How to Start Traveling Alone – Be Prepared for Your First Solo Travel

How to Start Traveling Alone – Be Prepared for Your First Solo Travel
5 (100%) 1 vote

I know, traveling solo or even just planning a solo trip can be stressful. Been there, done that.

There are A LOT of questions in your mind, but no answers in sight!

But listen, once you get to know more of what solo travel is all about your stress will fade away. And you will be able to focus on planning and enjoying the travel!

Travel around world

To answer your questions as well as encourage you for a solo trip I have gathered all of THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION on solo traveling with overall travel trends, statistics, FAQ and stories from other travelers…

THIS IS YOUR ULTIMATE SOLO TRAVEL INFORMATION SOURCE!

Why people travel alone, and why you should too, starts with the urge to travel altogether.

I would like to say that solo travel is a more basic and clean version of traveling as we know it. It’s the willingness to hold a superpower, while watching the Avengers movie with friends.

I mean, it is great and all, but you still wish to experience something more personal.

In other words, there is something completely natural and primitive in willing to travel alone even if it’s just for one time.

So I want to take a look at the big picture. Because when it comes to answering specific questions and understanding solo travel, you have to keep in mind that it’s about everything.

Personal experiences and advice are reflecting in overall trends that are backed up by statistics.

And now we are going to go the other way by starting with the stats, details and finding out what is the foundation of travel and why people chose to go at it alone.

Travel Concept - City with Buildings

So if the example of others make you feel safer about the decision to travel alone, you can also start with the most popular destination. And for women travelers it’s Europe, but of course not for entirely all women.

Europe is the most popular destination for women solo travelers. Click To Tweet

However, there is not a single best destination for all solo travelers. And that freedom is exactly what makes solo travel so special and widely loved.

europe map

Japan Graphic Icon

Solo travelers will usually go on longer trips than others. Simply because there is less to worry about and not as many reasons to return home after a week of traveling.

Traveling with facility means at least one parent has to return to work, the kids have their things to do and it is just not comfortable to be traveling for a long time.

As for solo travelers there is complete freedom. That is why they will go away for up to 2 or 3 months. Even more for some solo traveling enthusiasts. This is the reason why the price for travel seems to be higher with solo travelers.

Just to point out the importance of accommodation it is worth mentioning that about 82% of all travelers have not chosen an accommodation provider when starting to plan a trip.

Making smart decisions, saving money and feeling safe

For you travelers, this is where you could cut some costs of the travel by planning ahead and using services that allow you to book great deals. What is more, I suggest you use services that allow you to change things on the move.

Paris Graphic Icon

FAQ and the answers you need to hear

So here are some of the most popular questions and answers I hope will help you.

The answers are a combination between my personal answers and other opinions.

How do you deal with loneliness?

I don’t get lonely. Just enjoy travel, no worries! You CAN travel and NOT get lonely.

Have you found it difficult to talk to locals?

The only difficulty was at the beginning – the language barrier. But I got over it after about two mumbled sentences.

I mean, a moment comes when you just have no other choice than talking to at least a few locals.

Is there a specific age (or age group) that you would recommend for traveling solo?

No!

What if my friends and family don’t approve?

There is no one who can answer this for you. If they don’t approve what you want in life and you are ready to submit to the pressure, there isn’t much left to do than to travel!

What I can tell is this. They should approve and all the concerns shall vanish when you explain your goals and the plan. And if they don’t, you have to be ready to simply go with the gut. If you are not ready for that, well maybe this thing isn’t something you really want.

Won’t I get bored?

This, my dear friend, depends on you and no one else but you.

Whatever it is that you enjoy most is what you should be looking for. What I can say however is that looking for new adventures is the road to staying away of boredom.

And it is not just being in the actual moment. Adventures take you beyond the things you were expecting and if you enjoy the best of that, there simply is no place for boredom.

What if I get homesick?

The truth is, feeling homesick has nothing to do with your home. It’s about people that are truly close to you.

With some exceptions of course.

And really, it is all about how you spend your time. I mean sitting in an empty hotel room by yourself will most likely make you think about home and the things you miss.

