The author Sky Ariella posing for a photo and the city of Ronda on her background during a solo trip

How to Travel Alone (Ultimate 2022 Solo Traveler Guide)

If you’re making a plan to embark on your very first solo trip, get ready. You’re about to have the time of your life. But, you’ll also probably need some handy tips for how to travel alone to get through it without making any rookie mistakes. 

I love solo travel and can’t recommend it enough. I’ve traveled all over the planet as a solo female traveler. When you travel alone, it has a way of making you see everything clearer. Solo travelers have the complete freedom to do whatever they want on their adventure. 

So, get excited and let’s jump into my top tips for solo travel.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

7 Tips for Traveling Alone

Go At Your Own Pace

The author enjoying her day in Guyangan Waterfall Nusa Penida
Me up close and personal with the ocean at one of Nusa Penida’s biggest attractions, Peguyangan Waterfall

A big part of solo traveling is conquering your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone. Don’t be discouraged by the nervousness. Embrace it!

Was I absolutely terrified to scale stairs down the side of a mountain on an island in Indonesia? Yes. But was it a beautiful experience and completely worth it? Also, yes. 

There are some amazing things on the other side of fear. You learn that pretty fast when you travel solo. 

Pack Light, But Bring Extra Essentials

The author admiring her overlooking view

As a solo traveler, you need to carefully walk that fine line between wanting to be prepared and not overpacking. Not having access to something you need while you’re out there exploring is the worst-case scenario for solo travelers. 

Lots of things are difficult to impossible to find at a local shop in a foreign country. Like medication or contact lenses. 

At the same time, you don’t want to overpack and end up weighing yourself down. When you’re traveling solo, you’re the only person carrying everything. So, you’ll really feel the weight if your bag is too stuffed. 

Learn A Little Of The Local Language

Colorful decorations on a street

While you can’t become fluent in the language of every country you visit, you should at least know a few basic phrases when you travel solo. At the least, it’s nice to know “hello” and “thank you” in the local language. If you’re an extra prepared solo traveler, you can also throw in “I need help” and “Where’s the bathroom?”. 

Learning some of the languages helps solo travelers respect a country’s local culture and be ready if they need to communicate quickly.  

Do Research Beforehand

View of a cliffed coast under the clear blue sky

I’m all for being spontaneous on solo trips and letting the journey take you where it’s meant to. 

However, it would help if you still did ample research and planning beforehand. You don’t want to get lost getting from Point A to Point B. Or wind up in trouble because all the accommodations are booked during the high season. 

Solo traveling means that you only have yourself to rely on. A little research ahead of time can make all the difference between a beautiful experience and a drag. 

Get Travel Insurance

People on a beach during sunset

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a thousand times. It’s downright irresponsible to travel without travel insurance! Whether you’re going on group trips or enjoying your own company traveling alone. 

I always go for World Nomads travel insurance because it’s super reliable and covers almost any situation. 

Our Pick
World Nomads
4.7
World Nomads travel insurance is a tried and true provider. It’s a great way to protect yourself, your things, and your finances in case of an emergency.
Pros:
  • Simple & flexible
  • Balances price & quality
  • Upfront transparency about covid (no insurer covers all covid risks, but at least they explain it!)
Cons:
  • Not available to seniors 70+ in USA (or 65+ in other countries)

Meet New Friends At Hostels

A colorful art work on a wall in a hostel in Bogota
One of my favorite hostels in Bogota, Casa Colibri

Just because you’re traveling alone doesn’t mean that you’ll be by yourself the entire time. It’s surprisingly easy to meet fellow travelers on your journeys. Even if you’re not the most sociable person. 

One of the best ways to link up with other solo travelers is by staying in hostels. Many people wonder if hostels or hotels are better for their solo travels. If you want to make friends with other travelers, the answer is simple: hostels by a landslide. 

👉 Bonus Tip: If you want to meet people at a hostel but are not as excited about sleeping in a dorm with strangers, I have the solution. Just rent out private rooms at the hostel! You can meet a travel companion while still having your own space. Joining a tour is another great way to make friends while traveling in a different country. 

