So if you follow my Twitter you will probably know that in October 2018, I travelled solo for the first time to a long time favourite holiday destination – Salou, Catalonia. Travelling solo is not something everyone likes the thought of and I booked the holiday on one of my many ADHD fuelled impulse buys. Then realised “oh shit, I’ve actually gotta commit to this”.
I suffer with anxiety, depression, ASD and ADHD. Didn’t know about ADHD properly when I booked the holiday and ASD hasn’t been formally diagnosed yet but as far as being independent goes, it’s not an area of expertise.
I saw it as an adventure, for sure. And as my future posts about my trip to Salou will explain (yes, I know they’re months overdue. Life got in the way a bit!), I was faced with a whole new experience that proved challenging in ways I expected and planned for and ways I most certainly didn’t plan for. A natural disaster being one of them!
I found a couple of things really useful for traveling solo and yes, they can be used by anyone travelling alone or with people. But for me, I used them and found certain things useful because I was solo.
Really and truthfully, you should have one of these wherever you go but particularly for travelling. RFID wallets are meant to scramble or block signals that would allow fraudsters to make contactless transactions from your contactless card from just walking by you and with phones also have near field communication, those can also become targets. I also read something about passports and biometrics within passports and that was my reason for clicking buy.
I carried my passport on me at all times so that should anything have happed to me, I was easily identifiable, so having the most protection and safety was vital for me. The wallet I bought wasn’t stylish but did the job and I’d definitely suggest investing in one to keep your money and information safe.
The TripAdvisor app was a lifesaver. Looking lost is one sure fire way to stand out as a solo traveller who is likely more vulnerable so I used the app to look up places to eat or visit and checked reviews and prices before I went out at night or in the day. I’d give myself options so I could walk about fairly confidently with some options of what to eat or do rather than ask loads of questions or look like a rabbit caught in the headlights.
Sounds weird suggesting WhatsApp as a vital tool for a solo traveller but it’s a feature within the app that I relied on heavily. There’s a feature that allows you to share your live location with a contact for a set time so they can see where you are. When I went out, I’d share my location with my mum who would be able to see where I was and should anything have happened to me, she could tell authorities where my last known location was or give them an actual location. The best thing is, if someone has abducted you and you still have your phone on you, they are likely to not realise you’ve shared your location. This also gave me peace of mind knowing that someone knew exactly where I was at all times without having to ring my parents every 5 minutes with an update – I still felt independent and free.
Personal Information Card
While your passport is ID and you may have emergency information in your phone, a little card or piece of paper in your pocket or anywhere else on your person could help in an emergency. On mine, I listed my name and home address, my nationality, weight and height, age, medical conditions, medication and contacts of doctors involved in my care at the time. This way, if I needed emergency treatment and was unresponsive, the police or medics could know everything important about me.
As I said, these things can be used by anyone no matter how they are travelling but as a solo traveller, I found them incredibly useful.
I learnt a lot on my first solo trip and plan to share it in some more posts. I know the content comes a little while after my trip but things happen and writing about a holiday when I was so unwell with my mental health didn’t appeal to me. I hope I can inspire people who are reluctant to travel alone, to take the leap as it was such a liberating experience. My trip wasn’t perfect and smooth sailing but the things I achieved as personal milestones made everything worthwhile.
If there’s something particular you’d like to hear me write about, then leave me a comment! I’d love to know what things you’d like me to discuss.