Solo Travel Tips: Everything You Need to Know To Start Your First Solo Travel
November 6, 2023
Picture this - you’re standing at the airport. Passport in one hand, one-way ticket to who-knows-where in the other. Your heart is pounding with excitement. Your stomach is doing somersaults. And there's this wild surge of adrenaline shooting up your spine. In about half an hour, you'll be embarking on your first solo adventure, and suddenly, the world seems vast, filled with endless possibilities.
And this is exactly how I felt when I first set foot on the road to solo travel when I was just 21 years old. Looking back, it was one hell of a journey. So, whether you’re an aspiring solo traveler or just curious by the idea of it, this blog is your guide. We'll dive into the perks of solo traveling, best destinations for solo travelers, safety tips, and much more. Are you ready?
The Perks and Quirks of Solo Travel
Traveling alone might sound daunting - and I totally get you! However, it’s an adventure that comes with many perks. Solo travel gives you a unique freedom to explore at your own pace. You don’t need to follow certain schedules and go to places you didn’t even want to go in the first place. You want to spend a whole day on the beach or make a detour to that quirky museum? You got it!
But of course, it's not always rainbows and butterflies. Dining alone can feel awkward especially if you’re not used to it, and sometimes you might yearn for company or find yourself in a tricky situation. During my solo trip to Bangkok, I once got lost in the city’s chaotic streets. Yet, it was during these moments of vulnerability that I discovered the kindness of strangers and my own resilience.
Globe-Trotting Alone: Best Solo Traveler Destinations
Traveling the world alone can be an enriching and exhilarating experience and choosing the right destination can make it even better! Below are some of best destinations for solo traveling:
Iceland: While it’s largely known for its Northern Lights, Iceland is also considered for being one of the safest countries in the world making it a good choice for your solo travel. Besides, who doesn’t want breathtaking landscapes, friendly locals, and unique culture?
Australia: With its warm weather (well, depending on the season), laid-back lifestyle, and English-speaking locals, Australia is one of the great starting points for new solo travelers. The big country is teeming with adventures like snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef or exploring the wilderness of the Outback.
Japan: Japan's blend of tradition and modernity is captivating making it an interesting choice for solo travelers. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the tranquil temples of Kyoto, there's something for everyone.
Portugal: Friendly locals, delicious food, beautiful beaches, historic cities, Portugal has it all. It's easy to navigate, affordable, and filled with diverse attractions. The country's relaxed pace makes it perfect for solo travelers looking to unwind.
Vietnam: This Southeast Asian gem is perfect for solo travelers on a budget. With its dramatic landscapes, cheap and mouth-watering street food, and bustling cities, Vietnam offers a range of experiences. Not to mention, you'll find plenty of other solo travelers to meet along the way.
New Zealand: Known for its adventure sports and stunning natural beauty, New Zealand is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Its friendly locals, safe cities, and well-organized tourism infrastructure make it a super easy and comfortable place for solo travelers to navigate.
Keep Calm and Travel On: Solo Travel Safety Tips
Traveling alone is a wonderful experience, but it’s essential to remain aware and alert in new surroundings. Here are a few indispensable safety tips I've gathered on my solo journeys:
Keep Important Documents Safe: Always keep your passport, visas, and important documents in a safe place. Digitize them if possible – I usually email copies to myself or use cloud storage, just in case.
Stay Connected: Always keep someone informed about your whereabouts. Regularly check in with friends or family and let them know your plans. Invest in a good roaming data plan or a local SIM card. It's important to be reachable and to have access to online maps and resources at all times.
Research and Plan: Learn about local customs, places to avoid, and emergency numbers of the places you're visiting. Being informed and prepared is the key to safe travel.
Trust Your Gut: This might be the most important tip. If something or someone makes you uncomfortable, it's okay to remove yourself from that situation. Trusting your intuition is important especially when you're navigating new environments alone.
Pack Wisely: Apart from the usual travel items, consider packing safety items like a small first-aid kit, a doorstop for extra security in hotel rooms, and a whistle or personal alarm.
Get Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is essential. Make sure it covers everything you plan to do during your trip.
Blend In: Try to blend in and live as a local as much as possible. The less you look like a tourist, the less likely you are to be targeted by possible scams.
Don't Overshare: Be mindful of what you share online and offline. Try not to share location updates aside from your friends/family, as it might make you an easy target for a crime.
Stay Sober: It's definitely okay to have a few drinks and enjoy yourself, but remember that staying in control is essential when you're on your own in an unfamiliar place.
Wanderlust 101: Practical Tips for Traveling Alone
After many trips and countless experiences, I've picked up a few handy tips. For starters, always have a plan B. Trust me, you don't want to be stuck without a hotel reservation at midnight.
Another golden rule? Don’t be shy from asking for help. Believe it or not, most people are more than willing to lend a hand. Oh, and do learn a few phrases in the local language. A simple 'hello' or 'thank you' can work wonders in breaking the ice!
Flying Solo for the First Time: Tips for First Time Solo Travel
First-time solo traveler? Try starting small, like a weekend trip to a nearby city. It’s also important that you get comfortable with the idea of being alone, which shouldn’t be a negative experience. It's okay to feel out of place at first, but trust me, it gets easier along the way. When I first ventured out on my own, I was incredibly anxious, but by the end of the trip, I was navigating foreign lands like a pro.
How to Make Friends while Traveling Alone
Solo travel doesn't have to be a lonely endeavor. Hostels, local events, and even group tours offer endless opportunities to meet fellow travelers and locals. Don't be afraid to start a conversation with other travelers, most of the time they’re just also waiting for someone to approach them. Some of my most cherished travel memories are of spontaneous dinners with fellow travelers and locals. In Buenos Aires, I danced tango with locals at a Milonga, and it's one of my fondest memories!
Must-Have Apps to Connect with Locals and Fellow Travelers
In this digital age, you’re never really alone. You can download useful mobile apps and/or travel sites so it's easier to connect with like-minded travelers or get to know locals in your destination.
Here are a few apps and sites I've found invaluable during my solo adventures:
Couchsurfing: It’s not just a place to find free accommodation, it can also be used to meet locals and other travelers. A lot of CS hosts organize regular meetups in cities around the world which are a great way to meet new people.
Meetup: Want to find a group of people interested in the same activities/interest as yours? Try Meetup- it’s a great way to find local events and special interest groups, and it’s perfect for solo travelers.
Travello: This app is specifically designed for travelers looking to make connections on the road. You can find travel buddies, check out what other travelers are doing, and join groups based on interests.
Tinder or Bumble: Beyond dating, these apps can be great for finding locals to show you around a new city. Both offer options for seeking friendships as well.
Remember, while these apps and sites are great tools, always make sure to meet new connections in public places and let someone know where you are going!
Ready to Embark on Your Solo Adventure?
There you have it! I hope this guide eases your fears and stirs up excitement for the incredible journey that awaits you. Remember, solo travel is as rewarding as it is challenging. It might push your boundaries, but it also offers unparalleled personal growth and a sense of empowerment. Now, go conquer the world!
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