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Travelling alone? Top tips for solo travellers

22nd April 2014
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Travelling alone can be a daunting prospect - but with the right preparation and attitude, it can lead to the adventure of a lifetime.

Lots of people travel solo every summer, meaning it’s likely to be easier than you expect to meet fellow adventurers - especially if you’re staying in a hostel or on a bus or boat trip. It also means that you’re pretty much guaranteed accommodation, and enables you to see, book and experience the very best of the destination.

With this in mind, Liz Lindsay from Kiwi Experience, which gets 35% of its bookings from solo travellers, shares the top advice the company gives to those flying solo...

Save money, book early

“Even for budget backpackers, travelling alone can impact your spending as there’s no one to share the cost of essentials like laundry visits, suntan lotion or food with. However, you can make significant savings on your travel passes by booking them well in advance.”

Plus, we’d point out that there’s no one to delay your plans for whilst they decide whether they can do that date, if they really fancy that country/have enough money, or whether they actually want to go at all – meaning you can snap up bargains early, before they disappear. Win win!

Allow for flexibility

Book a travel pass so that you have a basic journey structure - but don’t be tempted to plan every step or stop before you arrive, as hop-on, hop-off bus passes mean you’ll have the flexibility to stay in certain areas longer if you choose to.

Liz says: “Solo travellers have the advantage here – there’s no need to miss out on a hiking a mountain or swimming in a lake because your best friend from home isn’t keen on the great outdoors. You have the freedom to jump off when you want for as long as you want, since passes are valid for a year from first use.”

She adds: “Those starting out alone rarely end up that way and giving yourself a strict time-frame within which to complete your journey could mean forgoing spontaneous adventures with new friends, which is always a shame!“

Back up your photos

Losing or damaging a camera can be one of the most upsetting things for a solo traveller as you don’t have a consistent companion capturing the same shots and memories. We recommend backing up your photos regularly just as a precaution. The landscapes and experiences offered in New Zealand are certainly ones you’ll want to remember for a long time.

Become your own best penpal

Passports, wallets and phones are other items that can get lost or left behind on travels, so before you leave home, email yourself a list of key details that might be useful in the event of such a loss. Include your passport number, bank or currency card numbers, travel insurance details, mobile phone account details plus all the contact phone numbers you’d need to report losses. It never hurts to copy a trusted friend or family member into the email, and to keep a bit of spare cash in a separate place so you’re not totally penniless.

In addition to just sending yourself important details, keep a travel journal. Travellers assume they’ll remember all the places they’re visiting and people they’re meeting, but memories do fade and you’ll come to appreciate having a permanent record of your adventures to look back on.

Stay unplugged

Don’t be tempted to hide your face in a book, spend the journey studying your mobile or plugged into an iPod. Make the most of getting to know your fellow passengers in person, rather than using social media to keep up with life back at home.

For more information on Kiwi Experience, and the latest special offers, see www.kiwiexperience.com.




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