Solo Travel – The Comprehensive Guide

Traveling solo can be one of the most invigorating and worthwhile experiences for social butterflies and shy people alike. Although the idea of traveling solo can seem like an extremely daunting task to a lot of people. It is something that must be tried before being knocked.  We at InspoVacay have compiled a complete overview of solo travel tips to help you on your way.

We’d highly recommend traveling solo for people that are a little bit shy and want to step out of their comfort zone. It’s a great way to put yourself in scenarios that build your character and fortitude. So what are you waiting for? Just go ahead and book those plane tickets. The first jump is always the hardest.  

Benefits of Travelling Solo 

If you’re not exactly convinced by our opening remarks, we don’t blame you. It’s a huge step in traveling alone. If you’re willing to dip your toes in you may be surprised at what a rewarding experience it can be.  

Firstly, when going it alone you are your tour guide. No need to talk through the day’s itinerary with your travel group, or miss out on the attractions you were dying to see. The world is your oyster. You can go where you please, visit what you want and explore the location YOU want to visit as you’d like. The freedom for you to do you is one of the best reasons to book that trip on your Toblerone.  

Relationships formed

Meeting new people is one of the most rewarding elements of visiting new countries and what better way to spark up some new friendships than to go it alone. People are generally friendly and you’ll be amazed by the number of individuals that are doing the same thing as you. You’ll meet them in restaurants, bars, group activities. Whether they’re locals or travel solo warriors. They are friendships to be forged. Yes, you may never speak to some of the people you spark up a conversation within the hostel, but if you don’t make the effort it will be a very lonely trip. Don’t get me wrong, that floats a lot of people’s boats, but if you’re looking to experience a city or country. Be brave and make friends. 

Personal growth 

Were not trying to go all live coach on you, but personal growth and greater life satisfaction are associated with traveling alone. It all boils down to being confident in your own skin and what better representation of being confident in the person you are than by traveling alone. Not to get ahead of ourselves, traveling solo might not change your life, but from the experience that the InspoVacay team has had with solo travel, you won’t regret it. It helps build self-confidence and can turn the shy people amongst us into social butterflies. 

Transform into a social butterfly 

Photo by Helena Lopes 

Socializing is really like exercising a muscle. Similar to working out your social skills needs reps and to be honed. If social occasions on your own are your idea of utter misery. Then be sure to practice before you go on your trip. You can do things like talking to someone in work or college that you’ve never talked to before. Or introduce yourself to a stranger at a coffee shop or a bar. 

These small interactions will help prepare you for the bigger task of traveling alone. Yes, on some occasions you may come across as a fool, but at the end of the day who cares. When you travel there is a high probability that you will never see the person that you made a funny introduction to while you’re traveling ever again. So, don’t let it bother you. 

Define your own budget 

Photo by Alexander Mils 

As we mentioned you will be the controller of your own destiny, which means that you can choose the experience you want. So, if you want to dine out in Michelin starred restaurants every night of your trip or grab the best local street food. The financial commitment is entirely up to you.  

See how others think 

If you’re traveling with friends or significant others it is most likely that you have similar or at least not dissimilar opinions and ways of life as the people that you choose to surround yourself with. So, removing that security blanket and interacting with people that think differently is a fantastic experience. You can learn a lot from people that are different from you. 

Embrace the culture

Photo by Bob Fisher 

When you travel to other countries this is a really important thing to do and it’s somewhat natural to do it as well. As it makes sense to immerse yourself in the culture of the area you’re visiting and the travel companions that you interact with along the way.

One of our favorite elements to embracing other cultures’ ways of living is to delve into their cuisine. Some of the nicest meals can be from the dishes that you least expect to enjoy. Be brave and try something outside your comfort zone.  

Learn to connect with yourself 

Learning to enjoy your own company is a very important part of life. In a time when our self-thoughts are consumed by our phones, jobs, relationships, and problems. It is even more important to be content in your own thoughts. Traveling solo allows you to reflect and look inward. Whether it’s just being comfortable in your own skin or learning to take 10 mins a day where you focus on nothing else but your breathing. Solo travel can help facilitate that connection with yourself. I good way to get the ball rolling on this sort of stuff is to start to practice meditation before you travel. One of the best ways to get into this is to download the Calm or Headspace apps and let the apps guide you through a meditation session. 

Develop new skills 

In any group, there is a leader who plans the trip and the followers who come along for the ride. Maybe you are someone that is pretty relaxed and is more than happy to sit in the follower role and that’s ok. When you travel alone you will have the opportunity to switch those roles and become an assertive leader if that is something that you aspire to do. It may be a case that you don’t, but the newfound characteristics that you take on in whatever role you choose are good for personal progression. 

Tips for Solo Travel

Interact with the locals

Make sure that you talk to the locals. If you want to experience somewhere. Interacting with local people can visit. We at InspoVacay are not fans of the tourist traps and like to go off the beaten track when possible. By engaging with the locals you will get some gems of tips about places to eat things to do. It’s an inside track to the best the place has to offer. 

Choose accommodation with mingling opportunities

If you’re staying in hostels in a communal room be sure to start as you mean to go on. Make an effort when you initially arrive to introduce yourself to the other people in the dorm. If you arrive in silence and don’t talk to anyone there’s a good chance your roommates will follow suit. It’s also best if you can arrive during the day. This will give you a good opportunity to mix with people at your hostel. 

We’d also suggest booking into a smaller sized dorm if possible. Preferably a 4 to 8 person dorm. Firstly you have less chance of being woken up in the middle of the night as there are fewer people. 

