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Heroes & Villains Fan Fest – 27/05/2017

I hadn’t heard of Heroes & Villains before, and it was quite by accident that I saw an advertisement for it. I was on Facebook and an ad came up saying that Robin Lord Taylor was attending London’s Heroes & Villains! For those who don’t know, he plays Oswald ‘Penguin’ Cobblepot in the TV show Gotham. It’s one of my favourite shows, and he’s one of my favourite people in it. I immediately booked a general admission ticket to get in. I decided I simply had to meet him! Imagine how thrilled I was when four other cast members were announced! Originally, it was: David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Drew Powell and Cory Michael Smith. Unfortunately, Cory had to cancel because he’s shooting a new movie! He was replaced by the lovely Jessica Lucas.

I booked a room at the Premier Kensington, a hotel a stone’s throw from Earl’s Court Tube station (read my tips for navigating the Tube here). It was exactly what I needed – not far from the Heroes & Villains venue, small but practical and clean. The staff were really friendly and helpful, too. I only needed it to sleep and shower, so it was a perfect, reasonably-priced base camp.

Then it was simply a case of waiting for six months for May 2017 to come!

heroes & villains banner

On the day, I left the hotel at about 07:30, and walked to the Olympia; it really wasn’t far, about a 15-minute walk. On the way though, I seriously felt faint and sick. I don’t know if it was nerves or tiredness (maybe both?) but it was so unpleasant and a bit worrying.

Will Call (which is where you change your tickets for a wristband/lanyard) was relatively painless, as I got there pretty much bang on time. I got my wristband that said ‘HERO’ on it, and met a nice kid and her mum – we hung out together while waiting to be let into the con. I’m so grateful for them; it would have been really boring if I had to wait on my own.

will call

There was an older guy who appeared on the balcony above us to announce that us peasants (general admission) were to be allowed in half an hour early! Everyone cheered really loudly and he was loving the fame. He had a power trip by making us do a Mexican wave before we were let in.

I legged it straight to Robin’s table and was right near the front of the queue. Robin took ages to show up but seeing him in real life was amazing. He’s so tiny and gorgeous. He was waving and blowing kisses as he got himself situated at the table. Meeting him was in doubt for a horrible while because they were letting so many VIPs through and NO general admission people. I really resent that having more money = guaranteed to meet/chat to the guests. It’s like if you can’t afford it you’re not ‘as good a fan’. It really bugged me because it made the queues horrible at the con. More power to you if you can afford a VIP ticket, but I still feel like it’s not fair on other people who have also paid.

Luckily the guy in front of me (if by some miracle you’re reading this Adam, THANK YOU SO MUCH!) told me to pretend we were there as a group so we could both go at the same time. It’s probably thanks to him that I got to meet Robin at all. His line was crazy long all day – if I hadn’t gone straight to him I doubt it would’ve happened.

So, yeah. I GOT TO MEET ROBIN. I dropped £55 on an autograph/selfie combo but it was so worth it! Instead of a wall of writing about it, I’m gonna bullet point what happened:

  • He shook my hand and asked for my name, then signed my season 2 DVD sleeve. I didn’t really think that one through – there wasn’t much space to write on, so his autograph is really cramped! I said “Yeah good luck writing on that.”
  • He kept calling me ‘darling’ and ‘love’. I usually hate pet names. He got away with it.
  • I gave him this small pride flag pin that I bought for him and he got really excited. “Thank you! Aww, that’s amazing!” He then pinned it onto his shirt.
  • He came around the table to hug me/take selfies and said, “I love your hair!” which threw me off a bit (I’m still not over it, by the way). I showed him my Oswald necklace (“Oh WOW!”) and gave him the biggest hug. He apologised for being ‘so sweaty, it’s SO warm in here!’. He was sort of damp.
  • We took a cute selfie then I said “Be ugly!” and he did an ugly photo with me! Top lad! I then said, “Be nice again.” and got a cheeky third photo. He had his arm tight around me the whole time and was just so lovely.

robin lord taylor 1robin lord taylor 2

  • I said thanks and he said, “Thank you, I love you!” Then I had to go (totally didn’t want to!).

