The Ultimate Guide To Solo Travel

Choosing to travel solo can be challenging yet very rewarding. You’ll create your own unique experience, build lifelong skills, and broaden your knowledge. And since the end of the pandemic, it has not only seen a comeback but has risen in popularity ever since. Especially in women! About two-thirds of all solo travelers are female, and the trend is rising.

Maybe you’re dreaming of a gap year around the world. Or a few weeks of train-hopping across Europe? Discovering ancient secrets in South America? Embarking on a travel adventure alone can be one of the most beautiful experiences of your life – as long as you are well prepared. Whatever your travel style, our tips will help see you off on the right foot.

How to prepare

No matter where you’re headed, preparation is key. Going solo means it’s your responsibility to plan to a level that you’re comfortable with. And often, planning is very like that of a group or family vacation. Although, of course, we encourage some changes.

Your plans might not be set in stone. But if you’re embarking on a round-the-world trip, it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of where you want to end up. Research potential destinations and arrange any popular trips or experiences in advance. Anyone who has never been on the road alone may first dare to go on an inland adventure or one of its neighbouring countries. But cruises or all-inclusive programs can also be good starting points. Having a backup can be useful in case something doesn’t quite go to plan.  Especially when you venture into foreign territory. Be sure to have maps of the area with you – be it via Google Maps or the classic way on paper. Also, be prepared that the internet may not work. So, download everything that might be useful in advance.

Plan to stay in accommodations such as hostels, where you’ll meet other travellers. Because nothing is better than making new acquaintances while on the road! The chances of meeting other solo travelers are good, especially in hostels. And while the focus of your trip should be on yourself, that doesn’t mean you have to forego company. Quite the opposite. If you are traveling alone, you have much more leeway when it comes to addressing and getting to know locals. And the staff in local markets or shops will certainly be happy to exchange insider tips.

Pack wisely, making sure that you take the essentials for the places you are visiting. Ideally, you pack for mobility – after all, you should be able to carry your luggage yourself. We recommend trying to pack everything into one large travel backpack. This way, by avoiding a suitcase, you are much more flexible when traveling. Make sure you reserve some space for essentials. A first aid kit, toiletries, your passport, any important paperwork, and credit cards. Extra tip for us women: pack some extra tampons and pads! Not every destination has what you might need. Make sure you have any recommended vaccinations before you travel, too. Think about any medication you might need.

Think about the challenges

Loneliness and homesickness can be difficult challenges. Arrange to stay in accommodations such as hostels, where you’ll meet other travellers. Book yourself into group trips so you can share your experiences with like-minded people. This can be a good start, especially for first-time solo travellers, as it can mean that you are traveling alone – but not lonely.

Safety concerns are a vital aspect of traveling alone, and you shouldn’t underestimate them. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with the region before you leave. Use common sense when out and about. Find out well-known dangerous areas and make sure to stay aware of your surroundings. The locals are also happy to help here again. Which areas are safe? Which ones should you avoid? Most people you meet will be kind to you – but always listen to your gut. Be wary when speaking to strangers, and don’t give away too much personal information. That also includes where you are staying. You can also find out which countries are considered particularly safe and where you will feel more welcome as a tourist.

Also, make sure that your electronic devices are well protected. Most of us want to stay in touch with friends and family while on vacation, but unsecured networks come with many risks. Don’t forget to protect personal devices and use a VPN for your phone. This is especially urgent if you like to connect to public Wi-Fi. Keep a copy of your passport and important documents in case of an emergency. It’s important to keep your belongings with you when out, especially in large, public areas. There’s a reason you’re reminded at every turn to keep an eye on your bags! Use a safe if your accommodation has one.

And again: don’t be afraid to ask your hostel host or hotel reception for help or advice.

Lastly: Enjoy your trip!

Having the chance to travel solo can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make the most of it. Most solo travellers say the experiences they’ve had have been some of the best of their lives. If you ask about the reasons for traveling, three reasons crystallize. Firstly, because you can do whatever you want. No compromises! The second reason? No waiting for other fellow passengers. No shared planning and no cancellations. And the third and most important reason? Freedom and independence. If you travel alone, you only focus on your own needs. And that opens up unimagined opportunities for personal development and self-discovery. Take plenty of photographs, keep a journal, or post blog entries along the way. Or don’t! And keep it all safe and sound in your own memories. Because remember: Solo travel is for you – and no one else.

You’ll gain confidence, meet new friends, and discover aspects of yourself that you never knew. Be brave, get yourself out there, and experience true freedom!

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