Here you can discover beautiful solo traveler stories, created by those brave souls that dared to venture to unknown places by themselves. But as every solo traveler knows, travelling alone never means being lonely. There are so many people to meet, especially when you stay in 5 star hostels!
All of these stories are written by friends, readers and only real-life solo travelers.
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What happens in Venice stays in Venice – my Selfie Stick Fiasco
There I was. In Venice. In Italy. For real. A backpacker visiting a house transformed into a beautiful museum. I had just discovered there was a magnificent terrace perched on the Grand Canal. I completely fell in love with the place. The colors, the sparkling water, the calm of this hidden gem, a real happy place.
I wanted to immortalize this singular moment.
So I took it out, for the first time, this mystery object that everyone was talking about, this thing that is supposed to be an essential because it takes your pictures to the next level. I had finally given in and purchased a selfie stick.
I was shy to use it, a bit of a rookie technology.
So I waited to be alone. I deployed it and put my phone on it like it should have been. But it was not. Unfortunately.
It fell apart, and it was not supposed to.
My phone dropped on the floor, and it was not supposed to.
It slid and went directly underneath the small opening of the fence. And it was not supposed to.
So there I was. In Venice. Admiring and cursing the Grand Canal. For real.
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Our guide to Venice: When heading to Venice, make sure you take a look at our tips to discover the hidden Venice with our 6 secrets. Does it still exist? Yes, and we will help you find your own piece of Venice.
Food on a budget: Here is our guide to where to eat in Venice – 22 places recommended by locals.
A stunning hostel: Check out as well the best hostel in Venice, the COMBO Hostel – it is a former monastery. Here is our full hostel review of COMBO Hostel.
Update: brand new complete guide to the best hostels in Venice
Falling back in love with travel in Luang Prabang, Laos
I arrived in Luang Prabang feeling exhausted and very unhappy with Laos. In the last couple of weeks, everything had gone wrong, from being stuck at the border with a passport that wasn’t mine to mini buses going the wrong way. At that point, I had decided that Laos and I just weren’t going to become friends.
Determined to leave, I walked through the city looking for a travel agency when the sun started to set.
Monks were making paper lanterns and decorating the streets, kids were running around in between. The river was sparkling in the evening light. Milkshake in one hand, camera in the other, a smile slowly came back to my face. Maybe the city wasn’t so bad after all. I stayed until my visa expired.
Flattering Disasters in Paris – Kissing in France?
Before exploring the city of love, I wandered into a nearby park to enjoy some long-awaited downtime. Unbeknownst to me, my blissful repose would be cut short by a disheveled, meandering charmer.
He made his way over, sat down, and began his flirtations, selectively oblivious to the fact that I was deep in that whole writing alone thing. No matter, within minutes he somehow managed to kiss my hand, write his number in my journal, and propose that “all French and Americans kiss on the lips.” With swift persistence, I joked my way on out of there, oddly curious about his disastrous forwardness and, at the same time, infuriated by his violation of my journal.
As a relatively new traveler, this encounter provided a humorous insight into the differences of men throughout the world. Interestingly, I do prefer to experience new cultures and culture shock right in the face, but maybe not so much on the mouth…
Make yourself familiar with France and read a proper guide to backpacking France before coming over.
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Heading to the French capital? You can find +28 fun things to do in Paris, collected by us. Rollerblading, boat party, and pizza picnic – enjoy!
For the best budget accommodations in town, read 3 best hostels in Paris.
How Istanbul put My Life in Order – Never give up
I arrived in Istanbul with a negative bank balance and a dire need for employment. I was couch-surfing to tide me over and set out one day to explore the Megapolis.
Before I knew it, I was on the Asian side – literally a different continent – in a giant bus hub with no English speakers in sight.
Lost and overwhelmed with life in general, I asked for a sign that everything would work out OK. Then I looked up and saw my couch-surfing host – the only person I knew in a city of 20 million. We went back together, I got offered a job that week and stayed for a year.
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If you are now restless and want to head off to Istanbul, here is our detailed guide to the 3 best hostels in Istanbul. This guide will help you to spot the coolest budget hostels to stay in and safe places to mingle with fellow mates. And hopefully, your Istanbul experience will be as glowing as the travel story above.
