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My solo trip to Lisbon


So I decided to take the risk of going on a solo trip. I had been thinking about it for many months prior and decided to bite the bullet and just do it. I reserved a hotel with booking.com towards the end of July 2023 after I finished my summer job. One of my worries when booking a solo trip was the cost of paying for everything by myself and having no one to split the costs with but I managed to find a four-star hotel at a reasonable price for three nights so I was super happy about that. 


For those reading this and thinking “Why didn’t she just stay in a hostel?” Well, I will be completely honest, hostels are not for me. I haven't been to one and I won’t be anytime soon. I like my personal space and there were quite a few moments where I had a mini breakdown and needed a room and shower to myself and that is not a crime.



At the end of this debrief, I will discuss costs and my general feelings about doing a solo trip.


The journey there 

The journey to Lisbon was hectic and that is me saying the least, I made the grave mistake of trusting the budget TikTok girlies and booked a Ryanair flight. I am a big believer that you may not pay a lot in money but you end up paying in other ways; with my outbound and returning flight, I definitely paid with my mental health. 



My flight was supposed to depart at 8 am so I woke up early as the last thing I wanted to do was miss my flight on my solo trip that would be embarrassing. However, that was not the case as Ryanair delayed my flight by SIX HOURS! They changed the gate number about three times. I was running all around the airport like a headless chicken. I was starting to think that this solo trip wouldn’t ever get off the ground until finally, they announced that we could board the plane. The journey itself was fine, but the legroom was non-existent, as someone with long legs this was pretty shit. 


When I landed in Lisbon, the sun was warm. I had some trouble finding my transfer (taxi) to the hotel, my brain was so frazzled by the journey I couldn’t think straight or use my common sense. Alas, it was resolved and I had a kind driver. I was really happy when I checked in and got to my room. It made up for the unnecessarily long journey.



First Evening 

The first evening was nice! I went to Castelo de S. Jorge the only castle in the city of Lisbon the views were stunning it takes your breath away, I am a sucker for how the sky looks when the sun is setting or rising. It was great seeing the city from such a view I wish I explored more of the castle but I didn’t suffer for it. I spent about 2 hours there until it turned to night and I realised as I was alone I should probably get back to the hotel. 


I booked a cab for the way back, on the way there I got the metro and the bus up the steep hill to the castle but I was not doing that alone in the dark. Everyone on TikTok who travelled to Lisbon recommended Bolt but for me, I had horrible experiences with them they would say that they were coming and then cancel. This freaked me out, especially when I wanted to return to the hotel, I just told myself to remain calm and to walk down from the castle as that was probably why I wasn’t getting a cab. 


Luckily there was a cab at the bus stop, a city taxi and I just decided to hop in that one, the journey was fine. It felt long because my hotel was closer to the airport than it was to the city. The driver wasn’t creepy but he was arrogant, he kept boasting about all the languages he speaks and was talking down on the fact that I was learning French. 


Me: Oh cool you’re French, I am learning how to speak French
Driver: Do you speak French or are you learning French?
proceeds to rudely test me on my French 

Happy I won’t be seeing him again. I ordered in and that was the end of my first evening in Lisbon. 


The best bits 

My favourite part about this Trip was how sunny it was, unlike miserable England, well actually it was still sunny at that time but my point remains. I enjoyed having the freedom to wake up whenever go wherever whenever and just spend as much as I wanted to. I don’t mind travelling with people 1 - 3 is my preference however there is something so freeing about being self-centred and having complete control. People are complicated and can mess things up, the more people the more variables, the higher the chance things can go wrong and when things do go wrong you have to deal with how well or how BADLY they handle difficult situations. 


The best day for me was the last one, I had booked a beach day tour although I was late and pretty stressed in the morning about this. Regardless, I had the best time. I love the ocean, I love swimming and it was so pretty the sea was so blue and it was nice to speak to people on the tour.


