All By Myself
To be honest traveling alone was something I thought I would never do. Especially while I was abroad where nothing is familiar. I'd have no one else to rely on, I'd have to eat meals alone, interact with strangers, and ask other people to take pictures of me.... not something that seemed exciting to me.
However. Since I found out I was going to be studying abroad I've had 2 must-see things on my list: The Harry Potter Studio Tour (which readers will know I already checked off) and The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales. I felt sure I could find a fellow Whovian to join me on this wondrous journey but sadly I found none. (To be fair I'm sure they are out there but I traveling with random people was even lower on my to do list than traveling alone.) That left me with just two possibilities, go alone or don't go at all. And, after a little convincing from my cousin, I went. And I happened to learn a few things as well. So here are my do's and don'ts for traveling alone.**
Do take walks around the city/town/wheverever you are. Walking is a great way to discover the city, its free and chances are you'll find some hidden gems.
Don't be afraid to ask. People are generally helpful. If you need directions ask a bus driver, or go to the information desk at a train station or airport. If you want your picture taken ask someone; it's your memory and if a selfie just isn't good enough, there will be someone around to help. [Tip: ask a parent, they are already used to taking pictures of their kids so they won't mind taking one of you.] Its okay to look like a tourist every once in awhile.
Do stay in a hostel. Now I know this isn't for everyone, and it's definitely important to make sure its safe and highly rated, but it's cheap and you will probably have some human interaction compared to being in a hotel room by yourself. With that being said...
Don't say no when people ask you to play Monopoly. Try and make friends or at least meet some interesting people, so don't say no to something that will help you get to know others.
Do give yourself plenty of mess-up time when you travel. I learned this from my mom and its true when traveling in a group but even more so when you are by yourself. Trains, planes, and buses are always getting delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. Make sure you have a back up plan incase something is delayed or you get stuck somewhere.
Don't eat at chains (for every meal). I know it's comforting to eat somewhere you know when you are in an unfamiliar city but try a local place! All it takes is a quick Google to find out about some good ones. However, if there is a Pizza Express close to wherever you are that's a good option too ;)
Do it! You won't regret it. Don't let fear of doing something alone keep you from having that experience.
** Disclaimer: I am far away from being an expert on this, having only done it once and only for a night. These are just the few things I thought about my small little journey.