuador, but if given the chance, I would visit Guayaquil again before Quito.

Don’t discount Guayaquil when planning your solo trip to Ecuador.

I recommend spending a day or two in Guayaquil if you’re visiting southern Ecuador on your trip.

You won’t regret it.

Benefits of travelling alone

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Ecuador is Safe (even for solo female travellers)

A lot of people think Ecuador isn’t safe for solo travellers and especially isn’t safe for solo female travellers.

This isn’t the case at all!

Ecuador is very safe, and you can confidently travel alone in Ecuador without feeling the need to watch your bag or be extremely cautious.

You do need to take normal safety precautions though!

Ecuador (and any country) is as safe as you make it. As long as you behave properly and don’t do anything stupid, you’ll be fine.

It is important that you take the safety advice of locals seriously though. There are places that even the locals don’t go alone, and if they tell you that, listen to them.

It isn’t worth putting yourself at risk.

For example, when I was in Quito, many locals told me not to go to El Panecillo alone. There were a number of people who hid out on the hiking trail up to the monument and would rob tourists.

They said if you wanted to visit El Panecillo to take a guided tour for safety.

Now, that may not be the case now because it has been a number of years since I’ve been in Quito, but the point of the story remains.

If a local tells you it is unsafe or a bad idea to do something or go somewhere alone, listen to them!

But, other than that piece of advise, Ecuador is extremely safe.

So, go out and explore!

Conclusion

Backpacking Ecuador alone was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I was nervous at first because of everything I read online. I wasn’t sure if Ecuador was safe, and I thought I would have a lot of trouble easily getting around the country.

I’m so glad I didn’t let my nerves stop me and went backpacking in Ecuador.

It is a stunning country and is the perfect introduction to South America. The people are incredibly kind, the sights are fantastic, and the food leaves you wanting more.

If you’re on the fence about taking a solo trip to Ecuador, let this be your sign that you should take the leap of faith and book that trip!

9 Essential Tips for Solo Travel in Iceland

Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and you may be surprised to learn that solo travel in Iceland is extremely easy!

Even driving alone in Iceland is very manageable.

And that means a lot coming from me the person who sweats through her shirt every single time she drives it makes her so anxious.

Would Iceland be the first place in Europe I would recommend new solo travellers to visit? No, but I also wouldn’t tell someone not to take a solo trip there!

The only reason I didn’t include Iceland in the best European countries for solo female travellers is because it is expensive.

If money isn’t an issue for you, then it is hard to beat solo travel to Iceland!

But there are a few things you need to know before your first solo trip to Iceland. Lucky for you, I made a lot of mistakes the first time I visited Iceland alone.

I’m sharing everything I wish I knew before my solo travel to Iceland, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did!

Overcome your fear of solo travel

1. Driving is Fine (Except for Reykjavík)

I hate driving and try to avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately, it is hard to visit Iceland and experience the country with a car, so I sucked it up and rented a car and drove around the island.

I was really nervous since it was my first time driving abroad, but it was actually a really pleasant experience.

There isn’t much traffic outside Reykjavík, most of the roads are in good condition, and the driving is quite easy and stress free.

There are some places outside Reykjavík where the driving can be a little tough to navigate, but it is easy to avoid areas like that.

The only time you’ll run into situations like that are if you try to drive up to the top of a mountain or something extreme like that.

If you’re just driving along the normal highway and to tourist attractions along the way, you won’t have any issue driving!

Just be sure to fill up whenever you see a gas station! They are few and far between in rural Iceland, and if you skip one, you can easily find yourself running on fumes before you make it to the next gas station.

You don’t want that to happen! With so few people on the road, it could take hours before a car comes by to help you, and it could take hours to walk to the nearest gas station.

Driving in Reykjavík is a different story than driving through the rest of the country though.

There are a number of one-way streets, narrow streets, and parking can be tough.

My recommendation is to find a parking spot near your hotel if you’re staying the night and walk around Reykjavík.

If you’re not staying at a hotel and are just spending a few hours in Reykjavík, find a parking spot at the edge of town and then walk around the city centre.

There are lots of large parking lots near the water. That’s the first place I would try to find a parking stall!

Reykjavík, Iceland

2. You Need Pocket Wifi

No matter whether you’re planning to solo travel in Iceland or travel with a group of friends, having a plan to access the internet is essential.

It is basically impossible to find free wifi outside your hotel room.

My top recommendation is to rent pocket wifi from your car rental company (instead of a GPS system since you can use GoogleMaps with the pocket wifi) or a third-party pocket wifi rental company like Trawire.

This allows you to access the internet wherever you are in Iceland.

You can easily contact your loved ones back home, post on social media, find the nearest restaurant or gas station, or call for help by using a pocket wifi device.

No matter how secluded a location you’re in.

Renting pocket wifi is without a doubt worth the extra money- especially in Iceland.

Having the internet at the tip of your fingers is a luxury in Iceland, and you’ll most likely wish you rented pocket wifi if you choose not to.

You’ll be surprised how many times you go to pull out your phone for directions, nearby attractions, or to find food.

I always highly recommend you install a VPN on your phone and laptop, so you’re safe and protected while using the public wifi in hotels.

You don’t want your personal data stolen while you’re in rural Iceland and go through the headache of trying to cancel your credit cards because they have been compromised.

The ultimate guide to accessing the internet in Iceland

3. Watch for Tourist Attractions as You Drive

One of the most interesting things I discovered on my first solo trip to Iceland was the number of markers along the side of the road indicating where tourist attractions are.

