Considering a spectacular vacation but can’t find someone to go with you? Don’t let that be an excuse to put your travel plans on hold indefinitely. Instead, let that be your cue to do something you might not have thought you’d ever do: travel alone.
Because solo travel can often seem like an intimidating option for first-timers, we’ve interviewed some or our favorite, seasoned solo travel bloggers to get the scoop on traveling alone. If you’re a first-time solo traveler or just looking for some advice for traveling alone, keep reading to check out their advice, get some destination inspiration for your first big trip alone, or simply follow along on their blogs as they travel the world.
Travel tip for first-timers: Start with a “base” of a structured course (such as a language class) or volunteer experience. In this way, you can get your feet under you and orient yourself to being abroad before setting out on your own. I’d also recommend staying in hostels with common areas, as those are great places to meet people.
Best part of solo travel: I find solo travel SO ENJOYABLE. You can make whatever decisions you want as to where to go, what to do, and how long to stay, and don’t have to check in with anyone! Ultimate freedom.
Favorite solo travel destination: My favorite solo travel destination was Ghana, West Africa because the country is awesome (friendly, delicious, and fun), and because I was traveling alone, I could really connect with my coworkers at the schools where I was volunteering.
Travel tip for first-timers: I think one of the hardest things for first time solo travelers is actually booking the ticket, so my first tip would be to DO IT! The only thing you’ll regret is not doing something you’ve always wanted to do- and you don’t have to wait around for a travel companion to do so. In addition, follow your intuition, take safety precautions, let someone know where you’re heading, get travel insurance, and respect local culture in the way you dress or act, are at the top of my list. Of course, number one, smile and be confident!
Best part of solo travel: I really love traveling at my own pace. Traveling solo allows me to spend more time in destinations or places that interest me, which may not be possible when traveling with a group. You’re not influenced by the opinions of others, so it’s really liberating to do whatever YOU want, whenever YOU want.
Favorite solo travel destination: Iceland or Riviera Maya, Mexico! Both destinations have friendly locals, awesome activities and offer something completely different from each other.
Travel tip for first-timers: There is so much advice I could dispense, but ultimately I think the main thing is to trust in yourself. Only travel alone if you feel you are ready – not because you feel you should, or because bloggers make it look desirable. It’s hard work, but in this lies the beauty of the experience. You will gain a deeper awareness of yourself in a way that no other experience in life can provide. Remain open to this, and you will come back forever changed.
Best part of solo travel: Traveling alone heightens my senses in every way. I veer from nervous to excited, lonely, exuberant, afraid, confident… the journey is just as much an emotive and sensory one as it is physical. Nothing else takes me through this spectrum of experience in the same way. It’s a kaleidoscope of glass-like moments that dance and change in the most unpredictable yet beautiful ways.
Favorite solo travel destination: I think I would have to say Costa Rica. It was the first place I ever traveled alone, and remains dear to my heart because of this. The people are some of the warmest I have ever come across, and the country is diverse and abundant with adventure. Public transport is good, there are many well-worn backpacking routes, and I felt very safe and comfortable my entire time there.
Travel tip for first-timers: I go by the saying “fake it til you make it” when it comes to traveling solo. Many people who face problems with scams and people bothering them actually attract that attention by looking lost, confused, or scared. If you act confident and like you know what you’re doing then scammers are less likely to bother you. You can’t be afraid to tell someone to just leave you alone. The key thing to remember is if someone randomly walks up to you to offer you help or a room, they are probably up to no good. Our morals tell us to be nice anyways, but the truth is when you’re traveling solo you need to be a little more firm in saying “no.”
Best part of solo travel: The best part of traveling alone is feeling free to do anything you want OR just do nothing if it’s what suits you at that time. If you want to read a book and enjoy your rental’s pool for a day, it’s nice to not have someone judging you because they are off to see the important museum of that town. Travelers get burnt out sometimes and a break can help you from having a breakdown!
Favorite solo travel destination: For me, it’s India. I started traveling here solo over 3 years ago, before I moved here permanently. It was life-changing for me and I found so much strength in doing it. Although, I have to admit traveling India alone isn’t for everyone and I don’t recommend coming here alone if you haven’t experienced much travel before.
