Solo travel and hostel apprehension

Heading off towards the sunrise in Oslo, Norway.

Heading off towards the sunrise in Oslo, Norway.

Tomorrow I will be heading east to Copenhagen, Denmark then on Sunday be moving on to Malmo, Sweden. Although I am used to travelling, this one will be a little different as I will be trying a couple of new things out.

The first and most prominent aspect of my trip is solo travel. I’ve been to many places so far on my travels, but I’ve always had a companion with me. Whether family member or friend, I’ve never done so much as boarded a plane on my own and it will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

I’m not really all that nervous about going it alone. Being quite independent, I know that I am both organised and wise enough to make sure that the trip goes to schedule and that I don’t get waylaid.

But, naturally, I am slightly apprehensive. Yes, there are a few reservations that I have about both travelling alone and doing another thing that I’ve never done before – stay in a hostel.

I’ve tried Airbnb before, and I am used to staying in hotels with ratings right across the spectrum, but staying in a hostel is still foreign to me.

I suppose anything can go wrong with travel and it all boils down to whether you are unlucky to get off scot-free every time. There are a number of things I have considered and that have run through my mind ahead of this trip. Here is a selection of those very thoughts.

Will everything go to plan?


This is never really a worry for me. I am quite meticulous when it comes to planning my trips and travel. I make sure to do plenty of research and make an itinerary so that I have an idea of where we are going, what we are doing and when we are going to do it.

But I always maintain a stance of flexibility because one of the great things about travel is spontaneity. I always allow plenty of time for each thing so that if anything else happens, we’ll be able to shuffle the schedule to provide the opportunity to reschedule whatever has been missed out on.

Will my belongings be safe in a hostel?


This is my biggest worry. I honestly can’t decide whether or not to take my laptop with me, although I’ll probably bite the bullet so that I can eat into some of my workload when I’m there.

Apparently, there are lockers in the rooms and a storage room for luggage too big for the lockers in the hostels and I have read good things with regards to hostel safety. It’s just always going to be something in the back of my mind over the duration of the trip.

If anything happens, I’m on my own


Two things that are important to remember when going away are the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and travel insurance. If I need to actually use either of those things, which is something that has never happened to me before, I am on my own.

This could present a problem, but then it could also be problematic if I went away with someone else and we were both hospitalised. If it happens, it happens.

And even if I encounter some other trouble, Denmark and Sweden are two of the most trustworthy nations in the world in my mind, and no doubt I would be able to get help if I needed it.

The practicality of staying in a hostel

Image credit:    Steve Uhrich   /   Flickr

Image credit: Steve Uhrich/Flickr

So staying in a hostel will entail sleeping in a shared room with several other people and sharing a bathroom with others as well.

I have no problem using the same facilities as everyone else, as it’s something that occurs daily at university. But there could be some impracticality with regards to going for a shower and keeping my belongings secure. Do I take my electronics into the shower cubicle with me? Or will it be fine in my locker? That’s something I’ll have to figure out at the time.

There’s also the worry of annoying people with alarms and/or snoring. I’m not a notorious snorer or anything, but I know that many people are light sleepers and I would like to think that I won’t wake anyone up in the night. But with an early morning alarm, there’s little I can do. People are just going to have to put up with it, and I hope they understand.

Not sharing memories with someone


One obvious advantage of having a travel buddy is that you are creating memories together. I find a lot of value in the history of places, and I love visiting destinations and finding out reams of information about them so that cushions the blow, as it were. But it would probably be better if there was someone to share the experience and the laughs with.

However, everything isn’t bad. I really am looking forward to the trip and there are some positives to going alone.

I only have myself to consider

Having someone with you isn’t a liability, but sometimes it would be nice to move at my own pace, which is probably a lot faster and less leisurely than most people would enjoy.

I can eat what I want when I want, go to attractions in the order which I deem best and if I want to pop back to the hostel for a quick nap at an opportune moment, I can do that, too.

It’s also a work trip


One of the purposes for my trip to Copenhagen (and Malmo) is for one of my university assignments. I’m also treating it as an opportunity to generate some content for my blog.

This means that I will want to be speaking to different people, and using my laptop in the little spare time I’ll probably have. If I was with someone else, this would definitely be more difficult.