Traveling with others can be a fun and rewarding experience, but have you ever considered about taking a solo trip? The thought of exploring a new place or even a new country on your own may seem pretty daunting at first. However, solo travel can provide you with many eye-opening experiences and fond memories that you may have not experienced otherwise.
Why Take a Solo Trip?
Taking your first solo trip can feel scary and overwhelming, but solo travel has many perks including health benefits.
Just some of the reasons why you should take a solo trip at least once:
- Boost your confidence: Solo pushes you out of your comfort zone. You’ll realize you are capable of so much more than you thought. The trip will leave you stronger, wiser and ready for your next adventure.
- Discover new places: Adventure is good for the soul. Traveling on your own will without the comfort and familiarity of those you know will force you to get out there and explore your surrounding. You’ll discover places you never knew existed. This thrill will open you up for more travel possibilities and leave you wanting more!
- Get a sense of achievement: Once you have completed your first solo trip, you’ll feel a massive sense of accomplishment for taking responsibility for your own life and going on the adventure of a lifetime.
- Go where you want, when you want: This is your trip and your adventure. You are in control, so you can do what you want when you want, no questions asked! If you want to change your plans at the drop of a hat, you can. You’ll have complete freedom and control on this solo trip, enjoy it.
- Learn more about yourself: When you travel on your own you have space and time to find your own rhythm. You’ll learn things about yourself that weren’t apparent at home when you are lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You’ll have time to reflect, think and grow as a person.
- Meet new people: You meet many new faces when you travel. Traveling solo is a great opportunity to meet fellow travelers and like-minded people. You’ll also have to interact with locals to ask for recommendations and directions. Solo travel will bring you out of your shell and strengthen your interpersonal and communications skills.
If you are looking to book your first solo trip, then you are in luck. We have put together some tips and advice on things you need to consider when planning your solo travel adventure.
Where to Go On Your First Solo Trip
You’ve made the decision that you want to take the leap and go on your first solo trip, but how do you decide where to visit? There are a few things you need to consider when choosing your preferred destination.
The first thing you need to think about is location. Where do you want to go? The destination that you chose needs to be somewhere you feel comfortable traveling to and exploring. If you are feeling nervous about it all, you don’t have to pack your bags and travel to the other side of the world. Pick a city that is near your home town and ease yourself into solo travel gently. On the other hand, if you live for adventure, go anywhere you want! Do your research and select a destination that has things that you want to visit and explore. Choose a solo travel destination that has a purpose and a goal that you personally want to experience and achieve.
Best Locations for First Time Travelers:
Thailand: A backpacker’s paradise full of stunning beaches and cheap accommodation, Thailand has been ranked as one of the happiest places in the world and is renowned for its friendly hospitality making it a great choice for a first-time solo trip. There is something for every kind of traveler from tropical jungles, beautiful beaches and amazing diving spots to the vibrant city of Bangkok and Buddhist temples.
Sydney: Australia, in general, is a perfect location for a first-time traveler. If you are looking for a solo trip that has culture, shopping, great beaches and kangaroos, Sydney is the destination for you. Sydney has a higher standard of hostels and transport links, which makes it easy to explore the rest of country. With a few different working visas on offer, you can also live and work in Australia, a fantastic way to experience a wonderful country.
UK: Apart from the obvious fact that there won’t be a language barrier, the first-time traveler will feel at ease in the UK as it is less of a culture shock. The UK has a lot to offer from big cities like London and Edinburgh to beautiful coastal areas and the idyllic Scottish Highlands. Flights over can be pretty cheap, and if you want to continue your travels, it’s just a short distance to the rest of Europe.
Barcelona: This vibrant and cultured city located on the northeast coast of Spain is the most popular places to visit in the country. Barcelona is one of the safest destinations for a solo traveler. With plenty of tapas bars, art galleries, parks and cycle routes for you to enjoy, Barcelona has it all. Visit Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, the Fabra Observatory and the Montjuic Cable Car. The possibilities are endless.
Canada: This idyllic country offers scenic vistas, friendly locals and outdoor adventures for all. Canada is a great first location for a solo traveler, and it will become your home away from home. You will be made to feel welcome and with extremely low crime rates that are practically non-existent, you’ll feel safe. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and nightlife to enjoy. And for those who like to be outdoors, why not try your hand at kayaking, hiking, whale watching or a puffin and iceberg cruise?
When Time of Year Should You Go?
Do you want to take a winter vacation or a summer trip? If you are traveling overseas, you may need to think about monsoon seasons. Do your research and find out which months are best to visit and when to avoid the rainy seasons. Also, if you travel off-peak season, prices will be reduced and you’ll be able to get more for your money.
What Do You Include in Your Solo Trip Budget?
The location you visit also depends on your budget. Sit down and work out what the budget is for your solo trip. This figure will help narrow down your search. Also, remember that travel should be fun, so you don’t want a budget that is so tight that you can’t enjoy yourself. After you figure out your budget, include a contingency amount in case of any unforeseen emergencies by adding an extra 15% on top of your final budget figure.
If you are taking a long haul trip, your flight may be your biggest expense. On the other hand, if you are staying closer to home, you’ll be able to grab yourself some bargains. Transport doesn’t just include the initial flight to and from your destination. Take into account airport transfers, buses, trains, car rental and gas.
