Below are ten travel tips and advice for the solo traveller that will help keep you safe, adventurous, and completely in love with solo travel.
Have you been wondering if it’s the right choice to take a trip as a solo traveller? Sometimes one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to travel on our own terms. Solo travel can be a great way to get to know yourself, explore new surroundings, and immerse yourself into a different culture while following your own lead throughout the journey. Thinking of heading out into the world? We have some tips for your adventure as a solo traveller.
10 Essential Tips for the Solo Traveller
1. Trust your instincts
The rules on the road also apply to the rules in life. Be sure to listen to your gut feeling if a new place you visit or new people you are meeting aren’t fitting well with your travel style. Practice common sense during your travels and go with your instincts. If a place feels unsafe, you don’t have to stay. If you check into a hotel or hostel that gives you an odd feeling, pick up your bags and move on. You are in charge of your trip!
2. Book solo traveller-friendly accommodation
One of the top tips for your solo travels is to book solo-friendly accommodations. Hostels are a great choice for solo travellers on a budget. If sharing a dorm room with other travellers or sleeping in a bunk bed isn’t your thing then don’t worry – many hostels also offer private single and double rooms. Many hostels, guesthouses, or even homestays are well-known for having friendly staff who can speak your language and look after you. Be sure to be friendly with the hostel or hotel staff, because they can be a great source for tips on what to do and safe places to explore as a solo traveller.
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3. Set a budget (and try to stick with it!)
Make a budget and try to stick with it throughout your trip. Leave some room in your budget for extra unknown expenses, as surprises are bound to come up during your trip. Do some research beforehand on the places you would like to visit, in order to figure out the cost of daily living. How much is an average meal? What kind of accommodation is available? Will you be able to venture off alone or take a tour if you want to explore? Sometimes things like transportation can be a heavier expense for solo travellers because there won’t always be someone to split the taxi fare with. Put all of these factors into consideration and build your budget and travel plans from there.
4. Practice common sense
Common sense things like protecting your money by keeping your cash and credit cards separate is an essential tip for any solo traveller. Don’t carry too much cash with you when you are out exploring for the day, and only bring your passport with you if it’s absolutely essential. It’s a good idea to leave larger bills and important documents in the locker or safe in your hotel or hostel. Don’t walk home alone in the middle of the night and never get into an unmarked taxi or vehicle. Exercise the same amount of caution that you would in your home country.
5. Meet other solo travellers and locals
Don’t be afraid to chat with other travellers and locals during your travels. Yes, even you, introverts! Being an introvert myself, I’ve always struggled with meeting new people on a trip and when arriving in a new hostel. A number of hostels do offer events and free tours like afternoon hiking or pub crawls, which is a great way to meet new people. If you are a first-time solo traveller, try and book accommodations that advertise social events so that it’ll be easier for you to mingle with other travellers. There are so many interesting people to meet on the road.
6. Leave your itinerary with someone you trust
It’s not a bad idea to give your itinerary to a friend or family member as a solo traveller. If you don’t have much planned before your trip, at least give your first destination and estimated time of arrival. You’ll also want to stay connected yourself at all times. There are plenty of free messaging apps that are worth downloading to your phone before your trip, and all you need is wi-fi to use them. Depending on where you are in the world, a lot of local coffee shops and hotels offer free WiFi. It’s also worth purchasing a local sim card at the airport once you land in a new country so that you’ll have access to apps like Uber and Grab so you can get affordable transportation from the airport.
7. Pack light as a solo traveller
Every solo traveller, or just any traveller for that matter, should strive to pack light for their trip. It’s one of the top tips for those venturing out there solo. You will have to do a lot of things on your own including carrying your luggage everywhere, so we recommend practicing the art of packing light. Bring a laundry bag with you so that you can easily carry your clothes to a local laundromat to wash your clothes. And if you leave lots of room in your backpack or suitcase, that means there will be more room for extra souvenirs and impulse purchases you make during your trip.
8. Join a group tour or give back
If tours are your thing, then consider joining a group tour or a volunteer project during your trip. They are a great way to meet other travellers and an organized tour can help put your mind at ease because you won’t have to worry about all the planning and transportation involved. Sometimes a small tour is a good investment for a solo traveller. If you decide on something like a volunteer project for your trip, make sure you do your research to see if the NGO is legitimate and your time will be well spent!
9. Invest in travel insurance
One of the most overlooked top tips for the solo traveller is to get travel insurance. Canadians have great health care when at home, but your benefits don’t follow you once you leave the country. A quick trip to the emergency room in the U.S. could cost a few thousand dollars or more. There are plenty of travel insurance options out there, and Skyscanner has a guide to help solo travellers find the best one for their next trip.
10. Have realistic expectations about your trip
Every person’s intentions for a trip are different, but it’s important to keep an open mind and be realistic about your time as a solo traveller. You won’t be completely transformed the moment you step off the plane – any sort of moving experience comes with time. There are lessons to be learned during your travels that you might not have planned on, and many things might surprise you as you continue to move. Be open to change and don’t get your hopes up if the reality doesn’t seem like the life-changing experience you expected at the beginning of your trip. That’s all part of the journey!
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About the Author: Jenny is Free
Hailing from the beautiful city of Montreal, Jennifer, or “Jenny”, has had a serious case of wanderlust since she can remember.
Some of her favourite destinations include China, Malaysia, California, and Georgia (the country).