The best and worst part of Europe is that everywhere feels so accessible after growing up in a country where the states are the size of most countries.
The “best” part is easy to understand: Closer together = easier traveling, see the world, you get the gist.
|Dulce Carolina, a traditional País Vasco treat|
|The Nervión River in the city, taken on a solo trip to Bilbao, Spain|
|The Zubizuri pedestrian bridge in Bilbao|
The “worst” part is subtler. It doesn’t rear its ugly head until your bank account starts hurting halfway through your time abroad. Suddenly you must prioritize your trips (accept this fact: seeing all of Europe in 1-2 semesters is impossible), and at some point your priorities will differ with those of your new friends. When this happens, don’t freak out. Although I’ve learned I prefer traveling with friends, I’ve had some amazing trips on my own as well. With planning and the right mindset, your solo trips can be absolutely incredible. So, without further ado, here are three tips for your solo travels.
|On your own, you're free to wander when taking in the city.|
Go with a plan
When you’re traveling with other people, there’s an almost tangible energy keeps everyone excited and motivated regardless of inconveniences. When traveling on your own, it’s easier for factors like exhaustion, loneliness, or frustration to squish that happy buzz. I’ve found making an outline of places I want to see, food I want to try, things I want to do helps keep me energized, even without others around me, because I’m excited for everything still to come! I’m not saying plan out every second (please don’t), but plan out the big things that you feel will make the trip really special.
Hostels are your friends
I’m almost certain all my favorite “solo” trip memories are related to a hostel. I like to search out ones with kitchen access so I can cook my own meals, and often I have found myself in the midst of a spontaneous group meal. Mingle around when you see people sitting to have a drink or talking about trying a new restaurant or museum. Most everyone is there to see new places and meet new people, so it’s the perfect way to meet friends from all over the world!
|I spent the day in the Guggenheim with some new friends from the hostel.|
|Christmas bread from a holiday market was the perfect cure for a touch of loneliness my first day in Bilbao.|
Inevitably a bus will break down, a flight will be cancelled, or your lodgings will be… eh. Traveling is never perfect, but some trips just go way smoother than others. That’s okay. Remember the best trips give you warm memories, and the bad trips give you stories that you’ll laugh about ~eventually~. What’s more, within each trip you’ll have good and bad days as well. Have a go-to playlist, favorite book, or movie on hand, allow yourself to pause and reset, and then move on.
Megan V. is the Fall 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Granada, Spain. She is currently a Junior studying Political Science and Spanish at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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