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Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
Loving life on my first solo trip to Bruges

My first solo travel experience in Bruges, Belgium

As my desire to travel more-often grew over the last few years, I was confronted with the need to solo travel - My friends simply didn't share the same interest or passion for travel, or had other commitments that took priority. Therefore to make the most of the money I had saved I booked a solo trip to Bruges. Since booking the trip in November 2013, to experiencing it in March I have had so many emotions, thoughts and concerns - It really has been a crazy time. I'm sure everyone who has travelled alone has thought about some of the things below!


The biggest consideration for me was safety - Obviously travelling with friends or in a group means you have safety in numbers - There is someone to have your back, someone to give a second opinion, someone to watch your bag while you take a dump. When travelling alone you don't have that safety net - It's literally you and your own wits. Whilst in Bruges I can honestly say that I never felt unsafe - I appreciate that it's considered one of the safer European cities, however I believe that following some simply steps helped me:

  • Keep your money and passport with you at all times
  • Make sure you know your travel plans inside out i.e. timetables and destinations
  • If you are unsure of something, double check!
  • If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, get out of it
  • Carry as little as possible when sight-seeing (I had my camera, wallet & passport)
  • Try and look as un-touristy as possible
  • Walk with confidence and a smile
  • Do some research on the area/city you are visiting beforehand
Solo boat trip on the canals of Bruges!

How my friends/family reacted

The second biggest issue for me was not loneliness, but the reaction from my family and friends – I knew deep down that my family in particular would not think solo travel was a good idea and I was bloody right! They protested heartily and lambasted me with reasons why not to go – Being lonely, getting lost, getting robbed or murdered etc (They steadily got more gruesome and macabre!).

At the end of the day, you have to make your own choices and decisions in life – However if you are undertaking solo travel you also have to understand that your loved ones will worry, therefore I believe you should make every effort to calm their fears; I did the following:

  • Give your family the full travel itinerary
  • Try and make contact periodically to let them know you are ok
  • Let them know what kind of things you will be doing

It may seem like overkill, but doing the above will go a long way to ease your loved ones fears – You don't have to go into excruciating detail, or make contact every hour of the day – Just do enough so they know you are safe!

Enjoying a Bruges Zot beer at the Halve Moon Brewery Delicious waffle with chocolate sauce and ice cream omg Having a drink with fellow traveller Jonny from Northern Ireland


Being lonely was actually the least of my concerns – I generally enjoy other peoples company however I don't mind being on my own at all! It was actually brilliant to walk around at my own pace without worrying about what someone else wanted to; I could go where I wanted, eat at what restaurants I wanted, admire a sight for as long as I wanted – Do whatever the bloody hell I pleased! I can honestly say it was liberating just enjoying my own company and worrying about number one!

To ensure I still had human contact and didn't become a recluse, I spent my nights in the hostel bar – It was a perfect environment and I got talking to someone different each night! I am not the most outgoing of people, however I was really pleased with the effort I made to interact with others and enjoyed getting to know the various characters at the bar – People are surprisingly open and talkative if you make the effort.

If you're considering solo travel don't hesitate!

After my first solo trip I am hooked and I will definitely be doing it again - I will be going to Antarctica on my own in November! If you have thought about solo travel but have reservations or worries, I hope my experiences will give you some confidence to go out and do it!

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