Travel tip for first-timers: I would tell the first time solo traveler to have confidence in themselves and their abilities to solve problems when they arise. I would also advise they book their first few nights of accommodation — even if they want to have a totally spontaneous, unplanned trip — to let themselves acclimate to being on their own in a foreign place. After that, you can see if you want to continue having everything booked or just go with the flow.
Best part of solo travel: Having ultimate freedom over your schedule and itinerary without ever having to compromise. I also think traveling on your own helps you grow your relationship with yourself. You have time to be alone with your thoughts and understand your own feelings and desires. For instance, if you realize you may be interested in trying yoga for the first time, there will be nobody to talk you out of it or distract you.
Favorite solo travel destination: I loved Slovenia. You can homebase in Ljubljana — which is safe, peaceful and beautiful, especially as cars aren’t allowed in the city center — and take day trips from there. People speak English, it’s budget-friendly and there are plenty of clean and cool hostels for meeting other travelers.
Travel tip for first-timers: Don’t worry too much, go out and enjoy! Traveling solo is one of the best things you can do!
Best part of solo travel: All the people you meet on the way.
Favorite solo travel destination: The Philippines because nowhere else have I met so many friendly locals.
Travel tip for first-timers: If it’s your first time venturing out on your own, the first thing you should do is determine your comfort zone. For some, solo travel means having total freedom and trying to immerse yourself in the local experience. It might include hitchhiking, haggling for groceries at the local market, and having zero plans. Other people may be more at ease in the company of other travelers on an organized tour. No matter the style of travel, you’re sure to find yourself in new, exciting, and sometimes challenging situations, but it’s important to have a sense of the best fit for you.
Pack light–you’re the only one who will be around to carry your stuff. At the same time, pack smart and make sure you have the essentials. This extends beyond the right clothes. There are plenty of solo travel packing lists available online. If you’re interested, here’s what I packed for a year of solo backpacking.
Best part of solo travel: Meeting people. When we travel as a pair or with a group, we tend to be less social with other people in our environment and may even unknowingly put up a barrier. It’s surprising how much more approachable you can appear by travelling alone. I’ve met fascinating people on my travels, some of whom I’ve returned to visit on subsequent trips. It’s the people, not the destinations, that will often define your travels.
Favorite solo travel destination: Far too many destinations stand out to have a clear favourite. One place that strikes me as especially friendly to new solo travelers is Medellín, Colombia. Medellín is a vibrant city that blends a gorgeous location with an artistic, fun-loving atmosphere and outgoing people. Because lots of expats gravitate here, you won’t have much trouble exploring if you don’t speak Spanish.
Travel tip for first-timers: Solo travel is amazing but it can get lonely. If you’re feeling lonely, book yourself onto a group tour, even if it’s just a free walking tour around the city. These are a great place to meet your fellow solo travelers or groups of friends who may welcome you in. People often stick together after a tour, particularly evening tours where the group will often stick together and go for drinks together afterwards. Unless you’re staying in a hostel it can be difficult to meet other people while you travel and this is a great way without having to sit alone at a bar in the hope someone will eventually talk to you.
Best part of solo travel: Having the time to really get to know a new destination. Having time alone helps you soak it all in and really see places without any distractions.
Favorite solo travel destination: London – there’s so much going on and so much to do that you’d never get bored. London’s hostels are great so you can have a touch of luxury while also meeting new people and there are lots of other solo travelers in the city.
Travel tip for first-timers: I have so many tips! Definitely make sure someone back home has a general idea of your schedule and where you will be staying so that if anything were to happen someone knows where you should be. Also be sure to photocopy/photograph your passport and keep it in your email in case you lose it so you at least have a copy for proof. Lastly, the most important one would be to trust your gut. If you find yourself in a situation that you aren’t comfortable trust your gut and get yourself out of that situation as soon as you can and stay safe!
Best part of solo travel: It might sound a little bit selfish but the best part for me about traveling on my own is doing things that I want to do and when I want to do them and not having to compromise and be dragged around to places you don’t care for because your traveling partner does want to visit them.
Favorite solo travel destination: I highly recommend Sydney, Australia as my favorite solo destination. Not only is their native language English like me so that there aren’t any language barriers but also Australians are very friendly, the city is easy to get around in by walking or public transportation, the food is tasty, there are so many things to see and do and there are also a lot of great hostels which are perfect for making new friends.