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Gap year solo travel concerns/group travel?!/how to find people Watch

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    Hello guys, I've started this thread as an 18yo with little or no knowledge about solo travel, or travelling at all really, so please ignore any of my ignorance, its not on purpose, I promise!

    so to why we are all here, right?!

    i have been reading a lot of threads about travel, but can't find any clear cut answers to my concerns and fears about solo travelling. So below I will post a little about my background, my fears and opinions etc on travelling, and hope that for those reading while searching for similar answers to their concerns, it will provide some peace of mind and reassurance that we can indeed live the dream, we will see!

    so.. I'm 18, studying my a levels and decided to take a gap year in 2013/2014 before deciding that its time to go to university.

    target destinations include south east Asia, New Zealand, and train travel through china, Mongolia and Russia. Oh, and interrailing Europe too. Dream big, eh!

    so, why solo? At this moment in time, I have no one to travel with. None of my friends or anyone I know, at all, is planning to take a gap year. Yes I know, how boring, who would want to grow up?! So I am all alone as of this moment in time. Find people as you go, I hear you say. Well, yes. However I have absolutely no travel experience. And the whole big wide world thing, while exciting, is a little daunting on my own. So my plea is to those with experience, please provide your experiences on how you found travel buddies? I get along with virtually everyone, but I'm just afraid of starting off on my own! If you get what I mean.. How can I trust people who I've talked to online not to be Joseph fritzells?! Has anyone used a travel group or something? Can anyone recommend where to find like minded people? I'm not really up for volunteering, as far as I can see its paying to upgrade your cv and work like a dog, not for me, unless anyone has genuinely interesting volunteering projects you don't have to pay to take part in?

    im sure I will add more to this via edits and posts. Thanks for reading. Please share your experiences and advice! Much appreciated!
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    I want to know the same thing I'm nearly 18 and would like to go travelling for a couple of months in the summer before I go to uni but I don't know anyone who'd go with me, seems a bit scary going solo
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    (Original post by gemgemsx)
    I want to know the same thing I'm nearly 18 and would like to go travelling for a couple of months in the summer before I go to uni but I don't know anyone who'd go with me, seems a bit scary going solo
    Same, my friends want to go on a 'lads' holiday and haven't even considered travelling, and none are taking gap years so I'm sortof stuck. I think we should just take the plunge... Maybe haha. Where so you want to travel?
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    (Original post by Zappaz)
    Same, my friends want to go on a 'lads' holiday and haven't even considered travelling, and none are taking gap years so I'm sortof stuck. I think we should just take the plunge... Maybe haha. Where so you want to travel?
    maybe... question is am I brave enough lol I want to travel round europe mostly basically see as much of the world as I can fit into 3 months. I had considered a full gap year but I don't think I'll have the money
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    (Original post by gemgemsx)
    maybe... question is am I brave enough lol I want to travel round europe mostly basically see as much of the world as I can fit into 3 months. I had considered a full gap year but I don't think I'll have the money
    Cool, I definitely want to interrail around Europe, some friends cried off with 'I don't have enough money' or 'I'd rather party in maga for a week' but never really looked into travelling I'd be happy enough once I found my feet, but first few weeks solo at 18 would be pretty tough I imagine?! I'm working for 6 months and saving all my money from part time work to be able to travel. 3 months travel is still expensive, but its definitely affordable to travel for longer if you work for the first half of the year... I hope. Good luck anyway, hope it all works out and you find someone you know with similar interests. I think some people will change their mind and reapply for a different course or something, maybe I will find a travel mate then, we will see!
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    (Original post by Zappaz)
    Cool, I definitely want to interrail around Europe, some friends cried off with 'I don't have enough money' or 'I'd rather party in maga for a week' but never really looked into travelling I'd be happy enough once I found my feet, but first few weeks solo at 18 would be pretty tough I imagine?! I'm working for 6 months and saving all my money from part time work to be able to travel. 3 months travel is still expensive, but its definitely affordable to travel for longer if you work for the first half of the year... I hope. Good luck anyway, hope it all works out and you find someone you know with similar interests. I think some people will change their mind and reapply for a different course or something, maybe I will find a travel mate then, we will see!
    good luck you might find a travel buddie through this thead
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    (Original post by gemgemsx)
    good luck you might find a travel buddie through this thead
    Thank you. Hopefully! Haha. Have you tried the 'lets go interrailing 2013' thread? Seems legit and interrailing a cool way of travelling Europe. Good luck
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    well there's a thing called Couchsurfing (find out more here couchsurfing.org), it's a community of travelers around the world. When you travel to a new place, you can send requests to people living there asking for a place to stay. it's free of charge and and is a great chance to meet new people who have the same passion for traveling.

