Last updated November 4, 2023
Imagine adventuring around the world with the person you know best: yourself! I’ve spent the last six years traveling alone, mainly to destinations around Europe and Latin America, and I had some of the most memorable experiences on each solo trip.
Like most people, when I started traveling solo, I had no idea where to start.
Solo traveling can be daunting, especially when you don’t know how to go about planning and organizing your first trip.
Through my experience with solo traveling, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks to make these trips memorable. Here are tips to consider as you plan your first solo trip.
1. Reflect on why you are going on this solo trip.
Solo travel provides benefits for personal growth. Take time to reflect on why you are embarking on your solo travel. There are countless reasons for solo traveling and each individual might have a different reason for traveling.
For one, solo travel can be extremely beneficial for your self-esteem, confidence levels and independence.
It can also give you more opportunities to travel as you no longer have to plan your vacation days around someone else’s.
In addition to all of the above, solo travel can also…
- Increase independence and promotes a “can do attitude”
- Increase your confidence levels.
- Allow you to meet awesome new people
- Empower you as you are 100% in control of your own trip
- Give you time to reflect get to know yourself
2. Remember to research and plan out the first few days.
The more you know about your destination the more prepared you’ll be. Plan out where you want to go for the first few days, what kind of budget you will need and make sure to also book your first few nights accommodations.
Planning out your first few days will allow you to have a more memorable start to your solo trip.
Having everything booked and knowing where you’re going will provide you with a travel security blanket, making you feel more confident about being alone.
3. Consider staying in hostels or other shared accommodation.
Hostels aren’t for everyone but they are a great way to meet other travelers and swap travel stories and information.
You’ll be able to join tours easily in hostels or find a group of people to eat out with in the evening.
Knowing that you’ll have some people to talk to and connect with after a long day of exploring can make you feel a lot less alone when traveling solo.
Airbnb is also a great option if you’d like to stay and connect with a host that might be willing to show you around their city. Always read the reviews and reserve your stay in advance.
4. Choose the destination wisely on your first solo trip.
Choosing the right destination for your first solo trip is essential for a smooth and enjoyable experience.
You really want to avoid dealing with completely unfamiliar situations, vastly different languages and even culture shock.
Here are some things to consider when deciding on your destination:
- Does the destination have a developed tourism infrastructure?
- Is the destination culturally similar to your home country? I suggest avoiding “culture shock” for your first solo trip
- Does the destination speak your language? If not, prepare yourself for a language barrier
- Is the country safe? Do you research on the safety within the country and how this applies to tourists.
While this is not an exhaustive checklist, pick the countries you think you would have an enjoyable time exploring.
Countries I’d recommend for your first solo trip include: the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Western Europe, Greece, Scandinavia and the UK.
5. Use all the current technology.
You might be alone but that doesn’t mean technology isn’t your friend.
There are many apps that can really aid you in your travels making them easier and more efficient.
Prior to embarking on your trip, remember to download all the apps you think you may need.
Consider downloading Google Maps to help you navigate the uncertainties of the location, Google Translate for communication troubles, and Booking.com and Airbnb for booking accommodations on the go.
Vacayou is here to walk with you on your travels. Our concierge team will work to ensure your solo trip is memorable and personalized.
While you can use apps like Google Maps and Translate offline, consider buying your country’s local SIM card on arrival or make sure you have an international calling plan so that you’re always connected and are able to make calls and send messages when necessary.
6. Spend time alone.
One of the goals of solo traveling is to be more comfortable spending time by yourself. Solo travel is a great opportunity for you to reflect. While this may get uncomfortable at times, remember to use the time you have on this trip wisely.
Take yourself out on dinner dates, spend the day on a day trip exploring the local area or the afternoon on the beach.
Spending this time alone can teach you so much about yourself, boost your confidence levels and make you an even better solo traveler on future trips.
7. Have a back-up plan for your solo trip.
No matter how much planning is done before traveling it’s often difficult to predict how the actual outcome will turn out. In the case of solo trips, It’s better to be over prepared.
Make sure to carry copies—both physical and electronic versions—of all your most important documents and try not to carry too much cash.
As an experienced solo traveler, I travel with a mix or credit and debit cards as well as cash. I always split up my cash, keeping an emergency stash in my suitcase and at the bottom of my day pack.
While on your trip, you could lose your wallet and if all your cash and cards are in there you might have a bit of a problem.
8. Get travel insurance.
Whether traveling solo or not, it’s just best to be prepared for whatever situation many arise.
Getting travel insurance is your safety net on any trip. In the event that something may be canceled, damaged or there are unexpected events that arise, travel insurance will help you quickly solve your problem and put your mind at ease.
Always take out travel insurance for the duration of your trip and make sure it covers all the activities you intend to do. These are precautionary items that may help you feel more secure during your trip.
8. Give someone at home your itinerary.
Prior to going on your trip, remember to share your schedule with someone at home. It never hurts to leave your rough itinerary with a loved one in case something goes wrong.
Not only does this reassure family and friends, but they’ll also be able to follow along with your excursions.
If you’re traveling somewhere remote and find yourself without any phone signal, your family will be able to use your itinerary and have a better understanding of why they can’t reach you.
9. Pack light.
One of the biggest pains of solo travel is having to carry your own stuff. This is why you should always pack as light as you can.
The less you take, the less you’ll have to carry and the more comfortable moving around will be. This is especially helpful in very hot and humid countries.
Prior to going on your trip, reevaluate everything you packed and determine what is necessary and what isn’t.
It may be helpful to write down a list of all the absolute essentials for what to pack for a wellness retreat, and then stick to it!
10. Blend in on your solo trip.
One of the biggest tips I can advise someone going on a solo trip is to try to blend in. Blending in is one of the easiest ways to make sure you don’t look like a walking target.
Researching the country prior to visiting will allow you to understand its culture and day-to-day rituals.
If you’re traveling to a country with more conservative culture, look up what the local people wear. This will allow you to walk with confidence on your solo trip.
By blending in you’ll save yourself a lot of unwanted attention. You’ll also gain a greater appreciation of the country’s culture and values.
Whether this is your first solo trip or you’re a returner, each solo trip brings upon new challenges and a refreshed perspective of the world. If you’re looking to embark on that solo trip, there is no better time than now.
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