Why travel solo?

Over the past few years of my life, travel has genuinely become my greatest passion and biggest obsession. I spend my time reading up on new destinations, opportunities, cultures, and experiences. Travel is a beautiful thing to share with people for sure, but for me hitting the open road alone is something quite unique and I would urge anyone to do it.

First and foremost, travelling alone means you can do everything you want to do and importantly, nothing you don’t want to do. Solo travel epitomises the ability to be completely selfish in doing exactly what you want. You want to go out for dinner at that restaurant you probably can’t afford? Go! That sky dive you’ve been itching to do? Do it! The best thing about it? There’s no one else to please but you, indulge a little… who knows, you might even enjoy it.

Alone time is highly underrated. Long haul flights, bus journeys, a beautiful sunset on the beach are all perfect times to enjoy a little bit of silence with your own thoughts. Plan ways to tick things off that all important bucket list, get stuck in to that book you’ve been dying to read, or simply sit back an enjoy some ‘you time’.

There are many advantages you perhaps may not think of… Imagine a theme park, queueing up for rides and wanting to sit with your friends. Ever jealous of the single riders line? Travelling alone makes things heaps easier in terms of finding good times to travel, flights, hostels, every time you only have to think of booking for one. In my experience, you can get some pretty good treatment from travelling alone too, from free drinks to room upgrades (thanks Thailand!)

Chances are, the majority of people you meet when you’re travelling will also be on their own. I firmly believe that travelling on your own makes you more eager to speak to locals, fellow backpackers, and break outside of your normal boundaries! Heading out with friends is great but you’re much more likely to stick with them and stay firmly within your comfort zone. Each and every opportunity is there to be grabbed with both hands when you travel, its a lot easier to do without someone holding one of them.

At the end of the day, if you never try you’ll never know if its for you but I would without doubt tell everyone to give it a go, even just the once. Personally, I’ll never look back! The experiences I’ve had, friends I’ve made, and things I’ve learnt when travelling alone have been some of the best of my life so far and every trip makes me more grateful for giving it a try.

Laura x

 

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7 Things To Make The Most Of Your Backpack

Packing is one of the things I dread the most about travelling but with some forward planning and smart decisions you can make the most of it. Here are some of my tips to love your backpack again:

  1. Lay out everything you think you need to pack… then halve it! Especially important for first time travellers. I know from my first trip I packed WAY too much and I thought I was being quite conservative, how wrong a girl can be. There are some great packing lists available online if in doubt. Just remember you will be carrying the weight of this, make it bearable!
  2. Never underestimate the importance of a decent backpack! Particularly on long trips, your backpack becomes your life, so its vital to make a wise purchase. Do your research and decide what is important to you. Personally, I would recommend a suitcase style opening rather than a top loader as it stops you having to take everything out! Also you will be grateful at least once for making sure your backpack is waterproof – no one wants a bag full of wet clothes especially with the somewhat limited laundry facilities in hostels…
  3. Two words: packing cubes! I really wish I had these for my last big trip and I can’t wait to make use of them this time (the ones I have are pictured below). You can pick them up for very reasonable prices online, they save space and help organise your clothes. Make packing clothes even easier by rolling rather than folding and using zip-lock bags to add an extra waterproof layer.91cbscao41l-_sl1500_
  4. Those little essentials. Smart packing is not only reducing the amount of weight you bring but remembering some very handy extras. A notebook – writing down phone numbers/ addresses/ diary entries/ simply entertaining yourself on long journeys! Plug adaptors – as logical as it may sound, it was crazy when I was travelling the number of people that forgot them. Ear plugs – not an essential per se but you will be glad you bought them. Hostels are not renowned for being the quietest of places at night and you don’t want to be messing up a great day of adventure from being grouchy through lack of sleep!
  5. Travel towels really are a travellers dream. They dry super quickly, are much lighter and space-friendly than normal towels and can be picked up for a steal if you look in the right places. Make sure you bring a spare as they need washing fairly regularly! 716zajvrxhl-_sl1024_
  6. The boring stuff. Ok, so we have to talk about the important stuff – your itinerary (if you have one), flight schedules, bank details, copies of your passport/ visa. Of course a lot of this will depend on where you are travelling and for how long. Its always an idea to make sure someone back at home has a copy of all your important information including bank details – you never know when it might come in very handy.
  7. Be smart with your hand luggage. At the airport and on flights, you want everything you need in easy reach. Invest in a travel wallet (like this one) to keep your passport, tickets, transfer information and any hotel/ hostel details in one place – preferably in the order you will be needing them! In a busy airport you won’t want to be rifling through masses of paper to find your connecting flight details. disaster-nutshell-travel-wallet-460x344

So these are some of my top tips for making your trip that little bit easier and leaving you more time and energy to enjoy the important things! Do you have any great advice or thoughts on my list? Please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Happy packing!

Laura x

Diving in

Picture the scene.

It’s July 2014, I’ve just graduated from university with a great degree and don’t really know where to turn next. I apply for a masters, get accepted but have to pass the long stretch between graduation and February when I start back at university. What do I do? Apply for some temporary work – waitressing and bar work. It’s good, tips are great and I work with some great people but I’m not setting the world on fire here. I need more!

I started looking at my friends, those I admired, was secretly jealous of, those I deemed successful but most importantly happy! I asked myself what made me view them in this way? Was there a link? The vast majority of these friends had one major thing in common… TRAVEL.

It started with some casual browsing online at destinations, round the world trips, flights, on websites and blogs galore. I was obsessed. Night after night I would trowel the internet with no real goal in mind, simply searching for that great wide somewhere that could bring me something I wasn’t sure I needed.

Before I knew it, one afternoon after speaking to a travel expert at STA my trip solidified before my eyes. Plastic in hand, shaking, it was done before I could quite believe it myself. I, Laura, had booked to go travelling. 3 months, 4 countries, just me, my backpack, and the open road.

I’d never thought I would be a person to venture off to distant lands, let alone do it on my own and I can honestly say I wouldn’t change it for anything. The experiences I have had to date (some of which I will get to share with you) have truly taken my breathe away, made me look at the world in an entirely new way and taken my life on a course I didn’t even know was possible. I know that my adventures are just starting and there is a whole load more out there to see. I can’t wait to dive in again!

Laura x

Introductions & Intentions

 

I’m Laura, a 20-something British girl with a serious passion for travelling and talking about my travels to anyone and everyone who will listen. Enter blogging…

On this, my first venture in to blogging, I’m hoping to provide an honest insight into my backpacking experiences and hope to inspire and inform along the way. I travelled 3 months solo between studies back in 2014/15 and it completely changed me – I know what you’re thinking, serious cliché – just go with me here. I caught the travel bug hard and haven’t looked back since, visiting six countries in the 18 months that followed my first solo flight, with many more planned, at least in principle.

Late 2016 will see me embark upon my latest adventure with a working holiday in Australia, first stop Perth. I have saved like mad, handed in my notice at work, to head to the other side of the world on a one way ticket…  Please come say hi, leave any questions in the comments and follow me on instagram/ twitter @oneexplaura

Let’s see how this goes. I hope you’ll join me on my journey!

Laura x