Also, there is always the chance to communicate with the people you love via your phone or laptop.

Do you have to be rich to travel the world?
What are the best places to travel alone?

Solo traveling should be all about you. This is your chance to visit the places you have always wished to visit.

European countries are popular among solo women travelers. This is in a way related to safety concerns and therefore Europe is a great for first time travelers.

I would suggest Asia as the ultimate adventure for solo travelers. And Asian countries are the ones where you can meet other solo travelers on the most remote beaches, hiking trails and other beautiful places.

But really, I would suggest you to pick a place you would like to visit and just do it! (just Google it!)

How do you convince your family/friends to chill out?

Explain them why you want to travel alone. Give them examples of others who have been traveling for many years.

And promise to stay connected so that they would know that you are safe. Remember to keep the promise.

How do you decide on where to stay?

Depends on your budget and interests first of all.

Before you go, do some research on the best places to stay. This can go as far as connecting with other solo travelers and getting to know their experience.

A great way is using AirBnb that allows you to find new places to stay while still on the road. Might get in handy if you go off the previously planned route

 

Travel concept

These resources provide more answers on specific questions

You can find more answers to convince yourself from more bloggers.

Hear me out on this one!

These are all mostly opinions, but they can be just enough to get the feeling of what solo travel is like. So there is a good reason to follow up with other travel bloggers. HERE ARE SOME ARTICLES you should go thru:

And that is not all..

Only official answers from your government or other institutions should be taken seriously for some specific questions. Here are some that might come in hand:

Use Travel Alerts and Warnings for information on states that are currently dangerous for travelers. This information is crucial and might in fact save your life.

Another important question is travel Visas. U.S. travel and work Visas are an important part of the travel if you want to visit this country. The same goes for UK Visas. This actually is one of the things that you have to look for some more information up in regards where you are from and where you are going. Informative sites like this, can be truly helpful.

Then there is this site that allows you to compare passports and see how visa-free they are.

Interviews that set a good example for You

But what is behind these statistics and who gives the best answers to your questions? Well.. It’s the people who dare to travel alone and are always looking for new horizons.

I talked to some of them and asked them 5 simple questions:

  • The most important lesson you have learned from traveling?
  • What makes you get up and go out?
  • How do you capture and save your memories?
  • Your dream trip?
  • What is the one thing no-one should do when traveling?

And these are the answers I received.

By the way these will give you some EXTRA DOSE OF INSPIRATION and a better look at why we travel.

beach side

Kaspars Misins in Nepal

Kaspars Misins

Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia sharing his travel stories and photography at WeAreFromLatvia.com. Together with his girlfriend they have been traveling and living abroad since 2013.

The most important lesson you have learned from traveling?

We all are the same.

Yes, we maybe look different. We wear different clothes. And we speak in different languages. But we all are the same deep down.

What makes you get up and go out?

A simple thought – life is an interesting journey.

Our planet, nature, people, different cultures and traditions, it all fascinates me. There is so much I want to try and experience, to see with my own eyes.

And I know that all of it is possible nowadays. You can just buy a plane ticket and be on the other side of the globe already tomorrow. Yes, it’s not as easy for everyone. But we, Latvians, have one of the most powerful passports in the world. We can travel everywhere.

Knowing that I can’t just sit and wait for something. I don’t want to wait for something. So I get up and work for it.

How do you capture and save your memories?

I love taking photos.

In December 2015 I bought a new camera – Fuji X30. And since then I have it with me for most of the time. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s the best camera I have had so far, and I’m really satisfied with it. It has helped me to find a new passion.

What I do now after a tiring day of, let’s say, hiking or sightseeing? I sit down to go through my photos, to edit and to backup them.

You can check out my photos on Instagram.

Your dream trip?

I have several, and the list is growing… But if I need to name only one, then let it be an overland trip across Africa.

What is the one thing no-one should do when traveling?

Don’t be an asshole. And with that I mean – respect other cultures and traditions, respect the way people are living in other countries.

