A Girl’s Guide to Travelling Solo

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Travel can be an exciting prospect, but I wonder how many of us have (or are willing to) dive in head first and travel around the world solo?

Since my recent layover in Paris, this thought has been playing on my mind. I didn’t exactly travel to Paris alone, but rather with 24 crew just like me, seeing as the Airbus is huge and there is practically an army of us on each flight! The layover, however, was a different story. I arranged to meet up with some other girls from the UK. They were running a bit late. Red flag number one for the day. After they arrived, the unanimous decision was to catch a taxi. Red flag number two for the day. I love, love, LOVE to catch public transport on my layovers (or even on holidays, much to James’ disgust). It is often the cheaper option, and whilst it takes a bit longer, it is the best way to immerse oneself in a new culture and country, to do it like the locals do! After we arrived in the city (and I very reluctantly parted with 15 or so Euros) it was time for some breakfast.

Again, I wanted to meander the streets of Paris and journey far, far away from all of the famous land marks as possible in order to feast on a true Parisian petit dejeuner. I had envisaged croissants, a chocolat chaude and a glass of orange juice with fresh jams and gorgeous butter. My traveling companions were feeling more like a bacon and egg Mcmuffin or similar. Don’t get me wrong, I like the odd Maccas run after a big night, but we were in PARIS! The fact that they wanted eggs made me want to cry! So after I found us a cafe where no one spoke English (this is when you know somewhere is good) and we had to rely on my long abandoned French, I was satisfied. Until they wanted to sit inside the cafe because they felt the weather was too cold. In Paris, in SUMMER! Perhaps living in Dubai has softened us all, and anything below 20 degrees is arctic, but I was wearing the least amount of clothing and could have happily sat on the pavement enjoying the cool breeze, something we are so often deprived of, as we live in the Middle East after all.

We went back to the Eiffel tower where they wanted to go up to the viewing deck and take in the views. Seeing as our allowance wasn’t too extravagant, I decided to give it a miss and we went our separate ways, after all the little red flags that had popped up, I figured it would be best to journey out on my own..after all there would be no one to please except myself! So here are my tips for travelling and exploring solo;

 

This is one of my favourite pictures, everything was just perfect and it captures the last few moments of summer!

This is one of my favourite pictures, everything was just perfect and it captures the last few moments of summer!

1. Take the Plunge 

This was the best decision I had made in a long time. After I walked away by myself, the sun came out and I wandered around near the Eiffel Tower just taking photos and soaking it all in. It was kind of nerve wracking at first, but it was worth it. The best part about asking fellow tourists to take pictures is that you will most likely never see them again, and so it doesn’t matter if you pose a bit here and there!

Posing like a pro!

Posing like a pro!

2. Be Prepared

As per my Rome post, it’s obvious that I’m not the best map reader, and when it comes to directions sometimes my guesses are a bit way-off. Ok a lot way off. But as long as you have a map, a calm mind and a bit of patience, there is nothing that asking a few locals won’t fix! The best place to get free maps from is obviously your hotel or hostel. If this is not an option for you, (like me, I forgot to grab a map before we left) then I recommend getting one off the Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour Stands (or on the bus itself) they are free, and even if you decide not to participate in the tour, the map is yours to keep!

I read my map, and made it to culinary heaven!

I read my map, and made it to culinary heaven!

3. Ask Questions

One of my weaknesses whilst travelling is perhaps not asking as many questions as I should. Information booths are there to be used!! Locals usually don’t mind answering stupid questions if you smile and look genuine. Being a girl usually helps, too 😉

I would not have been able to take this gorgeous shot of Notre Dame had I not gotten lost (and asked how to get back!)

I would not have been able to take this gorgeous shot of Notre Dame had I not gotten lost (and asked how to get back!)

4. Keep Calm!

After walking for a few minutes (ok 30) in the direction  I thought that was towards Notre Dame, I realised that  perhaps I didn’t exactly know where I was going after all. I stopped into a bistro, had a Croque Monsieur and asked the owner for directions. It turned out I was right around the corner, but I was starving and starting to get stressed, so the food and wifi were a welcome break for me to recharge before navigating the metro back to the hotel again. As it turned out, I bought a ticket, found the platform…and boarded the wrong train. Luckily, I realised before it was too late, so I simply hopped off, and hopped back onto the next one after consulting the board on the platform. The good thing about Europe is that most of the metro systems are easy to work out (if I can work them out then anyone can!)

Seeing this familiar land mark kept me from freaking out! Pont Neuf aka Love Lock Bridge

Seeing this familiar land mark kept me from freaking out! Pont Neuf aka Love Lock Bridge

5.  Trust Yourself 

Be your own best friend for a day, or a couple. Talk to yourself, listen to music, treat yourself. Trust your gut, if you don’t feel you should go down that deserted alleyway, then it’s probably not the best idea! Learn to listen to your body and what you want. If it’s one thing I’ve learnt from this job; if you’re hungry, EAT! If you feel tired, have a nap! Your body is the only place to live, so you should probably take care of it. I believe in being healthy and balanced, but I have a massive sweet tooth too. Just like food, travel is about balance. Do toursity things, see monuments…but also stop, people watch, soak up the atmosphere, the sights, smells and (of course) tastes of the new place you’re in! Life is short and precious and so why shouldn’t we?