I didn’t say anything that I wanted to tell him – how wonderful and brave and positive he is, and how he makes me feel hopeful despite my depression. I just kind of clammed up (which isn’t like me) and I’m gutted that I didn’t say more/have more time with him. He’s so sweet and so incredibly beautiful as a person.

Straight after I was done with Robin I had to go and pick up my photo op with him (although nothing would top the Hideous Selfie). I got chatting to two girls behind me, Holly and Ali, who were dressed as the Riddler’s henchgirls, Query and Echo. They’d decided on the costumes when Cory was announced and were gutted that he’d cancelled. They laughed when I called him a ‘stupid giraffe man’ (with all the love in the world, of course). We had a great chat about Gotham, our ‘ships’, and how there are always Harley Quinns and Deadpools at cons. They said to wait for them after my photo op and basically adopted me for the rest of the day ♥

As soon as I walked into the op, Robin was like “Hello again!” He held his hand out for me to shake. I was like ‘lol no’ and hugged him again. His pin was gone so I asked after it – he told me it kept getting knocked off so he put it away safely at the table. Then we took our picture and he said, “Bye darling!” Holly and Ali were soon done and we went to pick up our photos together. I look so ugly in mine, I was really upset. Robin, of course, looks adorable. So that was a bit disappointing. I really ought to have known, I always look terrible when other people take my photo.

After we’d collected our photos, Holly and Ali invited me to Costa with them. We hadn’t eaten so we were all feeling a bit rough. While we had cold drinks in the sun, we tweeted Cory about how much he was missing. We got back to Olympia for the Gotham panel. We didn’t manage to get seats so a bunch of us sat on the floor. At one point, Drew Powell pointed his phone at us shouting, “THIS IS FOR THE CHEAP SEATS!” so we’d all cheer on his video.

pre gotham panel
gotham panel
The panel was fun. It was so strange to see them in the flesh. My legs were aching by the end but I’m glad I got to see it. Some highlights:

  • Drew: David has pyjamas with pictures of Christian Bale on. Not as Batman, just photos of Christian Bale.
    David: … I told you that in private, Drew.
  • Jessica: I have the ‘Butch look’ that Tabitha always gives him. I also give Drew the ‘Butch look’.
    Robin: Is it the Butch look or the BITCH look?
  • Robin saying his inspiration was his mum (and finding out his mum was there!).
  • Drew: My first job was a commercial when I was ten. I used the money to by a Pacman watch, which was FREAKIN’ AWESOME.
  • All of them being so astonished that they have so many UK fans, and how much they seemed to enjoy themselves!

After the panel I went straight to Sean’s table. The queue was looooong. I spent my time chatting to two hilarious girls from Dover and a girl with an awesome guy dressed as male Poison Ivy. It took over an hour to get to Sean but his manager thanked me for my patience – he was sweet. I told Sean that I had orders from my mum to give him a big hug and he came around the table and gave me one. I think he thought I was only there because of my mum, which I feel stupid about. I totally forgot to tell him how I also love him. He was such a gent, even though he was pressed for time. He’s so handsome and tanned in real life, with the brightest blue eyes. I took some photos and he told me to give mum his best. So sweet, and he smelled nice!

sean pertwee

Holly, Ali and I wandered around the stalls, browsing for a bit, and went to Pizza Express for dinner. We had a laugh while we ate, especially when I referred to Jack the Ripper as ‘Mr The Ripper’. After dinner we went to their hotel room and watched Doctor Who, then talked about Gotham for ages. I had such a great day!

holly and ali

Overall, Heroes & Villains was a lot of fun and I’m so glad I went. My main objective (to meet Robin) was met, so I was happy. I like that the con is more focused on getting people the chance to meet their favourites, rather than having tonnes of stalls and things like, say, MCM does. The stalls they did have were cute and interesting, and there were other things (like some kind of live-action horror thing) that I didn’t have time to see because of all the queueing. If I were to go again, I think I’ll actually take the plunge and buy a “VIP” ticket, so I can avoid having to stand around for hours. By the end of the day, my bad knee was in agony (and actually collapsed the next day, something that hadn’t happened for a year) so I think it’d be better for both my health and patience to have a shorter wait time for guests. And I’d like to experience more of the con next time, too!

Have you been to a convention or a festival this year? Tell me about it!

