If you love to travel as much as me, you’ll always be looking for that next adventure. I am always planning trips and wanted to pull together my top 21 travel tips for solo travellers.
Now look… I know better than anyone that there are bad people out there, but I have also come to learn over the years that you can also heal through travel.
Travel gives you the ability to see another way of life, to meet incredible humans, to taste different cuisines, to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and whatever you might see out there, solo travel is honestly one of the best things I have ever done.
There are so many benefits to solo travel and if you’re thinking about taking that leap, take a read of this blog post where I delve in to my top tips for solo travel and then book that plane ticket…
21 tips for solo travellers
Before you leave
1. Book comprehensive travel insurance
Be prepared for anu eventuality with fully-comprehensive and trustworthy travel insurance. You never know when you might get hurt, sick, or you lose something valuable. For these scenarios and countless others, you’ll need to have travel insurance – like Outbacker!
There is one travel insurance company I trust and it’s Outbacker, who make me feel safe wherever I am in the world, knowing I’ve always got insurance to fall back on – if I needed it.
Outbacker has been designed to reduce the price of travellers insurance without cutting down on the cover. Their specialised, flexible travel insurance will protect you whilst working or travelling abroad, wherever you are in the world and they have a 4.4 star rating on Trustpilot (based on almost 870 reviews), as well as a 5-star expert rating on Defaqto.
Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance and you can use discount code SVYHWVPLAG for 15% off your travel insurance! *All Outbacker travel insurance policies are underwritten by AXA.
2. Booking the right destinations
If you are new to solo travel or backpacking, then I’d highly recommend easing yourself in with easier to manage destinations, countries that speak your language and/or choose destinations where it is generally safer for women in general. You could of course throw yourself in the deep end, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Firstly start with a one-night break in your home country, then take a weekend in Europe or somewhere close, and then once you find your flow and feel confident, then try to the more overwhelming destinations.
My first time in south east Asia as a young-18 year old was an eye-opener, it was like nowhere I had ever been before and it was a culture shock, amongst many other things. Why not try destinations like Portugal, Australia or Bali.
Other recommended blog posts
- 48 best wild swimming near me + map
- Guide to a weekend break in York
- TRAVEL GUIDE: 3 days in Budapest
- 10 best walks near London
- 48 hours in Amsterdam
- Best restaurant in Marrakech
- Surfing in Sagres
- Glamping Ireland: Top 17 unique stays on Airbnb
- How to spend a weekend in Belfast
- 11 of the best hikes in Scotland
3. Do your research
Make sure you immerse yourself in the destination and do your research! Before arriving make sure you buy a guidebook, or read a blog post, or google other people’s top tips (I mean, whilst you are here, check out my destination guides) This will get you excited and give you a feel for the places you are visiting.
4. Sign up to loyalty programmes
By far, one of the best things to do as a traveller is to sign up for all the airline loyalty programmes (and hotel loyalty programmes) you can. If you do, you can collect to points and access perks such as cheaper or free upgrades on your flights.
Keep an eye out in your emails and at the airports for offers to upgrade right up until you board. Sometimes this will be at an extra, albeit lower cost to yourself, other times, this could be free. You can also use your points to check into lounges to give you space to work away from the busy crowds you find in the departures lounge.
5. Learn the language
Of course for backpacking this isn’t always possible as you may be heading to 7-8 destinations, all with very different languages, but even if you learn the basics before you go such as thank you, hello, where is the loo etc. This will make your trip so much easier and more enjoyable, and you’ll be respected just for trying.
READ MORE: 21 THINGS TO DO IN BELIZE
At the airport/in the sky
6. Be early
It is imperative that you leave enough between travelling, transfers and flight times so you aren’t rushing. Rushing is not a good look and the most important part of planning is to be early or at the latest, on time.
When you are rushing is also where mistakes happen, you might not book a licensed taxi, or you might leave something accidentally in your room. Slow down, take your time and be organised.
7. Pack efficiently
Packing for a long-term trip is slightly more different than packing for a weekend away with your friends and you want to make sure you are organised as much as possible. Some of my top items to bring onboard a flight as hand luggage includes:
- Chargers – charge all your devices before you get on the plane. don’t rely on the ability to be able to charge whilst in the air. Consider taking a portable charger too.
- Collapsible drinks bottle – you can’t take fluids through security but you can take a collapsible drinks bottle to refill before you board. Drinking plenty of water during your flight will help to keep you refreshed and hydrated.
- Always carry a pen and notebook – for obvious reasons, you never know when you will need to write something down or your trusty electronics fail.
8. Stay hydrated
The most tempting thing to do on a long-haul flight is to enjoy a bottle of beer, or glass of wine, but actually it’s even worse for you on a flight due to the altitude and can make you feel tipsy quicker and also de-hydrate you quicker.
I tend to feel ‘hungover’ after a long flight anyway, so don’t make it any worse by drinking alcohol. And also make sure you take a re-fillable water bottle with you, which you can ask the staff to fill up for you when you need during your flight.