My Au Pair Experience was terrible – I traveled Europe instead
The taxi dropped me off at the Ostello Villa Olmo, a youth hostel in Como, Italy. Sore after carrying a heavy backpack on my back plus a large suitcase that was broken, I stumbled into the reception room. I had just fled a bad situation with a family I had au paired with. I thought things were going well, but then they started placing more and more demands on me until it got to the point where I couldn’t even go out with friends. Even that made them angry. I was expected to place their family first at all times. I felt like a slave. I had to get out fast! Thankfully I did, but when I arrived at the Ostello in Como, I was desperate to find support.
Much to my relief, a man greeted me and took care of my luggage. Since I had no cash to pay for my stay, I had to pay by credit card. Thankfully, the lady at the desk accepted credit cards. I paid for one night.
Fear gripped my heart, but through the pain, I was thankful I was safe and that I had a place to lay my head at night. I decided to travel through Europe instead of staying any day longer with this family!
Meeting the nicest person in Lithuania
I arrived at Siarliai, a small Lithuanian town by bus, to look at the “hill of crosses”. I had just missed the connecting bus that was supposed to take me there, so took a taxi, spending much more than I had planned. We drove through the fields, far away from the city. When we reached the hill, the driver looked at me: „Wait? The bus is far away“ – “No, thanks, I can walk” – “no, I’ll wait, you can’t stay here.” – “No, thanks.”
I got out of the car and walked towards the hill, hoping I would find my way back. When I came back an hour later, the driver was still there: “I will take you to the city – no money”. That was the moment I fell in love with Lithuania.
A Burning Love For Solo Travel – Not the conventional way to meet People
A long time ago, in a continent far, far away, I was travelling around Australia with two friends when I decided to go my own way and take a sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands. It wasn’t that we’d fallen out, but one had to work in Sydney and the other had a flight to catch, and I was determined not to let their plans stop me from seeing everything the Gold Coast had to offer.
And so I signed up to the first catamaran cruise I could find and rocked up on the morning of the tour with only a crate of beers for company. I figured this would be the best way to make friends.
Everyone on the boat, except me, was with a group of buddies, and – not wanting to foist myself on anyone – I started the trip casually taking photos of the gorgeous turquoise seascapes, rather than risk being labelled the weird hanger-on guy.
Any external stimuli was a great excuse to occupy myself, and seeing a lush island crop up behind us, I walked to the back of the boat to get my shot. If only there was something to lean on I thought… and hey presto I spied a metal box with a lovely slanting lid perfect for steadying my forearms on. Only the metal box was not a container: it was a lit barbecue that had been heating up all morning, ready to cook lunch.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a round of tasty kangaroo burgers that got burned, but the flesh on my arms.
Screaming in pain, I (obviously) removed my arms immediately.
“My god that f@#€ing hurt!”
The worst thing though was that, to begin with at least, no marks appeared on my skin and no one took me seriously when I said I was in a huge pain. The captain of the ship was reluctant to use the limited water supply to allay the damage, and I didn’t have any friends even just to sympathize with me.
“In short I sat on deck, suffering in silence, trying not to cry.”
Eventually, my arms started to turn purple and people started to take my injuries seriously at last.
One girl, learning of my wounds, offered me a special cream she had for burns. It turned out she was from Beckenham… a small town in South London that just happens to be where I was born!
What a co-incidence, to meet here, on a boat, pretty much in the exact opposite corner of the world from where we both grew up. I’m not sure what I was pleased with – the medical treatment she offered me, or just the fact that I now had a new friend and a shoulder to cry on!
In the end, after a bit of treatment – and a few beers – the pain dulled enough that I was able to enjoy the astonishing beauty of the Whitsundays and have fun with all the cool people I did eventually get talking to on the boat. Although the burns actually got infected when I went swimming in the tropical sea, I did at least get some professional medical attention a few days later, and some awesome Ninja-style bandages.
It’s not the conventional way to meet people, and I don’t really recommend it.
But it just goes to show that even burning your arms on a barbecue can become part of your travel adventure, part of your story, and can turn out ok in the end.
