Thursday 9 May 2019 / Australia

Travelling solo from the UK to Australia

A year ago, I never thought I would be on a plane by myself on my way to Australia. But that’s where I am now, flying somewhere over Turkey as I write this. I’m on a 24-hour journey to the other side of the world. A place that I’ve never visited, and have no links to.

Why travel solo to Australia?

I was in London last summer when I came up with the idea of travelling to Australia. I overheard a conversation; somebody was reminiscing with their friend about a visit to Darwin, having spent their days pearl diving and sleeping on a boat. It sounded idyllic, taking a break from the pressures of everyday life and going off grid in a beautiful part of the world (although living on a boat was off the table as, quite typically, I'm prone to sea sickness).

I became hooked on the concept of Australia and stewed on it for around two months before finally deciding to go. For so long I have been stuck in a routine, albeit a pleasant, comfortable one. I thought things like solo travel were for people who were freewheeling and living on the edge. Sounds silly, I know; but it took until that epiphany last year for me to realise that, actually, you can do anything you want (within means, obviously; I can’t fly to the moon. Yet).

So, why Australia? Well, this being my first big solo trip (I’ve travelled solo to Europe a fair amount), I thought it would be wise to visit a country where English is widely spoken. It can be intimidating enough travelling alone as a woman (more on that later), but travelling alone to a foreign language-speaking country seems like a trip for an older, wiser me.

On top of that, Australia is a country so vast that you feel like you’re seeing several countries in one trip. The humid, tropical north of Australia is completely different to the mild south, and the culture and aesthetic in both areas is a far cry from the raw, expansive outback. I was aching to see the Great Barrier Reef, endless coast lines, sprawling cities and, of course, koalas (go one, tell me I'm not basic).

Planning a solo trip to Australia

I spent a lot of time researching this trip. I advise booking your flight first, as prices can go up really quickly and you might not get the dates you want if you leave it too late. I put aside an afternoon to compare airlines, utilising the magical power of Skyscanner and altering the dates and times until I found the cheapest flight option.

I also used to find hostels and guest houses. is probably one of my favourite and most regularly visited sites. I love the list-making feature, where you can plan out future journeys (or many, many fantasy journeys, in my case) by selecting hotels and categorising them into lists. This is where my Monica Geller-like organisational skills came in handy. I had lists for every location that I wanted to visit, so that I could compare prices, facilities and locations to find the right one for me.

I decided to stay in hostels because I want to meet people. I rarely get to see a lot of new faces where I live in the UK, and although I love my friends, I wanted to push myself to meet more people. All the accommodation I’m staying in is central within the locations I’m visiting, and I did this so that I would never have to travel far to see anything (I’ve already travelled for 24 hours – why would I want to use up more time on transport?).

I left six months to research and plan this trip, and I would say that’s the minimum amount of time you should leave before you even think about setting foot on a plane. Unless you are a freewheeler and live on the edge. In that case, freewheel away.

Flying from the UK to Australia with Singapore Airlines

On Skyscanner, my airline options within my date range and budget were Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Cathay Pacific. I decided to travel with Singapore Airlines as the reviews were good and the price was decent. Flying with this airline means a stop over in the beautiful city of Singapore. Unfortunately I won’t get to see the city, as I’m only stopping for three hours. That’s another trip on the bucket list.

I’d never flown With Singapore Airlines before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I’m a frequent budget airline flyer, mostly travelling with Ryanair where they charge you for oxygen and give you the side eye if you ask for more than one glass of water.

On Singapore Airlines, however, things are a little different. I’m only a few hours into my flight, and already I’ve eaten a delicious vegetarian breakfast (pre-booked via check-in on the app), chocolate orange ice cream and several glasses of water and apple juice. All included in the flight price. This might seem standard for some, but if you’ve never flown long haul with a non-budget airline, it’s a delightful treat.

The seats are very comfortable – unlike the planks of wood covered in sticky patent leather on Ryanair – and the in-flight entertainment is good. I watched Crazy Rich Asians this morning, followed by Creed II. The flight attendants are super polite and so immaculately dressed that I feel like I’m slumming it in my leggings and un-ironed shirt.

Is it scary travelling solo as a woman?

Lot’s of people have asked me if I’m scared about travelling alone. Honestly, although the odd thought crosses my mind, I find comfort in the fact that thousands of women travel by themselves every year. Yes, you should absolutely be aware of your surroundings, plan your journeys well and try to keep away from sketchy areas or people who give off a weird vibe. But I would give this advice to any tourist, male or female.

If you’re feeling unsafe, look to technology. There are so many apps that you can use to help you throughout your journey. I use a tracking app so that my loved ones back home always know where I am. I also have Uber at the ready in case I get stuck somewhere without public transport. It’s also handy to have mobile payments set up on your phone just in case you lose your debit card.

Follow me on this adventure

If you want to find out more about my trip to Australia, or any of my other travels, click here. You can also find me posting regularly on Instagram, so why not comment on my photos or send me a message with your recommendations?

I hope that my journey inspires you to travel, solo or not. I can’t express enough how travel is so enriching, and teaches you about the world and yourself. Go forth and explore!

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