30 Must Know Solo Travel Tips From a Full-Time Solo Traveler
I’ve listed all the solo travel tips I’ve learned since my first solo trip five years ago. This is the only guide you need before tackling your next solo trip!
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.
I can still remember how anxious I was sitting at the airport, glass of prosecco in hand, waiting to embark on my first real solo trip.
Sure, I’d been traveling alone since I was 13. It’s not like it was my first time alone at the airport, but until then I’d always had a friend or family waiting for me on the other side.
This time, I’d be getting off the plane in London and celebrating my birthday totally alone (don’t worry I saw tons of theater).
I wish I could say it was all meticulously planned of time, but anyone who knows me well knows how much I love spontaneous travel.
The idea of celebrating this monumental age (which won’t be disclosed because a lady never reveals her age), happened about two weeks before.
I was discussing ideas with friends and family and said I really wanted to go on a trip. Nobody else could get the time off work with such short notice. In fact, I’m still shocked I managed to.
Thankfully, I had a small savings account I could dip into for the flight and some friends and family chipped in to help me pay to be in a hotel instead of a hostel.
That trip will forever be one of my favorite solo trips, because I learned so much about myself. It left me feeling extremely empowered and ready to take on bigger trips and adventures in personal life.
These days, I’ve been on far too many solo trips to count, and still are fairly last minute with my planning, but try to plan at least a few months out for flights and accommodation.
Lucky for you, I’ve learned a ton along the way and am going to share all of my best tips and tricks for planning a solo trip that will change your life.
The answer to this really depends on if this is your first solo trip, or if you’re more experienced.
If it’s your first time traveling solo, I’d aim for at least a week.
Though I believe for any solo trip between ten and fourteen days is the sweet spot. This gives you time to unwind, get past feeling awkward about being solo, and time to really enjoy your own company before having to return to reality.
If you’re an experienced solo traveler that can take a good deal of time off work, a month to a month and a half is an amazing amount of time to really just get away, have adventures and relax.
Absolutely! Solo travel is one of the most rewarding experiences you can give yourself.
It’s amazing how much of your life you can reflect on and how many personal problems you can tackle head on by getting away from everyday life and giving yourself the space to meditate on your life.
Solo travel also will help you feel more powerful and confident, because solo traveling, especially as a female, is really badass!
It takes a strong person to spend time alone, and an even stronger one to seek adventures around the world alone.
I know how scary it can be taking that first leap of faith by booking a solo trip, but I promise you, once you get past whatever fears you have, it will be a life-changing experience.
In fact, I don’t know one person who’s gone on a solo trip and never wanted to do it again.
Everyone I know who begins to solo travel quickly becomes addicted to the freedom it gives you.
Planning your first solo trip can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never planned a trip before.
You’ve got to think about budget, locations, hotels, transport, what to pack, and if you’re an over-packer like me, how many bags you can carry solo?
Lucky for you, I’ve been solo traveling for years and have all the tips and tricks you need to know to plan the perfect solo trip. Check out all my tips below to plan your perfect first solo trip!
Okay, I know most people hate thinking about money, but it’s important to figure out what kind of budget you’re working with before deciding where you’re heading, or if you need to give yourself extra time to save up before your travels.
You’ll want to start by looking at your savings, then identifying big-ticket items like flights, accommodation.
Even though these likely won’t be as big in your budget, also think about money for meals, souvenirs, other transport, and any travel visas you may need.
This is always my favorite part of the process. Close your eyes and picture your ideal solo trip.
Where do you envision yourself?
Are you on the beach, in the wilderness, in a small town, or a giant city?
If you’re having a hard time picturing where you want to go, take a break and watch one of these travel movies to gain some inspiration.
Since we all know how travel obsessed I am, it shouldn’t come as a total shock that my many Instagram and Pinterest folders hold tons of travel inspiration, right down to which restaurants I’m dying to try in each location.
I also love making these folders, because if you do need to save up for a trip, scrolling through these can be a great way to convince you to skip your morning latte in favor of putting the money aside for your trip.
This is the part where you’re going to likely overthink everything, because it’s where you’ll be spending the most money.
I like to use Google Flights because they round up schedules and pricing from multiple sources. They also let you flag flight routes if you want to monitor pricing, and they’ll give you an email with the price is lower or about to jump.