Kathy At Walkabout Wanderer

Kathy At Walkabout Wanderer

Kathy is a Walkabout Wanderer. She quit her job in 2016 as a nurse and is now wandering around the world. Having travelled to over 60 countries, she shares her travel on her blog along with tips to help you travel the world.

The most important lesson you have learned from traveling?

To be open minded and not judge people/a country by other people’s experiences. Many a time I’ve had a preconceived idea that a friendly local is only helping me in certain countries for money.

However, most of the time they have just wanted to practice their English, learn more about me or just be helpful.

Now I make sure I approach each place with an open mind and make the most of my experience but still be aware and travel in a safe way.

What makes you get up and go out?

The idea of seeing the world. I have always been an active person and love exploring places. If I am travelling and I don’t explore then I feel like I am missing out on the area.

When I wasn’t travelling and working full time, I would always go somewhere on my days off if I had more than two days off in a row.

How do you capture and save your memories?

I always travel with my camera as I love taking photos but I am very conscious that I do not want to be viewing everything through a lens. It saddens me when I see other people with their face in their phone rather than viewing the wonderful surroundings they are in.

Apart from updating my Instagram and Facebook, I do not do anything with my photos. I really should find something a little bit ‘different’ to collect these memories together.

In addition to this I write posts on my blog about my experiences to share with others. However I can not write about every amazing experience I have. So they are all saved in my brain which I share with people from time to time.

Sometimes I feel that I might bore my friends with my stories which is one of the reasons why I love Couchsurfing so much. It is a great way of meeting like minded people and sharing experiences with them.

Your dream trip?

Wow this is a hard question to answer. I am really keen to visit Tibet and Iran. I have heard amazing things about both countries. Another would be to visit the Antarctic as then I will have been to every continent.

Other times I feel that I am on a dream trip due to the experiences I have with local people such as when I travelled in Myanmar or when I was invited to my friends wedding in India.

What is the one thing no-one should do when traveling?

I have seen this a lot and it really annoys me. You should never treat another person as a lesser person than you. I have seen many tourist speak down to local people as they feel that they are better than them.

On a few occasions I have stepped in and spoke up for the person. Pointed out the rude behaviour of the other person. Sometimes the offender is embarrassed and apologises but other times they defend their behaviour and leave. I have always been thanked by the victim.

We are all human.

Matthew Lane

Matthew Lane

I’m Matthew Lane, I run Facebook group UK Backpackers. My first experience of solo travel was in 2010 at the age of 18 spending 3 months in Ghana volunteering in a remote village. Since then I have become a seasonal solo backpacker/ traveller going away for up to 8 weeks every year whilst managing study and work commitments for the rest of the year; and I’ve seen some pretty incredible places and done some pretty amazing things whilst meeting awesome people along the way. I do plan on completing a 12-18 month adventure across the world within the next few years.

The most important lesson you have learned from traveling?

That there is so much beauty in the world and the appreciate everything I have, I’ve met many people in very poor situations and they’re the happiest and most generous and kind people I’ve ever met.

What makes you get up and go out?

For me it’s Mother Nature that calls, I just want to see all of the beauty of our natural world.

How do you capture and save your memories?

I usually use my phone camera or my GoPro, although I don’t capture everything in great detail, I like to live in the moment and enjoy every second of it rather than messing around being a cameraman, so most of my memories can only be shared through my stories.

Your dream trip?

It’s never about the destination; it’s all about the journey. I’m pretty happy when I’m wandering about in Natural Parks and wild camping. But I also love traveling too and volunteering in 3rd world countries, it’s very rewarding.

What is the one thing no-one should do when traveling?

Don’t ignore your own country!

I’ve met so many people abroad that would do anything to travel around my country, the UK; yet I took it for granted.

And if you’re new to solo traveling or traveling in general then exploring your own country can be a damn good place to start, beside loads of people you’ll meet across the world will want to know to best places to go and it’s pretty embarrassing when you haven’t a clue.

Sharon Gourlay

Sharon Gourlay

I am a total travel addict and have visited 83 official countries. I am determined to hit 100 by 40! I am a big planner and love organising travel, talking about travel, writing about travel, really anything to do with travel at all.

