Top Tips for Solo Travellers
Fall in love with travelling alone
Solo travel can be one of the most exciting and liberating experiences. It’s your ticket to self-exploration, building confidence and learning new skills, but even the most seasoned independent traveller could sometimes do with a few new tips and tricks. From a variety of helpful apps to finding the best group tours and how to stay safe, these are our top tips for solo travellers.
Embrace the freedom
One of the best parts about travelling alone is that there are no compromises – you just go. It’s that simple, and everything is on your terms – you don’t need to cater to what anyone else wants to do, eat or see. This means you’ll be able to give your undivided attention to every experience, and develop a deeper, more personal relationship with the destination as a result. Think of this as an opportunity – when was the last time you were able to do exactly what you wanted all day, without a hint of guilt? So, sleep diagonally in that king size bed, spend four hours reading your book in the bath and skip the queues at the famous museum if it’s not your bag – this is your time.
The idea of travelling solo is that you do it… solo. But travelling alone doesn’t necessarily mean being alone; venturing out on your own can actually be an exciting way to meet new people. An abundance of apps and online forums now exist to connect travellers with similar interests, itineraries and budgets. SoloTraveller, Travel Pal and Backpackr offer digital ‘friend finding’ facilities, whilst forums such as Women Who Travel and the free app Alix for women who travel solo provide everything from travel tips and small group tours to restaurant recommendations specifically for female solo travellers. There are certain places you may not be able to visit without a guide or group, and this is when a smaller group tour can facilitate better adventures. Forget the ‘one-size fits all’, double-decker bus trip and opt for a small group expedition instead – the experience is often more bespoke, and will mean you’re likely to end up getting to know fellow travellers and discovering the destination in a more intimate way.
Learn the lingo
Travelling solo is the perfect opportunity to pick up a new language, or get in some real-world practice for a language you’re currently learning. Without a travel buddy you won’t be spending your trip chatting in your native tongue – instead, you’ll be thrown in the deep end and will have to practice your new language skills with the locals. What’s more, locals are bound to be more welcoming if they can hear you making an effort to speak their language. Connecting with people from the destination will likely mean you’ll see a different side to the place, and will immerse you deeper into the fabric of its daily life. Of course, there’s always a digital plan-B: quick translation apps such as Waygo (just hover your camera over the menu for an instant translation) or Google Translate, which can also transcribe and convert voice recordings.
Travelling solo can be one of the most liberating ways to see the world, but planning ahead is a must. A dead phone battery can mean the loss of your main line of communication, so one of our top tips for solo travellers is an easy upgrade to a smart suitcase with a removable battery pack that will help make sure you’re always contactable. Likewise, keep friends and family updated on your whereabouts with apps such as Followmee and Famisafe that track your location and send out real-time updates to your followers. TripWhistle also connects travellers to 70 different emergency numbers around the world – all of which share your location with the local services as soon as you call them.