Secondly, it’s easier to talk and get to know people in smaller groups so if you’re starting to go with a smaller dorm. 

Just say yes

Similar to making a good first impression when you arrive at your accommodation, it’s important to be willing to say yes to opportunities that come your way. If somebody invites you out to drinks or food, be sure to join if you feel comfortable with the situation. It’s a great way to get to know fellow travelers. 

Be sure to check out our Ultimate Travel Tips for Backpackers article. There are some gems of tips in there for travelers of all kinds. Even if you don’t plan on backpacking.

Be Safe 

Safety is integral when you’re traveling solo and we know that this can be a big reason why people are skeptical about travel solo. But with planning and smart decisions, we think this shouldn’t be something that dissuades you. As we spoke about there are better places to try solo traveling if you’re skeptical about safety. The list of places to visit above is a good place to start. 

One of the most important things to do when traveling solo is to communicate your plans with family and friends back home as well as keeping consistent communication with people. Now, you don’t have to be super strict on this, but for your own peace of mind and for family members that may be nervous for you. Keep in contact.

Give Couch surfing a try 

This is probably for the more seasoned solo traveler, but couch surfers are a great way to experience a new place in a cost-efficient way. Couch surfing is also a great way to interact with the locals and get some top tips from the locals on things to do and see.   

It’s important to be conscious of safety when you use couch surfing, but the beauty of the site is that there are reviews and previous surfers’ feedback on the site. So, be picky if you’re a first-time couch surfer. 

Best Cities for Solo Travel

If you’re still looking for motivation and tips to take the plunge and book that solo adventure. There are several things that you can do to prepare yourself for it. Things like going to the cinema, or for a sit-down dinner by yourself can give you a good understanding of what traveling will be like.  

Lisbon, Portugal 

Photo by Robenson Gassant

If you live in Europe Lisbon is a good choice for your first solo trip. Known as one of the most affordable cities in Europe, Lisbon is a great city to visit whether you’re traveling solo or within a group. It’s a walkable city, so it’s very easy to get around. Although I would highlight that Lisbon is a hilly city, so be sure to bring your walking shoes with you. The city is also very safe and offers a high standard of food. It’s a great city to treat yourself to good food and drinks in a compact city. 

Vancouver, Canada 

Photo by InspoVacay

One of the most stunning cities in North America, Vancouver has it all on offer from the beautiful nature that’s a stone’s throw away from the downtown core to the fantastic food culture the city is worth a visit. Vancouver is the perfect starting point to explore BC and we suggest if you’re doing a long road trip around the surrounding points of interest that you start in Vancouver. 

Tokyo, Japan 

Photo by Nicholas Doherty 

Tokyo is one of our favorite cities to visit here at InspoVacay and it is the perfect city to explore on your own. Although I would consider diving in at the deep end if you’re a first-time solo traveler, I wouldn’t let that put you off, and here’s why. Although Tokyo is a far-flung destination for our readers in North America and Europe and there is a distinct language barrier. It is the perfect city for solo travelers. 

There are throngs of solo travelers that are doing the same thing as you which means there are great opportunities to meet new people to explore the city with. It’s also a very safe city so there’s never the worry of feeling endangered. It’s extremely easy to get around and there is always something going on. 

Galway, Ireland 

Photo by Rory Hennessey 

Located on Ireland’s west coast, Galway is the city of tribes. Known for its vibrant arts scene and its old cobbled streets. It’s one of the nicest cities in Ireland. Whether you’re grabbing a pint of Guinness in Tigh Chóilí on shop street or embracing a refreshing walk on the beach in Salthill. Galway is a city to be seen. What makes Galway the perfect spot for solo travelers is the snugness. It’s a walkable city and there are lots seen. There are several hostels throughout the city where you are sure to meet some friendly faces with similar intents. Be sure to interact with the locals, they are mostly very friendly and are generally happy to provide recommendations of things to do and places to eat.  

Best Resources for Solo Travelers

Solo Traveler World – This is a great blog that offers tips, reviews, and is a great place to interact with other solo travelers that are in a similar position to yourself. They have hundreds of articles about every topic under the sun, so this is a good place to start your solo travel adventure. – As we talked about above Couchsurfing is a fantastic resource for making the most of your solo adventure. It’s people that list their abodes for random travelers to stay in at no cost. It’s a great community and there is the validation of the hosts and travelers so each party can feel comfortable and safe in the situation.  

For first-time couch surfers, it’s recommended that once you have created your account and found accommodation that takes your fancy. That you are very clear and description in your request to hosts. The success rate is a lot higher if you come across as personable and friendly in your message. So take the time and compose a message template before traveling. 

G Adventures – If you’re looking to dip your toe in the solo traveling world, but would like the comfort of a group organized adventure. Then G adventures are the place for you. These guided tours are a great way to have a group environment where there is a tour guide with you and the group throughout the journey. Book a spot on a tour and you’ll be backpacking in Columbia in no time. 

Join Facebook and Reddit communities 

Both these communities have huge numbers of people that are similar to you and it is a wealth of information on recommendations, tips/tricks, and advice. Before booking, join both of these communities and do your research on your ideal locations.

Final Thoughts 

In a time when traveling is non-existent, it’s the perfect time to commit to booking a solo adventure when things open up. During the worldwide lockdowns, the inability to travel has put in context for a lot of people that life is short and that you need to make the most of things when you can.

Stop procrastinating and commit to going it alone. You won’t regret it.