22 solo travel tips for anyone who is looking for advice about traveling the world alone!
Traveling the world alone is intimidating, but also intriguing.
Many people dream of traveling alone, but are too nervous to actually do it.
What is it that holds us back?
Is it the TRAVELING part? Being in a foreign land, not speaking the language, and finding your way around a strange, unfamiliar place can be scary.
Or is it the ALONE part? Doing all of the above, but without anyone you know to help you is also scary.
There are lots of terrifying things about traveling alone. But once you actually get out there and do it, the things that scare you start to empower you.
With a bit of courage, determination, and common sense, anyone can travel alone.
Getting on a plane, asking locals for directions, deciphering new languages, and navigating through foreign countries are all part of the excitement.
Dealing with all that by yourself will give you confidence, self-awareness, and life experience that you could never find in your hometown.
And the best thing about solo travel is that you’re rarely actually alone.
You can be completely alone if you want. But meeting people and making new friends is actually so much easier when you travel alone.
You won’t be stuck in your comfort zone. Traveling with friends or family is incredible, but it does give you a safety net.
Taking away the safety net allows you to branch out. It actually kind of forces you to branch out because if you do want some company on your adventures, you have to put yourself out there and find it.
But that’s the beauty of traveling alone, and just traveling in general.
There are so many beautiful, unique, and interesting people on this planet. Traveling grants you the privilege of meeting some of them.
So if you’re ready to take a risk, expand your horizons, and travel around the world alone, here are some of my favorite solo travel tips.
Also check out my ultimate guide to traveling on a budget: 50 BUDGET TRAVEL TIPS
22 Solo Travel Tips
These solo travel tips will cover everything that I’ve learned while traveling, from safety, to accommodation, to other useful tips.
I will emphasize ways to meet people while traveling, even though this is an article about solo travel.
I honestly think the best part of traveling solo is meeting new people. However, some people may want to travel solo purely for the purpose of being alone, and that’s fine too!
I have had some amazing solo trips where I was 100% alone and didn’t make any friends.
Being alone is amazing sometimes, but the solo trips where I made friends are definitely more memorable so I recommend trying to be social and meet people.
Solo Travel Tips: Accommodation
1. Stay in Hostels
Hostels are a solo traveler’s dream. They are also a budget traveler’s dream!
For those who don’t know, hostels are a form of low-cost accommodation. They usually have dorm rooms and shared facilities.
There used to be lots of bad stereotypes around hostels, like the beds are dingy and dirty or people steal your things.
Nowadays, most hostels are super clean, modern, and fun. I’ve probably stayed in over 50 hostels and I’ve loved almost every single one.
Hostels create a social environment where meeting new friends is a piece of cake.
Most hostels have a common area with couches, games, books, and more. Hang out here to meet people to do day trips with or explore the city with. You’ll find that most hostel guests are young, open-minded solo travelers just like you.
2. Stay in a Dorm Room
If you’re convinced that a hostel is a fun idea, consider staying in a dorm room.
Most hostels have private rooms available, and you can still meet people in the common areas.
But for the real social experience, sleep in a dorm room with a random mix of people. That can sound unsettling, but it’s a great way to make friends.
Most hostels also have lockers for each bed so you can lock up your bags to avoid theft. However, I’ve never had anything stolen from me in a hostel.
If I walk into a dorm room and see other travelers’ bags left out in the open, I feel comfortable doing the same. If they trust me, I trust them.
Dorm beds are also super cheap! Most range between 5-25 USD per night.
3. Take Advantage of Hostel Events and Tours
The best thing about hostels is all the events they host. From pub crawls, to day trips, to dinner parties, and more, hostels often have fun activities for guests.
So if you’re not confident enough to just walk up to someone in the common room and start a conversation, these communal events are a great way to meet people.
Ok, that’s my last note about hostels. Moving on!
4. Do a Work Exchange
This is easily one of my favorite solo travel tips: do a work exchange.
This is when you work in exchange for accommodation. You get to live with locals, immerse yourself in the culture, and gain work experience.
It’s a super interesting and fulfilling way to travel, and there are lots of different types of work exchanges to choose from.
I’ve written a super detailed article about work exchanges for those who are really considering it! This article will list all the best websites to use and cover the logistics of planning a work exchange.
But in terms of solo travel tips, I’d recommend these types of work exchanges:
- Work in a hostel for a very social and fun experience
- Volunteer with a local family to learn about the culture and language
- Work at an eco-lodge or a permaculture farm to get in touch with nature
- Work with a local business to learn new skills or practice existing skills
Visit Worldpackers to browse work exchanges, and use my promo code GABBY to save 10 USD on your membership!
5. Read Online Reviews
No matter where you are planning on staying, one of the most useful solo travel tips is to read reviews!
For hostels, work exchanges, hotels, or anything, always read the reviews in depth.
This will give you an idea of what to expect, which can calm some of the nerves of solo travel.
Some hostels have thousands and thousands of positive reviews. So it’s safe to say you’ll probably have a good experience there.
Especially for work exchanges, the ones with the most good reviews are the safest. Every host on a work exchange platform is vetted for security so it’s pretty safe.
