A Beginners Guide To Solo Traveling

Those of you who have read my previous posts on solo travelling know how much of an advocate I am of taking trips on your own: the benefits and how to do it effectively

I’ve been traveling solo as regularly as I have been for over a year now. This has included solo trips to Majorca, Dublin, Paris and Naples.

But what does it take to do a successful solo travel adventure, particularly for someone who has had no experience of it whatsoever?

Fortunately I’ve been there done it enough times to provide a few pointers 😉

Here’s my beginners guide for first time solo travellers:

1. Research, Research And Research!

The very last thing you’d want on your first solo trip is a margin for error. Yes – plans change due to weather, cancellations etc. Find out where the best restaurants are to. Look up the best mode of transport to use to get round the town/city. Are all the attractions within walking distance of each other? Is the city you’re in notorious for pickpocketing and possibly need to be take more safety precautions?

The more research you do ahead of your trip, the more knowledge you have and the more prepared you’ll feel for your first solo adventure.

A Beginner's Guide To Solo Traveling
Image Credit: Canva

2. Start Small

Obviously travelling alone is a daunting activity and at first can take a lot of inner courage and strength to book that train or plane ticket and head off to somewhere abroad you’re probably not familiar with. Sometimes you wish to find ways to ease yourself into the practice of solo travel.

Maybe begin with a city/town in your home country. With domestic travel where you’re at least within a culture you’re familiar with, the people speak the same language as you (albeit with different accents and dialects) and the biggest hotspots are not as foreign.

If you still have the inner confidence to travel abroad but not enough for a perhaps start with a day trip to get a feel for exploring a new place alone and having all the time and attention to yourself in the world.

3. Learn some of the country’s Language

Language is such a staple when it comes to a country’s culture and way of life. For learning the language of the place you’re visiting, It’s not expected you be fluent and become bilingual overnight. That’d be like asking a dog to talk like a human or asking an actor to play in a UEFA Champions League final for a full 90 minutes a day before the final. Impos-iii-ball!

But just read up on the basic words and phrases such as hello, good morning/evening, how are you, goodbye, have a nice day etc. Practice saying the words in the right accent and pronounciation. It shows you make more of an effort to understand the natives and also take in an aspect of their culture.

As you go on more solo trips and learn other languages it becomes second nature. Being a native speaker of an international language it can be easy and tempting not to bother with a foreign language. However I don’t wanna take it for granted and try and take the easy ride lets say. It’s a valuable skill to have and valuable thing to put down on your CV ultimately.

Image Credit: Universities UK

4. Take Safety Precautions

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest worries solo travel brings about is the general welfare and safety of the traveler.

The safety tips I give below in bullet may be overboard but a traveler’s safety and wellbeing is priority no.1

– Take extra documents with you just in case. Leave originals at home apart from maybe your passport.

– Write down the country’s emergency contact number.

– Attach padlocks to luggage and backpacks

– Don’t keep valuables in loose pockets.

– Avoid empty/dark alleyways and streets with no lighting.

– Always walk on main roads where you’re in the public eye instead.

There’s often stories reported by the media of young travellers from the UK going missing and being murdered. It’s always tragic and heart-breaking to hear when someone young losing their life living their best lives. It’s a constant reminder that no where is exactly safe. You never really know who and what’s out there.

However those are rare in the grand scheme of things and shouldn’t deter one person from enjoying solo trips. The majority of solo travelers end up returning in one piece more often than not.

5. Keep Loved Ones Back Home Updated

A follow up to tip #4. Since it’s your first trip by yourself you wanna make sure you’re regularly letting your friends and family know what you’re up to. Share photos of yourself next to the best city attraction. Text one or two when you’ve reached home or gotten up from bed or about how great the food.

It makes things easier for yourself as much as it does for them. Build trust and rapport with those who were very hesistant about letting you go on a solo trip in the first place. Keep doing all of the above and you never know; you may be the one to inspire them to travel solo too.

From personal experience, the more I have solo travelled the easier it has gotten. My parents have [slowly] gotten used to the idea of me travelling. Of course, they’ll always worry. You can never stop them from doing do but you can still make life easier for them.