When I was planning my first trip to Iceland, I mapped out where the major tourist attractions were and planned my trip around them, but I had no idea how many smaller, unique tourist attractions I would stumble across when driving.

There are countless little stops along the highway you can make, and I recommend you do!

Most of them don’t take too long to visit, but they are very interesting.

There are normally information plaques that teach you about the attraction, and you learn a lot about Icelandic history and culture through these tourist attraction.

There are small(ish) signs along the highway pointing the way to these tourist attractions. If they sound interesting at all to you, take the extra five or ten minutes to visit them.

It is well worth the time, and it doesn’t set you too far back in your daily schedule.

In fact, you should just factor in an extra hour or two each day to leave time to visit these unexpected tourist attractions.

There were definitely a highlight of my first trip to Iceland!

Southern Iceland Europe

4. Book Accommodation Well in Advance

I don’t like to book accommodation too far in advance when I travel. I like the freedom and flexibility to change my travel plans.

That strategy, however, does not work in Iceland.

There aren’t too many places to stay when you’re driving through rural Iceland, and the good hotels book up quickly.

As soon as you know you’re visiting Iceland and have an idea of what part of the island you’re visiting, figure out roughly where you’ll be staying each night and book your hotel.

This is even more important when you solo travel in Iceland because you don’t want to be stuck in a dump of a hotel all alone.

Or even possibly sleeping in your car alone because you didn’t book a place to stay in time!

5. Let Someone Know Where You’re Going

This isn’t the type of tip I normally give solo travellers, but I think it is an important tip for people partaking in solo travel in Iceland.

Most of Iceland is pretty rural, so I always recommend solo travellers let a loved one back home know what their plans are for the day.

Let someone know your end destination for the day and anywhere you plan to go hiking alone.

It is probably overkill to do this, but it is an added layer of protection in case you get lost hiking or your car breaks down.

Solo travel in Iceland

6. Iceland is More Expensive than You Think

I knew Iceland was expensive, but I wasn’t prepared for how expensive it actually is.

It is painfully expensive to say the least, but it is so worth the money! It is one of the most beautiful and unique countries in the world.

I’m talking $20USD for a 6 inch veggie sub at Subway expensive.

The good news is that almost all of the tourist attractions you want to visit are free, so you don’t have to miss out on any amazing sights because of the cost.

The bad news is that food, gas, and accommodation will eat through whatever budget you do have pretty quickly.

Some bloggers say that you can visit Iceland for $100USD per day. Technically you could, but it would be a stretch.

You would have to stay at budget hotels, barely eat, and not drive too far because of gas prices.

I think $150USD to $200 USD per day is a far more realistic budget.

It is better to have a little extra money in your bank account on the way home than running out of money partway through your trip.

So, budget accordingly and safe a little more money than you think you need.

Because the prices in Iceland might just blow your socks off!

What I wish I knew before backpacking Europe alone

7. Don’t Try to See it All in One Trip

Iceland may look small on the map, but it is bigger than you think!

Unless you spend a month in Iceland, you can’t see the entire island when you solo travel in Iceland.

There is simply too much to see.

Pick one section of the island and focus on that area. There are plenty of things to see and do, so you won’t run out of activities.

My personal favourite part of Iceland is the south part of the island. I love the attractions and landscape, but you may prefer the north part of the island.

Research what to do in each quadrant of Iceland before your trip and decide what part of the island you want to spend your time.

Try to pack too much into your solo trip to Iceland, and you won’t have time to stop and enjoy the unique sights along the way.

Tips for eating alone as a solo traveller

Solo travel in Iceland

8. Iceland is Extremely Safe

According to the World Peace Index, Iceland is the safest country in the world. Not only is Iceland the safest country in the world, but it has been ranked the safest country in the world 13 years in a row!

There really is no safer country is the world than Iceland!

There is basically no crime in the country, and the crime rate is less than 1%! That’s incredible and no other country even comes close to Iceland in terms of crime rate and safety.

This is great news for people planning a solo trip to Iceland.

You can confidently travel alone in Iceland and not have to worry about your safety. This is super reassuring because you’ll likely be the only person driving on many of the rural roads.

You can walk alone at night, go hiking by yourself, or anything else you can think of and be safe.

In the odd chance something happens, any local will be able to help you or if the situation warrants it, you can always go to the police.

I highly doubt that will happen though!

The only problem you’re likely going to run across while partaking in solo travel in Iceland is a herd of sheep blocking the road. 😉

9. Bring a Warm Jacket No Matter What Time of Year it is

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you solo travel to Iceland (and one I certainly made) is not brining a jacket.

No matter what time of year you’re visiting Iceland.

I’ve visited in April, May, and June, and it has been cold, rainy, and windy on every trip. Even at the height of summer, you can get hit with a cold wind storm or a rain storm.

You need to be prepared and have a water proof jacket in your bag.

Trust me. You’ll kick yourself in the butt if you don’t pack one!

You may think it’ll take up too much room in your bag, but it is an essential item.

You may even want to throw in a headband and gloves while you’re at it. I use all my warm items on every trip to Iceland. Even when I think it the warmest time of year, and I don’t need them.

And you don’t want to be stuck buying warm items while in Iceland. That’ll break the bank for sure!

Tips for travelling alone for the first time

Solo travel in Iceland

Conclusion

Solo travel in Iceland is an unforgettable experience.

It is freeing, exhilarating, and is a bucket list experience you’ll be glad you have.

I think Iceland is a great place to travel alone, but it isn’t for everybody. And that solely comes down to the price.

