Six helpful tips to follow when traveling alone

Illustration by Evan Koenigs | The Signal

As daunting as solo travel may seem, many people enjoy spending days, or even months, exploring the world by themselves. With so much of the world to see, there is much to learn before diving headfirst into a new adventure. These six helpful tips will allow solo travelers to have the best experience possible while touring new territories.


The first and most important task when traveling alone is deciding where you will be going. Once the location is figured out, everything else should fall into place. Finding some of the best and most common destinations for solo traveling is only a Google search away. Sites like Travel and Leisure offer specific locations to visit and things to see while traveling. With many places in Central America, Europe and parts of Asia are known for being welcoming to solo travelers and being budget-friendly, they have become popular travel destinations. 


After picking a location, getting your wallet together will be the next important task to tackle. As easy as it can be to buy a plane ticket and waking up in a new country, you must budget and take a deep look into your finances before making any irrational decisions. This means cutting out unnecessary spending such as shopping sprees, eating out, or even ending a monthly subscription. Every dollar counts during solo trip planning because nobody wants to be stranded in a place they only planned to visit for a small period of time. After calculating how much you have, it is also essential to figure out how much traveling will cost you from start to finish. It might take some time to save your dollars, but the sacrifice will be worth the wait as long as you are dedicated and willing.


Once you have figured out the two most stressful parts of traveling, understanding how to pack is the next step. To start, consider how long you plan on being away from home. Knowing how many days you will explore saves you a lot of time and space, as you will have to pack days worth of clothes and other necessary items in only a few bags. When thinking about traveling alone, packing light is the best thing to do, as you can only carry so much by yourself. Investing in a sturdy yet comfortable traveling backpack and carry-on bag will save you a lot of pain and stress worrying about taking tons of luggage around the world. To make the most of the space you have, packing in an organized fashion is the best way to go. Some things that will help with the organization are packing cubes. These help keep things separated and allow you easy access to your belongings without taking up too much space.


Although figuring out what you will do while you travel can be decided once you get there, it is still good to plan what you would like to do during a trip. This can be figured out by doing a little research about the area you plan on visiting and researching what kind of places are nearby. This means investigating restaurants, tourist sites and other local events that are going on that you might want to see. This is also what makes traveling solo great, as you do not always have to follow an itinerary to the tee since there is no one else’s time or feelings to consider but your own. After creating your outline for the trip, sharing it with family or a trusted friend is also a good suggestion, especially if it is your first time traveling alone. This is only a precautionary measure as you never know what can happen when you are thousands of miles away from home.


Now that you have put together some sort of schedule, you can now plan on meeting new people during your trip. Whether you choose to travel alone to find yourself or simply get away, you can always count on meeting new people when you travel. Despite not being the most crucial part of traveling alone, it helps to stay open to meeting new people. This includes locals and other solo travelers you may find. This can help you understand the culture around you and allow you to have the best experience, as traveling by yourself can make you lonely sometimes. 


Another obvious tip for traveling is to always be aware of your surroundings. This is especially important when traveling by yourself or when traveling to a country you are unfamiliar with. Sharing your location on your phone with family and friends will give both parties peace of mind while you are away. Although you are doing this trip solo, it is smart to walk in crowds or have a walking buddy while moving around in public spaces. This is especially important at night, as your vision may be limited along with your access to taxis or public transportation. If you have to walk the streets alone at night or during the day, having some street smarts will save a lot of time and trouble. That includes not having both headphones in, going down dark alleyways, or talking to strangers. Now, that is not to say that everyone you meet has bad intentions, but trust your gut if you get an odd feeling about someone.

With these tips and steps to follow, traveling solo is easily attainable and affordable if you play your cards right. You will gain so much more than you can ever imagine when you decide to step out of your comfort zone and travel alone. This trip will leave you with not only friends and memories but some experiences that can last a lifetime.