Kayleigh x

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Tube Etiquette: 10 Tips For Using The London Underground

I’ve been to London a lot. Someday, I hope to live there (if i ever get the money). The London Underground, colloquially known as the Tube, is an amazing way to get around the city, and I love it dearly – even if it is busy and dirty.

I came up with the idea for this post before I visited London this last weekend. Thinking fondly about the Tube, it struck me that a lot of people don’t know what they’re doing. I hope to help people make their lives, and the lives of everyone around them, a bit easier. You can very easily give yourself a hard time by not knowing how to behave on the Tube.

These are the top 10 things that I see people get wrong a lot. If you don’t want to earn yourself a disapproving tut or head-shake, bear these tips in mind. They work whether this is your first, thousandth, or nth time on the Tube. Obviously, these are based on my personal experience – I’d love to hear your tips if you have any different ones!

1. Stand on the right of escalators.

I cannot stress to you how important this one is. I’ve seen British people actually say something to people who break this rule. That is how seriously it’s taken. You always, always stand on the right of the underground escalators. This keeps the left side clear for people who are in a rush, or who just want to leg it up there instead of standing still (like my bff Lana and I once did, a mistake I don’t think we’ll ever repeat – in our defence, we were trying to get to a Paul Simonon book signing). Also make sure any luggage you’re carrying is out of the way. This is the one that I’ve seen people get the most annoyed about.

2. Let people off of the Tube before you barge on there.

I get it. It’s London. You pretty much have to walk with your elbows sticking out if you want to get anywhere. Barging is a part of life when the city is teeming and you’re in a hurry. But you’re the one who looks like a tosser if you come barrelling into the tube carriage before anyone can get off at their stop.

3. For goodness’ sake hold onto something!

Far too often I see inexperienced people take a spill because they think they can stand up on the Tube without holding onto railings. You will inevitably crash into somebody who does this every day, and they will tut at you (please be aware that tutting is the utmost punishment in Britain). It’s not fair to potentially injure (and severely annoy) other people because you think your balance is better than it is.

4. If you don’t know where you’re going, get out of the way.

There are maps and route plans everywhere in Tube stations. There is even a handy app, but be advised that you don’t get signal in the underground and wifi is patchy at best. So make sure to find out where you’re heading before you descend. If you’re a bit lost or unsure, step out of the flow of foot-traffic because there’s nothing more annoying than being in a hurry and crashing into somebody who comes to a dead stop in front of you. The maps and signs are always on a wall, so stand near to the wall – it’s a double whammy then because you avoid being trampled AND you can peruse the map for as long as it takes for you to right yourself.

london underground sign

5. Have hand sanitiser on your person at all times.

The Tube is old and basically deeper than the bowels of Hell, so there is a lot of soot and nonsense down there (quite aside from grubby human germs – you know some people don’t wash their hands after they’ve been to the loo). This one is less an etiquette thing and more an ‘avoiding a resurgence of the bubonic plague’ thing. If you’ve been riding the Tube all day, you’ll know it because your hands will feel grimy and you’ll need to blow your nose (I call it ‘Tube bogeys’ and it’s as unpleasant as it sounds). So hand sanitiser = good.

6. Don’t stare at people.

It’s hard when you’re sitting opposite somebody on a packed Tube, but this one’s simple. Do you like to be stared at? I didn’t think so. It’s more than likely that person opposite you doesn’t like it either. They know you can’t see anything out of the window over their head, but they probably appreciate you for staring at it like it’s of great interest to you.

7. Don’t block the doors.

You’re running to catch that Tube that’s about to depart. You make a daring leap into the packed carriage and bask in your triumph. Until you realise that half of your body or your bag is outside of the carriage, and the doors won’t shut. Honestly, don’t do it. The Tube comes often enough for you to catch the next one. Blocking the doors in a way that they won’t shut just causes everyone to be delayed. I guarantee no one is impressed with you trying to fit yourself in like a Tetris block at the last second and holding up the whole train.

Tube Train

8. Be helpful.

Heavily pregnant woman? Old man struggling to stay upright? Family with little kids? Give up your seat, don’t be a dick. You will notice that a lot of people will just ignore others around them because they earned that seat, damn it! They didn’t battle through the tides of people and descend into the stuffy heat of the Underground, only to give up their seat. But honestly, do you want to be that person? If you’re able-bodied, it won’t kill you to stand up for what is probably only a few minutes on the Tube. It might kill you to know you were responsible for someone’s kid getting body-slammed when the Tube jerkily pulls out of Baker Street station.