Blogger at Digital Nomad Wannabe and Travel Writer/Blogger at Where’s Sharon?

The most important lesson you have learned from traveling?

That we are all the same! It should be obvious but it’s not always for some reason. I recently went to North Korea and initially I was shocked to just see normal people doing normal things.

What makes you get up and go out?

I’m an experience junkie. I want to see and do everything! I’m getting close to country 100 and I look forward to hitting most of them one day.

How do you capture and save your memories?

Photos and my blog. My travel blog started 12 years ago and really was just a journal at that point. It’s great to have all my memories recorded.

Your dream trip?

It was North Korea but I just knocked that off. I knew it would be such a unique experience and it was. I’m not sure what should be #1 on the bucket list now as I can’t believe anything will measure up!

Trans Siberian or a trip through the stans is probably it.

What is the one thing no-one should do when traveling?

Be arrogant and obnoxious. I really hate it when people whinge and complain about a destination not being like home. Isn’t that exactly why you travel?!

living on the dirt profile picture

Shelly

Hi there! I am Shelly. I lived the normal life, went to college, worked in my career, spent $40,000 on my tuition and here I am now, not using my degree, facing my fears and solo traveling. My biggest passion is hiking and you will find me mostly on the trails. You can check out my website at Livingonthedirt.com. Happy hiking!

The most important lesson you have learned from solo traveling?

Your friends and family will come around.

When I started to have this dream, my family pretty much disowned me. They were extremely upset with my decision. But, after time went by and they realized how happy I was, then they started coming around and now my friends and family almost expect me to leave when I visit home.

Instead of wishing I would stay, they no longer do that and are actually happy for me when another opportunity arises.

What makes you get up and go out?

The world! How my body is when I am home and when I am traveling is completely different. I find myself lazy at times and a bit depressed when I am home.

When I am traveling I almost spring out of bed because I know there is something to be explored. Everything is new and for me, it’s the best feeling in the world!

How do you capture and save your memories?

I love photography and video-making. I have a Youtube channel, Living on the Dirt. I love capturing my experiences on film, and then making a movie out of it later.

Your dream trip?

My dream trip would be to literally backpack around the world and hike everywhere. If I could hike on at least one breathtaking trail in every country, that would be incredible!

What is the one thing no-one should do when traveling?

Don’t let fear stop you. When you are traveling, face your fears. If you are afraid of heights, try doing an activity involved with heights. If you are afraid to meet people, try to strike up a conversation with somebody. This is the time to really push yourself and become the strong independent woman you are!

Joan Scales

Joan Scales

Joan Scales is a travel writer with The Irish Times for many years. Spain is her favourite destination.

What is your best advice for safety to a new solo traveler?

Anyone travelling alone should be fully aware of the destination they are going. What the political situation is, how locals feel about strangers.

Check out what the State Department state.gov and Foreign ad Commonwealth Office fco.gov.uk say, and heed warnings.

You passport is a valuable document, even more than your money.

Be fearful of overly nice people. Never take a chance on your safety – stay away from dark lanes, use a taxi. Be careful of taxis too, if the driver is getting overly friendly get out…

Never put yourself in a situation you would avoid at home.

Meet people in public places, never go to stranger’s homes. No matter how nice they are.

So what does this all mean..

There are a lot of questions and doubt when it comes to traveling solo. Even more if you are doing this for the first time.

But THAT SHOULD NEVER STOP YOU from doing what you want to do!

All of your questions have answers. All you need to do is look for them. And if there is anything you think we should add to this article, contact us and we can work on that together.

Because the ultimate goal here is to provide you with all of the information you might need in a single article.

What we can see already is that solo travel is a growing trend and people love it. For different reasons of course, but there is something that all these travelers hold in common.

And if you need any inspiration, just look up some awesome travelers and look at how they are doing. Their experiences will most likely make you get up and go ASAP.

Now..

Well, if there is anything you want to say, feel free to do so.

..if you got what you were looking for, go out and explore!

One more thing, share this with your friends and family, so they would find the answers they have been looking for and would understand better, why you want to go solo.

Comments

comments