How to Travel Alone (Ultimate 2023 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.
Table of Contents
- 7 Tips for Traveling Alone
- 5 Best Destinations for Traveling Alone
- What to Pack for Traveling Solo
- FAQs about How to Travel Alone
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. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!
7 Tips for Traveling Alone
Go At Your Own Pace
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
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.
If you need some help, check out Lea Rose’s packing list for solo travelers.
Learn A Little Of The Local Language
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
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.
Plan for the Worst
Travel can go wrong, and it’s important to have a plan for what happens when it does. Personally, I always travel with travel insurance, whether that’s on group trips or enjoying your my own company traveling alone.
Personally, I always use World Nomads travel insurance. They offer simply and flexible travel insurance and you can claim online from anywhere in the world.
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. I’ve personally always used World Nomads. After 10+ countries, I keep using them!
Meet New Friends At Hostels
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.
Do Things You Like, But Be Smart About It
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 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 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.
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 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 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.
What to Pack for Traveling Solo
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. For more on why I love it, see my Osprey Farpoint 55 review.
We love these women’s running shoes because they fold up to fit perfectly in a shoe bag
These men’s sneakers are comfortable enough for any activity and practical for packing
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
This waterproof bag is our top pick because it protects your stuff against practically any situation life can throw at you
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
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
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.
These flops are comfortable and well-made, everything you want in a pair
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.
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!
Help us help you travel better!
Your feedback really helps ...
What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?