Updated on January 25, 2024 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Have you ever thought about visiting a new city but had nobody to go with you? Maybe you’re an adventurous, restless soul who caught a travel bug and can’t stay in the same place for too long. Or maybe you’ve had enough organised trips with a few hours of free time where you can’t do anything in your own time? Solo travel might be the answer.

Not everyone wants to be a solo traveller. Travelling alone has its downsides, such as huge responsibility, uncertainty, and safety concerns. However, it also has enormous benefits: independence, increased confidence, the opportunity to meet new people, and getting out of your comfort zone, to name just a few.

Solo travel can be a transformative and enriching experience, offering individuals the opportunity to explore the world on their own terms. However, navigating the complexities of solo adventures requires careful planning and consideration. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into a myriad of helpful tips for solo travel to ensure your journey is not only memorable but also safe and enjoyable.

Do Your Research

Research is your best friend. Choose a place that resonates with your interests and comfort level. Bustling metropolises like Tokyo offer constant connection, while serene island paradises like Bali provide solitude and introspection. Consider factors like safety, visa requirements, and infrastructure when making your choice.

The best way to ensure that your solo travel adventure goes without a hitch is to plan as much as you can. Of course, you don’t have to go to extremes and come up with an hourly schedule. However, you must be certain about the most important information regarding your solo trip. These include regulations like weather conditions, safe and dangerous areas, the exact location of your hotel or Airbnb, the time and date of your arrival and departure, and other necessary information about your destination.

Many travellers prefer to be spontaneous and are unphased by some degree of uncertainty on the road. However, it’s better to have a rough idea of your expedition, especially if it’s your first solo travel trip. You can always work on the details later; after all, you should be able to use free wi-fi and look for missing information on the go.

planning your trip

Look for Travel Deals

Solo travellers, as well as those who travel with an organised group, have their fair share of ways that can help them save money. If you’re on a limited budget, make use of these tips! Look for the best travel deals and discount codes for hotels and accommodation, car rental and parking, airlines, various experiences and activities, and different means of transport. Whether you want to go alone on a small city break or immerse yourself in the local culture during a long-term solo getaway, you can do it without breaking the bank; all you need is some time and effort.

Start Early

You probably know the saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” It’s suitable for several situations, including your solo trip! Every country has some must-see spots that tend to be extremely crowded. However, few tourists are going to wake up early, get ready, and start exploring the city. As such, if you dream of going to a specific location and don’t want to have the experience spoiled by a group of rowdy people, you need to start your day early, way before everyone else.

Getting up early in the morning has an additional advantage: if your day is packed with fun activities, you’ll be ready to go to bed at a reasonable time. This, in turn, increases your safety because you won’t be out alone in the dark

Learn the Lingo

Learning basic phrases in the local language goes a long way. Not only does it enhance your cultural experience, but it also fosters connections with locals and boosts your confidence. Mobile apps and phrasebooks can be your handy language companions. With English being the second most spoken language in the world, you’ll probably be able to communicate with people you meet during your solo trip. However, they will also appreciate it when you attempt to communicate with them in their native language, especially if you travel alone to a non-English-speaking country. What’s more, they would likely like to return the effort.

Learning at least a few phrases, such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me, etc., in a local language can also help you get a truly unique travel experience. While going to fancy restaurants and must-see places mentioned in every tourist guide sounds appealing, advice from local people can be worth more than gold. You may learn about some local events, inexpensive places with delicious food, attractions off the beaten path, or maybe some areas in a city that you should avoid for your safety. All in all, it’s great to meet locals wherever you travel; more often than not, they will have some great advice for you, making your solo travel experience all the better, safer, and easier

globe and tea

Meet New People

Solo trips, no matter how exotic and exciting, can wear down even the bubbliest travellers. As such, it’s good to be open to new experiences, including those related to various social situations. It doesn’t mean that you have to strike up a conversation with everyone you meet. However, there are many things you can do to meet people and make new friends, even if you’re not the most sociable person.

For example, smiling can help a lot; it’s a universal sign that you’re friendly and approachable and can be an easy conversation starter. You can also visit places that encourage talking, be they independent coffee shops, local bars and pubs, small bookstores, or hostels and B&Bs. Additionally, you can come up with a set of routine activities. This way, you can see who else likes to visit the same places and start a conversation from there, or you may be approached by the locals, who might get accustomed to your presence and warm up to you.

Unmasking the Tricksters

While most adventures are smooth sailing, sneaky scams can lurk around the corner. Luckily, most are just minor annoyances, like losing a few bucks or feeling a bit silly. But some can be real rip-offs! Before you jet off, do a quick Google search for common scams at your destination.