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This Short Travel Story was sent to us by Duncan. Duncan is a world-traveler and chief-editor of one of the top 100 travel blogs in the world, Urbantravelblog.com
Check out all our best hostels in Australia.
Here you can find the
- 3 best hostels in Sydney
- 3 best hostels in Melbourne
- 3 best hostels in Cairns
- 3 best hostels in Alice Springs, central Australia
Heading to Alice Springs? Here’s our guide to cool things to do in Alice Springs.
I had the Worst Coffee of my life in Ramallah, Palestine
I love to think back and getting reminded about my travels in Palestine. It was fascinating to experience both Israel and Palestine by my own, to talk to people, and see the daily life outside the news. I left Jerusalem in the morning, and when I arrived in Ramallah, I felt like a coffee. So I looked around, and walked into an old café: heart-warming people, Arabic music, and the worst coffee of my life!
The coffee had the spice caraway in it, which is a great spice but not within a mix for coffee. However, as a caffeine-lover I drank it all, and now I can say for sure: it was the worst coffee of my life!
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This story was written by Matt from Hostelgeeks
Unexpected Kindness from a Stranger in Bruges
I arrived in Bruges late at night and I could not understand my map. I therefore couldn’t find my way to my hostel, so asked a woman for directions. She said she was going that way so would point me in the right direction, and she ended up walking me to the door.
She told me she worked at the belfry, a medieval bell tower. Furthermore, she told me to come the next morning, and she would let me in to this prime tourist attraction for free.
I went, she welcomed me, and she handed me a free ticket! I am always thinking about this story when it comes to Bruges.
Read: Best hostels in Bruges
In Paris I helped an elderly couple and they surprised me!
I was moping in my French-speaking-blues on the metro en route to the 7th arrondissement. I decided to exit and walk off my foul mood. As I departed, I heard a mixture of laughter and Irish-accented bickering from an elderly couple in front of the metro map. I established they believed their destination was, “sortie,” which means, “exit” in French, much to my amusement.
I located their hotel and guided them. They were exhausted, and I left them to recuperate on a park bench. I proceeded trying on expensive boots. Flustered, the man interrupted, asking me to find his vanished wife. As I approached the bench, she was just as I left her. The man returned, holding a shoebox in his hands.
My heart pooled over with gratitude when I saw the boots.
Life is only as fantastic as the enthusiasm of your attitude and willingness to help others.
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Heading to the French capital? Read our handwritten guides:
- +24 fun things to do in Paris, collected by us. Rollerblading, boat party, and pizza picnic
- best party hostels in Paris
- 3 best hostels in Paris – with map
Getting lost in Berlin and finding a friend
I arrived in Berlin after a confusing train ride and was happy to be just a few subway stops away from my hostel. When I sat down, a girl came to me and pointed at my hands: “I like your nail polish” and then at my suitcase:
“Are you visiting or leaving?”.
She told me that she was from Sweden and had just arrived to Berlin after traveling the world for a year.
We talked for 20 minutes until I realized that I ended up far away from where I wanted to go – I did get on the wrong subway after all. Maybe I was lost in Berlin but had found a new friend.
Tears from Palestine – My homage to a friend’s wedding
Sometimes when I’ve been on the road for a while I get so used to living in the moment, day in day out, that I don’t even realize what I am doing at the time. It’s just a spontaneous action that creates memories.
When I woke up that morning, I knew where all my mates back home were going to be that day: at the wedding of two of our friends. I always enjoyed the big events, but I wasn’t going to be there. Instead, I was taking a tour through Palestine. Months of planning had gone into this four-week trip around the Middle East.
All day I had my eye out for a gift for the happy couple, but it wasn’t until we stopped at the dividing wall between Palestine and Israel, and the tour guide handed me a can of spray paint, that the idea hit me.
So without much thought, I got to work. I only had a small window of opportunity to create my own little piece of art, and I finished it in a few minutes. It wasn’t my best work, but I still stood back proud of what I had created. I snapped a photo, posted it on the wedded couple’s Facebook page, and was back on the bus ready for the next stop on the tour.
Not until later that evening did I realize the moment I had created. Sitting at the backpackers bar, I read their response to my photo, and a teardrop fell into my glass of whiskey.
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