Travelling solo is both an exciting and a daunting prospect. By stepping out and travelling alone, you are embarking on a journey with no one to rely on but yourself. Before your first solo trip, you may be a bit nervous but I can assure you that the rewards of solo travel far outweigh this! Solo travel allows you to explore the world, indulge your interests and passions, and be inspired by your own independence!
I’ve spoken to some solo travel experts and together, we’ve compiled a list of our 4 top tips for solo travel. If you’re a first time solo traveller, these are sure to help you get prepared as you plan your holiday! Or, if you’ve travelled alone before, these are sure to inspire you to start planning your next adventure! Read on to find out more and let me know in the comments – what’s your number one tip for solo travel?
Donna Armer, author of Solo in Salento
“My #1 tip for Solo Travel (as well as any other travel) is preparation. Whether you’re planning the trip yourself or receiving assistance from a trip planner or a travel agency, you need to be prepared. For me preparation includes location, accommodation and transportation and along with those travel insurance, medical facilities in the vicinity of your location, and contacts in a country (in your language). And right up there is personal safety and security throughout the trip.
Everything else (attractions, sightseeing, exploring, food and wine and meeting people) is what I consider the fun part of solo travel and while it’s okay to research the area and plan on a few places of interest, I pretty much leave this to chance so I can explore everything without benefit of someone else’s opinion or selfie.”
Barbara Weibel, from Hole in the Donut Travels
“My tip is to always be wary when you use an ATM. First, grab the card reader and try to pull it off the face of the machine. If it comes off, that means someone has installed a fraudulent reader over the bank reader, and it will capture your account number and pin if you use that machine. Second, a common scam when using ATM’s around the world is a screen that pops up at the end of the transaction, offering you a guaranteed exchange rate. The language makes it sound like you will be charged MUCH more if you let your home bank handle the currency exchange. Actually, the exact opposite is true. The foreign ATM’s charge exorbitant exchange rates. You could pay $20 or $30 more than your bank would charge. Always turn down this offer, and be sure to read carefully, because sometimes the language on the screen requires you to say NO and sometimes it requires a YES.”
Barbara is passionate about travel, writing and photography, and runs the travel blog Hole in the Donut.
Leyla, from Women on the Road
“My number #1 tip for solo travel is: Say YES! So often, we get shy or overly cautious and our default response to anything new is No. By saying Yes, we open the door to new places, new friends, new experiences. Of course, common sense should always prevail… you don’t say Yes to EVERYTHING. But things that push you slightly out of your comfort zone? Yes. Join a new group of friends at a traditional Balinese wedding? Yes. Try a new food you wouldn’t dream of eating on your own? Yes. Get on that bus by yourself? Yes. Walk up to that other solo traveler and begin a conversation? Yes. Ask a local person a question that could lead to a full-blown chat? Yes. Go sit in that restaurant by yourself? Yes.”
Leyla has been travelling for 50 years and has visited 96 countries, at last count. She runs the travel blog Women on the Road to help women gain the confidence and know-how to travel solo.
Tom Bourlet, from Spaghetti Traveller
“It can be scary travelling on your own, but what you do need to know is you don’t actually travel on your own, you just head to the first destination on your own. By being alone, you’re forced into a scenario where you become more sociable, going out of your way to make friends with people in your hostel or hotel. I might have headed to Peru on my own, but by the time I left the first hostel, I had made plenty of friends and actually travelled to the next destination as a group of 4.”
Tom documents his travels on his blog, Spaghetti Traveller, and has visited 28 countries so far – with the aim to visit 50 countries before he hits 40.
Inspired to travel solo? Make sure to download our Guide to Solo Travel!