9. Don’t put your bags on the seat next to you.

This one sounds so obvious and ridiculous but I was there, Gandalf. I’ve seen people on a packed Tube with all of their shopping bags piled on a perfectly usable seat. I promise that everybody in that carriage hated that person. Just don’t do it, it’s antisocial and really ignorant. Put your bags between your feet or on your lap.

10. Be prepared for rudeness.

You are now armed with the top tips to tackle the Tube (that was so much alliteration that my head is hurting), but matey on the Victoria Line might not be. He’s determined to get to Oxford Circus you see, and he simply must get there before you or anyone else. You WILL be buffeted about like a pinball, and people are known to make bitter comments about ‘slow people on the fuckin TUBE’. The point is not to take this personally. Even seasoned Tube travellers can end up getting rude because of how often they have to deal with clueless people, or the mass exodus of rush hour.


I hope these tips can come in handy for people who are about to navigate the London Underground. And I hope you avoid tuts and head-shakes from other people. The Tube really is a wonderful invention and a great way to get around. Just be considerate, safe, and smart.

Kayleigh x

 

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Packing For A Weekend In The City (& My Next Adventure!)

It’s about time I wrote about my next adventure – well, mini-adventure. I’ve previously alluded to it, but didn’t want to give too much away. Travel nerves really get to me before a trip – not fear of the travelling itself, but fear of plans falling through and things going wrong. So I tend to stay quiet-ish about it, until it’s pretty much time to go. I’m going to London this Friday for the weekend. London is my favourite place in the world and I haven’t been for ages, so I’m really excited to go back. Here’s a very brief breakdown of my rough plans for the weekend:

Friday

Apart from actually travelling to the city, I plan to spend the first day of my weekend in Camden. It’s my favourite place in London and where I feel most at home.

Saturday

My weekend continues with attending the Heroes & Villains con! I originally bought a ticket because Robin Lord Taylor (who plays the Penguin in one of my favourite shows, Gotham) is going to be there. Imagine how thrilled I was when it was announced that four other cast members were going to be there too. I’m really excited to meet them! Most of the Saturday will probably be spent at the con. On Saturday night, I may or may not go out to some interesting bars I’ve looked up.

Sunday

I want to try to have a chilled out day to round off the weekend. I’m just going to leisurely explore areas of London that I don’t tend to frequent. I booked a ticket for the Sky Garden because I’ve never been and it looks amazing, but apart from that it’ll be a pretty spontaneous day. I plan to just wander and see where my feet take me.

I’m pretty much ready for the weekend. All the tickets I need are booked; my itinerary is more or less written; outfits have been planned. The only thing left for me to do is pack efficiently for my weekend in the city! Obviously in this post ‘the City’ specifically refers to London, but this post can probably relate to most western cities.

packing for a weekend in the city

I find people are pretty much split into two groups when packing for the weekend:

1) Very very Spartan. “I WILL ONLY TAKE THE BARE NECESSITIES. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR FOLLY.” This can be really good because you’re packing super light and won’t have a tonne of luggage. BUT it can also mean you get caught short if you end up wanting to go somewhere fancy, or to the bar, or something else you didn’t plan for. You haven’t packed some fabulous evening wear because you didn’t think you’d need it and now you’re stuck!

2) I tend towards this category and it takes a lot of discipline to stop myself from becoming a full-on Category 2 packer. These people pack every single thing they could possibly, maybe, conceivably need on their weekend away and as such end up lugging around a tonne of stuff. Most of which they probably won’t even look at while they’re on their trip.

I’m trying to strike for a happy medium here. Not unprepared, but not over-prepared to the point of madness. Here are a few ideas and tips for packing for a lovely weekend in the city.

Decide on your luggage and resolve to only use that bag/case and nothing else. If it doesn’t all fit, condense. It’s so much better to just have the one bag, instead of faffing around with tonnes of luggage. You’re going away for one weekend, not a month on safari (something I often have to tell my Mum)!

