How to Confidently Travel Alone
With a passion for travel and discovering new cultures, exploring the world is what I love to do. Traveling solo started for me when I planned my first solo trip to Paris. I had just graduated from graduate school and I was determined to travel the world. As a broke college student I couldn’t afford to travel, but after getting my first full-time job, I saved enough money to make my dream trip to Europe come true. I wanted to visit all the iconic attractions in Paris and I was willing to go alone if I had to.
Since my first solo trip to France, I have ventured to more than 26 countries and I’ve traveled to many destinations alone including Oslo (Norway), Stockholm (Sweden), Lisbon (Portugal) and lots more.
Read More: The Best Viewpoints in Lisbon
If you haven’t gone on your first solo trip yet don’t worry. In no time you’ll be on your way navigating new places. With that being said, here’s a beginner’s guide for how to travel alone.
Tips For Getting Started as a Solo Traveler
My first solo trip to Paris was after the movie ‘Taken’ came out.
In ‘Taken’, actor Liam Neeson sets out to find his missing daughter after she gets abducted in Paris.
Although this is every solo traveler’s nightmare, the thought of traveling alone for the first time was not that scary to me. However, if traveling alone frightens you, you can build up your confidence by going to local events by yourself first.
Catch a movie alone, eat at a restaurant, go to a concert or take a short weekend trip alone.
Starting local will allow you test the waters and learn what it’s like to travel solo.
Do this a few times and you’ll be ready for your first solo trip.
Don’t Let Language Barriers Scare You
When I went to Paris, not speaking the language was my biggest challenge. Honestly, being fluent in Haitian-Creole only gets you so far. Yet, I quickly learned that everyone was friendly, eager to help and if necessary I used hand signals to communicate.
If you decide to visit a place where you do not speak the language, you will find a way to communicate. Trust me.
Use Google Translate to help you understand signs or apps like Sygic Travel or Google Maps to plan out your sightseeing route.
Read More: Tips for When You Don’t Speak the Language
Helpful Tips: When I first arrive in a new city, I find the welcome center or information desk at the airport or train station. I ask for directions to get to my accommodation or the city center. These attendants usually know the fastest and/or least expensive way to get around. I’ve also found that speaking with a knowledgeable local helps me get oriented with my new surroundings quickly. These kiosks may also have free maps, suggested sites to visit, coupon codes and other helpful resources so be sure to stop by and check them out.
Make an Itinerary
When I travel, I do a lot of travel planning in advance. This is especially important when you are venturing to a new destination solo. Plus planning helps you maximize your time at a destination.
Before you travel, figure out the top things you want to see and how much money you are going to spend on activities.
Helpful Tips: Book your flight to a major city. Next, use local transportation or join group bus tours to travel to other areas via day trips.
For example, you could fly to Rome and then take the train to visit Florence or Venice (Italy).
If you are not sure where to start with planning out activities, take a free guided walking tour of the city. I enjoy free walking tours (or pay what you want walking tours) because it gives me the chance to not only meet other solo travelers but I also get access to local experts. Ask your tour guide about the best restaurants, bars and local activities – they will be more than happy to share their recommendations.
Whether you travel alone or with a group of friends, safety is extremely important.
I get asked this question all the time – where should you keep your passport?
You could keep your passport in your hotel room but it could get stolen. The alternative is to keep it on you and always remain alert and aware of your surroundings. When I travel I like to use a satchel bag that hangs besides my hip.
When it comes to packing, I tend to travel light. I pack my things in a backpack and carry-on suitcase. This also helps me avoid unnecesasry baggage fees.
Grab this list of items to pack for any trip.
I also try to do most of my sightseeing during the day and I’m back in my hotel room before dark.
Lastly, when I’m exploring, I like to wear shades. Sunglasses help you look around, but also helps you avoid making eye contact. If you want to keep off advances from admirers you can also wear a ring and say that you are married.