But I always had a better experience at the ones with lots of good reviews rather than the ones with just a handful of reviews.
6. Ask all the Questions
Similar to the last point, asking questions helps ease your mind about what to expect when staying somewhere.
If it’s a hostel or hotel, the staff are always willing to help you with any questions you may have. Email them in advance to ask about anything.
If it’s a work exchange, you can chat directly with the hosts on the work exchange websites to ask questions.
Don’t be shy, or too scared to ask a question you think is stupid!
I always ask SO many questions before I go somewhere. On websites like Worldpackers, you can even message past travelers to ask them about their work exchange experience!
7. Share your Accommodation Details
Whenever you’ve booked somewhere to stay or volunteer, share the details with friends and family back home.
First of all, it gives your parents comfort knowing exactly where you are staying.
Second, it gives them the info they need to reach you if something happens to your phone or internet.
I’ve never had anything too bad happen to me abroad (knock on wood). But it can’t hurt to share all your trip details with loved ones just in case it’s needed.
Solo Travel Tips: Safety
8. Find a Buddy to Explore With
It may be contradictory to have “explore with a friend” on a list of solo travel tips. But, here it is.
Exploring and doing things alone while traveling is great. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. It can be peaceful and fulfilling.
But exploring with someone has its perks as well. You have someone to help you figure out public transport and foreign languages. Getting lost with someone is a little less scary than getting lost alone.
As a solo traveler, it’s easy to find an exploring buddy in your hostel. Just strike up a conversation and discuss your plans.
Not only is it fun to explore with a friend, even if you just met them, but it can be safer. It’s easier for pickpockets and scammers to target one traveler rather than two or more.
And if you’re a solo female traveler, an extra person always adds a sense of security.
9. Don’t Explore Alone at Night
Considering everything I said in the last point, finding a buddy to explore with is extra important at night.
Whether you’re out partying and drinking, or you’re just enjoying the vibe of a new city at night, avoid exploring alone.
Honestly, this is a tip that people probably keep in mind even in their home cities.
But when you’re traveling and you’re unfamiliar with the area and you potentially look like a tourist, you’re more at risk.
So always stick with a group for safety when enjoying the nightlife. Especially as a solo female traveler!
10. Try to Blend In
If you stick out as a tourist, you become more of a target for pickpockets and scams, or worse. (I seriously don’t want to scare people because if you’re smart, chances are nothing bad will happen while traveling! But I can’t deny that crazy shit does happen, so just be aware.)
A good way to avoid unfortunate circumstances is to try and blend in with the locals.
Wear similar attire. Avoid flashy, loud, vibrant clothes.
Definitely leave any fancy jewelry or expensive accessories at home. If you look like you have money, you’re basically asking to be pickpocketed.
Sometimes you can’t help looking like a tourist if your natural features are very different from the locals. But still dress and act appropriately so you don’t stand out too much.
11. Only Pack Essentials
While traveling, the only real valuables you should take with you are things such as:
- credit/debit card
- Gopro, drone, other filming equipment (if necessary)
- laptop (if necessary)
Anything else expensive should honestly be left at home. Again, not to scare people, but you should always be prepared for the worst.
Whether your luggage gets lost, stolen, or ruined in a random natural disaster, there is a chance you could lose what you pack.
Only pack the essentials, and try to pack stuff you don’t mind losing.
12. Lock Up Your Valuables
As for the important things you do pack, always keep them locked up and safe.
Most hostels have a locker to store your valuables. If they don’t, ask to have your things locked up in reception while you’re out exploring.
And while you’re out exploring, only bring what you need.
For example, don’t take your passport out on the town with you. It’s much safer locked away in your luggage at your accommodation than it is roaming around the city.
This also applies to cash. If you withdraw a bunch of foreign currency, only carry what you need for the day on your person. Keep most of it stored safely in your luggage.
Also consider getting luggage locks so you can lock the actual opening of your bags, adding extra security.
13. Be Wary of Strangers Who Approach You
Yes, you should be wary of all strangers all the time. But the only way to make friends while traveling is to talk to strangers, so I’m going to be more specific here.
I’ve found that in general, people are genuinely kind all over the world.
If you ask random people for help or directions, they are almost always happy to help.
It’s the strangers who approach you first that you want to be hesitant with. Some of them may have some ulterior motive, some may not.
I have personally experienced both. I was approached by a local in Fes, Morocco who ended up scamming my boyfriend and me (Happy I wasn’t traveling alone for that one).
But I’ve also been approached by lots of other locals around the world who were perfectly nice.
Just use your instincts and don’t be too quick to give out any information about yourself to a stranger who approaches you.
14. Drink Responsibly
This is another one of those solo travel tips that applies to life in general. But it’s especially important when you’re traveling alone.
Drinking alcohol is a fun part of experiencing any new culture.
Just don’t go overboard with it! Getting blind drunk abroad can put you in risky, even dangerous situations.
If you’re a solo traveler, you may not have a good group of friends looking out for you.
Even if you made friends on your trip, you can’t necessarily trust them to take care of you when you’re hammered.
