Lets face it. Travelling alone doesn’t have to suck. If everything goes smoothly then it is the ultimate piece of cake. Plus you can have the seat by the window or just switch off for the whole flight/ journey.
You just have to be realistic with your travel expectations. Packing light is key. I was bringing a lot of gifts and clothes so I made my first mistake by packing my maximum weight. 37kgs is not easy to lug around. But my biggest tip is travel scales. Buy them and if you need to pack them with you.
I recently flew to Seychelles from London via Dubai then back to Paris and got the train to Angouleme. Not the easiest of journeys but it was too stressful. I thought you may like to hear my thoughts on travelling alone. The parts I disliked and the parts that I enjoyed.
There were no direct flights from London to Seychelles on the day I flew. This would have made everything so much easier.
I did make a few mistakes but also wasted my time. I generally like Emirates, they are a clean and efficient airline that generally look after there passengers. There seats are roomy which is key to a long haul flight.
Organise your apps in one travel friendly place. I had eurostar, Oiugo, Emirates all in one box on my iphone. I also printed everything out and get it in my nice orange travel wallet so i didn’t loose anything.
I took the train down to Gatwick and decided to book my lounge with LoungeBuddy . This was the first time using this app and I thought I would treat myself. Everything went wrong, the wrong time, their stupid 1 hour window ( no, I paid for it it should start when I get there unless you have over booked). It took me over an hour for online check in bag drop.
Pretty sure this is the longest I have ever had to wait. I wasn’t impressed with how slow it was. Yes a few people went over there 30k allowance I was very fearful I was one of them. My case was jam packed with my sisters clothes. But I had weight it about 20 times to make sure I was under.
I didn’t want to pay any fees.
So I get to the lounge where the food was lousy but the amaretto kept me in good stead. I made sure I made that £40 for 1 hour count ( my bad judgement with the times not LoungeBuddy fault). Bad timing on my part but never mind, I was hoping to spend a bit longer there.
Emirates decided to sit me next to a little baby, who luckily was a perfect angel for the whole trip. She liked to hold my arm and press the screen buttons on her side and only started to cry as we landed.
After no sleep I felt like crying myself!
Then I got to Dubai and I felt a flutter of panic- I had an hour to get to my next flight and the air steward just smiled at me sympathetically rather than offering to help me in any way.
It turns out I had about 10 minutes to spare and the airport staff where laid out to help people like me who looked lost. I had no time for a toilet stop or to grab some food which was find by me.
Now on for my next flight. I had a massive selection of movies to watch and a book to read so I didn’t need company for this. The food wasn’t bad. My favourite thing is always the cheese and crackers anyway! Plus at the end of the flight I was met by my family which is just the best thing ever.
My tip is that as great as technology is always have a multi travel plug so you adapt to each country without needing a million plugs. But don’t rely on it, take a book! No one steals books, you can leave it on the beach, on your chair no one will take it. Books don’t need charging you can read it when the announcements are on. A book will never let you down. A note book is also helpful.
I don’t travel without my bullet journal.
So after 10 days I was back on the plane heading for Dubai then Paris. Obviously I didn’t want to leave but I was looking forward to seeing my mum.
Alcohol and Emirates
Now don’t forget I am travelling alone a women in an arab country. A women who likes to drink and I heard the story about the mother who was arrested for being drunk on the plane. As the airline gave her the booze I am not sure how they judge her but they did. She was separated from her daughter and arrested.
It kind of freaked me out so I didn’t drink on my leg to Dubai but once I was on the Paris leg I was on the gins and wine with my food.
It may sound over cautious but lets face it. I don’t like to put myself in situations and the Arab nations have very strict alcohol / sexist issues.
So I didn’t put myself in any situation.
When you are by yourself, you have to make decisions and get your self around. With two people you get to discuss it and make your dicison together.
Two heads aren’t always better than one.
A wee bit of panic
Then when I got to CharlesDe Gaul I had to find the shuttle bus. There was no trains to Angouleme after 8 so I had to wait till 7am the next day.
I bought my train ticket for 15 euros and my easy hotel was 33 euros which is cheaper than the later train. Getting to the shuttle was a bit of a nightmare, the exit marked as shuttle wasn’t the right one. I ended up walking round in circles for twenty minutes assuring myself I could work this out.
The shuttle part at exit 3 was dark and dingy with lifts straight out of horror movies, so I took the stairs.
Shuttle driver was super friendly hotel was super basic but for 33 euros a night I cannot complain. Bed was comfy and shower worked fine. I knew I was getting up early so I had a quick shower then hit the hay.
I slept in the middle of the bed…heaven!
The shuttle dropped me off at the train station the next day and the French efficacy was out of this world. The train station tells you where the carriage would stop. The carraiges where clean and tidy and took me just over 3 hours to get to Angouleme where my mum was waiting. France was hotter than Seychelles so I enjoyed a week of sunbathing, eating and yes you guessed it drinking red wine. My suitcase was filled with champagne on the way home, so not so shabby.
My train to Lille was clean and an old French man who lived in Australia propositioned me to be his new wife. We talked about Australia, food ( he was impressed by my baguette in my bag). My decision to be child free, red belly black snakes and that he still works even though he is in his 70s. He invited me to come visit him in Queensland and it was pleasant if somewhat awkward journey!
Then I had to walk through Lille. Here was probably the only time I wish I wasn’t alone. There were a lot of Ne’re do wells around. Watching the tourists like hawks. One purposely bumped into me and I just kept walking. The police were around, just not in that area and it was the only time I felt slightly threatened. I just kept focusing on getting to the Eurostar.
If you come out of Lille station just turn right and follow the pavement you can go under the bridge an its all laid out for you. It isn’t the best signposted but it is just a short walk to it.
Eurostar was just another train but it was quick. I could wait to see Gavin. He met me at a bar in Liverpool street and we ate and drank then went home to the fur babies.
Travelling alone is fine. I have always and will continueto always do it. But travelling with a friend or partners is also good.