If you’re on a tight budget, then you may want to consider visiting somewhere else on your solo trip where you can maybe go for longer or splurge on fun experiences.

If you have a healthy budget, then you can’t go wrong planning a solo trip to Iceland.

It really comes down to your travel priorities and what you can afford on any particular trip.

That being said, I think everybody should try to save up for a trip to Iceland at least once in their life.

It is truly a country like no other, and you have to experience it to fully understand its unique beauty and charm.

How to Travel from Paris to Marseille (The Easy Way!)

Today, we’re going to learn how to travel from Paris to Marseille!

Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, but I think it is important to get outside of Paris and visit other cities in France. Lucky for you, it is super easy to travel within France.

Paris and Marseille are quite a ways away from one another, and it may seem at first glance that it isn’t easy to travel from Paris to Marseille.

That isn’t the case at all.

Technically, you can take the bus, train, or fly to Marseille from Paris. However, the only real option is taking the train.

It takes significantly less time than the bus and is realistically quicker than flying as well.

I don’t recommend visiting Marseille on a day trip from Paris because it is too far away, but it is the perfect place to visit on a weekend trip!

How to use the Paris metro system like a local

Before We Get Started

I personally hate figuring out how to travel from one city to another. I find it tedious.

That’s why I enjoy writing these guides for you so much! Hopefully I make your planning process a little bit easier by giving you all the information you need in one handy place.

If you’re planning a trip through France, these posts might be useful to you:

Option One: Taking the Train from Paris to Marseille

Without a doubt the best way to travel from Paris to Marseille is to take the train. It is the quickest and most convenient way to travel between the two cities.

Plus you get to ride on a high-speed train, and that’s always super fun.

How Long Does the Train from Paris to Marseille Take?

The train ride to Marseille from Paris takes just under 3.5 hours.

That’s pretty quick considering you’re travelling almost 800km!

Marseille, France

How Much Does a Train Ticket Cost?

It is a bit tricky to tell you how much you’ll pay for a train ticket to Marseille from Paris.

The price depends a lot on when you travel, what day of the week you travel, and how far in advance you book your ticket.

In general, you can expect to pay between €130 and €200 each way. That’s about $135USD to $260USD.

Of course, you could end up paying much less and could pay much more.

France has an annoying train system where ticket prices increase based on how close your departure date is.

The further in advance you book your ticket, the less you pay.

You can book your ticket up to three months in advance, and I highly recommend you book your ticket as close to three months in advance as possible.

Otherwise you’ll be stuck paying an absurd amount for your ticket. Or you wont’ be able to visit Marseille at all because the ticket is out of your budget.

Booking a ticket for off-peak hours on a weekday will also result in a cheaper fare. Travelling during peak times on a weekend will cost you a pretty penny.

Where to Purchase Train Tickets

There are two ways you can purchase your train tickets:

  • Online in advance
  • At the train station

Without a doubt the best way to purchase your ticket is online in advance.

It can be purchased through the SNCF website. They accept foreign credit cards, and the website is extremely easy to use.

Before you purchase your ticket, read the ticket page closely to see whether or not you need to print your ticket or if an electronic ticket is sufficient.

If you don’t have the ability to print your ticket before your departure, do not choose a ticket where you’re required to print it.

Be sure to choose a ticket where an electronic version is accepted.

It is super easy to miss on the website whether you need a hard copy of your ticket or not, but you need to remember to check that.

You don’t want to show up at the train station with an electronic ticket only if you need a physical one!

That’s a headache you don’t want to deal with!

Your other option is to purchase your ticket at the train station.

This will most likely result in you paying more for your ticket because you’re buying it closer to the departure date, but it is a great option for people who don’t want to pay with a credit card online or want to be spontaneous.

At the train station, you can either purchase your ticket with a ticket agent or at a ticket machine.

Just be sure you go to a machine that says SNCF on it.

That is the only ticket machine that will sell you a train ticket from Paris to Marseille. The other ticket booths are for the Paris metro system.

Where Does the Train Depart from in Paris?

The train from Paris to Marseille departs from Gare de Lyon.

Gare de Lyon is one of six major train station in Paris. It is extremely large, and you want to give yourself plenty of time to find your departure platform.

There is a metro station connected to Gare de Lyon, which is quite convenient.

However, it is quite a long walk from the metro station to the train station, and people tend to get lost during the walk.

I suggest giving yourself at least 10 minutes to walk from the metro station to the train station.

A complete guide to solo travel in France

Where Does the Train Arrive at in Marseille?

The train arrives at Saint-Charles train station in Marseille.

The train station is a little less than 2km outside the city centre.

The walk from the train station to the city centre takes less than 30 minutes and is super easy.

If you’re not keen on walking, you can take a bus, tram, or metro!

Overall, the arrival location is very convenient.

Eiffel Tower Paris France

Advantages of Taking the Train from Paris to Marseille

  • The quickest way to travel between the two cities
  • Is relatively inexpensive
  • Convenient arrival and departure locations

Disadvantages of Taking the Train from Paris to Marseille

  • Have to book your ticket far in advance to get a good price
  • Limited luggage storage options
  • Only a couple of departure times per day

Option Two: Taking the Bus from Paris to Marseille

The next you can travel from Paris to Marseille is by bus.

This isn’t terribly desirable since it takes an extremely long time. I only recommend this option for people on a very tight budget that are travelling around France for a long time.

If you’re on a short holiday, you don’t want to waste an entire day taking the bus to Marseille from Paris.

How Long Does the Bus from Paris to Marseille Take?

