Solo travel, what’s it good for? Maybe voyaging abroad and taking time to do some soul searching. Maybe finding a time that fits all your friends’ schedules is impossible. Or maybe you’re sick of holidays with your parents and it’s time to take the world into your own hands. (Basically all the reasons you should go on a Contiki too…) That’s why you should take the world by storm and learn how to travel alone.
Solo travel can be whatever you want it to be, and it’s entirely different to travelling with friends or partners. Though it can be a little daunting, especially for first-timers. We’ve got loads of guides for first time solo travellers but these are our expert tips to really get the most out of your experience!
Whether you’re wanting to escape the group chat or trying to find yourself, here’s how to travel alone all while staying safe and having the time of your life!
How to travel alone: for security and ease
Book private rooms or same sex hostels
Exploring new cities alone can be a little overwhelming sometimes, so having a space that you can have all to yourself and unwind in at the end of the day is a shout. For private rooms you can find some cheap options at budget hotels, or some super special AirBNBs up for grabs! These’ll put you right in the heart of the action without having to compromise on your personal space.
If you don’t mind sharing a room and meeting some new people, hostels are also a great idea for budget-friendly lodging! Plus you get the added reassurance of having a small community around you to lean on if you need it. You can also book same-sex rooms just to add that extra layer of security if you need it.
We also recommend sharing your whereabouts with your family and friends just in case and letting them know where you’ll be staying. Especially if you’re a solo female traveller.
Stay somewhere with free wi-fi
Not only is this good for all your late-night scrolling and posting all your photo dumps to social media for all your friends back home to see, it’s also of course very practical. You don’t want to be stuck paying for wi-fi for every update you want to send your parents or every restaurant you want to google. Annoying, and a waste of money!
And on that note, if you can upgrade your phone plan to include free roaming and data abroad, at least for short periods of time, then that’ll be a huge benefit as well! If ever you accidentally get a little bit lost or need to contact someone in an emergency, data is your best friend.
Do some research
One of the most basic tips on how to travel alone: research. It doesn’t sound very cool to plan and prepare an itinerary, and we get it, maybe you want to be flexible and spontaneous. But planning a little bit ahead will give you that ability to add that spontaneous sparkle into your trip!
By making note of the landmarks you want to see, museums you want to visit, restaurants you want to eat at, etc. you can make yourself a loose plan which will be so helpful once you’re there.
This includes learning a little about the public transport routes, so you can figure out how to get from point A to point B with style instead of bumbling around looking like an obviously lost tourist. Not only that, but it’s honestly a time saver, so you can spend more fabulous me-time!
Get travel insurance
You should kind of do this with all your travel plans anyway if ever things go awry, but you should especially do this when travelling solo. Don’t panic, your trip will be fine! But you know… just in case…
It may be that in the whirlwind of your fun you accidentally forget a suitcase, or maybe your flight is cancelled or delayed because of bad weather (good thing you’re leaving then). If you’ve booked travel insurance with your transport and accommodation, you can most likely get your money back with little to no trouble at all! Just make sure to read the T&Cs to catch any loopholes or hidden fees.
How to travel alone: for fun and the best experiences of your life
Bring a dictionary and get comfortable chatting to strangers!
Obviously you’ll be alone, so unless you’re a super hermit and a top notch self-relying machine that can do absolutely everything yourself, then you should get used to needing to chat to a few strangers here and there.
Learning as much of the local language as you can beforehand will be such a benefit to you (and who doesn’t want to be a polyglot?). Not only will the locals appreciate the effort of you trying, it’ll help you get around and immerse yourself in the culture, and it’s a new sexy skill you can add to that CV of yours!
Take the opportunity to make new friends!
The thing about solo travel is that it’s just the perfect opportunity to meet new people! You won’t be the only solo traveller, guaranteed, especially if you’ve opted to stay in a hostel. If you do start feeling lonely, then don’t hesitate.
Is there someone sitting alone at a cafe? A market vendor idling by their stall? Strike up a conversation, swap deets with fellow travellers, listen to stories from the locals. Get to know one another. You don’t have to become best friends for life, or friends at all really, but taking the time to share some moments with kind strangers can be really valuable.
And honestly this wouldn’t be a Contiki how to travel alone guide if we didn’t include meeting new people – that’s what we’re all about!
Start your days earlier
Early bird catches the worm, dontcha’ know? If you’re travelling alone, partying and dancing the night away may not be your vibe (but if it is, we’re obsessed with you!). So instead, why not have some early mornings?
You can hit the streets while they’re still quiet, really indulge in your morning coffee and breakfast without feeling like you need to rush somewhere else. An added bonus of travelling solo is that you don’t have to adhere to anyone else’s schedule – you can just do your own thing! – and that comes with a lot of flexibility. So take it all at your own pace and just relax and enjoy a life without a tether.
Emerge from your comfort zone
What’s something that you’ve always wanted to do for yourself? Is it taking a cooking class or going to a bar alone? Maybe a full day of shopping or lounging by the pool? Is there a museum you’ve always wanted to see, or a food you’ve always wanted to taste?
Now’s the time. You’re alone and you can do whatever you want, so break out of your comfort zone! We love solo travel because it’s one of the best ways to explore and grow and find yourself on holiday – and the first step is doing something you might not normally picture yourself doing but that you know you’d love! That’s what travel’s all about.
How to travel alone: with Contiki
If all of the above sounds fabulous and amazing to you but you don’t have the time or the patience to plan everything by yourself, or you’re worried you’ll get lonely or feel unsafe, or you just actually don’t want to go alone, then why not book with Contiki?
With Contiki you get all the benefits of solo travel: time for yourself, an escape from home/work, and adventure; with the added bonus of meeting new people from all over the globe and having everything planned just for you!
We’ve got trips everywhere, packed to the brim with cultural and foodie hotspots, amazing meaningful experiences that give back to the community, and loads of free time so you can still take time for self-discovery! Check out some of our seasonal favs to find out where and when you should go for the best time ever.