Solo Travel Guide
Travelling alone has a lot of upsides. It’s an opportunity for a unique and very personal immersion into different cultures. It’s the chance to lose yourself within a new-found ‘you’ and it’s all framed against the independence to shape a trip just the way you want.
For some, solo travel has sat upon a horizon way beyond their comfort zone and maybe now feels like the right time. For others, life circumstances have suddenly opened up a whole new window of adventures to take on their own. Taking the first step can be unnerving but it doesn’t need to be.
In this solo travel guide, we’ll help you take the initiative with tips and ideas on how to get by when travelling ‘Me, Myself and I’.
Who Is Solo Travelling For?
About 1 in 6 adults have taken a holiday on their own. In many cases, they are people who have a degree of freedom and flexibility to make their own travel choices. Typically, they’re younger people who have the freedom to do so or older folk who have completed the midlife years that were filled with responsibilities and restrictions.
Increasingly though, the defined lines of solo travel conventions are becoming blurred. It’s not uncommon for coupled-up people to venture off while their partner remains at home. One stays behind perhaps for practical reasons, or because their solid relationship enables the other to travel beyond the traditional confines of cohabiting. It could even be that one partner harbours a lifelong ambition to see a part of the world that just isn’t shared by the other.
Moreover, with our increasingly flexible approach to travel, taking a trip on your own doesn’t even mean solo vacations in the literal sense. There are many options for travelling solo but being part of a broader group package. This enables all of the independence of unaccompanied adventures without feeling lonely, while sharing special moments with new friends who develop a common bond. .
More Inspiration For Solo Travel?
What Are The Benefits Of Solo Travel?
Travelling solo is one of the few times in life you get to be selfish. Taking a trip with others means compromises - when to go, where to go, which place to stay and how to spend each day. A tour on your tod means you set the itinerary and choose your own path - whether it’s a hike up a mist-covered mountain or hours meandering around a museum.
Travelling by yourself can lead to finding oneself. It’s a journey of self-discovery. Solo travel can help you clear your mind and give you some much-needed space. You’ll emerge stronger without necessarily realising it at the time and become more adept at being best friends with the person who knows you best - you.
Solo travel means discovering just how well you can adapt to new situations and people. You get to turn the courage you’ve summoned into self-confidence. When on your own, there will be times you have no choice but to jump into a situation and trust your gut. And when you get home, remember what you’ve taken away from your lone foray away. Use those newfound problem-solving and decision-making skills and tell others about them - be it a partner, employer or interviewer.
An excursion without a companion naturally means the chance to meet other travellers. You’re more likely to meet new people and interact with the locals whether you just want to talk to someone or ask for directions. Even if it’s a fleeting encounter, you can tap into the knowledge and experiences of others to shape your lone adventure. Remember, you’re always in control though. So, if you don’t like feeling overwhelmed by lots of new faces, you simply don’t have to.
The bottom line of solo travel is that it’ll probably save money, too. The costs of the trip are only for one person. You can be more flexible when you go than being tied to the schedules of others and make the most of ‘shoulder seasons’ or less ‘fashionable’ places. You’ll also become an expert at self-sufficiency, stretching your budget further. How you judge ‘cost effectiveness’ of a trip might alter, too. After all, you’re only spending your money on what you want to get from it. .
Solo Travel: What You Need To Know
The dream may be venturing into the wide blue yonder with just yourself and a backpack but even the most intrepid experience-seeker needs to consider a few practical essentials for solo travel.
- Get the basics in place: How to get there and where you’ll be staying, at least at first. Winging it can be fun but only at the right time and not when you’ve just tiredly stepped off a hot train, tired and sweaty.
- Carefully determine your budget in advance: A good starting point is to divide how much you’ll have by the number of days you’ll be away. Costs will vary considerably depending on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing but an average gives a solid baseline.
- Don't skimp on insurance: If you think you don’t need travel insurance, think again to prevent the dream trip from becoming a nightmare.
- Pack as light as you can but always think smart: Minimalism will become second nature but so too is choosing to take clothing and accessories that will have multiple uses.