If my dates or locations are flexible and I haven’t seen something I’m ready to book, I’ll set a few of these and see which one ends up being the best deal.
Typically, the best time to book flights, according to AFAR, is one to three months before flying domestically, and two to eight months ahead of time for international travel.
If you’re looking for the best deals, also look at booking your departure day on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Since these are less popular travel days, the ticket prices are lower.
For accommodations, there’s going to be a few different options depending on where you’re heading.
I always check Airbnbs, local hotels, hostels, and homestays to see which option is going to work best for my budget.
If it’s your first time traveling, and you don’t mind roughing it a bit, a hostel is a fabulous place to stay if you want easy opportunities to make friends.
Personally, I’m not big on sharing my space, especially since I work on the road, so I veer more toward Airbnbs or cute boutique hotels, depending on where I can find the best deal.
I end up at an
Though, on my first solo trip, I ended up booking hotels because I felt safer as a solo female traveler having my own room and lots of guests and local staff around to chat with if I wanted company.
One of the best ways to make yourself more excited for a solo trip is to plan a few activities or meals that you can look forward to.
I always try to have at least one nice dinner reservation on the books, and one or two activities scheduled before each trip.
For example, on my recent solo trip to Rio, I scheduled a photoshoot on Copacabana Beach, a boat trip, and hang gliding, which is something that had been on my adventure bucket list for ages.
Having those things scheduled ahead of time not only gave me something to look forward to but also gave me confidence that I wouldn’t be sitting around bored or spending my entire trip reading on the beach (even though that’s an amazing way to relax).
You don’t need to schedule anything as daring as hang gliding, unless you want to, in which case, go for it!
But you should find at least one of two things that you’ll be looking forward to doing on your trip.
If you’re looking for adventure inspiration, searching GetYourGuide is an easy way to see what kinds of activities are near where you’re going to be.
Another one of my favorite things to do leading up to a trip is to make a playlist of music that has similar vibes to the place I’m heading.
So, for example, before my trip to Paris in February, I made an entire playlist of the best songs about Paris, mixed with some classics from famous French artists like Édith Piaf, Patricia Kaas and Stromae.
Trust me, you’ll love listening to it as your trip is approaching and honestly, it’s also a ton of fun to listen to as you walk around your chosen solo destination.
It gave me major main character energy listening to my playlist in France as I indulged in croissants and espresso, strolled around the Tuileries, and indulged in a picnic of raspberries, champagne, and macarons by the Seine.
When you’re traveling solo, the last thing you want to think about is what would you do if you needed health care, but it’s a reality we all need to consider.
Before you set off on your solo adventure, make sure you’ve booked yourself some quality travel insurance.
I’m lucky enough to have most of my travel related issues covered under my credit card, but also book separate insurance through SafetyWing to cover all my bases.
There are tons of different companies out there, so do the research on what best fits your needs and budget.
SafetyWing has been my go-to travel insurance since 2020. They offer comprehensive travel medical insurence and have an amazing customer service team that are happy to help with any questions you might have!
This one is super important if you’re traveling internationally. Research all the requirements you need to enter and exit the country you’re heading to.
The last thing you need is to find out your passport is expired or that you can’t board your flight because you didn’t get a visa ahead of time, or don’t have the right vaccines.
And even if your passport is valid, make sure you have enough blank pages, since some countries require you to have a certain number empty.
Trust me, I know it’s a pain having to deal with paperwork, but it’s always worth it in the end.
Oh, and speaking up important paperwork, keep paper and digital copies (that you can access without wifi) with you just in case you lose a passport or misplace a visa.
One of the greatest gifts I ever got was from my dad just before my first solo trip. He gave me a leather-bound journal to write about all my adventures.
These days, because I’m constantly on the go juggling travel, writing for the website, filming for YouTube, and doing creation for social media, I’m ashamed to say my travel journal is looking very empty.
In fact, one of my resolutions this year was to get back into setting aside time each night at dinner to write about my day.
There’s something so special about getting to look back at a personal journal years later to revisit all those old memories you’ve since forgotten.
My favorite part about it is seeing how much I’ve grown as a person.