View of the ocean boat going across the sea
Sesimbra beach

 I spoke to people who were the same age as me, I was invited out to dinner too which was so sweet but logistics didn’t work out and I still wanted to try this viral restaurant that I saw on TikTok.

I also really liked getting the metro as I felt like a local and it was easy to understand and use.


The worst part (thirsty men +)

Now, although I have no regrets about doing this solo trip the one thing that I did hate was the men, never in my life did I encounter so much thirst from such a large amount of men. Some insecure people will be reading this bitterly and think I should take it as a compliment but I don’t find anything flattering about men barking at me or disturbing my peace.

There was one instance when I was walking across a square and an old man was watching me I kept looking ahead but he had spotted me; he howled like a wolf I had to check the sky to see if a blue moon had magically appeared. 


A lot of people, men in particular kept asking me if I was Jamaican, a man asked me in Portuguese if I was Jamaican while I was entering a market he then waited at the exit for me to ask me the same question again, and he was persistent but I was persistent on ignoring him until he finally gave up. I was terrified to wear my Jamaica top again. 


Other than the men I wasn’t impressed by the food in Lisbon.



I know that Lisbon/Portugal doesn’t do Brunch and in all fairness, I also didn’t get a chance to try traditional Portuguese food. However, I noticed that there weren’t many good food options or a range of quality diverse cuisines but this is just my opinion and you can’t kill me for that.

I of course hated the Ryanair delay as I was also delayed six hours plus on the way back, the only good thing that came of these delays was that I did get enough compensation to take me on another holiday! It was the very least they could do, also being trapped in the Lisbon Airport was the worst form of punishment.


It was small, there was nothing to do, and all of the things to do were before you entered the gate section of the airport.


Final thoughts

Despite the many things that did go wrong when visiting Lisbon I did enjoy it, I would come back again one day but with a friend or a partner just to mix up the experience a bit. I feel as if Lisbon is an interesting Capital city as it has a rustic charm to it, that I feel that is more common in historic villages/towns.

I originally wanted to go to the Algarve but I underestimated how vast that area of Portugal is and I feel like Lisbon was a more active place to go.


I was really happy with my choice of hotel, I chose to stay at the Radisson Blue Hotel, and the staff were attentive and supportive. The room was spacious and my favourite thing was the fact that they had a BATH! For three nights (not including breakfast) it was 376 pounds which I think is amazing for a four-star hotel, The majority of the hotels in Lisbon ( in the city centre) were three hundred a night. Didn't do an Airbnb as they are the same price as hotels so there wouldn't have been a point, I felt safer going to a hotel.

I spent roughly 246 pounds on food, shopping and transport I did make sure I had some cash with me I think 50 euros.

My flight was overpriced for Ryanair £121...


So the overall (rough) cost was 743 pounds. There was so much to see/do in Lisbon that I didn't get a chance to experience so I would go back.

FAQ

How did you feel confident enough to travel alone?

I am someone who likes doing things, I don't like ideas just being ideas I like making them happen. If you wait for life to happen to you, you are setting yourself up for a very boring life. I also like being alone not all the time but I enjoy my own company.


Would you do it again?

Yes, but not anytime soon as travelling solo is more expensive and some places I want to experience with others. I think when I move out of England and move to Canada I will take a solo trip as the country is so vast Monteral to British Colombia is a 5 - 7 hour flight.


How to feel comfortable being alone?

I would say start small, going out for lunch, breakfast, coffee, cinema etc. At the end of the day, you aren't that important, not to strangers. People aren't going to think about you for the rest of their lives and think "Wow that person was all by themselves". People are in debt, some dying and starving the world has bigger problems.

You can also book tours and group trips to not feel so alone on a solo trip.


Lastly, you are not obligated to go on a solo trip, not everything is for everyone!


Anyway, I hope this post entertained and informed you. Can't believe this is the first post of the year. Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE!


Written by Charis and not AI



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