Our Pick
HostelWorld
4.7
Hostelworld is the #1 name in hostel booking sites. Booking with them means you’ll know what to expect before you go!

Do Things You Like, But Be Smart About It  

People attending the EDC 2022 in Mexico City
I love music festivals, so I went to EDC 2022 in Mexico City

Just because you’re traveling by yourself in a new city or country doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you love. Part of the reason I love traveling so much is that you have the freedom to explore all types of fun things. 

It’s okay to hit a club at night or go to a concert. Just make sure you use a little extra common sense and tell your plans to your family back home before you hit the town. 

5 Best Destinations for Traveling Alone

Spain

Overlooking view of a mountain town in the city of Ronda
The stunning city of Ronda in the mountains of southern Spain

Spain is the ultimate destination for a first solo adventure. Firstly, it’s a gorgeous country with lots of different types of things to see. Endless beaches are speckled around the coasts. Mountain towns with views that will legitimately take your breath away. 

Beyond its natural appeal as a travel destination, Spain is a very safe country. With lots of public transportation, out-of-this-world food, and accommodations at varying price points, it’s a particularly fun spot for people who like a party. Just make sure you get Spain travel insurance before you go!

Colombia

A giant hammock on a hostel in a mountain town of Minca, Colombia
A famous hostel in the mountain town of Minca, Colombia

Colombia is a thriving destination for solo travelers. There are some effortlessly cool hostels throughout the country, from Medellin to Santa Marta.

When I traveled through Colombia for three months, I was shocked to find how comfortable and safe I felt in there. The country might have a scary backstory. But, if you use your head and plan your trip well, Colombia is a breathtaking, budget-friendly place with super nice people. 

👉 Bonus Tip: You’ll definitely want to know a little Spanish when traveling in Colombia alone. While I felt safe in Colombia (with research and forethought), it was more difficult than I thought it would be to find English speakers. At the very least, get your core phrases down. 

Thailand

View of people from the Doi Suthep Temple in Thailand
Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Whenever I talk about Thailand, I can’t help but speak with a little extra love in my voice. I think it’s one of the best places for first-time solo travelers. The food, the ambiance, the one-of-a-kind sites. Not to mention, Thailand is one of the best places for cheap and safe hostels around the globe. 

In particular, I can’t recommend the bustling city of Chiang Mai highly enough. If you’re hoping to make some new pals, get a ticket to Pai. It won’t take you long to make friends there. 

Australia

The Murchison River from Nature's window in Kalbarri National Park
View of Murchison River from Nature’s Window, Kalbarri National Park

Australia is an incredible solo trip destination for outdoorsy people. You’ll find just about every kind of photogenic natural wonder you can imagine in the Land Down under. There’s an abundance of wildlife to spot here too. 

It’s also a convenient location if you want to travel long-term. The country offers a one-year working holiday visa that can be extended for travelers who want to be able to make money and explore. 

Cambodia

View of boats on the water of the Islands of Cambodia
Views from the Islands of Cambodia on a stop along a boat tour I took

Cambodia wasn’t even in my sights until it was suggested to me by another traveler in South East Asia. It ended up being one of the most memorable places I’ve ever been. 

Of course, there’s the massive and impressive Angkor Wat in the north near Siem Reap. But there are also a bunch of magical islands in the south. I can’t tell you how many travelers I met who worked at hostels in Cambodia. So, if you’re hoping to land a work-for-stay situation, Cambodia is a compelling option for your next adventure

👉 Bonus Tip: You might want to double-check if your accommodations have wi-fi or other amenities that you might be used to.  In more remote areas of Cambodia, it’s not always a guarantee. 

Our Pick
WorldPackers
From $39/year (with promo code)
Getting a job in a hostel is a great way to make your cash last longer on the road. WorldPackers is a leading search engine for finding awesome hostel jobs abroad!

What to Pack for Traveling Solo

Dependable Backpack

Our Pick
Osprey Farpoint 55L
One of Travel Lemming’s fave backpacks for its durable design and ironclad warranty

When you’re traveling by yourself, your travel backpack is your best friend. 

When I went to Asia solo for six months, I brought this Osprey Farpoint 55 with me. I can tell you firsthand that I was thanking past me for buying this backpack many times. 

