Ten tips for solo travel

Scopello, Sicily, Italy

Scopello, Sicily, Italy

The first time you travel alone, you may be a little nervous, especially gearing up for the trip. I found that once I was there, any worries I had went away. There are so many benefits to traveling alone that I encourage people to try it at least once in their life.

I previously wrote some other tips for traveling solo and a few places to visit if you’re traveling alone. This post builds on those two.

1.Safety

Be as cautious of your safety as you would be when you’re traveling in a group or with someone else. Take care at night, watch your drinks, find out what the local frauds are so you’re wary of them, and also keep a close eye on your stuff.

Also, have local emergency numbers like the police programmed in your phone.

Sometimes, depending on where you go, the attention you get traveling solo can be overwhelming, I have heard especially so for women. If you’re going somewhere you’re unfamiliar with the language, find out the nonverbal gesture for the word “no” and learn how to say “no, thank you” in the local language, as well as “definitely not.”

2.Learn some key phrases

To expand on my last point above, learn a few words and phrases before you go somewhere you don’t speak the language. Simple things like how to introduce yourself, order a drink or say please and thank you, or if you have time, how to start a basic conversation.  Even if you’re terrible at languages, most people appreciate the effort.

3.Do what you enjoy

Washington Square Park, NYC

Washington Square Park, New York City

Are you sociable and like to be in the middle of everything? You might not enjoy yourself if you can’t communicate with people, so head somewhere you know the language. Or go somewhere with very few tourists so at least you’re in the middle of all the action.

If you prefer to be alone and watch things, a language barrier won’t matter. You can go somewhere you can see sites, and also people watch when you want to sit around. Vibrant cities are perfect for this, like New York, Milan, Paris or Vietnam.

4.Airbnb or couchsurf

Melbourne skyline

Melbourne, Australia

If you find a place to stay with residents, you feel more connected to the place you’re visiting. It’s also an excellent way to get tips from people living there. If you couchsurf, most likely your host will show you around. Some Airbnb hosts will do the same. When you stay in hotels and hostels, chances are you will end up spending more time with other tourists.

5.Reach out to people

Use social media to find connections where you’re going and to find events that you might enjoy. You may be able to make some new friends that way before you get to your destination.

6.Get an early start

Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy

Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy early in the morning

Things are much less busy earlier in the morning. You can bypass some lineups, the crowding and get great photos. An early start also helps if you don’t feel comfortable being out alone late at night. If your day is full enough, you will be ready for bed early.

7.Load your tablet or phone

Add books, movies, games or whatever you like in case you get a little lonely or bored while you’re eating or waiting around for something. I also use that time to write things down from the day, so I don’t forget.

8.Take lots of photos

Malta - Valletta

Valletta, Malta

Photos can tell an amazing story of your travels as well as the memories attached to them. I always recommend taking a lot of pictures, but not so many that you miss out on what you’re doing. You don’t want to think back one day and wish you had taken more pictures of different places.

9.Don’t skip the dining journey

If you feel awkward eating in a restaurant alone, try to force yourself to go into them. You don’t want to miss out on fantastic food and culture because of it. Some of my favorite parts of travel are my dining experiences. People that work at the restaurant are easy to chat with, and can also recommend some great meals. You may want to start off by eating at the bar and work your way to a table if you’re really uncomfortable.

10.Enjoy it

Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Even if you do get lonely, remind yourself of all the things you can do when traveling solo, even if they’re small. You can take the trip you want, even if you change your mind daily about what to do while you’re there. No one will get mad at you for it!

Going alone means you have a chance to fully take in your surroundings and meet locals and other travelers along the way.

These are some of my tips, do you have any others?

103 replies »

  1. YES. EATING. When I first started travelling alone I felt so awkward in restaurants and would try to find fast food joints where it’s “okay” to go by yourself. Missed out on so many cuisines because of it. Eventually was able to grow out of it. Great read!!

    Liked by 1 person

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