The bus trip to Marseille takes almost 10.5 hours. It can even take upwards of 12 hours depending on the time of day and traffic.

That’s a very long time to be stuck on a bus, and it eats up an entire day.

How Much Does a Bus Ticket Cost?

A bus ticket is significantly cheaper than a train ticket, which is why it is a good option for budget travellers.

On average, a bus ticket will cost you between 25 and 55! That’s approximately $30USD to $65USD.

That’s way more reasonable than a train ticket, but you also have to factor in the cost of your time since the travel time is significantly longer.

Where to Purchase Bus Tickets

Just like the train, you can either purchase your tickets online in advance or in person at the bus station.

Buses don’t fill up nearly as quickly as the train, so you don’t have to worry about buying your ticket too far in advance.

Buses also don’t charge you more for your ticket the closer to the day of departure you purchase it.

You can show up at the bus station and purchase a ticket for the next bus, and it’ll cost you the same as someone buying a ticket online in advance.

If I purchase bus tickets online in advance, I like to use the website Omio. They have great prices and are super easy to use.

But, realistically, you can check the timetable online in advance and just show up at the bus station and buy your ticket on the same day.

Just be sure you arrive at the bus station 30 or so minutes early, so you can find the ticket window, buy snacks, and not be rushed if there is a queue.

Marseille, France

Where Does the Bus Depart from in Paris?

Buses from Paris to Lille depart from Bercy Seine Station.

The nearest metro station to the bus station is Cour Saint Émilion, and it is less than a five-minute walk away.

Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Marseille?

The bus arrives at Saint-Charles station, which is the same location the train arrives at.

Again, this is a very convenient arrival location, and there are plenty of cheap public transportation options that quickly take you into the city centre.

Advantages of Taking the Bus from Paris to Marseille

  • Very inexpensive
  • Don’t have to book tickets in advance
  • Guaranteed luggage storage under the bus

Disadvantages of Taking the Bus from Paris to Marseille

  • It takes a very long time
  • Not easy to walk around and stretch your legs
  • Departure point less convenient than the train

Option Three: Flying from Paris to Marseille

Your last option is to fly from Paris to Marseille.

I don’t recommend this option. Once you factor in the time it takes to get to and from the airport, checking into your flight, going through security, and collecting your baggage, it ends up taking longer than the train.

It also tends to be more expensive than the train.

The only time I see flying from Paris to Marseille as a decent option is if you land in Paris and immediately catch a flight to Marseille without leaving the airport.

If you are already in central Paris, it is definitely a better option to take the train.

Paris, France

Conclusion

Even though Paris and Marseille are on opposite sides of the country, it is extremely easy to travel between the two cities.

France has a wonderful train system that makes it super easy to travel long distances in a short period of time.

The only downside is it can be expensive to travel from Paris to Marseille, and you can’t do it in a day trip.

But, it is a great entry point to southern France if you want to explore that region (which you definitely should!).

9 Shocking Disadvantages of Travelling Alone

I love travelling alone. It is my favourite way to travel, and I can’t imagine a future where I don’t travel alone at least a few times a year. However, there are some disadvantages of travelling alone you need to be aware of if you want to be a solo traveller.

None of the disadvantages of travelling alone should make you reconsider your solo trip or convince you not to travel alone.

There are far more benefits of travelling alone than there are disadvantages.

The disadvantages of travelling alone on this list are more to help you better understand what solo travel entails and help you prepare for your first solo trip.

If you’ve been around the blog for a long time, you know I would never try to talk anybody out of travelling alone if that is what they want to do!

Get over your fear of solo travel

1. Accommodation is Expensive

One of the biggest disadvantages of travelling alone in my opinion is that the price of accommodation adds up quickly.

A lot of people say that travelling alone is more expensive than travelling in a group, and I don’t agree with that.

You only have to pay for one flight, one meal, one entrance fee, etc.

The place where is is more expensive to travel alone is accommodation. A hotel doesn’t care that you’re travelling alone. They’re going to charge you the same rate for a room as they do two people sharing the room.

This doesn’t mean you can’t afford to travel alone, but you need to make sure you budget properly and understand that accommodation is going to be expensive.

Of course, there are ways to find less expensive accommodation when you travel alone.

Hostels are a popular choice amongst solo travellers, and there are significantly less expensive than a hotel.

They aren’t for everybody though. I personally don’t care for hostels, and a lot of the time it comes down to your personality and comfort level.

If you’re like me and avoid hostels at all costs, there are still options to find inexpensive (but still good) accommodation when travelling alone.

I personally enjoy staying in guest houses.

They are normally less expensive than a hotel, and you still get a private room (and most often a private bathroom).

AirBnb is another great option. I’ve been able to rent an entire apartment for less than a hotel room many times. Especially in big cities like Paris and Taipei.

I personally think it is worth paying a little bit more to stay in a good neighbourhood and in a reputable accommodation.

I’ve spent far too many nights scared and uncomfortable in a shady hostel/hotel, and I don’t want you to experience that!

So, budget accordingly and pay for a decent place to stay. I’m not saying you need to stay in a five-start hotel.

Just be sure to stay somewhere you’ll be safe!

solo travel in Europe

2. Getting the Perfect Photo is Challenging

Without a doubt one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling alone is not having someone around to quickly snap a photo of you.

You either have to take a selfie, ask a stranger to take your photo, or set up a tripod.

All are very doable, and you can get some amazing photos of yourself on your solo trip, but it takes a little more skill and patience to get the perfect shot.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I have basically no photos of me for the first five years I travelled alone. I didn’t want to set up a tripod, don’t care for selfies, and loathe talking to strangers.

