Solo Travel Tips: Travel Alone and Love it

Solo Travel Tips: Travel Alone and Love it

"Traveling alone delivers access to the world in ways that other forms of travel don't. It is a must mode of travel, at least some of the time.

When you travel alone, you travel on your terms. You get to do what you want when you want. You can connect with people if you wish or avoid them completely. Those are the obvious benefits for going solo as a traveler.

But there are many benefits of solo travel that affect your whole life. The experience encourages you to stretch and grow as a person. You gain confidence and get better at problem solving. You understand yourself better, become more independent and become a more interesting person.

For some people, enjoying a solo trip comes naturally. Others have to work at how to travel alone. Most who do, fall in love with it. Here are a few things you can do to ensure a great solo adventure.

  1. Visualize the trip you want. Start thinking about the opportunities that are present when you travel alone long before you leave. Is it down time you really want? Build that into the plan. Are you after a creative travel experience? Research the opportunities before you go and then dream on them until you get there.

  2. Gather as much first hand knowledge you can before you go. Talk to people who have already gone to your destination. Use your social network to find people.

  3. Learn to chat with strangers. Starting conversations with strangers can be a challenge, especially when you're an introvert like I am. However, these conversations can be trip-changing, if not life-changing. There are many skills that can be developed for this and, what I have certainly found, is that you are never too old to learn them.

  4. Tap the experience of the people you meet. As a solo traveler, you'll meet more travelers and locals than those who travel with a partner. Ask a traveler about the best thing they've done so far or a local for the best hidden gem restaurant in the area. The people you meet and the advice they offer will greatly enrich your trip.

  5. Be flexible. When suggestions or opportunities arise from these chance encounters, be flexible enough to act on them. There are times when flexibility must reign and the schedule should be thrown away.

  6. Don't over-plan. It is only by having extra time in your itinerary that you can spend a little more of it at the market, linger over a coffee at an outdoor café, or take that trip into the mountains you hadn't considered.

  7. Be patient. It can be difficult arriving in a new city alone. Take your time. Take a day to relax, watch the city function, and settle in. 

  8. Explore the city at different levels. In London, it's natural to take the Tube. However, riding on the top of a double-decker bus gives you another perspective on the city. But you still wouldn't want to miss the Tube as it's an experience unto itself. My point is, explore the city in as many ways as possible: on foot, by bicycle, via public transit. Take a taxi and talk to the driver. Rent a car and learn what it's like to park or drive on the opposite side of the road. Every mode of movement offers new perspectives.

  9. Take in local events. Whether it's a street festival or sporting event, these are opportunities to rub shoulders with locals, offering insight into the culture and, potentially, fun conversations.

  10. Be proactive if you’re unsure of yourself. Ask for help. Standing around looking dazed will not get you where you want to go and it may get you noticed by the wrong people. Go ahead, smile, and ask for help. It's one of the fundamentals of staying safe.

  11. Eat locally! There is nothing like exploring the local cuisine. It gives you a new way into your destination's culture, history, and geography. There is always a reason, historical or geographic, for a specific cuisine that can be explored through your taste buds and your mind.

  12. Shop where the locals shop. Are you into home renovations? Then a hardware store in another country could be quite interesting. Are you a foodie? Go to the grocery store or the street where all the specialty vendors are located. Are you into fashion or interior decorating? Again, explore (you don't have to buy) where the locals shop.

  13. Know which way is up. Study a map of your destination. Get to know it. Get a sense of direction using major landmarks like Central Park in New York City or the CN Tower in Toronto. This will help you explore cities happily, with greater confidence.

  14. Find people who share your passion. Whether it's chess or poetry or badminton or books, there will be hubs or groups that share your passion at your destination. Google search or find them on What a great way to combine your love of travel with your love of other things.

  15. Take day tours and classes. When you punctuate your independent trip with city tours, cooking classes and the like, you create ways to better experience your destination and spend some social time.

  16. Plan for great evenings out. Just because you're traveling solo doesn't mean you have to stay in at night with a book. There are many options for things to do in the evening. If you're in a country where you don't speak the language, music is a good bet.

How to Meet People when You Travel Alone

As you travel solo you can have as much alone time as you want. But what many people don't realize is that you can have a lot of really social time as well.

The travel stories I tell most often are about the people I meet on my trips. It's rarely the iconic building I saw or the museum exhibit I took in that lingers strongly in my memories. It's the people who I met that stay with me the longest.

So, how do you connect with people on your trip? Here are a few tips.

  1. Smile. It means the same things in every language. It means you are happy, friendly, approachable, kind. A smile opens many conversations.

  2. Learn a few words in the local language. Making an effort to communicate in the local language is always appreciated and often returned with an effort to communicate in your language. Given that English is often the second language that people learn, you will find many locals wanting to chat with you.

  3. Go to a local, independent coffee shop. Look for coffee shops with large communal tables or coffee bars along the window and sit near someone. I've often had great conversations with locals by positioning myself in this way.

  4. Stay at places that encourage talking. I think that hostels and B&Bs are the ideal accommodation for those who travel alone. With fewer guests and the proprietor often onsite, common rooms and communal dining rooms, they make for more opportunities to connect with others.

  5. Read a book that makes you laugh out loud. Take a book that makes you laugh out loud and hold it so that people can see that you are reading in English. This often attracts people for a brief chat. In Havana I was reading Happiness by Will Ferguson and it got me into a few conversations.

  6. Establish a routine. Visit the same café, fruit stall, or restaurant every day. You’ll get to know the people and they'll start watching out for you. New friends are made this way.

  7. Take day tours. In Paris I met a woman on a free walking tour. It started to rain so we cut out and went for lunch together. Yes, meet people on tours and you might end up with a friend to enjoy a meal with or another day of exploring.

  8. Be curious. Ask questions and conversations begin.

  9. Go off the beaten path. Travelers who find each other where there are few tourists are more inclined to talk to each other. Meet someone on a hike or in a specific museum and you already know that you have an interest in common."

These are some tips offered by Janice Waugh at If you want more solo travel tips, check them out!

Back to blog