More than ten years ago, I decided to do my first solo travel (it was a 22 days tour of the south of Spain), and I remember to have been so unprepared about it that I ended up making more than a few mistakes.
It was a success anyway because I proved to myself, my family and friends that I could do what I loved the most, without the need to find someone who would come with me.
But it also gave me the chance to learn so much that after that first solo travel, I decided to do it again and again because there is no better way to learn about yourself and other cultures than travel solo and get involved.
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Read 43 Tips for Solo Travellers
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Planning your travel
1. Buy an anti-theft bag and a backpack:
There are plenty of pickpockets in the tourist areas ready to cut your backpack or purse to steal something from you so, buy something useful.
2. Chose to visit a safe country:
You will already be alone, so why risk your safety? If it is your first solo travel, choose a place where you will feel safe. Feel and be safe must be your priority when choosing your destination and will make your trip more enjoyable.
3. If you feel insecure, choose a country where you know the language:
It does not have to be a foreign country. You can easily choose to explore your own country. You will not be too far from home, and you will also communicate with everybody.
4. Book accommodation like a hostel:
For some solo travellers, it is essential to meet people and feel connected. For others, it is better to be alone.
So it is only up to you to choose how you want to experience your travel. If you prefer to meet people, the best way is to book a room in a hostel, meet other travellers, and make friends who might join you and spend some time with you.
5. Plan an itinerary:
One of the first things to do before a solo trip is to plan an excellent itinerary to arrange to see everything you want and not miss anything but, most importantly, to know where you will be.
Remember to always share your itinerary with your family or friends, so someone will always know where you are. Safety first, always.
6. Ask Facebook travel groups for some advice about your destination:
There are so many travel groups where you can ask for any advice.
Like places to see, safe areas to book your accommodation, where to eat local, etc. There are also some city groups where you can find primarily locals so, who knows the city better than someone who lives there?
Don't be shy. If you are a female solo traveller, contact only girls to make you feel safer. In this way, you will have some friends to go out with during the evening and don't feel scared to be out late at night.
7. Always give a copy of your itinerary to your family or friends:
This is a must to do. Do not ever forget to give a copy of your itinerary to someone you trust, so in case something happens, your family will always know where you are supposed to be or where to find you.
Remember, when travelling, safety is the most important thing. Sharing your location is a must. My advice is to share it with Google Map location sharing (when on the Google Maps app, click on your profile, then "location sharing" and choose for how long you wish to share your location and with whom).
8. Always travel during the day:
Make sure to plan to arrive at your destination during the daytime and not at night. Most of the time, bus or train stations are not safe at night so try to avoid them.
Plan to catch a plane that will arrive at your destination during the day.
9. Learn some local language sentences:
This is very important.
Always learn some basic sentences, like good morning, good evening, how can I get there, etc.
You are already advantaged if you already speak English because staff speak English in most tourist spots, hotels, restaurants, and museums.
But not in some local shops so, if the local language is challenging to learn, write everything on paper or download google translate offline and make it your best friend.
Learning some basic sentences will also make locals more friendly because you will show to be interested in their country.
10. Email yourself a copy of your identification documents:
Anything can happen, you might lose your luggage or somebody might steal it, but if you have a copy of all your documents, tickets, etc., you can save your travel with it. Just email it to yourself so that you can access it from anywhere.
11. Make a paper copy of your identification documents to take with you:
Never go around with your original documents. Always leave it at your accommodation in a safe place and go out with just a copy of them.
If something happens, you can always return to your accommodation and get them. Or, in case somebody steals your bag, you will not lose the originals.
12. Apply for a prepaid card:
There are so many prepaid cards available that apply for one would make you save money in fees but also in case your bag would be stolen you will not lose the credit cards that I advise you to leave at your accommodation.
I personally always travel with three cards: a credit card, a debit card, and a prepaid card.
My favourite prepaid card is Revolut, which is, in my opinion, the best one. I tried more than once in the past few years, and Revolut Card is absolutely the best one.
