I'm lucky enough that weddings take me all over the UK and Europe. Even though my husband and second shooters accompany me on some trips, a lot of them I'm making by myself. Usually people wonder how I don't get bored without someone to talk to, or if I find myself holed up in my hotel room watching terrible movies on Netflix (I do, but not the whole time!) or if it's weird to eat alone.
Travelling alone doesn't need to be a scary thing, so if you're reading this because you travel a lot for work or just fancy taking that solo trip, read on.
Travelling alone - getting on the plane/train/boat
The first time I flew by myself I wasn't sure if I could do it. Suddenly all rational thought flew out the window and I kept telling myself that I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. Luckily 2am thoughts are just that - thoughts. And they're pointless and stupid. The reality is it's very easy to get on a plane alone. Leave yourself plenty of time to make sure you've got all your bits together before you leave and go over the travel arrangements for getting to the airport. Once you're there you can chill out and grab an overpriced coffee while you wait to board.
Be prepared with your travel arrangements
You don't have the luxury of relying on another person to help figure all of this out. It's you (and Google). It always helps to stay alert and work out well ahead of time travel arrangements. I use Google to work out the best routes, whether I'm travelling via public transport or walking. The option to check out the best public transport options from your location is a really handy feature.
Choose your accommodation carefully
When you're travelling alone, you've got to think about location. On your first trip alone, I always recommend choosing somewhere fairly central, close to transport links and other people and things to do. This way you're not going to feel lonely if you feel life around you!
Take a good book
Being alone can be awesome. You can take some time to be with yourself, do whatever you want and go wherever your interest takes you. One of the times I felt most alone was during dinner. Eating alone isn't something that anyone in my experience will make you feel self conscious of - all over Europe you regularly see people eating alone. However, it can be a bit strange if you've never done it before. It can help to take a book or magazine to read with dinner if you think this will make you a little self conscious. Don't get lost in a book though - being abroad is a fantastic opportunity to people watch and really take in your surroundings.
Get up early
The first time I travelled alone, I found that I wasn't quite sure what to do in the evenings. The thought of going to bars didn't really appeal to me and I wasn't keen on walking around at the dead of night seeing as I was by myself, so I rescheduled my days. I woke up earlier, grabbed a coffee and pain au chocolat and was ready to start my day. By the time it came to the evening, I was tired and ready for bed as I'd been wandering around since 7am!
Learn some of the language
It's not easy to be fluent in every language, but it definitely helps to learn some basic words. Some little phrases, numbers and "please" and "thank you" makes the world of difference and might even help you make new friends.
Study a map and walk
Having a basic idea of the geography of a place will help you safely get around the area. Look out for landmarks or study a map to have an idea of where things are. Having a basic idea of where things are will help you have more fun while you're exploring - rather than having your nose stuck into a map, you'll be able to safely explore while knowing which direction you've headed in and which direction home is. Walking is an excellent way to explore the area and makes you slow down and really take in your surroundings.
Travelling alone is nothing to be scared of if you're well prepared. Taking a little time to be alone and throwing yourself into a new environment is incredibly rewarding and will make you look at things differently!