- Alexx Hayward believes "life is too short to wait for friends or a partner to travel with you" and has spent the last ten years globetrotting on her own as a full-time traveller.
- The 26-year-old from Hamilton near Aukland, New Zealand, caught the solo travel bug as a teenager following a university exchange trip to San Diego.
- Since then, she has visited nearly 60 countries, including Norway, Indonesia, Turkey, Romania, Croatia, Italy, France and India, to name just a few.
The former travel agency worker is now self-employed after quitting her job to run her own travel blog documenting her adventures.
Alexx first travelled on a university exchange trip to San Diego, and she's never looked back since.
All images courtesy @findingalexx / Caters News/ Magazine Features
She shares, "The university exchange seemed like an epic opportunity, so I just went for it, despite not knowing anyone at all on that entire continent. After I came home from that semester, travel pretty much ruled my life."
This is when she decided to give up job security and financial stability and travel full time.
"Finding a relationship is definitely tough when I'm constantly on the move, but the experiences I've had on my travels have been worth the sacrifice for sure. I've visited 57 countries so far, but there are quite a few I keep going back to because I love them so much. I'm not fussed about reaching a certain number of countries at all, but I do love getting out of my comfort zone and visiting somewhere that I don't know much about."
Alexx makes sure she stays flexible and mixes hostel accommodation with nicer hotels to fund her travel adventure.
"I'm obsessed with finding the best bang for my buck on my trips, and I make sure that I get the absolute best value accommodation, activities and transport available, she says.
"I save loads of money by splitting my time between funky hostels for four or five nights a week, then spend two nights at a good value hotel when I feel like I need my own space."
Alexx also saves a bunch on transport by being super flexible with her itinerary.
"I've never felt as if I've personally been in danger while I was travelling solo, and I think it's really important to distinguish the difference between feeling unsafe and feeling uncomfortable," she says.
"I've been to several places where a young blonde woman travelling alone is something that stands out, and in some of these places, the locals - both men and women, old and young - will come up to ask me questions or take my photo. I always try to keep in mind that the vast majority of people are doing this out of interest rather than malice"
When she is visiting a country with higher crime rates or anywhere where being a young woman might result in unwanted attention, Alexx makes an effort to choose hotels in well-lit tourist areas, avoid walking anywhere at night if she can, and consider taking a group tour to see the country without worrying about safety.
"It's also super important to remember that being a solo female walking around London is no safer than many foreign countries that I travel to," she says.
"Solo travel will absolutely change your life for the better; you'll learn to back yourself, hone your problem-solving skills, become confident in your own skin and meet people who will end up being lifelong friends. Life is too short to wait for a friend or partner to want to travel with you."
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Credit: Magazine Features