So you’re going solo?
When I first wanted to go travelling I always thought I’d need someone to go with. Sure, I’d moved abroad at 16 technically on my own but I went to join a host family, and when I studied abroad in Canada it was easy to meet people through the university and there was always someone up for a trip!
So I would count my first proper solo travel experience as a short few days stay in San Francisco, at the end of my studying abroad adventure.
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
But it turned out to be an amazing, if slightly lonely, trip. I revelled in all the benefits of solo travel. Getting up when I wanted to, eating wherever and whenever I pleased, and I still did all the big things I wanted to do like go to Alcatraz and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Yeah I got lost a few (many) times, and I felt a little awkward eating out alone, but the first has definitely happened on a trip with other people and the second is something I’ve come to embrace as a solo traveller. I did find going back to my hotel at the end of the day a little lonely, but I’ve also since learned what to do if I feel like meeting other travellers or to just enjoy the time on my own.
Why Solo Travel is Awesome
For seasoned solo travellers I’m preaching to the converted. You already know that solo travel is awesome, so read on ahead to get planning your trip!
If you’re here because you’re thinking about taking the leap into the world of solo travel then GREAT! I’m telling you now you won’t regret it. But there are also some things that will help you plan the best solo trip you can and take away a lot of your worries. Things I wish I’d known when I started travelling solo but that instead, I’ve had to learn along the way!
Below you’ll find some of my top tips, as well as favourite solo travel destinations, and links to posts that will tell you more about the solo travel life.
There are different ways to travel solo
Firstly, there are different ways to travel solo:
- On your own
- Join a group tour solo
The second option is obviously safer if you’re a bit worried about travelling totally on your own, but it’s also not the only way. It is totally possible to travel solo, you just need to think about the destination and where is going to give you the experience you want. Do you want to actually travel solo and you’d be happy not meeting anyone along the way, or are you travelling solo but wanting to meet people to share some of the experience with?
Some top solo travel destinations
Choosing a destination that’s popular with backpackers already is a good ides for your first solo trip. There’s likely to already be infrastructure in place that’s going to help you.
For example, hostels where you can stay at affordable places, meet people, and take part in group activities, or good transport links to find your way from place to place. There’s something to be said for travelling the beaten path when you’re planning your first solo trip. Later on you can branch out!
South East Asia
This is absolutely the best place I’ve ever travelled solo! The hostels were great places to meet people and everyone is keen to be social and hang out together. A hostel doesn’t mean you have to stay in a dorm. You can get private rooms, or you can also stay at a hotel and join tours or experiences and meet people that way.
Having said that, the price of travelling in South East Asia is affordable enough you can live in the lap of luxury on your own too!
There’s so much to do in the region and so many great experiences to be had. My highlights would include island-hopping in Thailand, motorbiking through the highlands of Vietnam, and seeing the temples in Siem Reap. I would go back to South East Asia in a heartbeat!
Australia is also a popular backpacking destination, which makes it great for solo travel too. Transport is easy, and although it’s not a cheap country to travel around there are plenty of beautiful beaches and places to hang out that won’t cost you!
I may be biased but I think New Zealand is another great solo travel destination. It’s known for being a safe country (of course this is always relative), and there are lots of great experiences for a first solo trip.
Europe all around is a fun place to travel solo, but I did find it very different coming from South East Asia as the cost means hostels aren’t always the social experience they are in SEA, as people stay in them to save money rather than just to meet people. However, as soon as I stepped out of my comfort zone I found plenty of ways to meet people, like joining meet-up and Facebook groups, or going along to events.
However, I’m going to name Scotland as my favourite place for solo travel! You’ll need to consider how you get around, as the best stuff really is out of the cities, but there are lots of options like hiring a car, joining a tour, or taking public transport.
I love the friendliness of the people, and the scenery is stunningly beautiful. It’s also the kind of place where you can really feel at peace so great as a bit of a self-care solo destination!
The above should give you a bit of an idea what to look for in a solo travel destination if you’re not an experienced traveller.
You want to be able to:
- Get around easily
- Stay somewhere social, if that’s what you’re after
- Meet people, if you want to
- Be able to see and do lots of things on your own
- Feel safe
You might want to stay away from places where all the activities require a group or minimum numbers (I found this in offseason sometimes) or where you’re going to have a hard time communicating. That doesn’t always apply, but for a first trip, you want to feel confident!
Many of the destinations I’ve travelled to I went solo for at least part if not all of the time. So check them out and see if anywhere else works!Browse Destinations Here