With Revolut Card, you will have three cards in one. One is the physical card, the virtual card to use for online transactions, and the third is the online shopping card that gets terminated every time you use it and replaced with a new one at no extra cost to you.
Through the Revolut app, you can top it up, freeze it if you cannot find it and unfreeze it when you find it. You can exchange money in 19 different currencies in just a few seconds, always at the best rates.
13. Make a communication plan:
Nowadays, it is so easy to find free wifi that it will not be a problem to communicate with your loved ones. So decide a time to call or text them to let them know you are ok at least once a day.
Another good option is to get a free pay-as-you-go sim card so you will always have access to the internet everywhere you are in the world.
14. Get travel insurance:
Good travel insurance is one of the most important things to do before leaving for a trip. Make sure to get the best one for you, and please never try to save money on safety.
If something terrible happens, you might end up paying a lot of money, so choose it wisely.
15. Take with you your laptop or tablet:
If you know already you will have a safe place to leave it, take it with you. In this way, you will enjoy a movie at night.
Only because you are away from home does not mean you have to go out every night and at least you will have something to do when you get back tired at your accommodation.
If you are looking for some good movie streaming sites, look at Apple Tv+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. They always offer great deals, and new movies and Tv series are added regularly.
If you love Documentaries like me, you should definitely check out CuriosityStream, where you can find thousands of documentaries.
If you are a sports supporter, you should look at Fubo TV where you can find more than 150 channels and their live shows. Fubo Tv covers all major soccer games happening around the world. You can watch it in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Packing for your solo travel
16. Pack light and intelligence:
If it is your first travel, I can guarantee you will end up packing much more of the necessary. It happened to all of us.
Keep in mind if you will have to walk between the airport and your accommodation, and between destinations. If you plan a tour, carrying a 20 kilograms backpack will not suit your shoulders and will only make you tired.
17. Do not dress up as a tourist:
The easiest way to get pickpockets' attention is to look like a tourist. They know tourists carry expensive gear and money so dress up like you would when back home or as it is custom in the country you are visiting and you will not have any problems.
18. Do not bring valuables with you:
Leave all your expensive jewels and clothes home because you do not need them while on holiday.
Avoid bringing with you something significant, not only costly but also sentimentally, because as much as you can be the best travel planner, unexpected events happen all the time, so be aware of it.
When you arrive at your destination:
18. Connect with your accommodation staff:
Please introduce yourself and ask as many questions as you have, do not be shy or afraid because it is part of their job to help you make the most of your holiday.
They always know where to eat locally, spend a lovely evening with live music or the best way to get somewhere.
Also, ask for a business card, to always carry with you. In this way, if you get lost, it would be easier for you to ask for directions (if you don't speak the local language) and in case you hire a taxi to go back to your accommodation, it will make sure your taxi driver will take you to the right place.
19. Ask your accommodation if they have any safe to rent for your valuables:
If you are staying in a hotel, there is a high chance there will be a safe in your bedroom but if you are staying in a Hostel, make sure there is a locker where you can leave all your important things.
20. If you stay at a Hostel, ask if they organize any tours or activities you can join:
This is one of the best ways to meet people (if you want to) while travelling—some Hostel plan free city tours or evening activities.
So give it a try and join one or more of them. You will have the chance to spend some time with locals and other solo travellers that are probably looking to meet new friends as you do.
21. Start your day early in the morning:
If you start your day early in the morning, you will make the most of the daylight and avoid going back to your accommodation in the dark.
If you are not planning to go out clubbing, I think this is the best way to explore a city or tour a country.
Waking up early in the morning gives you the chance to enjoy breakfast and avoid the crowd (everything will be available from the breakfast buffet). The whole day will be ahead of you, and you will get back tired, ready to go to sleep to recharge your batteries for the day after.
22. Study your map before leaving your accommodation:
Standing in the middle of a street with your nose inside a map would be a call to the pickpockets, so check the itinerary and try to memorize your map at least enough to avoid checking it every two steps.
