Solo travel has been trending upwards in popularity since 2015. According to survey results by SoloTravelerWorld.com, nearly 18% of global travel bookings are made by solo travelers, and 85% of solo travelers are women1. They also reported that solo travel makes up about 18% of global bookings1. While traveling solo may be daunting for some, it doesn't mean you're entirely alone for your whole trip. Here are some tips on how to plan the perfect solo traveler trip.
As a solo traveler, you want to travel with the utmost confidence. The more you know about your location, the better! Check out reviews from review websites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp. Facebook is a powerful resource for finding not only local groups but also travel groups. For example, Girls LOVE Travel is a global community Facebook group with 1,100,000 members. A quick search in the group using your destination location can reveal hidden gems of recommendations that you might not always see on popular review sites and travel blogs.
During your research, you’ll find groups for all types of solo travelers – gender specific, over 50 year old solo travelers, RV solo travelers, digital nomads, and many more. Locals from your destination often volunteer to meet up or be a contact in case of emergency. If you have any doubts about your destination or maybe an activity you’re looking to try, post about it in the group. These experienced travelers are more than happy to lend their expertise to help you enjoy your trip.
Once you arrive, you can also ask the hotel employees for local neighborhood recommendations. They are likely to be experts about restaurants and activities within walking distance.
Before you book your tickets, make sure you consider all of your options. While you may normally book a hotel room for your accommodations, also consider hostels. When staying at a hostel, there are many room options, including shared rooms, private rooms, pods, and same gender dormitories. Not only can hostels be more affordable, but they are also a great way to meet other solo and budget travelers as they often host events for guests to interact with each other.
Keep in mind the money you will be spending on food and activities. Set a budget and try to stick to it. Maybe you can save a few dollars and see the local sites on your walk to dinner, but a rideshare or taxi is worth the splurge back to your hotel any time after dark.
Make sure to bring extra cash or a credit card that can be used internationally in case of emergencies. One downfall of solo travel is that there is no one else to rely on, especially in worst-case scenarios. Travel insurance is a great way to protect your trip costs in case of trip cancellation or interruption. IMG's iTravelInsured plans also give you access to non-insurance assistance services such as emergency travel arrangements, lost luggage assistance, and more. This is not an expense you want to skimp on, especially when traveling solo – it’s worth the peace of mind to know that you are protected in emergency situations.
You’ve set your budget, booked your flight, packed your bags, and you are ready for your solo trip. Before heading out the door, pick a friend or family member to share your itinerary with and check in with your designated person once a day. This gives them peace of mind that you are safe and if anything were to go wrong, they would know that something is off. If you have an international data plan on your phone or Wi-Fi at your hotel, you can share your location via the iPhone location app, or communicate via Whatsapp. Plus, it’s a chance to share your adventures and even details that you would otherwise forget.
This tip applies for any type of traveler, but especially solo travelers. When you are considering flight times, try to book one that lands when the sun is up. You’ll feel more confident and be able to get a better sense of your surroundings once you arrive. Never reveal to the rideshare or taxi driver that you are traveling alone - you can use the excuse that you are meeting someone at your destination. Also, for added safety, wait to post photos from your adventures until you’re in for the night or back from your trip. Social media can be great, but sharing images and tagging the geolocation can lead to unwanted attention.
Never say never - be open to joining a walking tour of the city. These tours are usually filled with other travelers looking to explore. You don’t have to talk to anyone if you feel uncomfortable, but perhaps you will make a few friends along the way as you explore together.
Travel Groups like Contiki offer guided tours for solo and group travelers. When you book through Contiki, they provide transportation, hotel arrangements, activities, and some meals. This is a great option for someone who is looking to travel solo and wants the ease of not worrying about planning activities, transportation, and accommodations.
Happy Solo Traveling!
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