Drink, indulge, have fun, but keep it classy. Make sure you are able to keep yourself safe on a night out.
15. Get Travel Insurance
I won’t go into too much detail on this point because I’ve written a very detailed article about this.
But one of the best solo travel tips is getting travel insurance.
From cancelled or delayed flights, to lost baggage, to tropical illnesses, to natural disasters, to injuries and more, there is lots of stuff that can go wrong while traveling. (Again, don’t be scared! This stuff is pretty rare.)
Having travel insurance won’t prevent these things from happening, but it will most likely cover any expenses you rack up.
It can put your mind at ease and help you feel safer while gallivanting around the globe.
I personally use Squaremouth Insurance to find the best, most affordable travel insurance plans.
Solo Travel Tips: General Advice
16. Learn the Language
Learning the local language is always a good idea. Even if it’s just a few words!
Making an effort to adapt to the local culture instead of expecting everyone to speak English is admirable.
Locals will always appreciate a tourist who tries to communicate in their language.
And as a solo traveler, any chance you can get to appear respectful and mature is one you should take.
Learning a new language is hard, and it can’t be done overnight. But try to at least learn the basics like “thank you”, “hello”, etc.
Use an app like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone, or buy a compact dictionary in the local language.
17. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
If you’re lost, confused, or just generally need help, don’t be afraid to ask someone.
Gaining the confidence to approach people for help is a huge benefit of traveling alone.
I used to be really shy, and traveling alone has forced me to get out there and make things happen on my own.
It’s truly a huge confidence booster. And asking for help or directions usually solves problems quicker than if you tried to struggle through the problem yourself.
Just use your instincts on who to ask for help so you don’t feel unsafe. I often ask cafe or store staff for help when I’m traveling as they are less likely to do something sketchy.
18. Try New Things
Having new experiences is the whole point of traveling. One of the best solo travel tips is to always have an open mind and try new things.
If you’re alone, you won’t have someone to peer pressure you into trying new things. You need the guts to do it yourself!
Whether it’s eating new foods, talking to new people, trying a new sport, speaking a new language, practicing a new religion, or trying new customs, just go for it.
19. Put Down Your Phone
Smartphones make life so much easier, and they really come in handy when traveling alone.
Use it for navigation or taking photos or keeping in touch with loved ones.
But try to avoid mindlessly scrolling through the same apps you use at home. There is plenty of time for scrolling Instagram when you get back from your trip.
Instead, go for a walk. Hang out in the common room with other travelers and play games. Start a conversation with someone. Write in a journal or read a book from the local bookstore.
Try to live in the moment and focus on what’s around you. This is how you’ll gain the best experiences while traveling alone.
20. Do Your Research
One of the best solo travel tips is doing some research before you leave for a new country.
Having a general idea of what to expect can help you feel less stressed or anxious before a trip.
Check the local weather. Look up some phrases in the local language and write them down.
Read about the local history, religion, and customs. Write down all the addresses and phone numbers you may need.
Download any maps you may need. Make a list of all the attractions you want to see.
A little bit of pre-trip research is a great way to ease the nerves and help you feel more prepared for a solo trip.
21. Trust Your Gut
I’ve mentioned “trusting your instincts” a few times on this list of solo travel tips.
When it comes to exploring the world alone, trusting your gut is very important.
As I said earlier, most people are honestly kind in my experience. But there are a few sketchy ones out there.
Be nice to people, but don’t be too trusting if you’re traveling alone.
Seriously just trust your gut. If something feels odd, get yourself to a safe place like a store, restaurant, hotel, or any other public place with people who can help you.
Common sense and general intuition are generally enough to keep you safe while traveling alone. And if you’re really nervous, stick with a group from the hostel!
22. Have a Positive Attitude
Most importantly, stay positive!
Yes, bad things can happen while traveling alone. But bad things can happen anywhere, anytime, no matter who you’re with.
Dwelling on the possibility of catastrophe is no way to live.
Be prepared and be smart, but try not to let nerves and anxiety ruin your trip.
Enjoy yourself and stay positive. The first solo trip is always the hardest. Once you take that leap of faith and start traveling, it gets easier and easier to stay positive all the time.
Traveling is truly a privilege, so cherish every moment of it!
☼ ☼ ☼
Thanks for reading my list of solo travel tips!
I don’t want to sound too preachy or anything. Everyone has a different travel style and personality.
If the thought of traveling alone brings you too much anxiety, don’t do it. Traveling with friends or family is still incredible!
But for some people, traveling alone can be so rewarding. Setting out into the world by yourself is a liberating feeling.
Traveling alone promotes growth and independence. It also allows you to visit any crazy places you’ve always dreamed of visiting, without needing approval from anyone else.
If you’re looking for more advice on traveling alone, or you have any questions about these solo travel tips, feel free to comment on this post 🙂
For more solo travel tips and budget travel tips, check out these articles:
How To Find The Cheapest Flights Abroad
15 Travel Essentials to Always Add to Your Packing List
Budget Traveler’s Guide to Travel Insurance
The Ultimate Guide to Work Exchange: The Cheapest Way To Travel
How to Afford Traveling the World in Your 20s
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