‘With a Gap like that between your front two teeth Laura, you are born to travel!’, something my Nan said to me when I was age 13 and I’ve never forgotten it. Okay, so after some well spent money on dental work, I no longer have the gap, but 23 years later I’ve certainly travelled a great deal. As one of the main presenters of Channel 4’s A Place in The Sun, (a show I have been part of for 8 years) and, as a travel writer for several well-known publications, I now spend at least 2 weeks a month overseas. When my children were born in 2013 and 2015, they started joining me on my travels when they were both 4 weeks old. They have been lucky enough to see far flung destinations like South Africa and Sri-Lanka to name but a few, but now my son is of school age, I’m pretty much travelling solo again – well at least during term time.
My first big solo adventure, was an ‘Around the World’ trip back in 2004 age 22. I had a 3-month filming break from a Children’s TV show I was involved in (‘Fun Song Factory’ for ITV), and I’d just split up with my then boyfriend. What better way to keep busy than to go travelling? My friends and family were concerned for my safety when I told them I was going alone but I promised them I would keep in regular contact and I did. What surprised me most was just how many other people I met were doing the same, I didn’t have to travel solo if I didn’t want to. As I made friends in one of my favourite youth hostels at the time ‘Gilligans’ in Cairns, Australia, my travel plans changed and I found myself travelling onwards to Fiji then LA, with a spontaneous road trip to Las Vegas. This was probably one of the best experiences of my life and I certainly made some friends for life.
In my early twenties, I ‘grew up’ a great deal travelling alone. I felt free and inspired meeting so many different people from all walks of life and learning about so many different cultures. I found a love for eating and cooking Thai Food, and I pushed myself to do things I never believed I would do like sleeping in the rainforest and jumping out of aeroplanes. Now when I travel solo I am still hugely inspired and I listen to a lot of music. I love using the time to dream about what else I would like to achieve in my life and where I’d like to go next. My phone is full of photographs of places I have travelled to. I love looking back on them and seeing all the wonderful memories I am making.
“The World is a book and those who do not travel do not read” is now one of my favourite quotes and my Nan was certainly right I was born to travel. If you are thinking about booking a solo trip DO IT! What are you waiting for?
Travel ideas for 2019
If you are looking to travel solo to long-haul destination this year why not consider Costa Rica or Cuba? I found a cheap All- Inclusive deal to Cuba which was actually a more affordable option than just a return flight to Havana. I checked in to the hotel but didn’t stay. Instead I went exploring for two weeks. It’s always worth looking for deals like this.
For a short haul adventure, the ‘Find a trip in One Tap’ button on the Easyjet app is a great way of finding a deal on a budget to a destination you might have not considered. You simply enter the amount you want to spend, and the app puts together flight and accommodation options for you.
My Solo Travel Tips
If you are going on an ‘Around the World’ Trip, book your outbound flight and your return flight from your final destination, but don’t book too many other flights in between. You can plan your route but give yourself some flexibility because if you meet people along the way you might want to change your plans and travel somewhere you hadn’t considered.
Take a body belt bag, to carry your passport and bank cards and don’t carry too much cash. When it comes to bank cards be mindful that card cloning when travelling is common so be travel savvy when using your bank card.
Get a battery charger pack for your mobile phone and always keep it charged.