How to travel alone and enjoy yourself
The idea of travelling alone scares a lot of people and to be honest, I can see why, being in a different country can be intimidating in itself and many of us look towards a friend for support which is why you will more commonly see two or more people travelling together. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Solo travel has been gaining increasing popularity over the years due to how liberating it can be and also how much fun you can have!
Travelling alone doesn’t always mean you will be alone, it means you have the CHOICE to be alone. If you fancy wandering around a market on your own, you can do, or perhaps you fancy teaming up with another traveller to explore the local night life, that’s your choice too and that’s the beauty of it.
Here are my tips and tricks on how to travel alone. Also, if you’re planning on going backpacking, be sure to check out my essentials for backpacking article.
Be prepared to travel alone
The main thing about travelling solo is that you no longer have anyone to rely on when things go wrong or you hit a bump in the road, this is why you need to be prepared, even more so than normal.
Everything is a case of double checking everything to make sure you’ve got everything covered. Some things that you may want to prepare for include:
- Insurance– Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, right? There are lots of different insurances that you can invest in and it’s important to make sure you have the right one. It’s a good idea to get a fully comprehensive insurance that will cover medical expenses, any cancellations and sometimes even contents loss or damage. Generally though, you get what you pay for, so it’s always better to go for the best you can afford.
- Money – Make sure you have enough, set out a budget and leave enough aside to get you home just in case. What I like to do is try to work out what my main expenditures are for the duration of the trip and then add another 25-30% on top of what I’ve saved for discrepancies and unseen costs, then have another pot entirely for spending money.
- Destination – The great thing about solo travel is you can pick where you go. With that being said, it’s always best to plan ahead. Some places will be more suitable for solo travel than others, so it’s always best to put in a bit of research before hand.
- Let someone know – There are so many unpredictable things in this world so it’s always best to be prepared, whether you plan to travel alone or not, it’s always best to let someone know where you are and where you’re planning on going. I find it’s best to have a group chat either with friends or family and use it to check in wherever I can for a bit of extra peace of mind.
- Organise travel documents – This one makes sense whether you’re travelling alone or with other people. Always make sure that you have all your important documents organised and on hand when you need them. It may be a good idea to invest in a cross body bag or something similar to keep valuables close by.
Don't be alone when travelling solo
Okay, so this is a bit of a weird one.
The point I’m trying to make here is that travelling alone is a choice. Just because you’ve decided to travel solo, doesn’t mean that you have to do it all the time. The great thing about travel is that there are so many other solo travellers looking to share the adventure.
This way you can have the best of both worlds and just be alone when you want to. Here are a few tips on how to meet new friends while travelling:
- Most people are friendly – People are generally more friendly than you think, sparking up a conversation is a pretty easy and effective way to make some new travel companions. As well as this, if you make an effort with the locals, they can give you all the tips and tricks for the local area and the best places to eat, so it’s always best to be friendly.
- Stay in a hostel – Staying in a hostel is a surefire way to meet other like minded individuals, chances are they are planning on seeing some of the same sites as you and there could then be a possibility to split travel costs and see the site together. The great thing about hostels is that there is usually a lot of other people travelling alone and they will more often than not have similar interests to you. So if you do have the courage to start a conversation with someone, the conversation will flow easier than you think. If you like the idea of staying in a hostel, then feel free to go check out hostelworld for good prices at the best hostels.
- Book a tour – This one is an easy way to make new friends. You know that you’re going to be spending the next few hours together and have similar interests, hence being on the same tour, use these to your advantage to spark up a conversation and make some new friends.
How to travel alone and stay safe
One of the most important things to keep in mind when travelling alone is staying safe. We live in a very unpredictable world and it is therefore paramount that you take the different steps to enable yourself to travel and enjoy yourself, while staying as safe as possible
Here are a few tips and tricks on how to travel alone while staying safe:
- Stay in public – This one seems a bit self explanatory but make sure you stay in well lit areas, don’t go down alleyways or take any shortcuts and try to stay in areas that are well populated, such as the main strips and touristy areas, more so at night. Also remember that no matter what someone says, do not follow them anywhere.
- Don’t flash wealth – Don’t give anyone the chance to steal from you, try to lessen your chances of becoming a victim to an opportunist by keeping all valuables safely hidden away. As well as this, try not to have headphones on wherever possible, as people will take advantage of this distraction.
- Know your limits – I know you want to have a good time but getting drunk makes you more of a target to an opportunistic crime. Sure, go out and enjoy yourself, but try to be sensible.
- Be aware of your surroundings – Just know where everything is, know where all the exits are at all times and know where you are in proximity to your hotel or where you are staying, also, if something doesn’t feel right or someones giving you bad vibes then safely and calmly leave.
- Learn useful phrases – Not only is it polite to have a basic level of the local language, but it’s also very helpful in an emergency, so it’s a good idea to learn a basic handful of phrases, it’s also a good idea to have a mini book of phrases somewhere on you if possible. Another helpful tip is to know the emergency number for the local area, most emergency numbers are either 999, 911 or 112, but it’s best to double check before your visit to be safe.
- Don’t diverge too much information – Someone could try to spark up a conversation with you and seem like the friendliest person in the world, “where are you staying” or “are you travelling alone” could be a few of the things they could say. They seem friendly enough, but could be scoping you out for something more sinister, when in doubt just keep answers friendly but vague and again, always make sure you don’t go anywhere with anyone you don’t know.
How to travel alone and enjoy yourself
The thing to remember is that although you are travelling alone, you will still enjoy yourself and have an amazing experience. Travelling alone doesn’t change that and I think it helps you grow as a person and become a better version of yourself.
Here is a list of reasons why travelling alone is great, and the different things you can do:
- Travelling alone can be great for your mental health – Being a solo traveller will give you more time to yourself and allow you to grow as a person. This is even more true if you try to couple that with activities that naturally promote general well being and good mental health such as walks and hikes.
- You can choose where you go – One of the best things about travelling alone is that you are always in full control of where you go and what you do, and that is awesome! A top tip is to always look at different locations more of the beaten track, there are loads of hidden gems that you’ve never heard of.
- Travel at your own pace – Another great thing about solo travel is that because you are in charge, you can go at your own pace and I feel as though this is very important when it comes to extended period of travel. When you travel solo, you should listen to your body and go at your own pace, some days you will want to chill and lounge about doing nothing and the next day you may want to climb a mountain, listen to yourself and go at a pace that suits you.
- Solo travel increases your confidence – One amazing thing about travelling alone is that it puts you in situations where you need to take charge because there is no one to fall back on. This can seem a little bit daunting, but it’s great as it will force you out of your comfort zone and increase your confidence.
- Enjoy your own company – The most important thing, more than anything else, is to enjoy your own company. That’s one of the main things when learning how to travel alone. Once you learn how to enjoy doing things on your own, you’ll find that you will never be seeking out the company of others and it really is an amazing thing.
There we have it, my tips and tricks on how to travel alone. If you have enjoyed this article then feel free to leave a comment below or any constructive criticism you may have, as well as any future articles you may want to see. If you would like to read any more articles, then feel free to check out my most recent articles how to make money while travelling and the best vegan restaurants in Rome.