My Experience Solo Traveling + Tips

The first time I traveled to Europe was in 2017 with my high school. I had the opportunity to visit multiple countries in an eight-day time frame including France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein. A year later, I saw myself on another trip around the United Kingdom and Ireland with multiple girls that I graduated high school with. That trip was quite memorable because it made me realize that I absolutely love traveling the world and will continue to do so in the future. 

After going to Europe twice on two different trips, I developed the courage to travel to Croatia alone for one last holiday before the fall semester begins. This country has been on my list to visit for a while. By April of this year, I decided to make this trip happen in the summer. I spent a good amount of time carefully planning out and booking my flights, hotels, and activities that I would be doing throughout each day.

My flight landed in Dubrovnik and that’s where my holiday started! On my first day in Dubrovnik, I did a photo shoot with a photographer from Airbnb. In case you didn’t know, Airbnb not only offers easily accessible accommodations, but they also provide an outlet for people to showcase their talents through photography, guided tours, and outdoor activities. I was nervous on my first day because I have never been to Dubrovnik before. However, having a photoshoot first thing in the morning helped me get out of my comfort zone, especially because I had a tour of the Old Town at the same time.

Photo by Sonia Anand

After my photo shoot, I already felt comfortable and safe in the city with very little worries. I grabbed a quick breakfast and decided to explore the Old Town’s alleyways. Seeing the alleyways was one of the things I was most excited about when visiting Croatia. Architecture is one of my interests, so being able to see theirs was absolutely jaw-dropping.

A few days later, I started a tour around Croatia with Intrepid travel. Although I solo traveled around Dubrovnik for a few days alone, I wanted to experience seeing different areas of the country with a group including Korčula and Hvar. In my previous article called “How to Travel on a College Budget,” I mentioned to stay away from travel agencies in order to save money. However, Intrepid had a spring sale previously in March and I saved $400 when booking this tour! It was a steal and I had to take up on their offer.

While I loved traveling by myself for my first few days in Croatia, group trips are the ones that create the best memories and experiences! I met so many wonderful people from all walks of life and I consider them all family now. 

 

 Some tips that I would advise if you plan to travel to Croatia are: 

1. Pack light, because you never know if your accommodation will have elevators provided versus stairs. Packing light is always more convenient than lugging a checked bag through the airport and your accommodation. I found that I overpacked quite a bit for my holiday and will start to use a carry-on for my future trips. 

2. Croatia is a far more expensive country than what I have read in the past from other writers. Always bring extra cash with you —  you never know how often you’ll be spending your nights out or if you want that big dinner in the evening. Additionally, in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, they sell crafts such as artwork and jewelry made from local artists. If you’re a fan of local souvenirs as well, definitely bring extra cash!

3. Try to look for discounts when possible. The “Dubrovnik Card” in Dubrovnik gives you access to unlimited public transportation depending on the length of time you purchase the card to use for value. Additionally, you also receive discounts on multiple museums. By purchasing the card, you’re able to save a lot of money by using their local transportation versus an Uber or taxi. 

4. Hostels are a great alternative to hotels when you’re on a budget. I experienced staying in a hostel for the first time during my tour and I was pleasantly surprised by how much it mimicked a hotel for under $100! Hostels are also great accommodations when you’re solo traveling because they give you the opportunity to continuously meet people along your trip. 

5. When visiting Croatia, it’s a MUST to visit the islands. Korčula and Hvar are absolutely beautiful and both islands have unique characteristics. Korčula is small, but very quaint with its local flare, while Hvar is slightly bigger and has great nightlife. Additionally, there are some of the smaller and lesser-known islands around which are easily accessible by taxi boat. Each one has their differences, yet all pack the same punch of how beautiful they are.

 

Overall, I had an unforgettable experience traveling to Croatia this summer. I found this country to be incredibly beautiful and very safe to visit. I highly recommend anyone to visit Croatia especially if it’s your first-time solo traveling! There are very few issues with language barriers and the cities/islands are easily accessible by public transportation, taxi, and taxi boats! I look forward to visiting again and discovering cities and islands that I have yet to see in the near future. 

Photo by Sonia Anand