A Beginner's Guide To Solo Traveling

Image Credit: Bplans Blog

6. Interact with locals & other tourists/travellers

One major benefit of solo travelling is meeting new people and making new friends potentially. Your travel bestie might be waiting our there!

Ask the locals for any hidden gems around the city/town you’re visiting. They know a lot more compared to tourists like yourself. You never know. You may even bump into other solo travellers too. If so, feel free to ask if you can join them on their excursions. It helps with the safety side of things also and you can both bond on your adventures.

All in all, engaging with like-minded people and people who know the area you’re in very well enriches the travel experience.

A Beginner's Guide To Solo Traveling Image Credit: Canva

Final Word

You may find out that solo travel is not for you – at least during that phase of your life. That’s fine! It’s a learning experience that you’ll take a lot out of and one worth doing at least once in your lifetime.

How was your first solo travel adventure if you’ve been solo travelling? What’s been your favourite solo travel experience? Is it a goal to do more of it this year?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below. You can also read another post of mine on more general tips for travelling alone. Feel free to follow the blog or my socials (below) to stay updated on more content.

Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures

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Johnny is a 22-year old solo traveller and travel blogger with a craving to know the world better and make the small world bigger!

37 Comments

  1. February 6, 2019 / 8:18 pm

    These are great tips! I love traveling solo. A lot of people always are worried about safety but it’s not that hard to do your research ahead of time! Doing a little bit of research before you go can make everything safer for you and your trip more enjoyable!

    💗 Alexx | Aesthetics by Alexx
    https://aestheticsbyalexx.com

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 6, 2019 / 8:46 pm

      Absolutely Alex 🙂 The more research you do, the more you know and less anxiety it can give you! Happy you enjoyed the read

  2. Ricardo Da Costa
    February 6, 2019 / 8:23 pm

    I totally agree with you on the first point. When I went to Norway and Italy I booked the flights back to back and I wanted to know EVERYTHING about the city. I didn’t just want to go there and find out for myself because imagine missing out on something cool!

    When I solo travelled I always called my parents it was needed but also because they worried about me.

    The friendships you build from travelling >>>

    A good read, I enjoyed it!

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 6, 2019 / 9:14 pm

      Decent idea Rico, how did you find Norway and Italy in the end? Calling is even better actually! Reassures them more when they hear your voice!

      • Ricardo Da Costa
        February 7, 2019 / 7:16 pm

        In the end I enjoyed Italy and Norway, should have explored more in Norway rather than visiting so many museums.
        With Italy I had explored different places and even a city in the outskirts

  3. Ashley Firth
    February 6, 2019 / 8:31 pm

    I had children young and so I have never travelled solo. It is something that I look forward to doing in later life though. I’ve always wanted to go to a place which I have chosen to travel to without having to consider the needs of a whole handful of other people. This is a great post which I’m sure will inspire many to take that plunge! xxx

    Ashley
    https://lellalee.com

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 6, 2019 / 9:20 pm

      Cheers Ashley! I sure hope there’s at least one person who’s able to gain a bit more courage to travel alone. It’s a really independent and meaningful experience everyone will benefit a lot from. Good to hear you’ve still got solo travel on your mind. In the future the kids will be a bit older so you’ll get more free time for yourself I’m sure

  4. mydreamality
    February 6, 2019 / 8:50 pm

    This is a really great post! I agree with just about all your tips 🙂

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 6, 2019 / 9:20 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  5. February 6, 2019 / 10:08 pm

    Everyone should travel solo at least once! It’s a life changing experience. This is a great guide to get started!

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 7, 2019 / 2:12 pm

      Agreed! There’s a lot you find out about yourself and the world around you.

  6. February 6, 2019 / 10:55 pm

    Loved reading this! I’m looking to do some traveling this year with a friend, but I think I would love to try solo traveling too.

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 7, 2019 / 2:17 pm

      Yeah you defo should Tamanna. If you can’t find a friend to go somewhere you wanna go just secure the tickets and take off on your own. Where do you plan on going?