Another good option is to use Google Maps or my favourite CityMapper (the most brilliant navigation app for cities). Use the voice instruction to get to your destination. In this way, you will keep your phone inside your pocket and only need to follow the voice to move around.
23. Don't forget to leave your identification documents at your accommodation:
As I said before, make a copy of your documents and leave the originals at your accommodation inside a safe or in a safe place (I once hid some money inside a pack of tampons, for example. If you are a man, you can always hide them inside a dirty sock inside your dirty clothes bag, be careful to don't wash it).
24. Plan your transportation wisely:
Check how to get wherever you want to go in the best, faster, and cheapest possible way so you will save a lot of time instead of getting lost looking for the right bus stop or tube station.
For travels between cities, I always book transportation on Omio, where I can see all the transportation available, at what costs and time.
If visiting a big city, download the app Citymapper, the best app to move around a city. It will tell you all the possible ways to go from A to B and how much it will cost you.
25. Stay in public spaces:
A lot of people would probably tell you to get lost. Yes, it can take you to unique hidden spots but please always keep in mind where you are and ask yourself if it would be safe to get lost alone in an unknown neighbourhood in a city you do not know, where you do not speak the language.
Check which neighbourhoods are safe and which ones are dangerous, so make sure to don't end up in one of the bad ones. Apart from it, if the neighbourhood is in the city centre and it is known to be safe, get lost and have fun.
Remember, safety first.
26. Keep your belongings with you at all times:
I will never stop repeating this. It has to become your mantra while travelling, safety first, at all times! It could ruin your travel and make it end earlier.
27. Trust your gut:
If you end up in a street or place where you do not feel comfortable, where you see people that don't look friendly, or something weird is happening, please go!
Just leave and go back from where you are coming from. Trust your gut because most of the time, it is correct.
28. Walk with confidence and avoid the lost look:
Walk with the lost look is another thing that makes you look like a tourist and calls the pickpockets' attention.
Usually, if I am alone and need to check where I have to go, I get inside a shop and check my phone or map. Some people get their phone stolen because they stand still checking on it, and they do not see the pickpockets coming.
This happens in London very often (where I live), unfortunately. Two kids on a bicycle, one drive next to you (while you are using your phone), and the other one steals it from your hands. Then they ride away very fast, calling you an idiot. So, please be careful.
29. Believe in yourself:
If it is your first solo travel, do not worry because other people have been there, and I can assure you that we all have felt the same way.
Anxious and scared that something might happen and you might not know what to do, so just plan as much as you can, trust that you can do it, and be safe all the time.
30. Get information from locals:
They know better than anyone else, so ask them. If you get lost or are unsure where to go, just get inside a shop, bakery, hotel, or restaurant and ask someone to give you directions.
If you stop for a coffee or lunch, ask the staff for some information about the area, they know it better than anybody else.
You have no idea how many times this happens to me. I work in a coffee shop in a very tourist area in London and tourists come in every day asking for indications. I am always happy to help them.
31. Do not say you are travelling alone:
When asking for directions, sometimes it is better (as solo female travel) to say that you will meet your boyfriend, family or friends.
There are always some people ready to follow you with bad intentions, so try to avoid it. That is why I always advise asking for information from people that are working. As we say in Italy, "prevenire e' meglio che curare" means: "prevention is better than taking care of".
32. Do not be afraid to be alone:
After everything I said, I hope you are not scared to travel solo. I just want to make sure you will consider everything about the place you are going to visit.
By following all my advice, you will take care of yourself in the best way so, just do it. Only a few people don't like to travel solo, but many love it.
You will learn so much about yourself, you will take all the decisions because no one else will do it for you, you will be fully responsible for your travel, which will make you mature.
Solo travellers learn that the only person they need is themself and this helps them in everyday life. You will go back more responsible for yourself, and you will love it.
33. Enjoy your freedom:
The best thing about travelling solo is that you can do whatever you want and go wherever you want, anytime you want.