    When you don't travel, you can search for people living in the same location to meet up. There are quite a lot activities arranged by couch surfers in each location.

    I've tried it. It's great!!
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    Why not go traveling in solo? I mean I ve tried to travel on my own before. It s a joy that you can move to someplace that is really unfamiliar to you. I like to pave around some historical cities or climb the mountains in northeast china. You can meet a lot of people during a traveling. You can stay as long as you want. In lots of places in my country, the scenery is really good. And if you wanna to do some voluntary staffs, you can simply go to some small schools in poor places and be a teacher for a few days. I've done this before. It's really great. The child there are really cute. Surely you have to pay attention to some horrible things. If you come to China, just tell me, maybe I can lead you around.actually most of you guy don't understand china.


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    I found staying in hostels was the best place to meet people to go out places with. You might spend a day with one group and a day with another. Just get chatting and meet some new people and before you know it you'll be off with them. It's very easy to steer the conversation in the direction of their plans tomorrow and then 'oh hey, me too' and Bob's your uncle.

    On the safety front, just do your reading - have a plan of where you want to go and how you're going to get there to avoid getting stuck in shady places late at night etc.. Also, keep your wits about you with taxi drivers - best to avoid ones near airports/bus terminals as they prey on stupid tourists. Then, obviously - keep your important stuff locked away, get a padlock to use in hostels and keep copies of your passport/driving licence/other documents on an easily web accessible cloud storage or email it to yourself so you can at least provide copies which will be of help if everything else gets stolen. Do common sense things like not walking down a dark alley at night - things you would avoid anyway at home, don't lose that common sense just because you're away.

    Other than that, I think you'll be fine really - lots of people do lots of solo travelling and it's fine. When I solo travel (which is most of the time) then I like to stay at hostels and I find that's the best way to meet people.
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    Don't most people travel on their own anyway, especially when they're young?
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    (Original post by Zepploydath)
    Don't most people travel on their own anyway, especially when they're young?
    Not anyone i know personally, anyway. I think its kind of mixed, and i get the impression not many first time travellers go solo. I think maybe slightly older travers (around 25?) go solo more than those just out of school like me.
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    (Original post by hothedgehog)
    I found staying in hostels was the best place to meet people to go out places with. You might spend a day with one group and a day with another. Just get chatting and meet some new people and before you know it you'll be off with them. It's very easy to steer the conversation in the direction of their plans tomorrow and then 'oh hey, me too' and Bob's your uncle.

    On the safety front, just do your reading - have a plan of where you want to go and how you're going to get there to avoid getting stuck in shady places late at night etc.. Also, keep your wits about you with taxi drivers - best to avoid ones near airports/bus terminals as they prey on stupid tourists. Then, obviously - keep your important stuff locked away, get a padlock to use in hostels and keep copies of your passport/driving licence/other documents on an easily web accessible cloud storage or email it to yourself so you can at least provide copies which will be of help if everything else gets stolen. Do common sense things like not walking down a dark alley at night - things you would avoid anyway at home, don't lose that common sense just because you're away.

    Other than that, I think you'll be fine really - lots of people do lots of solo travelling and it's fine. When I solo travel (which is most of the time) then I like to stay at hostels and I find that's the best way to meet people.
    Thanks. Sounds cool, thats pretty much my plan at the minute, just head for the local bars and social areas close to hostels! haha. I generally have a good sense of orientation and some common sense so hopefully i can avoid scams etc. Im just apprehensive about getting there, hopefully will find my feet once out there! long time till i travel anyway!

    One problem is that in for some countries tighter on visas, such as russia and china, i think it will be harder to find solo travelers, and most people will have a set agenda due to the strictness of the visa and the countries authorities. So maybe i will travel to them last if i have met others by then or something.

    I guess my problem is i dont like loneliness, i crave social interaction aha

    Where are the best and worst places you have travelled to?
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    (Original post by Nonameguy14)
    well there's a thing called Couchsurfing (find out more here couchsurfing.org), it's a community of travelers around the world. When you travel to a new place, you can send requests to people living there asking for a place to stay. it's free of charge and and is a great chance to meet new people who have the same passion for traveling.

    When you don't travel, you can search for people living in the same location to meet up. There are quite a lot activities arranged by couch surfers in each location.