When you’re traveling solo and writing about it, you end up writing so many insights about your life and the surrounding things that end up learning so much about yourself and your fears and desires.
Plus, for anyone who doesn’t love eating solo, journaling is an excellent way to keep busy while you wait for your food.
Trust me, you need a travel journal. It’s going to be one of the best things you pack for your solo trip. Just don’t forget a pen!
Okay, I’m sure most of you are rolling your eyes at the idea of practicing with your luggage, but hear me out.
As someone who is an over-packer and an optimist, I fully thought I could spend all of last summer running around Europe with the Monos Large Checked Bag, a giant duffle back, and a backpack.
Spoiler alert. It was a big mistake.
I realized it may have been a terrible decision as I struggled to get all my luggage up five flights of steps to my first
Cut to two weeks later, when I took the Eurorail from London to Bruges.
I had fifteen minutes to switch trains in Brussels, and to my surprise, the platform in Brussels was much lower than where it had been when I got on in London. If I had to guess, it was about two feet down from the train’s exit.
While everyone else gracefully hopped down with their luggage, I determined that the only way I could successfully get off this train was if I balanced my duffle bag on top of my suitcase and gracefully swung it down as I jumped.
Thank god landing on top of my suitcase broke my fall, but it didn’t save me the embarrassment of everyone in the train station staring (nobody came to help).
Oh, and if you’re thinking that, you’ll be fine because you aren’t taking a train. Also consider how easy your accommodations are to get to.
If you’ve learned anything from my embarrassment at the train station and sweaty entrance to Florence, let it be that it’s better to rehearse for all scenarios you may encounter with your luggage.
Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but sometimes packing less is better. Plus, then you’ll have room to bring back a few souvenirs!
This one should be common sense, but I can’t tell you how many people I know who travel with only one debit or credit card.
It gives me anxiety just thinking about it.
When you’re traveling internationally, you should always keep a debit card, two credit cards, and cash on hand.
I like to keep my debit card and credit card at my accommodation unless I know I’m going somewhere that I’ll need to withdraw extra cash.
This way, if you get pick-pocketed, you’ve still got other options to use and your entire trip won’t be focused on praying everywhere you go accepts Apple Pay.
Okay, I know to most people walking around with a selfie stick or tripod can be kind of cringe.
In fact, for ages, I felt the same way. On every solo trip, I’d hang out in spots and ask random people to help me take my photo until I got one that I liked enough to post to socials.
Normally, this took ages because most people aren’t great at shooting photos.
These days, I carry around both a tripod and a selfie stick to make sure I get all the shots I need without having to pray that I find a stranger who knows the proper way to frame up a photo.
This is the tripod I use to shoot all of my photos and videos as I travel the world solo. It's been a total game changer when it comes to shooting content, and works for both iPhones and Androids.
I know some people may not care about having photos, but trust me, traveling solo is a big deal and one day you’re going to look back and wish you had more photos with you in them.
Bring a tripod or selfie stick with you on your trip. I promise most people barely even give a second look these days because everyone is doing it.
Plus, you’re never going to see these people again, so who cares if they stare a bit?
I can guarantee one day you’ll come back and be thankful you took these photos, and that’s all that matters.
The Zhiyun Smooth XS selfie stick is lightweight, easy to use, and best suited for beginner gimbal users. While its two-axis gimbal doesn't always lead to a stable shot, it's a step above a basic selfie stick at an attractive price point.
There’s nothing worse than getting off a long-haul flight and realizing the airport doesn’t have wifi and you can’t access the digital copies of your visa paperwork.
Trust me, I’ve made this mistake, and it was almost a nightmare.
Thankfully, I had put paper copies of all my essentials, including the visa, inside my carry-on bag.
Before you head off on any international trips, be sure to have both digital and paper copies of your passport, any visas, and medical paperwork you may need during your trip.
Speaking of not having wifi or cell service internationally, everyone should download an off-line map to their phones.
There’s a few different ways to download a free off-line map. These are the most popular apps that offer it:
One of the best things I’ve ever invested in was a
It’s a serious game-changer and a must since solo travelers should always explore with a fully charged phone.
These days I travel with two of them so that I can always have one with me during the day while the other charges at my hotel.