Looking back, I do wish I had more photos of me in the places I visited.

I love having photos of the landscape and architecture, but now that I’m older, it would be fun to look back at my 21-year old self travelling alone for the first time and see how far I’ve come.

If you’re travelling alone, I highly recommend you have a strategy of how you’ll snap the perfect picture of you travelling.

I personally like to get up early, go to a sight, and use a tripod to get a photo of me. That way I avoid the crowds, and it feels less awkward for me.

I totally understand that not everybody wants to get up early on vacation though! I’m a bit of a weirdo.

So, decide if you feel comfortable using a tripod when there are more people about or rely on selfies or have more guts than I do and ask a stranger.

I don’t care how you do it, but I know you won’t regret getting some pictures of you travelling alone.

3. Budgeting is Extremely Important

This is similar to the first point in this article, but it goes beyond just accommodation.

One of the biggest disadvantages of travelling alone and something I struggled with when I first started travelling alone is creating and sticking to a realistic budget.

You are 100% responsible for every penny you spend while travelling alone, and if you don’t budget correctly, you’re hooped.

There is nobody you can bum money off of to get you through the last few days. You either need to find a way make money quickly or sacrifice things like food because you don’t have enough money.

I don’t want you to have to do either of those things!

It is so, so, so important that you set a budget that works for you and your travel style.

I fell into the trap of reading blogs and listening to what other people said I should be spending.

Let me tell you that it isn’t realistic to only spend $50 a day in countries like the UK, France, and Belgium.

You need to do some research and figure out how much accommodation, transportation, food, and sightseeing costs on average wherever you’re going and figure out your budget based on that information.

If you’re a budget traveller and love staying in hostel dorm rooms, your expenses will be cheaper than someone like me who prefers to stay in a hotel or AirBnb.

How much you spend on a trip is so personal.

You can see what someone else spent on their trip to get an idea of how much things cost, but you shouldn’t take their budget as hard facts and replicate it.

You should also keep a little extra money in your bank account just in case an emergency happens, and you run out of money.

Travel Planning

4. You Have to Solve all Your Problems

Something is going to come up on your trip, and you’re going to have to go into problem solving mode.

I’m certainly not saying something serious will go wrong on your trip! I’m just saying that something little like missing a train or arriving somewhere after all the restaurants are closed will happen on your trip.

One of the biggest disadvantages of travelling alone is you don’t have anybody to bounce ideas off of, and you have to solve every little problem that comes up.

There is a lot of decision making to be done when you travel alone!

The good news is that problem solving is a skill, and you get better at it the more you do it.

Once you’ve solved one problem, the next one becomes easier to solve because you have real-world experience.

The best way you can prepare for this aspect of solo travel is to practice problem solving alone before you leave.

If your first instinct when even the slightest thing goes wrong is to seek out advice and help from someone else, stop that pattern.

Try working out the issue by yourself and learn how to use your problem solving muscles.

Easier said than done I know, but it is worth trying out!

If you don’t practice at home, you’ll be thrown into the deep end when you start travelling alone.

You had best cross your fingers and hope that the first few things that go wrong are small and easy for you to solve.

Otherwise, you might end up balled up in your bed crying. I’ve been there once or twice on my solo travel journey!

But, one of the beautiful things about learning to problem solve while travelling alone is that it helps you grow so much as a person.

Honestly, travelling alone has given me so much confidence in my ability to figure stuff out and not panic when something goes wrong.

Very important life skills I’m thankful to have!

5. It can get Lonely

You’re going to be travelling all alone for the duration of your entire trip- whether it is days or months.

Even if you meet people along the way, you’ll feel lonely and homesick at some point during your solo trip.

I still miss my family and get lonely sometimes, and I’ve been travelling alone for years!

Perhaps I was naive, but I didn’t expect to be lonely when I travelled alone. I expected to be busy and always out and about and not have time to miss my family and friends back home.

But I did, and I felt weird for having these feelings when I was exploring the world and living an amazing life.

My first solo travel experience was unique because I was on the road for three months, but even if you’re only gone for a week, it is totally normal to miss the people you care about and feel a bit lonely.

The best way to combat loneliness while travelling is to let yourself feel the emotions and stay in contact with the people you’re lonely for.

How to plan the perfect solo trip to Disney as an introvert

backpacking Europe alone

6. You Don’t Have a Buddy to Watch Your Stuff

One of the best things about travelling with another person is there is always somebody there to watch your stuff.

Not having that is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling alone.

But, the good news is that you rarely need someone to watch your stuff for you.

The only time I ever groan and wish I had someone to watch my stuff for me is when I’m in the airport and have to lug all my luggage with me to the washroom rather than leaving my luggage with my travel companion to watch.

It isn’t that much of an inconvenience, but it can be a bit annoying.

You should definitely take this into consideration when packing for your trip. You are 100% responsible for lugging your luggage around, so you can’t pack more than you can carry.

Not only do you have to manage your luggage in the airport but also on the metro from the airport to your accommodation, walking from the metro to your accommodation, and when you get to your accommodation.

If you’re staying in an old hotel in Europe, you may have to walk up three or four flights of stairs to your room with your luggage because there isn’t an elevator.

If you struggle carrying or lifting your luggage from your home to your car, you should reconsider what you’re taking and lighten your load.

I’ve seen many a solo travellers almost in tears trying to carry their luggage up a flight of stairs at the metro station in the middle of rush hour with locals getting inpatient behind them.

Try not to be that person!