Make a list! I’m very Type A, in the sense that I make thousands of lists. Unfortunately, this only creates an illusion of organisation. Mostly I am all over the place. But a list is so useful. You at least have a guide of what you want and need to take with you. I often write general ‘categories’ (e.g. essentials, hygiene/beauty, clothes, accessories, electricals, etc), and then write more specific things under each category (for example, under essentials, I would put: purse, phone, tickets, etc). Lists are also useful in showing you that you’re planning to take way too much with you, and you can adjust accordingly.

Remember to consider what you’re doing on your trip. Refer to your itinerary and pack accordingly. For example, if you’re going to be walking a lot (which I always do in London, regardless of my plans), pack some appropriate footwear. After getting Nightmare Blisters on my feet in New York, I cannot stress this enough. I learned the painful way so you don’t have to!

– This is somewhat related to the last point. For goodness’ sake, check the weather forecast! If you have a rough idea of how the weather will be, it will help you with your packing. If it’s going to rain, pack your brolly and a waterproof jacket. If it’ll be sunny, don’t take your knitted jumper. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised. I alluded to this on my post about travelling alone too, because there’s nothing worse than not being prepared for crap weather.

Plan your outfits. This sounds a bit silly, but it’s really useful. Obviously, this wouldn’t really be practical for a longer holiday. But if you’re only going away for a few days, you might as well decide what to wear beforehand. If you know exactly what clothing, shoes, and accessories you’re going to wear, you won’t end up packing loads of unnecessary gear. And that will make your life a whole lot easier.

Invest in mini toiletries (or those travel-sized bottles to decant your toiletries into) to save space and make your bag less heavy. I know travel-sized things can be ridiculous when it comes to price vs size, but I would rather carry them around than my huge Tresemmé shampoo bottles!

Think about your check-in and kick-out times. You might have to leave early-ish on your last day – my hotel will kick out at 10am on Sunday, which is sort of horrifying to me. You might end up having to carry your bags around on the last day. Obviously you want to be able to do this without getting stressed or tired. You also want to be able to do stuff on your last day, so my first point comes back in to play again. Having one reasonably sized bag will make your life a lot easier if you have to leave your hotel early. Similarly, you want to be able to carry your stuff around as you waste time before checking in, if you arrive in the city earlier than your hotel is ready for you.

What are your must-haves for staying in the city? Personally, my most important thing to have with me is my portable charger (from Paperchase, naturally). It’s so handy because I take all of my photos on my phone, not having a fancy camera. The worst thing is having your phone die when there’s still so many photos to be taken. I also, obviously, use my phone to consult Google Maps when I’m roaming around, so it’s really important to have enough charge. That’s where the portable charger comes in. At its fullest, it can recharge your phone from nothing to basically 100% again. And it’s easy to carry around, even when it’s attached to your phone.

Do you have any packing tips or hacks? Tell me in the comments!

Kayleigh x

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On Travelling Alone

(Just a note: I originally wrote this article on my old blogspot, and have edited and reworked it for this site)

I always get told by family, friends, and coworkers that I’m seriously brave for travelling abroad on my own. This is usually followed by the question “But aren’t you scared?” and the honest answer is no. Most of the time, I’m far too excited about exploring a new place to be scared. Sure, I get nervous before I leave for the trip, but once I’m on my way, I feel great. I have developed a good set of street smarts from my travels (and lots of reading), and I think I’m very aware and alert, without being overly paranoid about perceived dangers. I understand being called brave – I’m a woman in her 20s, and the fact is that we have to be very switched-on when we’re alone anywhere. This should not stop young women from travelling alone, if that’s what they want to do!

I only travelled abroad on my own in 2014, when I spent two months in the United States. It was also my first long-haul flight. Before then, I hadn’t been further than Tenerife (only a four-hour flight from London). It was a huge step. I think it was a good thing that I was thrown in the deep end for my first lone adventure. Sometimes you have to run before you can walk.