Here’s a heads-up on some popular tricks:

  • Taxi trouble: Don’t trust a taxi driver who says their meter is broken. Insist on using it or find another ride.
  • Ticket traps: Be careful when buying tickets, especially for popular attractions. Ask at official booths or trusted sources to avoid overpaying or getting fakes.
  • Petition pressure: Don’t sign anything without reading it first. Some petitions are just traps to get you to donate money.

Remember, a little research goes a long way! By being informed and cautious, you can avoid getting tricked and have an awesome solo adventure

Enjoy Every Moment

You may have some concerns or feel anxious about what’s to come. However, worrying won’t help; it will only ruin your solo travel experience. A positive attitude (paired with thorough preparation, of course) can make all the difference. As such, since you decided to travel alone, make the most of it! Step outside your bubble! Try new dishes, explore hidden alleyways, and participate in unfamiliar activities. Solo travel liberates you from external pressures, making it the perfect time to push your boundaries and discover hidden talents or passions.

If you want to go somewhere, look for ways that will help you reach your destination. Have you seen a fancy restaurant with favourable reviews? Go there and enjoy your meal. Maybe you’ll hear from locals about an exciting event happening in town or a walking tour that leads to less-frequented attractions—if you feel like going, nobody can tell you no! That’s the beauty of solo travel: you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it. Use it to your advantage and create the best memories of your life

Safety Tips for Travelling Alone

Numerous studies and surveys show that safety is the top concern among travellers. When travelling solo, you’re no longer in the company of a group of people who provide you with assistance and reassurance. Also, if you’re leaving your home country, it may feel like going out of your comfort zone, big time. That being said, nothing can stop you from having the time of your life, despite being on your own. Below, you’ll find some essential tips for safe solo travel.

  1. Keep in touch. Let a family member know what’s your plan for the day, or at least notify them when you arrive, where you’re staying, and when you get back from your daily activities. Keep them updated on your solo travel progress, especially when you’re changing locations. Also, establish a set of emergency contacts, which may include your friends, family members, embassy staff, insurance agents, and more.
  2. Buy travel insurance. You can hope for the best, but the truth is, you can never be sure what’s going to happen during your solo travel adventure. Lost luggage, an accident, or a robbery can happen to anyone; it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to you, but if things go south when you travel alone, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  3. Have backup options. Make copies of your travel documents and tickets, bring an additional charger or a power bank, and pack a set of spare clothes. If you happen to lose something, you can be sure that you won’t be left completely stranded in a bustling city with no legal identification and no means to change your situation or call for help.
  4. Trust everyone and no one. You can hope for the best and have a positive attitude. However, too much trust makes you vulnerable. If you’re uncertain about someone, don’t let them know you’re completely on your own. You don’t have to be honest all the time and if the situation requires it, lie a little. For example, you can ask for directions or leave a party early, just mention that a friend or a family member is waiting for you. Whether you’re a male or a solo female traveller, don’t let your guard down.
  5. Don’t flaunt your wealth. Money, expensive accessories, designer clothes, jewellery—it’s never wise to brag about your material status, especially when you’re on your own in a city you don’t know. Leave valuable items at home, and don’t draw unwanted attention to yourself.
  6. Trust your gut. It may sound obvious, but when you travel solo, you should always use your common sense. Don’t go to shady places or dangerous areas. Avoid engaging in illegal activities, and don’t trust everyone you meet. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, and feel free to leave or back out of any plans.
  7. Don’t overshare online: Avoid posting your location or detailed plans on social media while you’re travelling.
  8. Stay connected: Purchase a local SIM card to make calls and access the internet. Download offline maps and essential apps.
  9. Choose your accommodation wisely: Opt for well-reviewed hostels or guesthouses with good security measures. Consider staying in central locations for easier access to transportation and amenities.
  10. Be mindful of scams: Common scams targeting tourists include pickpocketing, fake taxis, and overpriced souvenirs. Research common scams in your destination and be wary of unsolicited offers.
girl with backpack

In a Nutshell

Solo travel can be a great experience. Even though it may seem daunting at first glance, it may become one of your favourite ways of exploring the world and meeting new people. When travelling alone, you have all the freedom you can get. You can make independent decisions and take full control of how your trip turns out.

Solo travel comes with a handful of challenges, too. You’re mostly on your own, and you need to take care of every aspect of your trip. Still, this allows you to become more organised, learn how to trust yourself more and learn how to depend on yourself rather than others.

You may also have safety concerns, which may be discouraging, especially if you’re a first-time solo traveller. However, thorough preparation and common sense are your best bets. Take a look at the list of safety tips we provided, and make sure you keep them in mind. Never let fear stop you from fulfilling your desires.