7. You Have to get Used to Eating Alone

One of the things I hear most from people considering a solo trip is that they’re nervous about eating alone.

I totally understand the hesitation. It wasn’t something I was nervous about before my first solo trip, but eating alone did take a while to get used to.

Luckily, eating alone isn’t as scary as you make it out to be in your head. It quickly becomes second nature, and you feel just as comfortable eating alone as you do eating with a group of people.

Having something to distract you while eating alone at a restaurant is one of the best ways to distract yourself and make the first few times you eat alone less uncomfortable.

I like to have a book with me, but you may want to bring your laptop or notebook or choose a restaurant that has free wifi you can connect to.

If eating alone is the one thing holding you back from booking your first solo trip, take the leap of faith and book that trip!

8. You’ll be Bombarded with Small Talk

Gah. I cannot tell you how much small talk I’ve had to endure as a solo traveller. It is almost never ending, and it is one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling alone for introverts like me.

When you check into a hotel, go on a free walking tour, go on a group tour, anybody you meet that finds out you’re travelling alone is going to ask you the same general questions.

Where are you travelling? How long are you travelling for? Aren’t you afraid?

And if you’re a woman travelling alone, you can expect those lovely questions about what your parents think. If you have a boyfriend and who is paying for your trip because you as a woman can’t possibly fund your own travels.

There isn’t anything wrong with having someone else help you fund your trip (my parents paid for my first international flight), but I hate the idea that someone else has to be paying for my trip as a solo female traveller.

No matter what questions you get while travelling alone, they will get old very quickly, and you’ll dread them.

Especially if you’re staying in hostels.

Every. Single. Person. You meet will engage in small talk.

That’s probably great if you’re an extrovert, but as an introvert, it is one of the worst parts of travelling alone.

Tips for planning your first solo trip

Solo Travel

9. You Can’t Avoid Boredom

You don’t go, go, go 24/7 while on holiday. Well, at least most people don’t.

There is always downtime, and one of the biggest disadvantages of travelling alone is you don’t have someone to chit chat with when you’re not seeing and doing things.

Honestly, it can get boring in the evenings (and sometimes in the mornings if you’re up early before attractions open).

It is impossible not to experience at least some boredom while travelling alone. Sometimes watching tv doesn’t take away the boredom, and, if you’re like me, you kind of just sit around waiting to be able to go to sleep.

Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often, and there are easy ways you can combat any boredom that seeps into your solo trip.

I personally like to Facetime my parents back home when I get a little bored. There is always something to talk about, and it makes time fly by.

You can also read or learn a new skill online. I’m partial to trying to learn new languages and have found that using a free service like Duolingo helps keep me occupied when I would otherwise be bored in the hotel.

I just wanted to give you the head’s up that you’ll probably be bored at some point during your solo travel adventure.

It wasn’t something I expected to experience when I first started travelling alone. I thought I was travelling wrong and would push myself to go out and stay out even longer.

That is not the solution. It is totally normal to feel some sort of boredom while travelling alone.

You shouldn’t feel ashamed if you do experience boredom!

What I wish I knew before backpacking Europe alone

Why Didn’t I Talk About Safety?!

On almost every article talking about solo travel and the pros and cons of it, people argue that you need to take safety precautions as a solo traveller.

I personally don’t think travelling alone is inherently more or less dangerous than travelling in a group.

I believe everybody should take the same safety precautions, and you’re as safe as you act. It is your responsibility while travelling (either alone or in a group) to understand the local scams and customs and make safety decisions based on that information.

Travelling alone may make pick pockets think you’re an easy target, but if you carry your bag at your side of in front of you, you’re not in any more danger than someone in a group holding their bag the same way.

I don’t like the narrative that solo travel in more dangerous than travelling in a group.

I especially don’t like the narrative that travelling alone as a woman is more dangerous that travelling in a group or travelling alone as a man.

Some countries and cities are safer than others, but that doesn’t mean that travelling alone makes them any more or less safe.

My safety advice to travellers is the same whether or not they travel alone or in a group:

  • Understand local scams
  • If you feel uncomfortable, turn around
  • Trust your gut
  • Install a VPN on all your electronic devices
  • Dress according to local standards
  • Don’t get drunk in public
  • Avoid walking alone late at night if possible

Simple tips like that are far more effective and honest than fear mongering and making solo travel seem inherently dangerous.

It could be based on where you go and how you act, but that danger has nothing to do with you travelling alone.

Eating alone

Conclusion

Solo travel is one of the most amazing experiences you can have in life.

But, there are a number of disadvantages of travelling alone. You are responsible for every single decision you make, and you have to live with any consequences that comes with those decisions.

You can also feel lonely, homesick, and bored.

But, if there is one thing I know, it is that the benefits of travelling alone far outweigh the disadvantages of travelling alone.

You’ll have infinitely more better experiences and memories than you have moments that bring you down or make you miss home.

9 Epic Tips for Travelling Alone for the First Time

Travelling alone for the first time is both thrilling and terrifying. It is a completely different experience than anything you’ve had before.

I always encourage anybody who can and feels comfortable to travel alone at least once in their life.

To help you with your first solo trip, I’ve come up with the top things everybody should know before travelling alone for the first time.

One of the best ways to ensure a great first solo travel experience is to be prepared and have a bit of an idea how your trip is going to go.

I definitely didn’t prepare before my first solo trip, and I think I would have had a better experience if I had. I’m not saying my first solo trip wasn’t amazing because it was. But I made a lot of mistakes!

Hopefully some of the tips and tricks on this list will help you feel more prepared and confident as you get ready for your first solo trip.