READ MORE: 48 HOURS IN AMSTERDAM
On your travels
9. Have a plan B
Always, always, always have a plan B! Whether it’s a back-up accommodation, or transport – as not everything will be as you imagined it, or saw it like on Instagram. You may want to change hotels if you don’t feel safe at the one you booked, or book a later train or over-night bus if you need more time to get organised.
10. Observe how local women dress
Make sure before you arrive in a destination or country be aware of if there are any laws around what women cannot wear, and always remember when visiting countries that are highly religious often there are certain rules around what you can and cannot wear in religious buildings, and places of prayer.
Of course do not mean wear the clothes they wear, as this could be deemed as cultural appropriation, but observe what is covered and when to be respectful of their culture.
11. Avoid the tourist spots
Of course, if you are new in a place you might want to spend the first day or two checking out of all the tourist spots and getting a feel for a destination on the surface, but after all that’s not why you’ve travelled, you want to get deep in to the everyday of a country – find out where the locals eat, the best spot to grab a coffee in the morning and see lesser-known areas of a city.
READ MORE: ONE WEEK IN MALTA
12. Avoid geotags
From a safety perspective I never tag a hotel or specific location until after I’ve left it, and I generally don’t geo-tag any of my locations now anyway. It can also be a safety tactic for women to ensure no one is following your exact location and/or knows where you are all the time. This is of course an extreme but I would highly recommend.
13. Make the most of free activities
Nearly every city has worthwhile things you can do for free. Start with the local tourist board, which will often list free walking tours and more and you can also find a lot of tours for free just by googling.
Heading to NYC? A quick search on Google will reveal that there is a FREE free admission to The Museum of Modern Art in New York between 4pm and 8pm every Friday. And of course there are many parks, museums and riverside walks that are totally free too!
14. Book accommodation in advance
It’s better to either book really far in advance, or right before you go – even on the day you arrive. With two to three months notice, you can snag the coolest apartments, the most romantic bed and breakfasts and the chicest boutique hotels, taking the time to research the best areas of the city.
READ MORE: 25 THINGS TO DO IN BALI
15. Get out of your comfort zone
Do something a little out of your comfort zone and you’ll boost your confidence and create memories that last a lifetime. This doesn’t mean do something dangerous but why not try surfing, or snorkelling, or even going on an epic hike.
16. Check your hotels location
When booking accommodation, make sure you are organised and check the location of your hotel, and also pin it in Google Maps. Also make sure you check out what area you are staying in and what it’s like e.g. is it safe to walk alone at night, is it a little run down? You can use Google street view to see things in ‘person’.
17. Stay off your phone
The best way to meet people is face to face, to really understand their story. So put that phone down!! Don’t live through your phone. You’ll want to update friends and family and take pictures, but there’s nothing worse than getting stuck on your phone while you’re trying to enjoy your trip. Set yourself times for checking for messages and social media platforms and try not to do it in social situations.
READ MORE: ULTIMATE SAINT LUCIA ITINERARY
18. Leave jewellery at home
One thing you come to realise when you go travelling is how little you can live with, compared to the material items we have at home. That beautiful necklace your gran bought you probably isnt the best thing to take travelling, and it could also be risky with muggers too, who might think it is worth stealing – then also putting your safety at risk!
19. Keep a log of emergency numbers
This could be family and friends back at home, but it could also be new friends you’ve met on your travels and are in the same destination as you, and also emergency services. You never know when you might need to call upon a friend, fellow traveller. And make sure they’re written down too, because if your phone is stolen or the battery has died you can still access them.
20. Meet the locals
I hate going to destinations where you feel like you’ve only met other British people. I don’t travel to meet other Brits, I travel because I want to meet the locals and find out from them more about their way of life and what it is like to live in the destination you have travelled to. Oh and of course meet other travellers from all over the world!
21. Check what time sunrise and sunset is
Another simple safety check to ensure you are not walking alone at night and putting yourself in potentially risky situations. I always try to be back at my hotel or accommodation by sunset, unless of course I am going out for dinner with friends or my partner, then I feel safer to stay out later. It isn’t a necessity, but a rule I like to observe when I solo travel.
22. Getting a taxi home
My final safety tip for solo travel is, if you are out at night and you don’t feel safe going home in the dark on your own book a taxi. It is always worth the extra money if it makes you feel safer and you get back to your accommodation.
What are your top tips for solo travellers? Tell me on Instagram!
My Travel Tips and Recommendations
To book flights, I always use flight search engine Skyscanner, I regularly use the Everywhere tool to find the cheapest places to travel. It’s how I get to travel so much all around the world. I find it the easiest way to compare flight prices across airlines and get the best deals.
For accommodation, I usually book most of my hotels or hostels through Booking.com. I love using this platform as it provides me with some amazing deals for accommodation all around the world. Or if you prefer, I also recommend using Airbnb.
Picking travel insurance that covers you in all eventualities is an essential part of planning a trip for every single person. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. Be prepared for anu eventuality with fully-comprehensive and trustworthy travel insurance. You never know when you might get hurt, sick, or you lose something valuable. For these scenarios and countless others, you’ll need to have travel insurance. There is one travel insurance company I trust and it’s Outbacker, who make me feel safe wherever I am in the world, knowing I’ve always got insurance to fall back on – if I needed it.
Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it for me with all your friends and family!