I decided to make this post because of the frequency that I get told how ‘brave’ I am for travelling alone, and my belief that you needn’t be afraid of going abroad by yourself as long as you plan sufficiently, organise yourself, and be sensible (without sacrificing fun, of course). I’m including tips and advice that I always tell people who ask me how I travel alone; these are all things that I stick to, that have been effective, and that may help people to feel more safe and comfortable on their own.

travelling-alone

Before Your Trip

Write down your travel itinerary – things like flight times, travel durations, and directions. Being prepared for your journey there and back, and knowing what you’re doing before you set off, takes a lot of stress out of travelling. Another useful thing is to plan alternate routes to airports, hotels, etc. That way, if there are diversions or you go the wrong way, you will be able to right yourself. Make sure you have travel planned to get back home from the airport; the last thing you want is to get back from your holiday and then scramble around trying to get transport back to your town.

Plan to get to the airport with more than enough time before your flight. You will feel a lot less stressed out if you can check your bags and go through security at a steady pace instead of being in a rush. If possible, check in for your flight online and print your boarding pass (sometimes there are options to pick up your boarding pass at the gate, if that’s easier for you), so that you have one less thing to worry about.

Do the research on your destination – first and foremost, for reasons of safety. Find out if there are any areas that you need to avoid, particularly at night. A simple google search will usually provide plenty of information about a city, and quite often locals chip in to the discussions with their personal experiences and advice. Also look up the city’s customs and culture, to give you an idea on how you will be expected to act (and for simple things like which way to look before you cross the road!). You don’t want to be making a social faux pas as soon as you get there. On a lighter note, this research can also clue you in to cool places you didn’t previously know about. Again, reading what the locals have to say can be really helpful, as they have a lot more knowledge about places that are off the beaten track and less “tourist-y”. TripAdvisor is a really great place to start if you want to find out how good or bad a place is.

Check the weather forecast – give yourself a general idea of what the weather will be like, and how warm/cold it might become. It also helps to know the weather forecast as you plan your itinerary. For example, if the forecast says it’s going to be rainy, you can plan to go to museums or inside attractions on that day.

Plan your days – I don’t mean make a strict timetable that you simply must adhere to. Make a list of all the things you’d like to do on your holiday. Use Google Maps to find out the distances between all of the things you want to do, as well as the distance from your hotel/hostel. Group together things that are near to each other, and put each group to a day of your holiday. That way you can get to places more quickly, and hopefully fit more into your days. Take this outline with you on your holiday to refer to, but remember that you may see things that interest you on your travels, so make time to stray a little bit from your itinerary.

Give yourself a rough budget for every day – make sure you have a little extra money for unforeseen pitfalls. Also bear in mind that your bank may incur charges for using your debit card abroad, so convert some cash before you leave to carry on your person. Find out what the charge is to use your card, if there is one.

Stay in a hostel – I highly recommend HostelWorld for booking a place to stay. If you don’t fancy being in a dorm with strangers, you can pay a little more for a private room. Hostels are far cheaper than hotels, and are often full of lone travellers. Most hostels have common areas which are great for meeting people, or just having some company. I find that people staying in hostels are usually younger, and open to being approached and conversed with. There’s a kind of ‘all in this together’ atmosphere, which personally made things a lot more relaxed for me.

Getting Around

Public transport is pretty much the best, cheapest way to get around any city. Download a copy of the public transport map for your destination to keep with you, and research the kinds of tickets you can get and how much they cost. I took a cab once in New York City, and that was only to get to JFK airport when I was leaving – the rest of the time, I used the subway or walked. Remember, even if you’re only going for a few days, it will sometimes work out cheaper to just get a weekly pass for the public transport so compare all ticket prices before making a decision.

Google Maps is your friend! Honestly, one of the biggest reasons that I never feel scared or overwhelmed in an unfamiliar city is thanks to Google Maps. Please don’t do huge bloody maps in the middle of the street; nothing screams tourist more, and can make you a target for thieves. Plus it annoys people. Have Maps open on your phone, or write directions in a notebook and carry it in your bag to refer to. I think here is a good time to talk about data roaming. Be aware of your phone network’s data roaming charges and remember to switch roaming off if you’re not actively using it – you’ll run out of data or, worse, incur huge roaming charges. Make use of free WiFi wherever you can find it.

Don’t be afraid to walk – a lot of cities may seem daunting when you’re researching them, but more often than not things are a lot closer together than you’d think. Make sure you have appropriate footwear, though – I learned this the painful way when I developed blisters from hell in New York.