      • February 8, 2019 / 10:32 pm

        I’m planing to start off small, so maybe somewhere in Europe.

  7. February 7, 2019 / 9:01 am

    Love this post. I’m a big supporter of Solo Travel and think everyone should try it. If you use common sense you’ll be ok but love how you have detailled everything here. It would put me more at ease knowing this if i’d never travelled solo before. Thanks for sharing xx

  8. February 7, 2019 / 10:45 am

    I would love to plan somewhere to go by myself – but I have somehow always found someone to go wherever I was going – whether I wanted it or not, which is crazy considering I have a very small group of friends and love being by myself! Maybe one day I will get that solo venture!

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 7, 2019 / 2:23 pm

      Hahaha you’ve got a travel god blessing you with company haven’t you 😂 Don’t know whether it’s luck or having quality friendships, but yeah – one day!

      • February 7, 2019 / 2:56 pm

        Only if you see it as a blessing? I would like to travel by myself one day 🙂

  9. February 7, 2019 / 5:38 pm

    How i wish I could travel solo? But I just freak out with the idea of travelling alone, i dont know why but it gets scarier. Maybe one day I will, never say never.
    Great tips Johnny.

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 8, 2019 / 11:37 am

      Thank you Carny, don’t worry too much about . Solo traveling like I say may not be for anyone at a certain point in their life or may not be for them at all but keep on hoping you’ll travel solo one day!

  10. February 7, 2019 / 7:59 pm

    Starting small is the first tip I give to anyone thinking about solo travel. A weekend in Edinburgh or York is a great way to test it out. I love solo travel but I’m an introvert and I love my own company, I know not everyone is that comfortable.

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 9, 2019 / 11:27 am

      Yeah definitely Sarah, you don’t end up investing much time, money and effort than you would if you were going abroad – even if it’s just for a day

  11. Mashibaby
    February 7, 2019 / 8:06 pm

    These are great tips for solo travelers!

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 9, 2019 / 11:29 am

      Thanks

  12. shygirl
    February 7, 2019 / 9:28 pm

    Great tips I second all of them! Solo Travel is an incredible experience, it definitely changes you as a person. With a l

    • shygirl
      February 7, 2019 / 9:32 pm

      With a lot of planning and a dash of common sense it’s definitely possible to have a stress free solo trip! I think it’s always important to trust your instincts and only do what you feel comfortable with – you’re already pushing yourself out of your comfort zone! Don’t put pressure on yourself to experience everyth

  13. shygirl
    February 7, 2019 / 9:34 pm

    So your comment box hates me 😂😅 Anyway I think you get the gist! Great post! 😊

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 9, 2019 / 11:31 am

      😂😂😂 Yeah this comment box is straight from hell isn’t it! Trusting your instincts if it’s telling you to travel solo is important. You’ll never know what something’s really like till you do it

  14. February 8, 2019 / 6:53 pm

    This is a great post. I suffer with really bad anxiety but something that’s been on my bucket list for years, is to travel alone. Even a weekend away in the UK would suit me. I just want to have the experience of being somewhere on my own because being on my own is also a huge thing for me, anxiety wise. I haven’t been anywhere on my own in years.

    I really admire anyone that travels alone, however near or far 🙂

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

  15. February 8, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    Haha I love the analogy in tip about the language!! I also like the idea of trying a place in your home country first – thank you!:)

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 12, 2019 / 2:56 pm

      Oh yeah research is everything! Thanks for reading Ellie :)!

  16. February 11, 2019 / 5:23 pm

    I love love solo travel.. great tips

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 12, 2019 / 2:57 pm

      👍🏾

  17. February 11, 2019 / 5:36 pm

    Great tips, Johnny! I’ve done couple of solo day trips, but that doesn’t really count 😉 haha
    Want to do a solo trip this year. Thinking of starting small, maybe a quick weekend getaway.

    Aditi
    http://www.aditispen.com

    • Johnny
      Author
      February 12, 2019 / 2:57 pm

      To me they all count however long or shott haha. Which places do you have in mind?

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