Travelling alone can be incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re a holiday-going expert, or never quite got around to planning that weekend getaway, solo travel could be the perfect way to enjoy your free time.
There are many ways you can make the most of that experience. Read on for ten useful tips if you’re thinking of travelling alone.
1. You won’t be the first one to go solo
Solo travel is on the rise: indeed, there was a 131% increase in ‘solo travel’ Google searches between 2016 and 2019.
According to a study by Condor Ferries, 84% of solo travellers are women, of which 59% are planning another solo trip within the next year.
Due to this growth in popularity, there are plenty of resources available to plan your solo trip and travel with confidence. From online guides written by fellow travellers to travel agencies, there are ways you can answer your solo travel questions before you depart.
2. Travelling solo doesn’t have to mean being alone
You can set off on a solo trip by yourself but still spend time with other people.
These days, there are many specialist travel agencies dedicated to offering holidays for solo travellers. Some of their packages cater specifically to those wishing to travel alone but experience their holiday in a group.
Special interest holidays such as hiking trips and vineyard tours also provide opportunities to meet like-minded people. You can even meet other travellers before you set off by visiting travel forums online.
3. Avoiding hotels can be more cost-effective for a single traveller
When planning where to stay, look out for single supplemented accommodation – some hotels charge more for single room occupants.
You may find a better price by looking at alternate options for accommodation. Whether you’re a social butterfly looking to make friends at a hostel, or someone who desires the creature comforts of home life at an Airbnb, there may be other options available for you.
4. Having an itinerary can bolster your travelling confidence
If you’re nervous about travelling alone, knowing what you’ll need to bring and what to do during your travels can ease your mind. Planning can help you feel more organised and in control of your trip.
Find out in advance if you need any documentation for your trip, such as a visa or an international driving licence. Researching venues to visit and restaurants to eat at can also help you find places that cater best to a solo traveller. If you find yourself missing the comfort of exploring new places with other people or deciphering a foreign language menu together, consulting a well-researched itinerary could be the reassurance you need.
5. Be mindful of personal safety
There are measures you can take to ensure you can enjoy your trip with complete peace of mind. Read reviews of the places you want to visit, talk to people on online forums, or ask your trip organiser about which areas are safe to visit alone and as a woman.
You should also inform family or friends of your travel itinerary before you set off, letting them know where you should be and when. Keeping an In Case of Emergency (ICE) document with important contact details and any medical information with you is also a good precaution.
It can also be a good idea to take out travel insurance designed to also cover you for any medical emergencies. Make sure to declare in advance any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.
6. Learn about the local culture and community
You can make the most of your trip and feel more secure travelling alone if you know a little about your destination.
Research what to expect from the culture and its people. If you don’t speak the language, learning some basic phrases can get you a long way. According to a study by Exodus Travels of people who travel internationally often, over half feel that learning some simple phrases can add to the travel experience.
7. Remember to pack for one
Packing for every eventuality that may conceivably happen during your trip can be tempting. But it may be best to limit what you take.
Remember that you won’t have the assistance of travel companions to help you with unwieldy luggage if you find yourself stuck in a narrow door or a long staircase. Remember to also pay attention to baggage weight restrictions on flights – you won’t be able to put some of your belongings into a fellow traveller’s suitcase to balance out the weight.
8. Use technology to keep you connected
The ability to communicate while on your own can contribute to your feelings of safety and ease your mind if you get homesick or lonely. So, make sure that your devices work in your destination country.
Find out about roaming charges for your mobile operator, and your country code if you need to call home (this is +44 for the UK). Look into internet access options if necessary. You can also use mobile apps during your travels – for example, location services on a map app could save you a long walk back to your hotel if you ever get lost.
9. Enjoy your own company
When travelling solo, you are your best company. Reflect on what it is about travelling alone that you think you’ll like and lean into it.
A study by Condor Ferries determined that 46% of solo travellers set off alone for the sense of freedom and independence, while 22% enjoy not having to wait around for others to travel with them. 15% want to challenge themselves and improve their confidence.
Keep in mind whatever it is that fascinates you about solo travel. And if you ever feel self-conscious or nervous travelling or dining alone, it’s always okay to pull out a book to read.
10. Immerse yourself in the experience
Embrace your solo travel experience wholeheartedly. If you’re nervous about going alone, allow yourself to feel nervous. Your experience is unique to you and what will make the trip special. Remember to schedule in some down time. Being well-rested will let you make the most of your solo travel experience.