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Jackies Blog

Solo in the city

Published 23.11.14 · ·

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Next week I’m travelling to London for a little trip. I’ll be doing some shopping, probably take in a show, I’ll visit Somerest House to watch the skaters and I’ll travel to Holland Park to have dinner at Julie’s. And just for a giggle I’ll follow the MIC route and check out some new member bars I want to feature on my blog.

Although I’ve never been before, I’m excited to try The Shangri-La Hotel's GŎNG cocktail bar on the 52nd floor of The Shard.  And no trip to London would be complete without a visit to the food hall at Harrods.  So what’s the big deal you might ask? Well, I’ll be doing all these things solo! Yip, on my tod, da solo, (including the private members bars) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s nothing to do with being single or being anti social, I have always enjoyed travelling alone and I’m definitely not antisocial. But here’s the thing, there is nothing nicer than dancing to your own tune, totally selfishly pleasing yourself for a couple of days. Some days I’ll leave my hotel at 8.00am and not return until well after midnight. I might have eaten once, twice or not at all (unlikely though), I might have been to four locations, three, or just one, but it doesn’t matter, because I only have myself to please.  Last year I entered Selfridges at 10.00 am and didn't leave until 6pm having had coffee, lunch, drinks and dinner. From the outside this might sound extremely boring, but not to me. Over the course of those 8 hours I purchased a bag I’d been saving for all year long, attended a cookery demonstration, somehow blagged my way into a champagne launch, got to meet with the designers who create my favourite stationery in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, and just to round it off I sat for 2 whole hours in the cocktail lounge documenting my exciting day in my brand spanking new Ordening & Reda journal I purchased that day. Phew!  Can’t image anyone I know willing to do all that.


But, I appreciate that not everyone is comfortable travelling and mingling on their own, especially women. So with that in mind I thought I’d share a few useful trips for travelling alone.

  • Research the area before you travel.
  • Okay, so security is paramount when you’re travelling alone, but seriously, don’t become paranoid and spoil your trip. If you’re really that nervous, as soon as you enter an airport, restaurant, museum etc, just clock someone who you feel you could turn to should the unlikely occur (but it won’t).
  • Do as the locals do, avoid drawing unwelcome attention to yourself.
  • My theory on travelling alone is to be relaxed. If you’re flustered and panicky you’ll likely attract the wrong kind attention, best to look confident and together (even if you’re not feeling it).
  • At the airport, check in your bags as soon as you can and fingers crossed for an upgrade. If you’re free of baggage you’ll automatically feel more relaxed. If you’ve bagged yourself an upgrade then head straight to the busines lounge and knock yourself out.  If your travelling economy I suggest you find a coffee shop or some other public (but not too busy) place, that’ll make you feel less conscious.
  • Have something to read. If in the unlikely event you attract unwanted attention you can avert your eyes and read. Making eye-contact or smiling can be interpreted as a sign of encouragement in some countries. Be polite, but reserved.
  • Have a rough (very rough) itinerary for your day and make sure you know how to get there and back. A few years ago I’d been to see Peter Pan at a theatre on London’s South Bank, took a wrong turning and got totally lost. And I mean LOST. I ended up beneath some bridge surrounded by homeless people. By the grace of God, one of them showed me the way out and actually walked me to where I could hail a taxi. I have never done anything as ridiculous again.
  • Stay sober and NEVER leave a drink unattended.

By using common sense, making smart decisions, and above all else, having confidence in yourself and your ability to travel on your own, you'll be rewarded with rich experiences — and great stories to tell your friends.

Happy Travelling 

Thanks for reading, Jackie.

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