- Brush up on at least some basic words and phrases: Download a translation app that covers the languages you’ll be encountering.
- If you want to save time and energy, you can join a small group tour and avoid most of the planning and organisation.
One thing that seasoned solo travellers often recommend is to give it a few trial runs or going hybrid. Take some day or weekend trips alone, eating out and meeting locals. It helps you get comfortable in your own company while using your own initiative. Better still, try a group tour, especially if you’re a first-timer. This enables you to test lone travel in a predefined and supported way without actually being alone or feeling lonely. When you book your group tour through Wild Frontiers, you won't have to do anything, including selecting the right time to travel, booking good-quality and trustworthy accommodations, creating an exciting itinerary, and ensuring your safety.
Travel Ideas for Solo Travellers
Planning a solo sabbatical can be exciting but with so much to think about, what may start as a blueprint for an extended excursion can become a 50-page manifesto for an expedition of epic proportions.
If that leaves you cold, it’s a good idea to think about what you’d like to experience and book a planned trip with a company that specialises in tours within a group setting. It provides a framework for getting what you want to experience from your travels but with likeminded people rather than alone.
Here’s some inspiration:
Culture ToursFor meaningful experiences immersed in the life, customs and heritage of different peoples. Our cultural tours are as broad and multi-faceted as the civilisations who welcome us.
Festival TripsLose yourself in the gatherings and celebrations of communities from far-flung corners rooted in ancient customs with colourful ceremony and vibrant displays.
Walking ToursRamble remote trails, explore wild tracks and follow in the footsteps of the people who have long traversed ancient routes. Marvel at breathtaking backdrops and pause at charming settlements. while sharing your thoughts with fellow walkers.
Wildlife TripsGet up close to some of the planet’s most incredible species in diverse natural habitats. Learn more about the fascinating and elusive wildlife that live in some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Travelling Alone: Single Supplement
A good option when you choose one of Wild Frontier’s group tours is to share a twin room with another person of the same sex. We offer this as standard on all packages. It’s an opportunity to develop a quick bond with one of your fellow travellers. Sometimes, if there’s no one to pair up with on your booking, you’ll get the room to yourself at no extra cost.
Solo Travel: How To Stay Safe
- Stay alert: While you’ll want to have a good time travelling, never let your guard down, especially when out and about at night. Be mindful of how much you drink and never leave your beverages unattended.
- Stay secure: You’ll need a bag that can be securely fastened and locked. Keep valuables out of sight and with you as much as possible. Leave expensive items or those of personal and sentimental value at home where you can.
- Respect local customs: Brush up on the culture and dress codes of the places you’ll be visiting. Nothing draws unwanted attention more than not covering up when it’s expected or engaging in behaviour that may be frowned upon in the country you visit.
- Learn to say ‘no’: Especially in more sociable and foreigner-fascinated cultures, the attention you get travelling solo can be a little intense. Learn how to say a polite ‘no thank you’ and a firm ‘absolutely not’ as well as the local nonverbal gesture for ‘no’.
- Try not to travel alone where possible: Try to take public transport and taxis with other people. Explore the option of small group tours that provide the security and extra reassurance of travelling with others, led by an experienced guide.
- Stay connected: Make it a habit to update family and friends back home of your movements especially when you can hookup to a WiFi connection. It’s also a good idea to discuss your daily plans with a member of staff in the accommodation you’re using.
Travelling Solo But Not Alone
Travelling in a small group has advantages. They’re a great introduction to solo travel. It’s certainly not less adventurous and you still get to be spontaneous and free-spirited. Most aspects of the trip are organised which means you don’t lose precious time navigating logistical, cultural and local language barriers.
You can learn from those you’re with and from a knowledgeable group leader while gaining insight without having to dig for it. Within a small group you mix free time with coming together in the camaraderie of others. You’ll gain new friends and perhaps even a like-minded fellow traveller you can join up with later to continue your experiences after the guided trip ends. All that’s left is to decide which adventure to choose.