It’s really the holy grail of backpacks for me for its durability and comfort. Plus, it gives you peace of mind to know that you’re backed by Osprey’s all-mighty guarantee. 

Flexible Sneakers

Our Pick
adidas Women's Puremotion Running Shoe
$69.95

We love these women’s running shoes because they fold up to fit perfectly in a shoe bag

11/25/2022 06:08 am GMT
Our Pick
CAMVAVSR Men's Sneakers Fashion Lightweight Running Shoes
$43.98

These men’s sneakers are comfortable enough for any activity and practical for packing 

11/25/2022 06:13 am GMT

Sneakers are another essential ingredient to a successful solo vacation. The thing is that you don’t want to bring a stiff pair that won’t bend in a packing cube. These women’s running shoes and men’s sneakers are perfect for traveling. They cram into a bag tightly without getting mishappen permanently. 

Waterproof Bags for Paperwork and Documents

You always want to be sure that your important travel documents are secure in any situation. Without things like your passport and vaccine certifications, your trip can be ruined in an instant. That’s why this Fireproof Document Bag is a total lifesaver when you’re on a solo exploration. 

First Aid Kit Customized to Your Needs

Our Pick
First Aid Only All-Purpose First Aid Kit
Travel Lemming loves this first aid kit because it has everything from bandaids to burn cream, and it's still compact

Having a first aid kit is kind of like getting travel insurance. It’s just something you should always put on your carry on packing list, whether you’re traveling alone or otherwise. 

This All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit is a good place to start. But, you should also add any specific items you might need personally. Like medication or medical equipment such as an inhaler. 

A Toiletries Bag

Our Pick
BAGSMART Toiletry Bag Travel Bag
This multi-pocket toiletry bag makes organizing your shower accessories simple, and it's easy to hang on hostel showers

Having a water-resistant toiletries bag is a must when you’re traveling by yourself and staying at hostels. You don’t want to carry a bunch of soaps and shampoos to shared showers every time. Plus, there’s never anywhere to put them. 

I love products like this toiletry travel bag for this reason. It just hangs on the back of the shower door. It makes everything simpler. 

Flip Flops

Our Pick
Crocs Unisex Crocband Flip Flops
$29.98

These flops are comfortable and well-made, everything you want in a pair 

11/25/2022 06:18 am GMT

If you’re planning on staying at hostels at all on your solo journey, you need to bring a pair of flip-flops with you. Trust me. You don’t want to get into a hostel shower without a pair of flip-flops on your feet. 

The Crocs Unisex Crocband Flip Flops are an excellent choice for your next trip. They come in multiple colors, are comfortable, and are well-made enough that they won’t break immediately. 

Our Pick
World Nomads
4.7
Secure yourself and your trip with travel insurance before you go. We personally use World Nomads as a way to insure trips around the globe.
Pros:
  • Simple & flexible
  • Balances price & quality
  • Upfront transparency about covid (no insurer covers all covid risks, but at least they explain it!)
Cons:
  • Not available to seniors 70+ in USA (or 65+ in other countries)

FAQs about How to Travel Alone

How do you travel alone for the first time?

Traveling alone for the first time requires a decent amount of research and the ability to take a leap of faith. It’s difficult to embark on your first trip alone, but it’s well worth the nerves. The key to successfully traveling alone is adequate planning. 

Is it lonely to travel alone?

It can be lonely to travel alone sometimes, but it’s always possible to meet friends when you’re traveling solo. By staying at a hostel, attending local events, or joining a tour, you can easily find friends to explore with.

No matter where you are in the world, there are always other people to connect with close by. You just have to get out of your shell and talk to them. 

Is it weird to travel alone?

It’s not weird at all to travel alone. Lots of people explore the world by themselves because it gives them the chance to experience things on their own time. Solo travel helps people gain confidence and learn to spend time with themselves. Additionally, travelers tend to leave a solo trip with some of the best stories of their lives. 

***

I hope this guide has helped you learn how to travel alone with confidence. Thanks for checking out my guide to traveling solo for the first time! Have fun and stay safe out there!

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