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The Secrets of Successful Solo Travelers

a female solo traveler looks at mountain view in China
Written by Chris Osburn

This blog post was updated on August 4, 2021.

For the uninitiated, the idea of travel by one’s self can seem daunting. But those with experience traveling on their own are well aware that it often can lead to life affirming adventures and the happiest of memories. Achieving success as a solo traveler starts with identifying why you’re going it alone and what you want to get out of your time away.

Here are some solo travel tips that can help you plan a most satisfying trip.

Determine Your Travel Personality

bearded man backpacker smiling and taking selfie photo on Times Square in New York

Travelers who enjoyed going it alone tend to be people who are comfortable with their personality type and know whether they’re more of an introvert or an extrovert. Figure out whether you’re looking to “get away from it all” and minimize encounters with others or you’re keen to strike up conversations with complete strangers in the hopes of making new friends.

If the former, a trek through the mountains to commune with nature might be a wonderful retreat for you. Any stretch of the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail running from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, Maine, is a good one for folks who enjoy hiking in the wilderness. If the latter, start spreadin’ the news because New York City is an ideal destination for travelers who love getting lost in a crowd.

Seize the Day Your Way!

One of the best things about solo travel is the opportunity to do what you want, when you want … without having to compromise with others. Whether that means allowing whim and happenstance to guide you or devising a detailed itinerary that’s as precise and exact as required to fill every second of your day — it’s completely up to how you prefer to travel.

Ready to go with the flow? It’s hard not to have a blast following your chin round in a party town like New Orleans. Need to be in control of as many variables as possible and don’t want to miss any must-see attraction? Touring the museums and monuments of Washington D.C. may be a capital idea for you!

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

urfer with surf board dive underwater with fun under big ocean wave.

Nobody (who you know) is going to be around. So here’s your chance to broaden your horizons, try something different, and follow your heart in a new direction. And if something doesn’t work out, you won’t have to hear about from the folks back home.

So go ahead — take some surfing lessons in Hawaii, attend a flamenco class in Madrid, or go bungee jumping in New Zealand.

Hit the Reset Button

Going on a trip without anyone else tagging along is a super opportunity to focus on what’s missing in your life while also clearing away the clutter of accumulated stuff that’s not so important to you. Use your time away to reengage with the world and adjust your priorities.

If you’re seeking some downtime to unwind, and maybe a little pampering too, then it’s hard to beak a spa break in, say, Cancun. But if you feel the need for speed and crave a rush of adrenaline, the casino floors, race car test tracks, and thrill rides of Las Vegas might be a safe bet.

Go Deep

young Asian woman backpacker solo travels outdoor lifestyle at ancient in Thailand

Before embarking on your journey, think about the things you don’t know about where you’re going but wish you did. Then, commit to yourself to learning them. Similar to the prior tip about stepping outside your comfort zone, there are no stupid questions when none of your friends are around to make fun of you for asking them.

Essentially all the destinations suggested with the other points in this article are great places to practice balancing confidence and vulnerability.

Safety First!

Last but not least, whatever the aim of your solo adventure, safety should always be your main concern. Make sure somebody back home knows that you’re going away and how to get in touch with you. If you’re heading off to a wilderness area, check in with a ranger station or visitor center. In other situations, always have a business card from your hotel in your pocket. It’s always wise to carry a list of emergency numbers with you as well.

Check the weather, dress appropriately for it, keep your phone charged and … okay! okay! No more nagging. Be careful and have fun!

Do you enjoy solo travel? What makes it great for you? We would love it if you shared some tips on how to make the most of traveling alone.

About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.