So last month I embarked on my first solo trip. Solo travel is something I’ve wanted to do for the longest and this trip definitely exceeded my expectations. Not to start of this post with all the cliche sop but I really did learn a thing or two about myself, and I am 100% sold when it comes to solo travel.
As much as I now LOVE Brussels, this isn’t a travel guide/tips post. If I’m being completely honest, the reason I decided on Brussels was not because I had researched tons on the place and had a bucket list of things to do there. I decided on Brussels because at £40, it was the cheapest place I could find for the dates I had booked off. I did of course do research on the City and also attempted to create an itinerary which in the end I scrapped. I really just wanted to focus on experiencing solo travel and not so much on the destination. So lets talk through what happened…
I Missed My Flight
Just my luck. I managed to miss my 8am flight to Brussels. I was officially in the airport just over an hour before the flight. And before you tell me “you should be in the airport 2 hours before bla bla..” Yes I know, but judging from my recent trip to Amsterdam, which was smooth sailing, I just assumed Brussels would be the same. I’ve learned my lesson now.
Everything was prepped and going perfectly right up until I had to face the mess which goes by the name of Manchester Airport Luggage Control. I flew cabin only which SHOULD have made this process a breeze. Boy was a wrong. The way my heart sunk seeing my luggage being dragged away for search. I just knew this wasn’t about to be a 2 minute process. The airport was PACKED.
Long story short, I ended up missing the flight. Next flight to Brussels wasn’t until 7:30pm. Lord knows by this point my chest was burning up but I refused to let anything ruin this experience for me. So with no hesitation I booked the next flight to the closest place to Brussels. £63 flight to Eindhoven, Netherlands at 12:30pm. Lets go.
I arrived in Eindhoven just after 3pm. From here I booked a coach to Brussels for €9. I didn’t get much time to explore Eindhoven unfortunately but from what I did see it was pretty. Clear skies and squeaky clean buildings.
Learn to embrace unexpected changes of plans as a new experience.
Arriving in Brussels & Checking In To The Hostel
Two hours later, I’ve officially made it to Brussels. The hostel I stayed at was called the Meininger Hotel Brussels City Centre. For me, this hostel set the standards high in the world of hostels. Which has me thinking maybeeee I shouldn’t have chose this as my first hostel to avoid disappointment later on lol. The hostel was a V I B E. Super modern with a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. There is a range of rooms available, from private rooms to 4, 6 and 10 bed dorm rooms which perfectly accommodates all types of travel. You can also chose your preference on female only or mixed dorms. Prices start from €15 euros per night. I booked the full 4 nights in advance which totaled to €65 euros, so I would definitely advise booking in advance to save!
After checking in, I headed up to my room. Now this is where the real nerves began. Imagine walking into a room of people and having to be like “Heyy, I just met you, and this is crazyyy.. ” Lol. Showering and sleep are two very private things, and both of which I would now be doing in the presence of strangers. Luckily (or unluckily) for me, the room was empty. This was a good thing because I got to calm my nerves and prepare myself, but also a bad thing because I knew I was going out with no plan on when I’d be coming back. Now who’s really trying to be that annoying person who hasn’t even met who they’re staying with yet and comes in at 2am making a load of noise? Unfortunately that would be me (minus the noise, I made damn sure I was quiet lol).
Going With The Flow
Some time before my trip, I decided to scrap the intense, almost by the hour itinerary I had planned. As I mentioned before, I really wanted to embrace the solo travel experience, and this to me means going with the flow, saying yes, being open to (almost) everything and NOT missing opportunities to meet new people because I had planned a load of activities to do. Imagine how depressing that would be? Having to leave all the interesting new people you’ve met because you don’t want to waste your money on all the activities you’ve booked. Don’t get me wrong it’s good to have some sort of plan and also book ‘MUST SEE’ attractions in advance but if it’s your first solo trip, my advice would be to go with an open mind and clear-ish schedule.
After getting settled in my room, I headed out for my first official solo meal.
I decided on a restaurant called Comptor, mainly because it was the only place still serving food late and the vibe looked cool. It was quite empty in there. I didn’t feel toooo awkward, only really when the waiter asked me if I was waiting for someone lol. I did however start to feel abit lonely. I’d be lying if I said a little tear didn’t run down my face. Lol. That’s just my emotional cry baby side coming out. I wasn’t upset, more overwhelmed and worried I was going to absolutely hate it or not meet anyone.
After eating, I circled looking for somewhere I could have a little drink. I bumped into a local Richie, who was intrigued by me holding a camera to my face and talking to it lol. We got talking about what I was doing, travel, vlogging etc. He was so surprised when I asked where I could go for a drink alone and invited himself with me. Which I obviously wasn’t going to turn down. And just like that, not even 2 hours in and I’ve already made a friend. All that worrying for nothing.
So the next morning, this is where the mini nerves kick in…
I woke up to whispering and people trying to get ready without waking me. I just laid there dead still for like 15 mins contemplating my whole life lol. I figured laying in bed is doing nothing other than making me look like lazy b****, so I just threw myself right in the deep end. I jumped up, smiled, said good morning and introduced myself.
It was this morning I met Simon & Ravi, both travelling from Germany. They were both so lovely and friendly. The conversation and jokes flew in. So crazy, not even 15 minutes of meeting these guys and I just felt so comfortable with them. They even offered to wait for me to get my lazy arse ready so we could go exploring together. Once again, all that worrying for nothing.
I spent the next few days exploring with Simon & Ravi, as well meeting back up with Richie to hit the clubbb. I did also spend SOME time alone but I felt so safe, no different to how I felt in my own home town. Google maps is also a God send. It made navigating solo so much easier and comfortable.
Brussels is an amazing city with so much to offer. Although my time was cut even shorter from my already very short trip, I still feel like I did so much. I will definitely return to Brussels to explore the city and all its glory is more detail. But for now, as I said before, this trip was all about the experience. Not the destination.