Travelling on your own can be daunting, invigorating, exciting, exhilarating, scary and sometimes just downright lonely. I have travelled all over the world on my own since I was 16, and things have changed over the years, so I reached out to my fellow travellers to find their best Solo Travel Tips.
19 Solo Travel Tips
Do Your Research
by Gemma from Girls That Travel
My number one solo travel tip is to always do as much research as possible. Such as any social etiquette you need to be aware of, the best, and safest places to stay, and even get to know your local area in advance.
I always like to know that there’s a good breakfast or dinner spot within walking distance from my hotel or Airbnb. Take time to learn just a few words of the language too. It goes a long way, shows respect, and people always appreciate you trying.
QUICK SOLO TRAVEL TIPS: I always carry a book or iPad with me, so I can sit in a bar or restaurant and I have something to do – Larch
by Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
After years of travelling, I’ve learnt the many advantages of packing light. There’s nothing worse than being weighed down with heavy luggage as you navigate the streets of a new city, especially when you’re travelling alone.
The positives don’t stop there, you’ll avoid baggage fees, get out of the airport faster, and feel safer being able to keep an eye on your baggage.
Quick tips for packing light:
- Start by taking a smaller bag. If you take a larger bag you’ll just be tempted to fill it up.
- Always use a packing list so you only take what you need.
- Use packing cubes to compress your belongings and keep you organised.
Go on a Group Tour
by Leanne from The Globetrotter GP
I love travelling solo on occasions, but sometimes, it’s nice to have a bit of company. Especially when you are visiting places where you may feel you are vulnerable as a solo traveller.
Luckily there is now a solution with an abundance of group adventure tour companies like G Adventures or Intrepid Travel popping up.
Group tours like this provide an opportunity for people to travel even if they are nervous – or just don’t want – to travel alone. They are also perfect for professionals who have limited time to plan a trip and want to pack a lot into a short time frame.
I have made friends for life by taking these sorts of group trips. You usually meet like-minded adventure seekers so you have something in common to bond over from the offset.
Do not allow yourself to be held back by others
by Joanna from Backpack and Bushcraft
If you have your heart set on visiting a certain place or having a particular experience, make sure that you prioritise this.
It’s tempting when travelling alone to follow the footsteps of a new friend or group you met on the road. Perhaps you love spending time with them or you feel safer with travel buddies. This is great and a fantastic part of solo travel.
However, don’t forget the reasons you are travelling alone in the first place. I would guess it was at least partly about having independence and making your own decisions. So, do exactly that.
When I travelled around South America, I met some amazing people and had a great time with them. But, I almost missed out on one of the most spectacular personal experiences of that trip and my life so far. To summit Huayna Potosi mountain at 6088 metres ALONE was truly memorable and I am so glad I followed my own path. Make sure you do the same.
QUICK SOLO TRAVEL TIPS: Learn a few words of the language, it is surprising what a “Bonjour” or “Selamat pagi” can lead to – Larch
Let someone know before doing a potentially dangerous activity
by Sean from LivingOutLau
Travelling solo can be frightening at times. It is easy to meet other solo travellers if you stay in hostels, but you are guaranteed not to have someone by your side at all times. So what do you do? Are you going to skip out on some of the best attractions in a place just because you don’t have anyone to go with? Definitely not.
Then how do you keep yourself safe if you are going to do a potentially dangerous activity such as hiking or going out solo? When I was hiking in Peru, I always made sure to tell someone where I was going. This could be your reception or someone in your accommodation. That way, if you don’t come back in the proper timeframe, they know where to look for you!
Beat boredom with Podcasts
by Cora & Helen from Inside Our Suitcase
One way to beat the boredom when travelling solo is to download podcasts in advance. They are great for listening to on long journeys as they use very little battery life on your phone and can be listened to on the go, whether you’re walking for a bus, on the plane or just standing in line somewhere.
There’s a whole host of great podcasts now available on a range of topics that you’re sure to find one or two that take your fancy. The majority also have a large back catalogue and release new episodes regularly ensuring you’ll never go without!
Protect your Belongings
by Michelle from Travel After Five
As a solo traveler, you not only need to be concerned for your own safety, but for the safety of your belongings as well. Many solo travellers choose to stay in hostels since they are inexpensive and you have the opportunity to meet more people. If you do this, don’t forget to leave home without a lock! Many hostels have lockers for you to leave your stuff in the room, but they do not always come with locks.
