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My first experience of solo travel in my 30s

Solo trip to Aberdeen
The photos in this post were taken as part of a press trip but this post was not part of that collaboration.

Solo travel isn't something I ever thought was for me. I guess I've 'travelled' alone many times. To Istanbul each year since I was a child, Singapore and back, European cities to visit expat friends and even to Australia from the UK a few years ago. However, someone always met me at the other end and the only solo portion was the journey, which was fine.

I have never even had a weekend away completely on my own, other than for work, but that doesn't really count as I'd be meeting colleagues for meals and social activities. I just didn't think it was for me. When I was a lot younger I'd actually feel sorry for people travelling alone, thinking 'what a shame, have they not got anyone to go with?!'

Then as I got to my 30s, I started to really enjoy following the adventures of inspiring solo travellers. Bloggers such as The Wandering Quinn, and While I'm Young who thought nothing of spending quality time with themselves made me think: am I actually missing out here? Their experiences certainly didn't sound like they had nobody to go with, or that they had a sad time on their own, in fact it looked absolutely liberating!

It was around my 32nd birthday last October that I just decided that I was going to travel solo before my next birthday, and promised myself I'd do it in some shape or form. I knew it probably wouldn't be anywhere too far away, just in case I really did hate it, but I felt like I owed myself some quality 'me time' and to see if solo travel was as good as they say.

Spoiler: I loved it!
Aberdeen university

Visiting Aberdeen on my own

In August this year I was approached by Visit Aberdeenshire to work with them on a press trip, on my own, to visit Aberdeen from Newcastle. This was it! The solo travel gods had heard me and sent this opportunity. I had to double-check they definitely meant me, but then I soon jumped at the opportunity and got very excited / scared for my first ever completely solo trip. You can read all the details about what I got up to here if you are interested:

I learnt so much about myself and the way I travel from this trip so I thought I would share my experience of solo travelling for the first time in my 30s, as it may be something you're intrigued about but have never done before. I have previously written about why travelling over 30 is different and thought it was about time I talked about solo travel in your 30s.

Solo travel in my 30s- flight alone
I loved spending the flight up to Aberdeen blogging to my heart's content

Why travel solo in your 30s though?

I guess many of you reading this might have a partner and / or a family in your 30s and the idea of solo travel either sounds like something you'd never want to do, or perhaps couldn't do because of commitments. Whilst I totally get that I also think it's really healthy to spend time alone even if you're settled down!

You might be somebody reading this who doesn't always have a pal to go away with but there are places you'd love to see that nobody else is bothered about (e.g. I am desperate to go to Vienna and my partner just isn't fussed). Or perhaps you are sick of going away with that friend who always gets too drunk and doesn't want to sight-see. Maybe solo travel is actually your calling but you've never given it a go, imagine that!

It's important never to let anyone or anything hold you back, and I absolutely love the quote my friend Claire sent me the other day when we were talking about solo travel:

'If you wait for someone to travel with you then you might wait a lifetime'

With this in mind I am so glad I had my first solo mini-break and I can definitely see others on the horizon! I thought I'd run through some of the main worries I had about travelling solo and what my first experience of solo travel was like, in my 30s, and hopefully it will help those of you that have considered it yourself.

Cute Stonehaven houses and a cat
I loved having ages to take in cute houses and cats!

Eating in a restaurant alone

I actually got used to this when I lived in Singapore last year as although I was living out there with my partner, I often dined out alone during the day when I worked in the city centre. However, I've always stuck to more 'touristy' and less formal restaurants, so when I read my Aberdeen itinerary and it included a solo fancy steakhouse visit I was a little nervous.

It was actually completely fine. The first few minutes were a bit tricky as it was full of couples and I felt like people were looking at me, then I soon realised they actually weren't at all and they were far more bothered about the steak in front of them than the fact I was alone.

As I relaxed into the evening I genuinely had a really nice time. I didn't have my phone out and actually savoured the food so much more than I would have done had I been with company. I even ordered dessert which is so unusual for me (and had to go straight back to my room as the food coma was severe!)

Looking after admin alone

I like to think of myself as fairly 'worldy wise', but I do have my moments, and it's nice to have a travel companion to share the travel admin with. There are two phone alarms to set, two bags to keep tickets in, two brains to remember that flight time, etc. I guess I am used to looking after myself when it comes to taking plane journeys and the like, but it was a bit more of a big deal having an entire weekend alone and working out public transport. 
This trip was in the UK as well, so without any language barrier. Huge respect to those of you who travel solo abroad which is next on my list! Whilst it can be a little bit worrying having only yourself to rely on for the admin of you trip, it's also good to feel independent and proud when you manage to navigate your way to the city from the airport or stumble across an amazing restaurant that you found yourself. It takes some organisation but doesn't need to be a scary part of your first solo trip!

Solo travel in my 30s- empty streets of Aberdeen

Staying in a hotel as a solo female

I have added the female here, as I can't ignore the fact that as a female I do have some extra concerns when staying in a hotel room, alone. I was a little worried about safety as when we are travelling in a couple, generally my partner would answer any random knocks at the door, but nothing happened at all. I actually massively loved this aspect of the trip! 

