Tips for Solo Travel – A Solo Travel Guide

by shortgirlontour
Tips for solo travel

Solo travel can be absolutely thrilling and life altering and is fast becoming a popular way to travel. I first started solo traveling about five years ago, mainly because I was in between grad school and a job and had lots of time to travel whereas none of my friends could. I knew it was then or never and took the plunge to solo travel and have never looked back since! This solo travel guide will cover tips for solo travel that I have gathered from my experiences.

Tips for solo travel

Benefits of Solo Travel

Before I get in to tips, I want to touch a little about the benefits of solo travel. There are so many benefits of traveling by yourself. My favourite ones are;

  1. Self discovery and learning – Since you have no one else to depend on but yourself, you may learn things you never knew you were good at. Your triumphs are completely your own (i.e – never once getting lost with no data on my phone for maps or driving all over Europe and crossing multiple borders) or you learn from your mistakes (i.e – the time I lost my phone in Lisbon)
  2. Downtime – Solo travel is a great way to spend much needed downtime, not just from a job but also from people, especially if you are introverted. When I travel by myself, my thoughts are my own and I have found that not having to speak to someone the whole time can be very liberating.
  3. Freedom and independence – This is probably my favorite one! You are free to do what you like at whatever time you like, at the intensity of your choice! If I travel solo, I love to walk all day and I sometimes don’t have lunch until very late. If I was traveling with someone, I would have to be considerate of the other person. I am also a museum junkie (especially art museums) and I know that is not everyone’s cup of tea. If I travel with someone who didn’t really care for museums, they would be miserable or I would not be able to spend the time I would have if I were by myself.

Solo Travel Tips

Here are some of my solo travel tips for a safe and fun time on your own.

Tips for solo travel

Plan in Advance

This is my number 1 tip! As my friend and fellow travel enthusiast of Tourama.net once said, there is a difference between spontaneity and ignorance. It’s perfectly fine if you like the element of spontaneity and don’t want to plan your day from morning until night. However, planning can be the difference between spending too much money because you didn’t read up about a place or even your safety.

Me? I plan like crazy. I read travel guides and blogs, watch YouTube videos and go to official websites of places months in advance. When I visit a place, I know exactly what I am doing, where I am going and how I am getting there.

Example of one of my excel sheets

Be Flexible

With the above being said, it is also ok if things don’t go according to plan! Having a plan B or even a flexible mindset is important so you can continue to enjoy your travel experience even when things don’t go your way.

Don’t Draw Attention to Yourself

That designer handbag? leave it at home! I carry the most simple black satchel I bought from Amazon when I travel. Also try and avoid flashy jewelry, bright colored suitcases (great for identifying your bag on the baggage carousel at the airport but not so great for walking on the road by yourself) or distracting clothing.

Tips for solo travel

Pack Light

Juggling multiple pieces of luggage or struggling to lug a heavy bag is sure to turn a few heads around (in a not so good way).

Check out my packing essentials HERE.

Walk with a Purpose

Always walk with confidence and try not to look lost (even if you are). How?

  1. Don’t walk reading your guidebook or looking at Google Maps on your phone
  2. Check directions, important details before you leave your hotel room, train or bus
  3. If you feel like you are lost, step inside a cafe or shop to figure out your bearings
Tips for solo travel

Know the Local Transportation System

Trains in and out of the city, the metro system, buses and taxis – read up about each type and have a rough idea about costs and times, especially to your hotel so you don’t wander through a city, lugging a suitcase or backpack looking lost.

Another tip, especially for beginner solo travels is to go to the train or bus station the evening before you leave and do a dry run to see where the station is (if the city has multiple stations), which platform, section, level of the station the train/bus comes to and how much time it takes to get there.

 Tips for solo travel
São Bento Station in Porto

Be Cognizant of Hotel Locations and Ratings

I usually try and book hotels close to most of the attractions on my itinerary. Hotels with 24 hour front desks are great for when you need to get to a train station early in the morning or have a late night flight.

For me, hotel ratings do matter. I don’t stay in places that are below a 8/10. (high ratings doesn’t necessarily mean expensive places…just needs some researching). I also read comments from other travelers. Especially solo travelers.

Tips for solo travel
My hotel in Cordoba was within walking distance of all the major attractions

Carry Copies of Documentation

Carry extra copies of all important documentation and keep them in multiple places.

Tips for solo travel

Carry an Extra Phone

Or another device that can keep you connected (i.e., laptop, tablet). I learned this in Lisbon in January of this year when I lost my brand new phone. Luckily I had my old phone with me. If I didn’t have my old phone, I wouldn’t have had an alarm, wouldn’t have been able to call ubers, and worst of all would have not had a camera to take pictures! I fully understand this is not easy for everyone to do, but if you have an old phone lying around, charge it and take it with you.

Buy Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is not expensive and provides great peace of mind when you’re by yourself and have no one to depend on if things happen.

In addition to these 10 tips for solo travel, trust yourself and follow your heart! You got this!

Tips for solo travel

Pin these tips for later!

Did you find this guide or any of these solo travel tips useful? Please let me know by liking/commenting below or sharing this post on social media! Thank you!!

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9 comments

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[…] Solo Travel 101 […]

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Anonymous November 16, 2019 - 2:30 pm

Great advise not just for Solo trvellers but all in general. I learnt a lot from this.

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shortgirlontour November 16, 2019 - 11:06 pm

So glad this was helpful!! 🙂

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Day Trip to Giethoorn from Amsterdam - SHORT GIRL ON TOUR July 14, 2022 - 8:33 pm

[…] Solo Travel 101 […]

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Travel Spirit August 30, 2022 - 4:34 am

Nice blog and good advice. I travel solo most of the time. I just returned from a 3 month 5 country 21 accommodation European trip. I had a 40 page itinerary on my phone’s home screen 🙂 Something that helps financially and so you’re rarely lost is to book your lodging no further than 15 minutes from the train station (so you don’t have to take taxis) and have a google map walking route pre-planned for each day and then you just open your itinerary and click on the link (i.e. how to get from the train station to your lodging, etc.)

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shortgirlontour August 30, 2022 - 9:55 am

Thank you! and really great advice! I actually used to do that too when I first started solo traveling and still do it to some extent, especially if I don’t have a local sim card. I thought I had that on this post but I guess I forgot to mention it.
I have done a month in Europe previously and recently did 6 weeks mid May to end June this year but 3 months sounds amazing!! Looks like we went to a couple of the same places (Alsace). I love reading your posts daily!

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About Me

Welcome to my blog and thank you for visiting! Believe it or not this blog is not my full time job! I work 8-5 in Supply Chain and run this blog after work!  I’ve dreamed of traveling the world since I was a child and at 41 countries and counting, I am so grateful to get to live that dream.

To say travel is my passion is truly an understatement! What I love most about travel is that I get to connect with locals and meet with fellow travelers from around the world. In addition, travel also enables all my other interests like photography, architecture, art, music and food! Please feel free to share any posts or leave me feedback on how I can improve. Thank you and happy travels!

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