Bring a lock for your locker, but as a precaution, you should also pack a lock for your backpack or suitcase. Locks with a combination are easier to manage so you don’t have to worry about losing a key!
QUICK SOLO TRAVEL TIPS: Use a SkyRoam Global Wifi Hub to keep you connected when you are away. – Larch
Using the Meetup App
by Marco Santos from Travel-Boo
Travelling on your own can be a lonely affair, even for the most seasoned solo traveller. As such, finding ways to make new friends and social events, as you travel from country to country, is a great way to connect with other like-minded travellers and locals alike.
Thankfully, this has become a lot easier thanks to apps such as Meetup. Meetup is an app you can download to your phone and allows you to browse for different social events taking place near you, and based on a range of different interests and groups.
We discovered Meetup on our first visit to Lisbon, Portugal. In Lisbon, and around the globe, there are regular Meetups ranging from Digital Nomad socials to language exchanges through to hiking events taking place. Best of all, it’s free to use too.
Use Hotel/Accommodation to Arrange your Transport
by Michael from Passport Explored
One of my top tips for solo travellers is to use your hotel or hostel to help you arrange transportation throughout your trip. Although it can often seem intimidating to get from point A to point B, your hotel or hostel will always know the route and will be more than happy to help you reserve transportation.
This helps by removing the anxiety of having to research and reserve this transportation on your own. Additionally, odds are that other solo travellers from your hotel or hostel will be seeking transportation as well so you may be able to share the costs with them. Overall, hotels and hostels are great resources for solo travellers, especially when it comes to safe and reliable transportation throughout a foreign country.
Use a Filter Water Bottle
by Sarah from A Social Nomad
There’s nothing worse than being sick when you’re travelling. Apart from if you’re solo travelling. I’ve been sick twice while travelling and both times was when I relied on someone else to provide water for me – both times I was told the water was boiled and filtered and both times I got sick.
I always, always use a filter water bottle now for my water. I see it as putting me in control of not just my health, but also both my budget and the sustainability of my travel.
Buying bottled water can be an expensive exercise, and I’d really rather spend the money on more travel, plus in using my filter water bottle I’m avoiding single-use plastic and trying to make my travel more ecologically friendly – as well as reducing the waste in countries that I travel to.
Just do it!
by Meera freelance journalist and co-founder of Adventure.com
Most people I know who solo travelled for the first time loved it, including me, no matter how they felt beforehand. So if you’re feeling nervous or scared, but you know you want to go or have been thinking about it for ages, you probably should!
In cities, I tend to stay in livelier neighbourhoods, often in guesthouses/hostels with their own cafe/restaurant, as it’s easier to travel by day to the sights and have your dinner/evening options on your doorstep. Use your instinct and ask locals/accommodation staff about safety, scams etc. And you can always join day/multi-day tours once you’re in situ if you’re not meeting enough people or want company.
QUICK SOLO TRAVEL TIPS: don’t overthink it and simply enjoy it! – Viktoria – Chronic Wanderlust
Take a City Walking Tour
by Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland.com
If you would prefer company to explore a city, then joining a walking tour is a great idea. Being able to join up with others is particularly reassuring if you have any safety concerns. Tours are also a great introduction to a city or town as you will learn about the history and the culture. Many walking tours take you through different neighbourhoods which is a good way of getting a feel for places that you might want to return to later or areas you might want to avoid as a solo traveller.
Another useful thing about walking tours is being able to ask the guide or someone from the group to take your photograph at any interesting stops along the way.
Be Smart with your Documents
by Daniel from Layer Culture
Whenever travelling solo you are forced to become more responsible as you travel around the globe by yourself. One thing you should pay attention to is your travel documents. In today’s age, we can carry most of them electronically but there are some countries that may ask for physical copies of important documents. For example, proof of onward travel.
As a world traveller myself, I always carry a photocopy of my passport, not to mention a passport holder to protect my physical copy. If you ever run out of battery on your connected device, having a printed copy of your passport and insurance documents may save your life.
QUICK SOLO TRAVEL TIPS: wear a wedding ring to ward off unwanted advances – Larch
Keep your 5 most important things with you 24/7.
by Amy from Amy Guides
These will vary from person-to-person. For example, I use my mobile phone often, but phones today are easily lost, stolen or broken.
When I travel solo, the 5 most important things packed in my carry on bag which I keep with me 24/7 include: medicine(s); wallet (with passport/ID/cash/debit card/credit cards); travel folder (contains all trip travel docs and my itinerary); one full set of extra clothes, and a reusable/collapsible cup. In my experience, everything else is replaceable while I’m on the road.