Having a huge bed to myself was such a luxury and I could scroll my phone to my heart's content without disturbing someone next to me. Absolute bliss if you ask me. I loved the fact my hotel had a breakfast buffet with even hot food being a 'help yourself' set up. This made eating breakfast alone very comfortable as I didn't even have to speak to anyone if I didn't want to.

Having nobody to talk to

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I talk a lot. I am naturally sociable and love to chat to new people, so I was worried that being away on my own would feel very lonely. I was sure there'd be times I would crave conversation. What surprised me about this was how quickly I adapted! 

I had some nice conversations with staff in the hotel and in different restaurants, but overall I really enjoyed a weekend of less conversation to really clear my head. I'd recommend taking a good book, or a podcast to listen to to avoid mindlessly scrolling your phone, but overall this was completely fine for me.

Solo travel in my 30s- Brewdog beer

Drinking alone in a pub

This was never something I thought I would do but part of my trip was to go beer tasting in Brewdog. I was a little nervous heading there as I don't normally drink beer and worried what people would think of me in the pub, alone, on a Saturday afternoon. It was actually really fun! I never thought I'd have enjoyed that but honestly it felt like one of the most liberating things I've done. A friend in Singapore told me how she took herself out for a solo glass of prosecco in the afternoon if she fancied it, and yes! I get it now! Don't worry I'm not going to suddenly hang out at my local pub on my own every night but I would certainly never say never to doing that again.

I always like to write balanced blog posts so I am trying to think of the negative aspects of my trip. I guess sometimes if something funny happened, or I saw a really nice sight, I felt like I wished I could've shared that experience with someone. I don't think solo travel will ever replace a trip with friends or family for me personally, but I am mega proud that I've done it. That might sound daft to seasoned solo travellers but it really isn't something I thought I'd ever do and it's a huge bucket list tick that I am chuffed about.

I hope you've enjoyed this little taster into my experience of solo travel in my 30s, and it has inspired you to consider it yourself if it isn't something you've done before. I don't have another solo trip booked yet, but I will definitely blog about it when I do. Meanwhile, that girl sipping a beer flight on her own in the corner of Brewdog Newcastle, yeah, it's probably me...

Solo travel in my 30s- selfie on the plane


  1. I love this post, I'd love to travel on my own but I don't have the balls to do anything on my yet aha. I'd also love to go to Vienna but my partner isn't bothered too I'm trying to persuade my best friend to come with me.

    1. Thanks Michelle I am glad you enjoyed reading it. I was the same, it was only this opportunity presenting itself that kind of forced me into it! I am so glad though, it really opened my eyes. That's so interesting that your partner is the same, I think it looks incredible! Melis x

  2. I loved this post! Solo travel is so great and I'm glad you enjoyed it :) I always feel a lot more reassured with another person who will figure out which train to take or make sure we have tickets... but it's a great feeling knowing you can do it all on your own! <3

    1. Thanks so much Maja. I am glad you enjoyed it! Totally agree. That was probably the part I was most nervous about but it worked out well so would definitely do it again. Melis x

  3. LOVE THIS!!!! I started getting far more comfortable with doing things on my own when I was living in London - it was so easy there to do things like go to the cinema, theatre or dinner on your own without people even looking at you. Before I met Simon I once took myself out for the evening and did cinema and dinner and to this day I still say it was the best date I ever went on!

    I've never been brave enough to solo travel yet but I'd love to go give it a go. Simon and I have a great time when we go away together but we are so different and I think when you're travelling with someone else, even if it's someone you get on with so well, you do still have to compromise. I'm never going to find someone who wants to spend hours photographing buildings, eat stupid amounts of food and go on long hikes so travelling solo is probably the best kind of trip!

    I might make it my 2020 resolution to give it a go, I quite fancy Manchester on my own - I love the city but never get to explore it properly when I'm with other people!

    1. Ahh thanks Chloe. I can imagine it is easier to feel anonymous (in a good way!) in a bigger city. In the small area where I grew up there is no way I'd ever go out eating alone, would be so nervous about running into someone I know. That sounds so lovely taking yourself out on a date! I did love having as much time as I wanted to take photos and hover around pretty buildings :) yes! Do it! The UK is definitely a good start. I'm next contemplating going to Vienna on my own in summer 2020! X

  4. One of my old work friends always travelled on her own and she really enjoyed and went to some amazing places, she went on everything from Spanish package holidays to walking the great wall of China. If I didn't have the kids I would love to travel on my own as I bet it is lush not having to please other people and to go at your own pace x

    1. I always thought 'why would anyone choose to do that?!' but I feel like I get it now! It was so much fun. I'm not saying I'd always choose to go away alone, but it is very freeing. Oh yes, that is definitely the best part! Melis x

  5. Travelling solo is the best isn't it, and no where near as scary as you first think.


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