So you’re ready to take your first solo trip? Hooray!
Welcome to the club, you’re not alone here!
Whatever your reasons for deciding to travel alone, it’s a feat to be done with enthusiasm, vigor and an open mind. Along with all of that, solo traveling requires a plan and awareness on your part so that you can enjoy the best of the world on your own. 🙂
Now, solo traveling doesn’t require a detailed itinerary down to the minute as I do, that’s just who I am as a person, LOL. But there are things to know before you decide to take your first journey solo, as once you’re on the road, you’re on the road!
So here are just a few of my Top 10 Solo Travel Tips!
Make sure someone knows where you’re going to be
This has got to be one first tip because it’s important to me for someone back home to know where I’m at. Whether that’s giving my mom my hostel contact info or supplying her with my full itinerary, it’s a move for my safety. Yes, I know my mom can’t pop up abroad in minutes to “save” me, but if she hasn’t heard from me for a day and knows that I should be at my hostel but can’t reach me – then maybe there are more questions to be asked. I also have an app on my phone that allows my friends and I to see each other’s locations at all times. (Weird? Yes. But my friends and I are weird, yet safe! lol)
Start your day early
Unless your trip is strictly for relaxing, this tip is key! (And honestly, even if you’re planning to relax, I still suggest this) One of my top reasons for solo traveling is the desire to do what I want when I want and usually, that’s a lot. So I need to be sure to be up and moving to make the most of my day! This is also vital because while going solo, you want to make the most of your day so that you’re at a comfortable location in the evening. I like to start early and end my days by 9 pm or so, as I avoid late nights out unless I’m with my hostel group or if it’s a city known to be safer in the evenings than others, like Barcelona was.
Have your budget prepared (and know how you’re going to get your cash)
Vitallllll information! It sucks to run out of funds when solo, it’s a major fear of mine since I fight to have my travels funded via debit/cash vs. credit. (My mom has recently put an end to this and now I travel with an emergency credit card, lol) Sticking to a budget and keeping an eye on your funds is important for this reason. If you know you’re going with an extra couple hundred bucks at your disposal, then, by all means, live life! But if you’re like me and trying to stick to smaller numbers and avoiding going into backup funds, keeping an eye out is important. Most banks have international fees so getting cash before settling into your vacay will save you some big bucks. Swiping your card multiple times without reviewing afterward can leave you with double-digit fees! Don’t get stuck in a bind, stick to your budget and avoid using your card!
Travel insurance is a life-saver!
I’ve preached about travel insurance before, and I’ve also cringed in pain when I haven’t signed up and feel like I may need it. I personally use World Nomads, which has a fantastic insurance plan available for travelers at a great price. Allowing you to solve issues from robbery, trip cancellations, and even injuries, it’s totally worth the price for peace of mind! When I was sick in Marrakech, all I could think about was the fact that for the FIRST time, I was traveling solo with no insurance! That meant no hospital visit if I needed it! Bad move. Luckily, I survived (lol) thanks to support from my mom & friends from afar, an awesome Hostel staff and fellow travelers at the hostel!
Don’t talk to strangers and don’t tell anyone you’re traveling solo
Big tip! I’m always asked if I “made any friends” when traveling and the answer is usually no because that’s not my mission when solo traveling. Also because it’s unsafe for too many people (or just ONE wrong person) to know that you’re out alone in a new place. Making quick and casual conversation isn’t out of the norm, but telling others that you’re out on your own isn’t a safe choice.
Pack Light When Possible
Unless you lift on the regular, packing light will save your strength and your bank account. I like to be moving light on my feet when traveling solo, as lugging multiple bags around slows me down and brings me the attention I wouldn’t prefer. Having only a backpack or carry-on also allows me to move through security quicker without much help, which is important when considering time.
Choose highly-reviewed locations/activities
This is a rule for me no matter if I’m traveling in a group or solo because I need to be certain that the places I’m venturing to have documented happy customers. Of course, understanding that not everyone is going to be happy, but it’s important to me to see that certain places/accommodations/activities are good for solo travelers based on reviews so I know I’m making a good choice. Ending up in a crappy hotel is a possibility in life, but that’s something you’d much rather happen when with friends on family – not when you’re alone in a foreign place!
My favorite activity vendors are: Air B&B, Viator and Get your Guide! These companies have great customer service, are transparent about details and reviews, and most have great money-back policies. Don’t be ashamed to double and triple-check local companies by visiting Yelp or Trip Advisor!
Stay low-key in public
This may seem like an odd tip coming from me if you’ve seen my travel attire or photoshoots abroad, but I promise you, I heed to this advice myself. I don’t like to stand out much in certain destinations as pickpockets/criminals may see you as an easy target being a solo traveler and an obvious tourist. This means that when you go to a place like Morocco, wearing shorts and a crop top as we would in Florida is a no-go, even if it’s not a law. I believe that everyone should be welcomed to wear what they want, but when it comes to solo traveling, my comfort and safety are tops. Aside from how you’re dressed, how you behave in public and the items you wear outwardly may tell your story before you do. “When in Rome…” is not just a saying, it’s a way of being! So when in public, work to blend into the culture as a sign of respect, and a form of safety for yourself. Along with that, if you are taking a camera with you, consider safe ways to conceal it vs. carrying it around your neck which, at times, can scream, “Tourist!” (Imagine how much attention I got walking around the Souks in Marrakech in a bright yellow gown!!? I was with my photographer for the day and felt safe, but beyond that – that dress would be a big NOPE!)
Don’t Disclose Your Locations!
This is a major tip that I live by that can be easily forgotten in the heat of the moment, but I believe in it wholeheartedly. When you’re traveling and sharing the digital versions of your experiences – DON’T POST IN REAL TIME! As an active social media user and blogger, 95% 0f my travels are documented and shared, that’s what I do. But what many don’t realize is that 99% of the time, I participated in that activity or enjoyed that meal about 2 hours or so ago and I’m posting from a totally different location. It is an engagement boost to tag your location, so I do, but I also consider my safety before I do that. Traveling solo, it only takes one person to realize that you’re at a specific restaurant or landmark, for them to dig deeper into your social media and realize that you’re solo dolo. This isn’t to scare you, it’s to remind you to be aware! This is something not often considered by travelers and yes, it may be a little overboard for many but I like to be overly cautious being in a small woman in a foreign place, and I haven’t once regretted posting on a delay!
Traveling solo requires major awareness on your part. No, you don’t have to be anxious your entire trip but keep your eyes and ears open! There are pickpockets all over and unfortunately, not everyone is a good person so thinking of your safety should always be a thought. Noting those who are talking to you, if anyone is walking too close or trying to brush up against you, (a known pickpocket move) are all little actions that should catch your interest. Doing so can make a world of difference when it comes to your safety!
Enjoy the moment!
A simple rule but a very important one. It can be so easy to either sleep the entire trip or attempt to do too much solo, find your balance! I am one who likes to rise early and end my day once I physically feel like it’s time for me to rest, no matter the time or what’s next on the itinerary. Sometimes for me, enjoying the moment means that I pack as much sightseeing in one day as I can but another moment enjoyed can be me simply basking in a solo lunch al fresco. Take your trip, find your moment and simply enjoy it.
Solo traveling can be some of the BEST times of your life! The scary stories that people tell you to shake you or move you, put them on mute.
Prepare yourself, be aware, plan in advance, and enjoy the peace of seeing the world with your favorite person… yourself!