Have a little faith in you!

Have a little faith in you!

I hope these tips will help/ inspire anyone who is thinking of travelling alone . The next time that I have days off, and no one is home or around, I think I will try these out again too! Happy wandering! xx

15 thoughts on “A Girl’s Guide to Travelling Solo

  1. McMuffins in Paris? That is just criminal. Sounds like you were better of wandering alone. And gorgeous photos by the way!

    Did you get to try the macarons? 😉

  2. Hi

    I love your blog its incredibly helpful in my preparation for whats to come. I’ll be attending the Openday on the 20th here in Cape Town 🙂

    Anyway, i may be jumping the gun abit, but I wanted to know what you would suggest are the essential items that you’d recommend to bring from home when you make your way to Dubai, Clothing, appliances, anything…

    Also, as i am assuming you only get your first paycheck once your training is completed, which is a month later? How much money would you suggest as a minimum to live comfortably in Dubai for any needs until you receive that first paycheck? In Dirhams.

    Thanks so so much! 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Layla,

      I’m glad that you are finding the posts useful, it’s a nice feeling to be able to help someone I’ve never met from somewhere I’ve never been! I hope to get a CPT flight soon 🙂 The most important thing for me was bringing my creature comforts. A few photos, books or trinkets you have in your room that are familiar and will bring you peace during the busy times ahead. Clothing wise you will need winter and summer gear, so try to pack a variety of both. It is almost always warm in Dubai so light items are a must. I have an Aussie extension board that I plug all of my appliances into from home (straightener, laptop charger, camera charger ext) and this can be helpful, just be sure to bring an adapter…but I think Africa and the UAE have the same sockets, from memory!

      Food makes me happy, so I bought some of my favourites that I knew would be expensive/ hard to find here. My favourite chocolates, Tim Tams, Quinoa, brown rice and oats sachets for flights and layovers. There are no strict regulations when bringing food into the UAE like in the UK, Australia or the states. You receive an advance when you arrive, and that is deducted from future pay checks. It is hard to say how much exactly (and I am not sure how your currency compares to mine) but a decent savings will be beneficial when you first join, in order to set yourself up and buy incidentals to make you more comfortable. You’re welcome, all the best!

  3. Hey,
    I was always wondering how would I be able to cope with some dificult crew on layovers, if I joied Emirates. It is logical, though, since everyone has differentp personalities…. How to recognize with whom t go to explore, and when its the best to be alone? Do you explore more in group or by yourself?

    • I can only speak personally when I say that I just try to get to know my colleagues on-board or in the briefing, and see if I “click” with anyone. If we have common interests and all want to explore then we just take it from there. I just feel it is best to be alone if you’d rather see and do as you please, if you have something in mind that no one else wants to see or if you just need time to yourself. Everyone has different personalities, but we are usually grouped with like minded people to make the work place more harmonious.

  4. So true! Travelling alone rocks! Just imagine how frustrated you’d be if you stayed with them. I wonder if I’ll have the strength to go my own way on layovers once I’m cabin crew…

    • You’re right, I don’t feel I would’ve enjoyed myself as much if I didn’t follow my instincts! I am sure you will, if you have the strength to secure a role that takes your far away from home discover a new life in a foreign country, it is a given that you will get used to/ love spending time on your own now and then. Layovers are no exception! Good luck 🙂

  5. I have been reading ur blog for a few days as I have been contemplating attending the next OD in Sydney. I had been invited to the last 3 but chickened out. The thought of leaving the comfort of my home and city is quite daunting. This post is so inspiring, everything you have said about travelling solo and not being afraid is spot on 🙂 thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!! Xx

    • First of all thanks for reading, and for enjoying Volare! Second of all, if you’ve been applying and researching the job, then that’s probably a sign that you’re interested! Chicken or not, you owe it to yourself to give it a try, what have you got to lose? I attended an open day that wasn’t even in my city, so that was a pretty big risk but in the end it all paid off! If you are lucky enough to get through, you don’t have to accept the offer anyway 😉 Wishing you the best of luck and lots of courage 😀 xx

  6. I loved this post! I have a big amount of amazing friends, but a time for enjoy my own comapny is always needed and welcome. Congratulations on being such a sweet and smart girl, I wish you the best. And I cant wait to experience all this wonderful places you visit and all this sweet moments. Take care! 🙂

  7. Hi Taylor! I’ve been reading your blog obsessively as I’m in the process of (hopefully) becoming a crew member! This is one of my favorite posts so far. I love your positive attitude and your fantastic photos. Best wishes!!!!!!

    • Hi Theresa, wow, congratulations on beginning the journey into the clouds, all the best!! Thank you for your kind words- my attitude isn’t always positive but it is far easier (and more constructive) to be positive and focus on the good things!! As for the photos they’re just a hobby 😉 good luck!! Hopefully you will be having your own adventures soon!!

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