Solo travel offers the chance to hit the open road, catch a flight to anywhere-you-please, and explore the world on your own terms. This solo travel guide has all the tips and tricks you’ll need for a perfect trip.
Getting the Most Out of Your Solo Trip
Planning a weekend jaunt with buddies or a romantic retreat with a significant other is always a great idea, but sometimes hitting the road alone provides the most memorable experiences. Solo travel is booming, especially for women, and it’s easy to book a city break, hit the beach for a bit of sun, or escape to the countryside for some rest and relaxation, all on your own schedule. So if the open road is calling, there’s no need to pick a partner, just pack your bags, check out these solo travel tips, and get ready for a bit of alone time in some of the planet’s most fascinating destinations.
Flights and Accommodations Tips When Traveling Solo
Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about traveling on your own is the freedom it offers. Indeed, one of the best solo travel tips is to just follow your heart, as it’s amazing what opportunities you’ll discover when you’re not bogged down by competing schedules, trying to find a restaurant that pleases everyone, or coming up with an itinerary that takes in the whole crew’s bucket-list activities and sights.
With that flexibility comes affordability, and solo travelers can often find deep discounts on flights, especially for last-minute trips with one remaining seat. If you’re an adventurous globetrotter who’s just as happy heading to Cleveland or Chennai as to the Côte d’Azur, you can find incredible bargains by keeping an open mind and an open schedule. Additionally, if you plan your travel for the off-season, you can stretch your wallet even further: think April in Hawaii or November in New Zealand.
Traveling solo also means you have more choice when it comes to accommodations, so you can pass on that romantic boutique hotel or luxury lodging, and instead set up base camp in a budget-friendly hostel near all the attractions. Not only will staying in a hostel help you stretch your dollars further, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy communal activities with like-minded travelers, and you’ll discover everything from cooking classes and pub-crawls to surfing sessions and walking tours. Many hostels also offer funky one-of-a-kind quarters in must-see locales, and solo visitors will find trendy co-sleeping digs everywhere from Montenegro’s historic Old Town to Miami’s glittering South Beach.
Best Activities for Solo Travelers
Exploring a vibrant new city or an exotic locale is the perfect excuse for some ‘me time’, and solo travelers will find it easy to plan a vacation around their singular interests.
Art lovers can book a spontaneous weekend getaway to catch up with the Warhol’s at MoMA, the frescoes at the Vatican Museums, or the El Greco’s at the Prado. Foodies, meanwhile, can sate their wanderlust – and their hunger – with a whistle-stop tour of the world’s greatest culinary destinations: pop by Paris for some pistachio escargot, cruise to Cape Cod for a bowl of clam chowder, head to Hanoi for some fabulous pho, or trek to Quebec to discover the mysterious origins of poutine. For food-lovers looking to meet like-minded travelers, culinary walking tours offer a great way to socialize over delectable dishes in local hot spots.
Solo road trips have long been an American rite of passage, and a top-down drive along historic Route 66 is a dream for a single traveler interested in American history, while an excursion down Highway 61 will take music fans on an epic tour through the honky tonks of Nashville, the storied blues clubs of Memphis, and the Crossroads of Clarksdale.
While going it alone is a draw for many, if you’re craving some companionship, hooking up with a group is a cinch. Most destinations offer a range of regular social gatherings and impromptu get-togethers, so check the local message boards to see what’s happening. There’s also a number of websites specifically aimed at bringing solo travelers together, not only to up the social ante, but also to share travel and lodging expenses.
Solo Travel Tips and Advice
Taking a solo vacation might sound daunting, especially if you’re visiting a foreign country, but here are a few tips for preventing travel anxiety when hitting the road alone.
Discovering a new city is always an exhilarating experience, but the Internet is full of digital Ponce De Leons who have written reams of reviews about even the most off-the-beaten-track destinations, and doing a bit of research will help you figure out which areas are likely to draw your interest, and which are potentially unsafe and best avoided. It’s important to remember that some neighborhoods have distinctly different personalities depending on the time of day, and what’s a lively, well-trafficked area at noon could be a ghost town at night.
If you’re a chatty, extroverted person who feeds off high-energy encounters and the joy of companionship, you’ll likely want to book a trip to a destination where you can speak the language, as it’s always helpful to have support if you feel anxious or depressed. Some travelers also enjoy recording their journeys in an old-school diary or on a blog, as a solo trip can feel a bit less lonely when friends and family can share in the adventure from afar.
It’s a big world, but now that we’re all so well connected, it’s easy to find distant family or friends of friends in far-flung places. It might be worth checking out who has connections in the area you’re planning to visit, as you’d be surprised how willing people are to play tour guide and show strangers their city’s best side. It’s not only a great way to socialize, stay safe, and meet some new people, you’ll also benefit from an insider’s knowledge of the area, and might discover some hidden gems tailored to your interests.
If you’re traveling to a foreign country, it’s a good idea to pre-program the local emergency numbers into your phone so that you can access them in an instant. Also, make sure that your personal info – contact numbers, medical conditions, insurance information, etc. – is easily accessible. You can even purchase a wallet card that has a QR code containing all your relevant details, or download apps that will share your location info with loved ones. For extreme solo travelers, there are companies that provide support globally, and offer travel advice, security alerts, free evacuation from natural disasters, and 24/7 emergency response teams.
Traveling solo may seem intimidating at first, but if you take the leap, a wild and free world awaits. Book your solo adventure today!