Solo doesn’t mean lonely
by Iris from Mind of a Hitchhiker
Do we all solo travel to meet new people? No.
Sometimes we go solo to get to become more self-reliant and trust oneself better. And there’s nothing wrong with not opting out of the pub crawls, the walking tours, and singing Wonderwall with guitar guy for the umpteenth time when staying in a hostel. The fear of missing out might craze you for a while, but it’s ultimately up to you how you want to spend your travels. Being in the company of others doesn’t always enhance your experiences. In fact, it can also harm your trip.
In my solo years, I often combined a full day of hitchhiking and socializing small talk with freecamping alone at night with the chirping lullabies of crickets. I have split from hitchhiking buddies mid-trip and told hostel guitar guy to go away. And of course, I’ve also been told off by people because boundary-setting works both ways.
Remember: terms like ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ aren’t absolutes—they can be fluid or situation-dependent. Even people who are often outgoing also like to just retreat within themselves and read a book in contemplative quietude. You don’t owe people conversation, smiles, and participation.
Download the Couchsurfing App
by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
Couchsurfing is often thought of as something only for budget-minded backpackers who are trying to travel as cheaply as possible and are looking for a free night’s accommodation. But Couchsurfing, when done right, is not about travelling cheaply. Instead, it’s about making meaningful connections with locals and fellow travellers. And you don’t have to sleep on a stranger’s couch to do that, either.
One of the newer features of Couchsurfing, which is only available in the app (not the website version), is “Hangouts”. If you’re looking for someone to grab a meal or a drink with, or perhaps see a concert or visit a museum, you can post a hangout on the app describing your proposed activity. Then locals and other travellers nearby can request to join your hangout. Or if you’re not sure exactly what you want to do, browse nearby hangouts and join one that appeals to you.
QUICK SOLO TRAVEL TIPS: Keeping some money hidden so if the worst happens you’re not left with nothing – Claire from Curious Claire
Take a Door Jam
by Kathryn from Travel with Kat
If you’re nervous about being alone in a hotel take a door jam or better still, take two in case your room has an interconnecting door to the next room. And, if it does, ALWAYS check that it is locked. I once forgot to check and was woken up in the middle of the night with a group of drunks trying to get in from the room next door. Luckily my full suitcase happened to be in front of the door which slowed them down long enough for me to stop them. Of course, I couldn’t go back to sleep until the hotel staff came and locked the door which took a long time.
by Jordan from The Solo Life
If you’re new to solo travelling, the thought of taking a huge trip totally alone can be pretty intimidating. There are tons of great how-to’s and tricks for new solo travellers, but one of my favourite tips is to start small.
An easy way to do this is to take a 1 day or weekend trip, even if it’s only a few hours from where you live. This gives you an opportunity to explore and see new things while still being in semi-familiar and comforting surroundings. These mini-vacations are also more affordable and need less time off of work. As a new solo traveller or someone who enjoys staying close to home, starting with small weekend trips is a great way to enjoy the benefits of solo travel without all the hassle or anxiety of being on your own.
Don’t Let Fear Stop You…
by Kelly from Destination Addict
In November of 2015 I took my first ever solo trip. After travelling for a number of years with partners, I was single & ready to explore alone. I had a month & researched into where I would like to go, lots of different places were an option, would I travel to Asia? Go back to Thailand or somewhere new, maybe China? But one place stayed at the very forefront of my mind… Colombia & it was only when I got there I realised why.
Travelling solo in Colombia was the most empowering experiences of my life. A country full of life, that is so diverse in both culture & ecology. Before I went I faced a lot of doubt from others, was it safe? why would I go there alone? But I had an incredible time, I met people that changed my life forever & I found that being alone actually enhanced my experience, as others were more open with me.
It was totally worth breaking through all of the doubt I had encountered beforehand, if I had given into the fear I never would have had what still remains one of the best experiences of my life.
I do hope that these Solo Travel Tips have given you inspiration and advice for your next holiday or trip on your own. If you have any questions or wish to share tips of your own, please comment below!
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Larch has had wanderlust all her life, travelling as much as she can whenever she can. Now in her 50’s, she writes about her adventures on her travel blog The Silver Nomad to encourage travellers of all ages to look at different destinations. In early 2019, she qualified as a CAA PfCO Drone Pilot and now travels with her DJI Mavic Pro to capture aerial videos and photos to enhance her work.