One of the first things anyone will say when you tell them you’re travelling solo is: Why?
It’s quite an annoying question, especially in the 21st century, when the question doesn’t even make sense.
One of the key undertones of the question is why would you put yourself in a situation where you’re cut off from people you know and surrounded by strangers in a foreign place?
But in 2023, travelling solo doesn’t cut you off from anyone – there’s this amazing invention called smartphones! – and thanks to the internet, there’s plenty of localised information about where and how to meet new people, as well as articles on how to solo travel safely and efficiently.
This is one such article! Below, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about travelling solo, including safety tips and planning information, as well as a few ideas on the best places for solo travellers to visit and why.
Why is Travelling Alone Worth it?
As mentioned before, going into 2024, travelling solo has never been easier. According to a recent survey, over 58% of millennials say they have travelled alone in the last few years, which is a big leap of over 10% compared to the older generations.
For those who love new experiences, solo travelling can be a great way to get to know new places at your own pace – and subsequently get to know yourself on a deeper level too.
You’re alone, so it’s going to be more cost-effective, and you can always be as selfish as you want – how many times have you had to give up on visiting a museum because your friends wanted to go to the beach, or vice versa? Solo travelling gives you a chance to be in charge, and you can spend every day exactly as you like.
Knowing When to Travel Alone
That being said, if you’re erring towards travelling alone, you need to make sure it’s the right time to do so. The first thing to consider is your budget – the last thing you want is to be stranded in a foreign location without cash, and without anyone to help you out.
You also need to be mature enough to remain responsible, and be excited about making new friends – if you’re not very communicative, it might be a good idea to hone your social skills first.
Travelling solo is a good opportunity to find yourself, but mastering key social and communication skills is a must for safety, as well as avoiding isolation if you are travelling for more than a few weeks.
How to Plan Your Trip
If you have the budget and the appropriate skills to pull off such a trip, then the first step is planning it efficiently. The best way to do this is with a trip planner that can walk you through the cheapest flights, accommodations, and give you plenty of information about the places you want to visit.
You can still retain a good amount of control – the trip won’t be entirely planned for you, and the best travel planners give you the option to amend and change their suggestions – but all of the most stressful decisions are taken out of your hands, making those initial stages as anxiety-free as possible.
How to Stay Safe – and Happy – During Your Trip
Of course, planning your trip isn’t just about choosing the locations and travel options. You should also consider your safety before you set off. You need to make sure that you are bringing safety-orientated travel gear, you have managed your money, and you have a way to keep your cash and credit cards safe – ideally in multiple places.
You should also download safety apps that can give you relevant, localised information on where you’re going, along with VPNs that can ensure secure, public Wi-Fi.
Bringing maps, packing light, securing travel insurance, and arriving at new destinations well before dark are also must-do’s to make your trip as safe as possible.
You should also factor in your mental health, especially if you are travelling alone for several months. The biggest issue that can occur when travelling solo is a sense of isolation, but there are plenty of things you can do to alleviate this.
The first thing is booking a free walking tour for every location that you visit. This isn’t just about meeting new people, this is about orientating yourself to your new surroundings – clocking where the social spots are, where the markets are, where the bars and restaurants are – to ensure you are not alone and confused in a new place.
You should also visit the busiest places and take time to observe. If you travel to a market, for instance, you will get an idea of the cultural, linguistic, and social differences that you are going to be experiencing during your stay, and you can prepare yourself for it.
This will help you approach new people, ask the right questions, and immerse yourself more fully in the destination you’re visiting.
Best Locations for Solo Travellers
The best locations for solo travel will differ depending on who you are. If you are an English-speaker and this is your first time solo travelling, it might be a good idea to try another location which has English as their first language.
For instance, if you live in the US, then try travelling around the United Kingdom or Australia. If you live in Spain, then try travelling around Peru, Costa Rica, or Argentina.
If you would like a more complete experience of a new culture, then choose a country that is renowned for its friendliness. According to a recent Time Out article, the top five places for solo travel are: Iceland, East Coast Australia, Botswana, Canada, and Vietnam.
Make sure to do even more research than you would do if you were travelling with a partner. Get to know the country – or countries – before you arrive and ensure that they’re a perfect match before you set off. If you do this, then you are giving yourself the best chance possible to remain comfortable, safe, and – above all – happy!