Act like you know the city – Walk surely and with confidence, keep your head up and your wits about you. I find that trying to blend in and look like you know what you’re doing means that people generally leave you alone (I’ve even had people come and ask me for directions!). Street scammers and thieves are less likely to approach someone who looks as if they might be local.

Don’t get in other people’s way – This one can be hard to remember when you’re excited about being somewhere. Always move to the side of a path/sidewalk/area to check maps or your phone. It’s especially important to be aware of the people around you when you take photos. It’s easy to get caught up in the brilliant shot you’re taking, but it totally annoys people if you’re standing in the middle of the street to get it. Try to stand somewhere that won’t interfere with people’s walkway. Also, don’t be surprised when people walk right through your photo. It happens when people have to live and work in a popular tourist area; if they were to stop for every person taking a photo, they wouldn’t get anywhere on time. Another point – if you insist on having one of those enormous backpacks, be considerate. You may be out of the way, but your backpack could be obstructing someone’s path (this is especially important on public transport).

If all else fails, ask someone – Approach people that you feel comfortable seeking advice from (slightly judgemental, but if a certain person looks more trustworthy, they probably are) and politely ask which way [destination] is. 99% of the time, people are happy to point you in the right direction. I usually go to women with kids, people in business clothes, or older folk. Obviously, don’t approach people who are eating, busy, or clearly in a hurry.

Keep your eyes open – humans generally have good instincts when it comes to other people and situations. Never ignore your gut. Keep one hand on your bag/stuff at all times. If you start to feel uncomfortable or in danger, extract yourself from the situation as quickly and calmly as possible (an example: if there’s a dodgy person on a subway train, get off at the next stop and go onto another section of the train). On a bus or tram, sit as close to the front/driver as possible. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Going Out At Night

Be sensible with alcohol – I know it’s tempting to go out and get drunk when you’re on holiday, but when you’re alone you need to have your wits about you at all times. Have fun but make sure you’re still able to get yourself back to where you’re staying and recognise dangerous people and situations. I won’t say ‘don’t accept drinks from anyone’ – that would make me a hypocrite – but from the moment the bartender pours it until you’ve finished drinking it, don’t let it out of your sight. If anyone gets you a drink, remember to be clear that that doesn’t buy them any ‘privileges’.

Stick to well-lit streets and main roads as much as you can. Even if it means it takes longer to get to where you’re going. If you have to take a dark street, keep a good, quick pace while you walk and again, keep your head up and act as though you know where you’re going.

Public transport at night – I have personally not had any problems with using buses/trains at night, but always research the safety of public transport at night in the city you’re visiting. Travelling at night is totally common sense; observe your surroundings, use your initiative, trust your gut and don’t get lost in your phone/music (very easily done).

Miscellaneous

Don’t worry about doing stuff on your own. I know people who are embarrassed/wary of eating alone or going out to the theatre (etc) alone. Honestly, no one cares what you’re doing – it may feel like you’re being stared at, but everyone is busy with their own lives. It’s quite normal in a big city for people to do things on their own. Of course, it can feel uncomfortable at first but honestly, you soon get used to it. I like to people watch when I travel, so having a lunch date with myself is ideal.

Keep a diary or blog – this is just a random tip as opposed to making travelling alone easier. Documenting your trip can be really fun, and will be something nice to look back on once you go home and back to reality. It’s also a good way to be able to remember everything that happened, so you don’t struggle when people ask about your trip. Never stop taking photos – don’t ever be embarrassed about taking selfies at famous landmarks, or taking photos of things like graffiti and funny street signs. Millions of people visit cities and they all take daft selfies and random photos. The locals are used to it, other tourists understand it, and no one is judging you. This is your holiday, and you have every right to want loads of pictures to show off.


I hope these tips are of some help to people thinking about travelling on their own. Generally I find that places seem a lot scarier than they actually are. You always hear about the bad things that happen in every city, and many people will warn you about the dangers there. Don’t let that put you off. As long as you have your head on straight and don’t act like an idiot, you will be fine. The first day is always the scariest, but I find quite often that by the time I’ve had some sleep, I’m thinking ‘this isn’t so bad’ and I’m just excited to get out there and explore.

If we don’t do things just because they’re scary, we’d never get anything done. So enjoy yourself!

Kayleigh x

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