Guest post by Liv Luget – follow her travels on her Blog
Traveling alone to a country, you ain’t had the chance of visiting before sounds thrilling and mystique yet if not careful enough it can end up in a disaster. When alone you have no responsibility whatsoever towards others coz simply there aren’t any, you are free to come up with a schedule and change it according to your mood not having anyone to accuse you of being selfish, you can go to sleep and wake up late…or not wake up at all, take a break once in a while and enjoy some peace and quiet.
There is no one around to blame so you start enjoying the mess in your room, the hangover a morning after, and the new gang you befriended accidentally on purpose yet the next day you decide to ditch them and move on to the next upcoming eventuality served on your plate.
In Germany, the land of poets and thinkers, you are destined to outweigh your expectations and stereotypes bewildered by the diverse features that shape the everlasting foundations of the culture and its people. Whether you are interested in the historical past or the nowadays society and its mediums the answers lay in front of you, in the people, arts and musicals, castles, museums, restaurants and national libraries and most importantly in the preservation of national treasures concrete and environmental.
Planning the perfect journey is practically impossible no matter how disciplined and eager one might be; therefore leaving some room for unexpected disappointments or even pleasurable surprises might keep ones feet on the ground while making it more adventurous and appealing. Nevertheless, prior hints on surviving alone in the busy streets of a new giant of a city like Berlin are indispensable though it doesn’t mean they’re unheard of. Simply, as with many other things, everything is often inside your head so you just have to take some time and figure out where it’s hidden, while chasing a lead.
Among other unwritten rules if I may call them so, below you will find some rather wise tips that guarantee an ecstatic journey meanwhile you are holding on to your belongings… and the head as well.
1. Practice makes perfect
Take the time needed to get all the dirty laundry on the city you are about to visit. Some travel guides like this guide about living in Germany provide great means to gather information, as generalized as they might be. Anyhow they sometimes have the tendency to neglect some very important details one needs to beware of so consulting some one- on-one forums and chat mediums where one shares first hand experiences is a must.
2. Communicating means
Language skills, especially in this country, vary deeply on the territory and the region you are interested in. If you plan on visiting the big metropolitan areas like Berlin, Munchen, Cologne or any other city, most probably there will be times you will forget you even travelled to a foreign country. Yet if you plan on traveling in and out the country all away through villages and mountain, be sure to get a pocket dictionary and a translator… if possible. In Germany most of the youth speak the uttermost international language, some even speak French pretty well which won’t be the case with the majority of the more elderly that firstly cannot speak English and secondly couldn’t care less.
3. Accommodate to accommodate
Finding the place to sleep nowadays is easy and efficient since you have all the suggestions and offers online therefore according to your budget you choose what fits best. The very fact that you are travelling for pleasure means that you will be out all day wandering around, trying to capture every sight, dine at different restaurants or visit the monuments on the to do list getting back to your room to fall dead asleep on the bed, period. Since your first days alone will be smashing, at first you won’t feel the need for company nevertheless after a couple of days, loneliness starts to feel awkward. Getting a room in a frequented hostel, a common ground for tourists will offer the solution, depending on the mood you can choose to spend the time alone or among new friends, differently every day yet the option is on the table. Moral of the story, set no limitations whatsoever.
Women Travel has a map of Accommodation for Women in Germany, a good place to start when looking for accommodation. WOmen owned accommodation – even a women’s hotel in Berlin.
4. Money talks, money walks
Even before arriving, at home while packing the bags take the cash you plan on spending and segregate it around, hiding bits in different pockets, smaller bags and wallets. You definitely don’t want to end up or start off penniless without an identity, in a surrounding you are not familiar with. Overly enthusiastic as one is while travelling, losing bags, money or documents is heinously common… just try not to lose yourself along the way.
5. Safety first
After you have settled in your room, go out for a walk through the neighborhood and make yourself known, to the owners of the corner store, the fast-food nearby or the guy that sells groceries. Keep doing that every day, share personal information using your broken German by telling them your plans for this trip, number of days you are going to spend there and places you are interested in visiting. In spite of all the tips you’d be given on getting around the city also if anything happens to you someone will have some information overall.
6. Dating yourself
Walking in bars and restaurant alone for some people is quite embarrassing even in their hometown, some find it boring yet some like me cherish every second of the date between me myself and I… and the food. As for Germany, and its pretentious nightlife my advice is to feed on rather carb rich meals so piles and piles of beer wont poison either your gut or the reasoning. Having fun is no crime, yet a dose of skepticism around strangers is more than welcome. And don’t think staying with girls only is harmless, you never know where the night might end up.
7. Read me
A book is ones best friend, it keeps you company, occupies so little space, it’s always there when you need it asking nothing in return. You can carry it with you anywhere you go, to the museum, in a restaurant, at the beach or in the park, and even if you choose to ignore it so be it. At nights if you are having trouble sleeping, in the train travelling for longer hours or while waiting for some soup all by yourself at the dinners books are always fresh and entertaining.
The story about girls and shoes is a boring cliché, therefore discussing the fact that carrying around a mountain of dresses and make up is retarded. In retrospect our life is nothing but a memory therefore carrying items that preserve precious moments like a camera, a notebook or even a sketchbook will remain forever in our possession as artifacts of a life well spent.