I am currently on my second solo trip and the first one that lasts for more than 20 days at a stretch. Travelling solo can be challenging and one can get worried very easily once alone. Let’s face it, we are humans and we need company at times. I say at times because we all need our personal space and need to challenge ourselves to be independent and strong. It’s not about saying no to the loved ones in your life, it is about saying yes, I can do this on my own.
This trip has taught me a lot and I have put down things that one usually worries about on a trip and how to handle it:
Worry No. 1 – Missing flights and trains
During the trip I nearly missed my connecting flight from Paris and missed my train to Brussels by a minute (yes, I finally disclose it here).
Always make sure to have your documents ready the night before and check the time you need to be at the train station and airport. Make sure to keep your bags packed the night before no matter how tired you are. Keep the clothes you will wear in the morning out so that you don’t have to dig for them in the morning. If you can, check out the previous night and just drop your keys in the morning. If it’s an early morning flight, just take a shower at night before sleeping to avoid wasting any time in the morning.
Incase you do miss your train, visit the information center and see what can be done. That’s what I did. Don’t freak out.
Worry No. 2 – Getting an incorrect charge on your credit card by a Taxi
I was in a rush and the taxi driver charged me 550 euros instead of 55 euros in Paris. He left as there was no parking space. Yes, I have registered a complain and am waiting for the solution soon. Luckily, I did not enter any pin or sign any slip.
This point can be combined with point 1 as well. Always pre-order a taxi or rather call an Uber from your room (if you use them for going around) while you are heading down to the reception to leave for the airport or any other place you need to get to in time. I prefer Uber as it gives you the exact time it will take for the Uber driver to reach your place and also gives a fare estimate. Another benefit is that you have your card linked and it automatically deducts the money after the journey. There is no hassle of paying cash or entering your pin.
Worry no. 3 – Falling sick
I fell sick during my current trip and got a bad shoulder and neck pain causing me difficulties to sleep, sit or even get out of bed. It may sound crazy but there was a day that I took around 25-30 minutes trying to get out of bed as I couldn’t push my body to get up and sit (yeah, damn painful). I got really irritating, over emotional and childish-like. I can do that when I fall sick (there goes my being independent and strong; still working on it).
Try to check with someone you think would know about this (I mean friends or family). I usually check with friends since my parents get really tensed about the whole situation. Remember you are travelling to different environments and sometimes small things will happen. Don’t take any strong dosage without medical advice and try to use the travel insurance if it becomes really bad.
Finding a pharmacy that is open can also be a hassle. I personally visited a total of 10 pharmacies in 2 days before finding one that is open. So try to check with your hotel reception for pharmacies that are open till late.
Worry no. 4 – Having an overweight luggage
My luggage weight 22.5 kgs and the ground staff at the Barcelona airport for the airline put a heavy tag on it. I asked him to stop loading the bag. He told me I would have to pay for it as the maximum he would allow is 20.5 kgs. This was without checking the weight of my bagpack which would barely be 3-4 kgs.
Try to just shift some weight from the checked-in bag to the hand luggage. In my case, I knew that I could not go overweight since I did not have that much weight with me. I removed my jacket from the bag, transferred a few packets of mixed nuts (I just love snacking on them) and done. The weight was down to 20.5 kgs. So if you can probably carry a few things in hand or in your hand luggage, just do so and avoid any hassle.
Worry no. 5 – Not managing to visit all the places you want
Well this is a worry which will always come true. I had to cut down places due to shortage of time, delayed/cancelled flights, strike in France and Barcelona, the weather (why does it rain so much in Brussels?) and my sickness.
Take your pick. You need to choose which places are of the most importance to you and start ticking them out of the list. Hop-on hop-off buses can be a good way to move around but some of the buses are not designed too well to let you take good pictures while you are seated in the bus (yes, even on the upper deck). So decide where you want to go and just visit those spots. Try not to rush everything so that you can enjoy you are doing.
So this is all from my end. The trip has another week to go and pretty sure it will be a roller coaster. I am glad I am learning everyday and becoming stronger and hopefully wiser *fingers crossed*.
Note to self: Stop irritating others when you’re sick; don’t make others sick of you. Lol !!