Solo travel can be a rewarding and liberating experience – there’s nothing quite like the thrill of setting out on your own, with no fixed itinerary or companions to hold you back.
However, it’s important to be prepared for the challenges that come with it.
It’s not uncommon for solo travellers to feel overwhelmed or anxious before embarking on their trip, especially if it’s their first time traveling alone.
After all, navigating unfamiliar territory, making decisions on your own, and facing unexpected obstacles can be daunting. That’s why it’s essential to be prepared and have a solid plan in place before you set off.
Whether you’re a first-time solo traveller or an experienced pro, these tips will help make your trip go smoothly.
So, before you take off on your next adventure, read up on my solo travel dos and don’ts!
Solo Travel Dos and Don’ts – What You Need to Know
DO: Research your destination
It’s important to be aware of the culture you’re visiting, any local customs or traditions, and any potential safety concerns before arriving.
This will help you make smart decisions about where to go and what to do during your trip, as well as avoiding any sticky situations.
DON’T: Be afraid to ask for help
While it may feel intimidating at first, don’t be afraid to reach out if you need assistance.
Locals are often more than happy to share their knowledge and tips with travellers, and you may even find yourself being invited into people’s homes for dinner, given a ride to your next destination, or discovering a hidden gem that you would never have known about had you not asked.
DO: Pack light
When travelling alone, it can be tempting to bring too much stuff with you, but this can quickly become tiresome when schlepping around by yourself.
Try to pack only the essentials to reduce the stress of lugging around a heavy bag – this also cuts down costs if you’re going to be taking a lot of flights!
DON’T: Let your guard down
It can be easy to let your guard down when travelling solo, but it’s important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
Be sure to trust your instincts and ignore anyone pressuring you into situations that make you feel uncomfortable.
You should be especially careful if you plan on drinking when you travel – partying is great fun, but don’t get so drunk that you don’t remember the way back to your accommodation, or make yourself a target.
DO: Make connections along the way
Although being alone is part of the adventure, it’s also nice to meet people along the way.
Strike up conversations with locals or other travellers who may offer interesting insights or new perspectives on your destination.
Trust me – meeting people when travelling solo is easier than you think!
DON’T: Forget to take breaks
Travel burnout is real, so make sure you take time to rest and recharge.
Bring a good book or plan your days around activities that are relaxing for you, whether it’s taking a nap in the park or exploring a museum at your own pace.
Never beat yourself up for needing a break – sometimes staying in the hotel room all day bingeing on a new Netflix show is just what the doctor ordered.
After all – you wouldn’t be all go go go at home, so why should you be when you’re on the road?
DO: Carry currency
Be sure to carry enough cash and other forms of currency with you to cover any unexpected expenses such as medical bills, fines, needing to replace lost items etc.
Also make sure to research the country’s local money exchange policy before arriving so there are no surprises when it comes time to pay.
DON’T: Underestimate your mode of transport
Always research transportation options and familiarise yourself with the local public transport system before arriving at your chosen destination.
It’s also a good idea to carry a map of the city or region you’re visiting in case you get lost or need directions (I always make sure to download the data for Google Maps for the place I’m heading to).
If you are travelling with your own vehicle, make sure it’s suitable for the terrain and climate you’re visiting.
If you’re not sure, check on Edmunds for tips and advice on suitable vehicles.
DO: Stay connected
When travelling solo, staying in touch with family and friends back home is essential.
Leave your itinerary with someone you trust, and be sure to check-in regularly with them, just so they know you’re safe.
In addition, if you’re utilising public Wi-Fi networks make sure you are using a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your data secure while online.
Solo Travel Dos and Don’ts | Final Thoughts
Solo travel can be a rewarding and eye-opening experience, but it’s important to be prepared for the potential challenges that come with it.
By following these key dos and don’ts of travelling alone, you’re giving yourself the best chance of having a smooth trip, so, if you’re planning your next solo adventure, use this guide to help set you up for success!
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After almost 30 years of military travel I retired in 2013. A divorce later and the kids are all grown so I started travelling solo. Now I can go where I choose and not carry a weapon! I always go off the beaten path and explore the local culture. My first solo trip was Europe for three months. One month in Croatia, next month split between Italy and France and the third month I walked the Camino Frances! I now have friends in Spain, France, Croatia, Romania, Brazil, Belgium, Ukraine, Ireland, UK and Poland. I’m planning to be back in Europe this Fall/Winter and again in April of 2024 (to walk the Camino again). I like to book lodging for a month and use that place as a base to explore via day trips. So far it has been working for me and I shall continue. Perhaps our paths may cross one day. Happy trails!
Travelling Jezebel says
That sounds like my ideal travel style! There is so much to discover in Europe, I’m sure your future trips will be just as wonderful!