    I've tried it. It's great!!
    Thanks for the reply, just looked into this, it looks pretty cool! a great way to find other people with a passion for travel! awesome! I am a little bit wary though, going to a strangers house alone may take some time to get used to. Will definitely try to find more about coach surfers events when im out there, and then meet people that way! thanks!
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    (Original post by Lance liu)
    Why not go traveling in solo? I mean I ve tried to travel on my own before. It s a joy that you can move to someplace that is really unfamiliar to you. I like to pave around some historical cities or climb the mountains in northeast china. You can meet a lot of people during a traveling. You can stay as long as you want. In lots of places in my country, the scenery is really good. And if you wanna to do some voluntary staffs, you can simply go to some small schools in poor places and be a teacher for a few days. I've done this before. It's really great. The child there are really cute. Surely you have to pay attention to some horrible things. If you come to China, just tell me, maybe I can lead you around.actually most of you guy don't understand china.


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    Hopefully i will travel to china, although i think itll be difficult to find other travellers in china due to how strict the visa is in china. Everyone will be on routine every day, instead of going anywhere with new people! I am going to study Chinese next year, as i wont be in school and need something to keep my mind busy. So hopefully when i travel i will be able to understand Chinese.
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    (Original post by Zappaz)
    Thanks. Sounds cool, thats pretty much my plan at the minute, just head for the local bars and social areas close to hostels! haha. I generally have a good sense of orientation and some common sense so hopefully i can avoid scams etc. Im just apprehensive about getting there, hopefully will find my feet once out there! long time till i travel anyway!

    One problem is that in for some countries tighter on visas, such as russia and china, i think it will be harder to find solo travelers, and most people will have a set agenda due to the strictness of the visa and the countries authorities. So maybe i will travel to them last if i have met others by then or something.

    I guess my problem is i dont like loneliness, i crave social interaction aha

    Where are the best and worst places you have travelled to?
    The thing is that it's less likely for you to find someone to actually change country/city with when you're travelling. You're more likely just to find someone to hang out in the city with for a few days. Wouldn't worry about visas etc. on that front as it shouldn't make much of a difference. You'll be fine.

    On the orientation front - get a guide book/map and you'll get really good at orientating yourself quickly as you go along.

    The best place I ever went to was Macedonia, particularly Ohrid - so beautiful there. Can't really say that I have been disappointed by anywhere I've been to be honest. Happy traveller here!
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    (Original post by Zappaz)
    Not anyone i know personally, anyway. I think its kind of mixed, and i get the impression not many first time travellers go solo. I think maybe slightly older travers (around 25?) go solo more than those just out of school like me.
    Oh well, it's still very common to go travelling and gives you the freedom to do what you want to do, and you're going to make friends wherever you go anyway, whether that being locals or fellow travellers in hostels etc. so you'll end up going places with them sometimes anyway.
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    (Original post by hothedgehog)
    The thing is that it's less likely for you to find someone to actually change country/city with when you're travelling. You're more likely just to find someone to hang out in the city with for a few days. Wouldn't worry about visas etc. on that front as it shouldn't make much of a difference. You'll be fine.

    On the orientation front - get a guide book/map and you'll get really good at orientating yourself quickly as you go along.

    The best place I ever went to was Macedonia, particularly Ohrid - so beautiful there. Can't really say that I have been disappointed by anywhere I've been to be honest. Happy traveller here!
    Yeah, only visa troubles seem to be if a communist or ex-communist country decides to take a hissy fit about foreigners. Meh. Besides i hope to study chinese in between working, ie before heading off travelling, so i guess itd be better alone in china anyway, so that im forced to speak chinese! ha

    Thanks for the tip on the guide book/map, would definitely agree with you there.

    Awesome, never been, but looked up some pictures and it looks pretty cool. Its been put on the possible list :P Thats definitely encouraging

    One last question, i hope you dont mind; How do you occupy yourself when in solitude, ie how do you fill in the travel time alone, when your on buses/trains/planes or havent met anyone in the place you are travelling yet.

    Thanks for the replies, safe travels :cool:
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    (Original post by Zappaz)
    Thanks for the reply, just looked into this, it looks pretty cool! a great way to find other people with a passion for travel! awesome! I am a little bit wary though, going to a strangers house alone may take some time to get used to. Will definitely try to find more about coach surfers events when im out there, and then meet people that way! thanks!
    You can find reliable people by looking at their profile, how many reviews and friends they have. Look for people who have been vouched for, people with good reviews or who have many experiences in hosting people around the world.
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    I took a gap year between school and university and went travelling for six months on my own, so I know exactly how daunting it can be but if you throw yourself out there and talk to people, get involved in what they are doing you often find yourselves in a group travelling to one place or another.

    As someone else has mentioned hostels are wonderful if you're travelling on your own. Personally I booked the first few nights before I arrived then did the rest once I was on the ground so I could go wherever with whoever, whenever

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll help if I can
 
 
 
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