Ohhhh gals, HOW is it that my trip to New York is already feeling like it happened a lifetime ago?! *sobs into pillow. So, as many of you know from my *ahem over excited social media, I booked a six day solo trip to the big apple on a whim (I explain more about why I booked it here!), I genuinely had the best six days ever and I'd do it all again in a heart beat if I could. Previous to this trip, I'd only ever done two short three day solo trips but one day I woke up and just knew this had to be done, and boy was it the best six days. I didn't really know what to expect from solo travel; but all I knew from the off was that I'd love it, and I truly, truly did. Once I'd tweeted to say I'd booked the trip I was inundated with tweets, messaged and emails asking my advice on solo travel; so many people saying that 'they wish one day they could do the same' and I completely hear YOU girls; it IS daunting and nerve wracking but I can whole heartedly promise that it will be the best thing you ever do!
I'm working on a series of blog posts and videos packed full with tips and advice for solo travel; from scouting the best deals, booking your flights and itinerary whilst there. Those will be following tres shortly, for now I want to share my tips for travelling solo my favourite city in the world...
1.) Be Brave: Booking a solo trip in itself takes some guts so be brave girl; book that dream trip then be darn proud of yourself that you boarded that flight and headed to your dream destination. After all, dreams wait for no-one! I'm at that age now where my friends are all settling down and getting married, and as much as I can't wait for that to be my life one day, right now, that's not my life. There's something deep inside of me; a wanderlust that I need to fuels it's desire before I even think about having children and buying a house. I feel like my feet were made to wander this earth, and wander they shall.
2.) Seize the moment: I simply cannot stress this enough but when you're travelling alone you have to seize the moment! There was so many times I'd stop and think 'I'd love a picture there' then straight away I'd think 'oh, I'll come back later', but then I'd stop and be like well no, chances are I'm not coming back here later, I'm here now so I'll ask that lady/man to take a snap of me, and if I'm not happy with the picture I'll ask someone else. Don't put things off in the hope/thinking that you'll come back because chances are you probably won't, so seize that moment and take that photo girl!
3.) Don't be afraid to ask for pictures: The amount of people that said to me 'oh my god you're so brave for asking for a picture' and at first I have to admit I had to gear myself up to ask because I felt like an absolute tit, but I really quickly got over it. The options were ask someone to take a picture or go without, and I'd much rather have the memory. Honestly, everyone that I asked was so incredibly lovely and couldn't have been more happy to help! When you find yourself at tourist traps you'll often finds yourself doing picture swaps with another solo travel or a lovely couple, a favour for a favour; don't be shy!
4.) Don't look like a tourist: Probably my biggest tip; especially for a girl traveling alone! The concierge staff at the W were just so, so lovely and couldn't have been more help - giving me a map of the city and pointing me in the right direction for the best bars, restaurants etc. BUT I was super cautious to not look like a tourist, being a girl or not, I think this opens you up to people trying to mug/con you etc. I find it really hard to get lost in New York because of the grid system, but my advice is if you're feeling lost, nip into a coffee shop, pull out your map and work out your route from there; failing that Google Maps is a life saver!
5.) Don't be scared to eat alone: I absolutely love spending time on my own, but I know that some people don't and I completely understand that. I'd say that if you were looking to travel solo, my best advice would be to go for dinner alone or take a trip to the cinema in your local town and get used to the experience. I never once felt awkward or uncomfortable going into a restaurant and asking for a table for one, I have to admit that I think Americans are more sociable and there was many times when the restaurant was packed full of big groups of friends brunching but I just ordered a glass of wine and got stuck into my book!
6.) Exploring is FUN: I bought a Metro card for $30 whilst in New York which entitled me to unlimited travel during my stay; I wanted to have it 'just in case' but the majority of the time I walked everywhere; you just never know what or where you'll stumble across; a cute cafe you spotted on Instagram or a scene from a movie. Discovering new places and going by foot was the best part for me, don't get too afraid to travel solo that you actually forget to travel solo!
7.) Get a good camera: My Olympus PEN is pretty much attached to me these days but I would highly recommend it for solo travelling as it has the flip down screen, so if there isn't anyone around to ask for pictures or you're not quite feeling brave enough then you can get capture moments with those Selfie shots!
8.) Treat yo self: For me the best part of travelling solo, is being able to do everything on your own terms, wake up when you want to, explore for as long as you want, you don't have to ask anyone if you want to shop, or have a glass of wine with your lunch! One day I'd walked for hours exploring the streets when I stumbled across a super cute restaurant and I stopped for a strawberry and prosecco cocktail at 2pm (it was LUSH!), and on the Sunday I stopped by the Aveda salon for a blow dry. Treat your solo travel as some serious me time, do a little shopping, have a little pamper and drink in the day if you want to!
WHAT TO PACK?
2/3 good books | A camera (preferably with a flip screen for selfies) | Adaptor | Comfy shoes for lots of walking | Spare chargers/memory cards | A mini tripod (I love the Gorilla Tripods as you can easily attach them to items) | A backpack / big handbag to fit everything in | Disposable camera | Lots of comfy clothes - think jumpers and layering | Pampering products