This will be one of your biggest expenses. Once you’ve figured out how you are going to get there, you need to find somewhere comfortable and safe to stay. Work out your average nightly rate and multiply it by the number of nights you’ll be staying there.
Your food budget can vary depending on what kind of culinary experience you are after. If you are happy to cook your own food, you won’t need as much money. However, if you are visiting a new country, it’s always nice to try out some local dishes. Research the price of an average shop at the local grocery store so you’ll know what to expect. Also, look up the cost of lunch and a drink at a local cafe. Do the same for dinner out in the evening, and factor a few nice meals into your final budget figure.
Yes, guys, this is a must. Travel insurance covers you against risks like stolen luggage, flight cancelation and illness. When you are traveling alone, you want to feel assured that you are covered.
Think about any local attractions you’d like to visit. Look at experiences and places you’d like to visit and check their prices. Don’t forget to look at opening times and dates to avoid any disappointment. Solo travel tours are also a wonderful way of exploring a new place and a great way to meet other solo travelers. Check online for the best solo travel tour deals in the area.
If you like to pick up a trinket or two to remind you of your solo travel adventure, add some budget for souvenirs and presents.
How Do You Get to Your Destination?
If you are visiting more than one location, you’ll need to plan how you are going to get to your destination. Will you book cheap flights or take a train? Are you planning a road trip? Book tickets in advance so you know where you need to go and at what time you need to be there. And make sure you don’t miss that flight!
Make sure you do your research to find the best flight deals. Use the flight search engines such as Skyscanner, Google Flights and Kiwi.com and pick the cheapest day to fly out. If you know which dates you are wanting to travel, book your flight tickets in advance as this is cheaper. Also, read up on the airline’s policies for extra baggage and seat allocation as this may incur an additional cost.
Check to see if there is an airport shuttle to your accommodation or if there are any local buses that can get you there. Google Maps is a great resource for this as it will give you a bus timetable, routes and sometimes even the journey cost. Also, check to see if the country you’re traveling to has Uber. There is also the option of booking a private transfer to pick you up and take you directly to your accommodation. This is a great idea if you have been on a long flight as won’t need to worry about sorting out transport after a long journey.
Again, Google Maps is great for giving you all the info you need to plan your journey. Before you leave go online and search for train websites in that area. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what you can expect. For instance, check the Eurail website for train times and prices in Europe. And don’t be afraid to ask the locals for help, as they will be a fountain of knowledge for ways to get out and about.
How Do You Find a Place to Stay During a Solo Trip?
As well as preparing yourself mentally for your solo travel adventure there are some key things you need to plan in advance to make your trip a smoother experience.
Booking accommodation in advance will help reduce stress because you will already have a place to rest your head when arriving at your destination. However, without having someone to share the cost of a room or apartment, accommodation as solo travel can be expensive. You’ll need to decide if you want to stay in a vacation rental or a hotel. Or, if you have a tighter budget, a hostel may be the option for you.
Some hotels offer single rates, but the majority of hotels charge for the room and not the person. If you want to get more room for your money, search for a boutique hotel rather than a chain. These local boutique hotels may not have all the luxury amenities that a chain hotel might, but boutique hotels are full of character and make for a more unique experience.
Vacation Home Rental
If you are after a place that is among the locals, consider a vacation home rental. As some travelers are uncomfortable staying in hostels, a vacation home rental is one of the best alternatives. There are two options available for vacation home rentals: you can rent out an entire place to yourself or choose to stay in a shared home rental, which means the homeowner is renting out a room in their personal home. To find out more about looking for the perfect vacation home rentals read our Top Hot Tips to Finding a Vacation Home Rental.
Hostels are inexpensive and simple. They are usually located centrally, so you’ll have everything you need on your doorstep, although you can get hostels that are located remotely. The hostel experience is like no other, they come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. It is important to pick the right hostel that is for you. You can choose to stay in your own private room or in a dorm (mixed or single sex). Staying at a hostel is a way for the solo traveler to meet other like-minded people and you never know you could end up leaving with a travel buddy.
Signing up to become a house sitter opens us a whole new way of travel. Housing sitting is an exchange of services. As a house sitter, you will get a place to stay and the homeowner will get someone to look after their home, garden and pets if they have any while they are away.
Research a few different accommodation options to find the best in the area, read reviews and ask the host questions if you are unsure.
How Do You Pack for Solo Travel?
The key to a successful solo travel trip is to pack light. Once you’ve got the best luggage for your trip sorted, you’ll need to plan your travel wardrobe. When packing ask yourself, “do I really need this and will I use it?”. If the answer no, leave it at home. The main thing you need to remember is to keep your luggage as light as possible to avoid baggage fees and to make it easier to carry around. Be sure to pack for the destination. You may also need to consider different cultures and dress appropriately for their beliefs and climate.
Getting the right travel accessories to take on a solo trip is essential. Check out our Top 5 Travel Accessories for Solo Travel, which will help make your first solo travel experience that little bit easier.
Solo travel will have a positive impact on your life. If it’s something that you have always thought about doing, why not start planning today? With Single Awareness Day quickly approaching on February 15th, there’s no better time to do it. Go on take the leap and go for it!
Are you thinking about going on your first solo trip? Or have you traveled solo before? Let us know in the comments below or share with us on social media. Just tag @topfivecom and #topfivesolotravel.