The tips and tricks on this list are rather broad and will help you when you’re travelling alone for the first time no matter where you go or how long you travel for.

Tips for flying alone

1. Have a Budget and Stick to it

One of the most important things anybody travelling alone for the first time can do is have a realistic budget.

This was one of my biggest mistakes, and it really impacted my first solo trip.

I read way too many blogs saying you can travel on $50 a day, and you shouldn’t spend more than $50 per day no matter where you travel.

My first mistake was not converting $50USD to CAD and ended up trying to spend $50CAD per day, which was about $37 a day at the time.

I don’t like to subscribe to the notion that everybody has to be a budget traveller and that you’re travelling wrong if you’re spending more than $50/day.

It can sometimes seem that that is the norm- especially when you’re researching backpacking trip ideas.

My biggest advice to you is to figure out what type of travel you’re most interested in and create a budget around that.

For me, I’m a mid-range traveller.

I don’t need anything fancy, but I’m not interested in staying in hostels anymore, enjoy paying to visit attractions, and enjoy a decent meal out.

You may be different.

You may love budget travel. Or want a more luxurious travel experience.

As a first time solo traveller, you may want to spend more money and go on a group tour or group day trip.

It doesn’t really matter.

The important thing is you sit down and create a realistic budget for you. A budget that you can stick to.

Because you’re the only person on this trip and you’re 100% responsible for every penny spent.

You don’t have a friend or family member you can bum money off of if you run out a few days before the end of your trip.

If you run out of money, you’re in a messy situation that you need to find a way out of.

Travel Planning

2. Let Go of Perfection

I don’t know if it was just me, but I had very unrealistic expectations on what my first solo trip would look like.

I thought it would be all rainbows and sunshine, but no trip is going to be perfect.

The sooner you let go of the rose-coloured glasses and accept that things are going to come up during your trip, the more prepared you will be for travelling alone for the first time.

I’m by no means saying something terrible will go wrong on your trip. The odds of that are very slim.

But, there is a pretty solid chance that something inconvenient will arise, and you need to figure out how to pivot around that inconvenience.

It could be anything from it raining on a day you were planning to go hiking to attractions being closed all the way to you were robbed.

Although, the last example is very uncommon and not something you should expect to happen.

Even if everything goes 100% to plan, no trip is going to be perfect.

Something as simple as there being heavy crowds could make your trip not perfect.

What I’m trying to get at is no trip is perfect, and you need to stop thinking it will be.

An imperfect trip is more fun anyways! You may experience things you never knew existed a city, meet your new best friend, or stumble on the perfect sunset spot.

If things don’t go exactly as you imagined, breathe and don’t let it ruin your trip.

As someone with major anxiety, I know this is easier said than done. It does get easier with practice though!

Overcome your fear of solo travel

solo travel in Europe

3. Be Internet Safe

Travelling puts you and your online data at risk of being accessed and stolen. Everybody who travels needs to be internet safe, but it is even more important for solo travellers.

Imagine this scenario.

You’re on an amazing solo trip and are connecting to public wifi networks all over the place. At the hotel, the airport, restaurants. Wherever you can find wifi, you’re connecting to it.

One day you wake up and discover there are charges on your credit card that you didn’t purchase.

Someone has stolen your credit card, and now you have to go through the process of calling the bank and cancelling your cards.

Not to mention that headache of trying to manage the last of your trip without your credit card or (potentially) your debit card.

That is an absolute nightmare.

This entire scenario could have easily been prevented if you had installed a VPN on your devices.

A VPN puts a forcefield around your devices that makes it impossible for prying eyes to access your online data.

It makes using public wifi networks as safe as using your home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.

In my opinion, installing a VPN on all your devices is an essential part of travel. You’re putting yourself at too much risk if you don’t use a VPN!

My Favourite VPN

I’ve used a lot a different VPNs over my many years of solo travel and hated them all.

That is I hated them all until I discovered NordVPN.

I’ve been using NordVPN since 2018 and love it. I have no plans to ever leave them and trust them with protecting all my online data.

The reason I love NordVPN and recommend them to my fellow travel lovers is because they are the fastest VPN on the market.

VPNs are known for slowing down your internet connection to the point where you want to throw your phone against the wall it is so frustrating.

Or at least I did!

I’ve never had an issue with slow internet connection when using NordVPN. I don’t even notice that there is a VPN on my phone and laptop, which is saying a lot.

It is foolish to not install a VPN on your devices. It is one of the most important (and least talked about) safety steps you can take when travelling alone for the first time. Or anytime you travel.

There are no excuses not to protect your online data.

You can protect up to six devices with a single NordVPN subscription, and a two-year subscription costs less per month than a latte.

I always say that if you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online data and information.

It is just the smart, responsible, and safe thing to do!

Plus it takes zero effort, so you have no excuses not to protect yourself!

4. Choose a Destination Similar to Your Home City

This is one of my favourite tips for people travelling alone for the first time.

It is also one of the best ways to make sure your first solo trip is a good experience and makes you want to travel alone again and again.

If you’re new to travel and travelling alone, choosing to go somewhere similar to where you live is a great idea.

For example, if you live in Canada like me, you could visit the UK or New Zealand.

If you live in Hong Kong, Taiwan is a great option.

Choosing somewhere similar (but different) to where you live is the best of both worlds. You get to experience something new but don’t have an overwhelming amount of culture shock.

Once you become more comfortable with travelling alone and navigating a new city by yourself, you can branch out into countries that are way different than yours.

But, I do think starting with somewhere similar is the best option and sets you up for long-term success.