[Listen to Podcast]: 7 Easy Steps to Low Cost Travel – A Girl’s Guide to Traveling Alone Podcast
Find Your Happy Medium
If you are still on the fence about traveling alone, one alternative is to find a travel buddy that doesn’t mind if you explore on your own.
Agree to travel together with the understanding that you don’t have to do everything together.
You can do your own thing on some days and then meet for dinner. Over dinner swap stories and share highlights.
Last but not least, here’s a quick recap of all the things we covered in this article.
Solo Travel Tips Summary:
- Start local – go to local events or dine at restaurants alone.
- Don’t let language barriers scare you – use resources like Google Translate to help you communicate.
- Create an itinerary – focus on the things you want to do and how much it will cost.
- Remain alert and stay safe.
- If you travel with family and friends, plan to explore on your own to experience how to travel alone.
How to Become a Financially Savvy Traveler
Where are you going for your next solo trip?
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.
You make a great point about creating an itinerary. My wife and I want to get a hotel for our vacation. We’ll have to consider getting a hotel with a pool.
Even a loose one can be really helpful but finding a balance when you can be spontaneous as well is really important.
I like that you suggested taking walking tours, free or not, if we have no idea where to start planning out activities. I will do that, especially when I try solo traveling in San Francisco this year. My husband pushed me to do this so that I can have an alone time after he noticed how burn out I am these past few months.
Thanks for sharing, great article
Traveling alone is actually great. You don’t need to cooperate with other people. Do whatever you want, but pay more attention to your own safety.
I really enjoyed your article keep sharing, and keep up the good work.
This information has been very helpful thanks for sharing this post.
I enjoy traveling alone, and this guide will be absolutely essential to me. Thanks for sharing this memorable experience with us.
Great advice. Everybody needs to ride the train yet not every person needs to lay the tracks. Thanks!
Hi!. Thanks for posting your informative article on “how to travel alone”. I really enjoyed it.
Traveling alone is not an easy decision for beginners, but when you set off, you will find that it is a great experience
I have read your blog its great
Great Blog. Very useful for a traveler who wants to travel alone. This will help everyone.
hey danielle, your tips will be very useful for solo travellers. thanks and regards
useful tips for a single man although travelling alone is really enjoyable but the enjoyment you get with your friends is much more than this.
I like your suggestion to find a travel buddy if we’re hesitant about taking a vacation on our own. I think taking a holiday getaway would be a good way to clean my head after my divorce late last year. Maybe I’ll talk to some friends who might be available to go with me now that I’ve gotten the idea from your article!
I’m so happy this article got you thinking about traveling again!
Very much informative content. Every solo traveler must follow these tips.
Thanks for sharing this great post Danielle!
While some of you might cringe on the idea of traveling with your family, I believe these eight reasons why you should indeed travel with them can change that.
Please read my blog: 8 Reasons Why You Should Travel with Your Family
Hope this will help, thank you!
Super tips Danielle. Great job on this post. Solo travelers should ease into their solo gig to gain confidence. Dealing with language barriers and stark culture differences feels easier if you baby step it. Forcing things with a big quantum leap makes the journey a bit rough for most travelers going solo.
This is superb blog site. I find many informative messages from this site. Thank’s a lot for sharing.
If you want to travel alone so you need keep important things with you like ID. Where ever you are going first try to know about that place how it is.
I like that you mentioned how you tend to travel light so that you don’t need to worry about baggage fees. I am planning on going on my very first vacation alone since I have some free time, but I am worried that I might end up bringing too much since I have never packed by myself. Hopefully, I will be able to pack the essentials without overthinking too much.
I still over pack most trips, I think we get worried that we won’t have enough while we’re away which won’t be the case :). Where are you headed? So excited to hear more!
I have mostly prefer to solo travel and this tips is very helpful for me thanks for this amazing content.
Very nice information.
Thanks for this amazing information. Really It means a lot
Great tip,there is a new person inside each of us that is waiting to be unlocked and solo travel gives us the key
Thanks for reading this article! I love seeing your enthusiasm for solo travel!