Travelling through Europe by myself for the past six months was difficult. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure I’d want to do it again. If I had to travel alone again, I’d plan my trip much differently.
Planning in advance vs. flexible travel plans.
Since this was my first time travelling alone for an extended period of time, I made sure to plan everything well in advance. I booked all flights and most accommodations months before my trip. The major benefit to planning my trip this far in advance is that I saved money because waiting until the last minute to secure accommodations always means you’ll end up spending more (unless you are lucky and meet someone who’ll let you crash at their place for free, of course).
The downside to planning like this, however, is that my travel plans weren’t flexible. Some of the places I visited on this trip, like Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Split were incredible (mainly because of their markets!) and I wanted to stay in those locations longer, but I couldn’t since I already booked my accommodations elsewhere.
When I travel through Europe again next summer (with my boyfriend in tow), I’ll try to be more flexible when it comes to planning our travels in advance.
I’ve blogged about my frustrations with this previously: Travelling alone as a woman. This frustrated me to no end but unfortunately, it’s something that all women have to deal with on a daily basis. I honestly didn’t even consider this being an issue while travelling outside the US, but I should have expected it since I faced the same harassment in the States.
Researching accommodations on Airbnb.
For the most part, I had excellent experiences using Airbnb for all of my accommodations apart from my time in Berlin and Poland. I was fortunate enough to be hosted in Berlin by a vegan couple I met through Instagram and stayed with my boyfriend and his family for two weeks while in Poland. Check out my Airbnb travel tips if you are interested in using Airbnb for your next holiday.
Avoiding tourist hotspots.
I’ve learned that busy, tourist-filled cities aren’t for me. In the future, I plan to avoid Spain in the summer time (at least Barcelona!), Paris, and Berlin. My favourite destinations during this trip were Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Split. I’d be more than happy to stay in Slovenia or Croatia long-term!
I don’t want to travel alone anytime soon.
This is the biggest lesson I learned on this trip. When I left the States a year ago, I decided that I wanted to travel alone because I thought this would be the most challenging option for me. I’ve always been independent and pushed myself into difficult situations before, just to see if I could work it out. I don’t plan on travelling alone again, however, since my opinion of travelling alone changed once I met my boyfriend in Scotland (three months before I started this trip). Now I’d rather share these experiences with him.
Happiness is only real when shared. (Thanks to Into the Wild for that sentiment.)