I’m partial to the Anker brand since I’ve had a great experience so far with theirs, but there are tons of different options available.
Compatible with most USB-charged devices, including iPhone 8 / X / XS / XS Max / XR (Lightning cable required), Android smartphones and tablets (including the Nexus 7), and iPads.
If you’re traveling internationally, don’t forget to see what your phone plan covers.
Some cell companies offer great international coverage, while others don’t.
If I’m going to be somewhere international for more than a day or two, I always end up getting a local SIM card.
Compared to your plan back home, it’s way easier and usually cheaper with better coverage, which is essential.
You can either do an e-SIM, which I haven’t tried yet, or just buy a SIM when you land at the airport (my go-to).
When you’re traveling alone, it’s always imperative your phone is working and charged!
Okay, I know this one might sound weird, but trust me on it.
After years of solo travel and dealing with way too many men who just didn’t get the message, I wanted to be alone. Investing in a fake wedding ring was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Now I habitually wear it everywhere, and it really helps keep a fair amount of creepy men from trying to hit on you as you eat alone.
It’s beyond annoying that a woman saying no thanks to advances doesn’t always work, but if you’re like me, you can make a game out of pointing out that you’re engaged or married and adding in a fun little backstory.
Some men may say they don’t care, but run off pretty fast if you say your fiance or husband will meet you soon.
One word of advice though, if you do happen to be approached by a really hot guy, switch ring fingers immediately.
If he notices and says anything, say you’re traveling with friends and you all wore rings to keep the creeps from hitting on you (no need to admit you’re solo in case he turns out to be a creep).
I’ve had this happen to me before and I swear most guys get the need for a faux wedding ring when you’re a hot single person traveling. In fact, some really admire the creativity.
Worst case, he isn’t quite buying it and you want to keep flirting with the hot stranger more, just show him this article and make some sort of joke.
Nobody enjoys thinking things may go wrong, especially when solo traveling, but it’s always better to be prepared.
These days, I take an emergency kit with me on every solo trip I go on. It’s filled with anything I could need to take care of myself if I get the flu or a cold, plus things like allergy pills, condoms, tampons, bandaids, and even a few tea bags.
Be prepared for whatever life throws at you, including times when you’re too exhausted to leave your house for the pharmacy, because when you’re traveling alone, you won’t have anyone to help you.
It really sucks when those moments happen, but having this kit on hand has always been my saving grace!
I’m someone who adores being alone most of the time, but a few months into my first summer of long-term solo travel, I missed having friends.
I hadn’t made that many on the road yet because I was shy about doing social things alone.
Then I saw that one of my IG friends was arranging a group trip to Istanbul.
I’d already been to Istanbul and enjoyed it, and figured it would be fun to go back and experience it with some other travel loving women, so I signed up.
It turned out to be the perfect way to quickly make other travel friends, plus get epic photos without having to carry a tripod around, since most of the girls were also into taking epic travel photos.
There’s no shame in skipping a truly solo adventure in favor of joining a group trip. I’ve met so many marvelous women this way, some of whom began their solo travel journal by joining a tour.
Now they have the confidence to plan other trips on their own!
I’m writing this after completing almost three months of non-stop solo travel between four continents, and even though I swore I was happy to be in one place for a few weeks, writing this already has antsy to start planning my next solo adventure.
I hope my guide to planning a solo trip has told you everything you need to know.
If you have questions or think I’ve left anything out that could be helpful to other solo travels, comment below or shoot me an email!
I’ve listed all the solo travel tips I’ve learned since my first solo trip five years ago. This is the only guide you need before tackling your next solo trip!
Have you been eyeing the Away Bigger Carry-On online and wondering if it's worth the hype? This Away Bigger Carry-On review will tell you all you need to know!
Is there anything worse than being stuck on a plane for hours? It can be torture! I’ll show you exactly how to survive a long haul flight in economy class.
Are you getting ready to invest in some new carry-on bags? Look no further than this list of the best carry-on luggage for women to find the perfect travel bag!
Wondering which book you should buy to pass the time on your next flight? Check out this list of the perfect books to read on a plane to find the perfect one!
Follow this guide on how to pack necklaces for travel and you’ll never see another tangled necklace when you unpack.