Benefits of travelling alone

Oscar Wilde Galway Ireland About Travels with Erica

5. Have an Itinerary (but be flexible)

This is something I didn’t do on my first solo trip, and I really wish I had. I’m not a huge planner and enjoy showing up in a new city without any plans and figuring it out as I go.

That’s all fine and good, but it isn’t something I would recommend to someone travelling alone for the first time.

I remember walking around and feeling a bit awkward and uncomfortable on my first solo trip. I wasn’t terribly confident and didn’t want people to think I was weird for being alone.

One of the best ways to stop that feeling from coming in is to have a plan and keep yourself busy.

You don’t need a rigid plan (and, in fact, would recommend against that), but having a general idea of what your trip looks like is very helpful.

Figure out things like:

  • What countries or cities you’re visiting
  • What attractions you need to visit
  • If there are any day trips you want to take
  • Book your accommodation (at least for the first city you’re visiting)

These may seem like small steps to take, but they can have a huge impact on the success of your first solo trip.

Little things like this help you have confidence and know what you’re going to get up to.

On the flip side, you want to be flexible with your schedule.

There may be a cool festival on while you’re in a city, you may discover another day trip you want to take, the weather may get in your way, or you may meet someone you want to travel with, so you merge your itineraries.

The moral of the story is to have a loose plan on what you want to do on your trip but leave room to change it and go with the flow.

A little yin and a little yang.

Solo Travel

6. Have F*ck You Money

You need to keep your money separated and have a stash of extra money just in case something happens.

I cannot emphasize enough how important this tip is for solo travellers.

You can lose your wallet, get pickpocketed, or get robbed, which is bad at the best of times and is even worse when you’re travelling alone.

You’re 100% responsible for paying for everything. If you lose your money (or over spend), you’re going to go hungry and not be able to eat for the rest of your trip.

I highly recommend you have $100 or so stored in a separate location away from your normal pot of cash.

A lot of women are told to keep some f*uck you money to pay for a cab home if a date goes wrong. This is the travel equivalent of that.

It may seem silly or not worth it, but trust me. I’ve solo travelled for years and know first hand how thankful I’ve been to have some extra money when something has gone wrong.

I like to keep my extra money in the inner zipper pocket of my purse.

This way it is on me at all times, and I can use it to pay for transportation if necessary.

Some people prefer to keep it in the safe at the hotel or in their suitcase.

It doesn’t really matter as long as you have some extra money tucked away somewhere for emergencies.

The hidden downside of travel

Flying Alone

7. Beware of Local Scams

No matter where in the world you go, there are local scams.

Some of them are innocent like pick pockets in France. Some of them are more serious like the tea house scam in China.

One of the best ways you can protect yourself when travelling alone for the first time is to do a quick Google search and learn about the most common scams in the place you’re going.

I don’t like the idea that solo travellers are more at risk of being scammed, but it is more important to know about local scams as a solo traveller.

When you travel alone, you only have two eyes, and you can’t see everything going on around you. You don’t have an extra pair of eyes (or multiple pairs of eyes) to notice something you may not have.

If you’re aware of the local scams, you know what to look for and can keep an eye out for anything that looks like it might be connected to that scam.

I don’t want you to think that you’re going to get scammed as a solo traveller. I’ve only been scammed two or three times in all my years of solo travel, so it isn’t very common.

I just want you to know what to look out for, so you can keep your eyes open. It would not leave a very good taste in your mouth if you were scammed on your first solo trip!

China Pavillion Epcot

8. Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Travelling alone for the first time definitely pushes you outside your comfort zone, and I think you should keep that momentum going while you’re on your trip.

Do one or two things on your solo trip that push you out of your comfort zone.

It can be something as small as going for a nice dinner alone when you normally wouldn’t. Or something as large as bungee jumping for the first time.

It doesn’t really matter.

One of the best parts of solo travel is that it pushes you to be a better person and grow, but it only does that if you step outside your comfort zone.

But, it is important to know the difference between pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and doing something reckless.

For example, going on a wine tasting adventure alone is getting out of your comfort zone.

Going on a five hour hike when you’ve never hiked longer than an hour is reckless.

See the difference. 😉

So, my challenge to you (and one I give myself as well) is to get outside your comfort zone at least once every trip you take!

Tips for eating alone at a restaurant

Eating alone

9. Keep in Touch with Friends and Family Back Home

Your friends and family are going to worry about you when you’re travelling alone for the first time.

Be a good person and keep in touch with them while you’re gone!

Even to this day I text my mom when I leave my hotel for the day and when I get back. It is sometimes annoying for me, but it makes her feel much better about my travelling alone.

It is a simple thing you can do to put their minds at ease.

Plus you get to brag about how good of a time you’re having!

There is no better way to make someone jealous than by sending them vacation photos! So, update them on how you’re doing and what you’re seeing.

And don’t just post it on social media. Text them and Facetime them as well!

Digital Nomad

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Conclusion

I hope these tips have helped you feel more confident and ready for your first solo trip.

No matter what your first solo trip looks like, it will be full of a variety of different emotions, and I guarantee that at least once during your trip you’ll question why you’re doing it.

But I promise that travelling alone is worth it.

Even if you only do it once!

There is nothing else quite like travelling alone for the first time. It pushes you and makes your grow as a person.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked to a fellow solo traveller who didn’t say they came back from their first solo trip a different person and a better person.

I really hope you get to experience the joy of solo travel to see if it is the right travel style for you.

Solo travel isn’t for everybody, but you don’t know if it is for you until you try it!