Solotravel tips

Learn a few words of the language in every country you visit

You’ll gain more respect from the locals if you can at least say hello, please, sorry, and thank you. On that note, remember: if you don’t speak the language, it’s your problem, not theirs. And please don’t start speaking louder to make yourself understood. Try miming instead, or using a translation app on your phone.

Take more photos of yourself

There have been so many times when I’ve been too shy to ask someone to take my photo in a place and I’ve almost always regretted it. After eight years of travel, I probably only have around 200 photos of me around the world. Photos of the beautiful places you visit are great and all, but when you get home, they’re not all that different to the ones everyone else has taken there, too. Photos with you in them are special and they’ll mean a lot more to you when you look back at them. Or maybe I’m just a narcissistic millennial.

Wear sunscreen every day

When you travel, you’re in the sun more than most people thanks to months of island-hopping and beach time, as well as entire days spent outside exploring. Wear sunscreen every single day, regardless of the weather and temperature, because you really don’t want your trip of a lifetime to result in skin cancer or a body that’s blanketed in leathery wrinkles. I wear sunscreen on my face and chest every day, even in the middle of winter.

Keep everything important in your daypack

I’m fortunate to have never had to deal with lost luggage, but I did have my backpack ripped open on a flight and I was grateful to have not had anything valuable in it at the time. I’ve also been on dodgy buses in Southeast Asia where we’ve arrived at our destination and people have had items stolen by someone hiding out in the luggage hold while we were transit. If there’s anything I’d be upset to lose, I keep it in my daypack, which is always by my side on travel days. For me, that’s my passport, laptop, camera, external hard drive, a debit card, and some spare cash. As long as I have all of these, I can survive indefinitely.

Carry around spare passport photos

People laughed at me when I said that I was carrying around a dozen spare passport photos, but they’ve been incredibly useful and saved me a ton of time and hassle. Who wants to wander the streets of some rural town in Cambodia searching for someone who can take your photo? Friends of mine had to do this! I’ve used them to apply for visas around the world, to get a new passport when mine expired while I was on the other side of the planet, and I even needed one to buy a local SIM card in Nepal! Having spares in my backpack meant that I didn’t have to waste a day researching and then wandering around a city to try to find someone who could take a passport-sized photo of me.

Travel insurance is everything

Seriously. If you do only one thing before you leave, make it getting travel insurance. I’ve heard far too many horror stories of travellers injuring themselves in remote places and ending up in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt. Don’t think that it won’t happen to you, because you know those travellers thought that, too. I’ve use World Nomads for my travel insurance provider for six years and recommend them to everyone I know. They were fantastic to deal with when making a claim.

Plan as little as possible

One of the first lessons I learned on the road was that your plans will nearly always change. You’ll arrive in a place and hate it and want to leave immediately, or you’ll fall in love with a destination and want to spend longer there. You’ll make friends with a group of awesome people and want to change your plans so you can travel with them for longer, or you’ll find out about an amazing-sounding town that’s nearby and want to head there instead. Sure, you should have a rough plan for your trip, but don’t book everything in advance or you’ll likely feel too restricted and end up regretting it. Book a one-way ticket and your first few nights of accommodation — you’ll figure the rest out along the way. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds. If you’re in a tourist destination there’ll always be someone who’s willing to take your money by giving you a place to stay.

Eat the local food

One of my biggest regrets from the first year of my travels was that I wasn’t brave enough to try any of the local food. I was raised a picky eater and that, combined with debilitating anxiety and an eating disorder, led to me believing that I would either hate or be allergic to anything I hadn’t tried before. I was so, so wrong. Food is now my absolute favourite way to get to know a place better. I love trying new things, and I’ve found a thousand amazing dishes that I never would have discovered if I’d continue to eat from supermarkets around the world. Trying new food isn’t scary, and you’ll build your confidence up as you fall in love with more and more things. Try everything, even if you have no idea what it is. I promise you won’t regret it. Or fall straight into anaphylactic shock.

Bring Snacks to Save Money

Disney food is expensive, and you may not want to eat every single meal and snack in the parks. You’re able to bring your own snacks into the parks as a method to save a little bit of money. There are some restrictions on what you can bring in like no coolers or alcohol, but most food is acceptable. Packing a few muffins for breakfast or granola bars to stop that midday hunger is a great way to save some money. Snacks are small and easy to pack, so you don’t have to worry about them taking up too much room in your Disney bag. With they money you’ve saved by bringing your own snacks rather than paying nearly $10 for popcorn, you’ll be able to splurge and have a nice lunch or dinner at a restaurant.

Take Advantage of Single Rider Queues

A few select attractions at Disneyland Paris have a single rider queue. Single rider queues are one of the best ways to make the most out of your time at Disneyland Paris. People from the single rider queue are used to fill empty seats that aren’t filled with people from the regular queues. For example, if the attraction seats two guests per row and there is a group of three, a person from the single rider queue will be seated next to third person in the party. Attractions that offer a single rider queue are:

  • Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain
  • RC Racer
  • Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop
  • Crush’s Coaster
  • Ratatouille: The Adventure You can easily save upwards of an hour by using the single rider queues. I’ve had multiple instances where I only waited 5 minutes in a single rider queue when the regular standby queue was over an hour. The downside to single rider queues is, of course, that you won’t be able to ride the attraction with your family. You don’t get to choose who you ride with or where you sit, so you have to be prepared to go wherever and whenever you’re told. Of all the Disneyland Paris tips on this list, using the single rider queue will save you the most time and allow you to ride the most attractions. You just have to decide whether it is important for you to ride with your group or not.