No one will tell you that they want to leave the accommodation later or they want to go back earlier, or they prefer fast food while you cannot wait to try the local restaurants.
The day is yours, so enjoy your freedom.
34. Do not trust anybody 100%:
Meeting people and making new friends (for example in a hostel) doesn't mean you can trust everybody. You will make new friends during your travel, it could be with locals or travellers, just make sure to always be vigilant and if you do not feel comfortable, just leave.
35. Ask other tourists to take pictures of you:
Most of the time, you will ask someone to take a picture of you. It will, unfortunately, be the worst pictures ever (most of the time, or at least this is what happen to me every time I ask for help), and you might end up asking more people to take the same photo to finally get one how you want.
Just make sure to ask the right people. Avoid if you see someone walking alone in a tourist spot that does not look like a tourist because there are always pickpockets ready to ask you to take a picture for you and then run away with your new camera.
If you have a chance, ask some family or couple with big gear to take photos for you. They are probably tourists like you, and they will do a good job. Otherwise, just buy a tripod for your camera or phone to carry with you.
36. Book a tour:
Booking a tour is one of the best ways to meet other tourists and make friends.
Most big cities do very cheap tours that you can book online or at your Hotel, so give it a try (keep in mind that usually booking online is almost always cheaper).
Book a food or wine tour if you are in a country famous for food. You will eat and drink in local places and have fun because everyone is chattier after a couple of glasses of wine.
For tours and activities while traveling I always check both GetYourGuide and Viator. Two websites to find every possible activity and tour. if you wish to visit some museums, Tiquets is my go-to website with discounted museums tickets available to all museums worldwide,
37. Use social media to meet other travelers or locals:
Check if there are any apps or websites where you can find events to attend in the place you are visiting.
38. Do not be afraid to eat alone in a restaurant:
I feel you, going to eat in a restaurant alone must be difficult for some people, it was for me the first time.
You have no one to talk to, other people will look at you wondering why you are alone etc. but trust me that it is not so bad. When I do it, I tell my waiter that I am travelling and want to try the local food. They always make me feel comfortable, and because I am alone, they come to talk to me, asking me questions, so I always end up having some fascinating conversation.
They are willing to give me suggestions on where to go and what to see in the area. I always leave the restaurant feeling like I did not have dinner alone, so do not be afraid and talk to them.
39. Choose the lunch meal deal at the restaurant:
Choosing the lunch meal deal is an excellent way to save money. The lunch meal deal is always made by the authentic dishes they serve at dinner, but because lunchtime is always less busy, they reduce the price to attract more customers.
So you will eat well and pay less.
40. Have your dinner at your accommodation or nearby:
When I travel solo, I prefer not to go out alone at night, so if my accommodation does not provide a place to have dinner, I always choose a place nearby or I buy something before going back to my accommodation.
I stop at a supermarket or at a takeaway shop and buy something healthy or local to have in my room while watching a movie.
41. Don't go out at night alone:
I might sound like an apprehensive mother, but going out alone in a place you do not know could be a bad idea sometimes.
Therefore, if you can avoid it, it is better. Otherwise, please keep your guard up and try to stay in the city centre where the streets are probably full of locals and other tourists.
To go back to your accommodation I advise you to hire a taxi (if you stay outside the city centre) and avoid public transport.
42. Don't get drunk:
It does not matter if you go out with someone you met in your Hostel/Hotel or during the day, and they look adorable and friendly. Keep your guard up and be vigilant at all times. And remember, if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, hire a taxi and go back to your accommodation.
43. If you go out to a bar or club, always watch your drink:
I am sure you know about dodgy people putting drugs inside other people's drink (it also happens to guys, not only girls).
So, my advice is to order a bottled drink that the bartender will open in front of you. In this way, you will be sure that nothing has been added to it and never leave it unattended. Take it with you even when you dance. Prudence is never enough.
These are all my tips for solo travellers, so if you have some more in mind, do not hesitate to leave a comment below and I will add them to the list.
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