Are you planning to travel solo for the very first time?
Are you a little anxious about it?
Some people don't give their plan to travel solo a second thought. Others live with anxiety at every stage of the planning process. For others still, it only comes on at the 11th hour. They are about to leave and start to panic.
There is a lot of information on Solo Traveler. There are over 1,500 posts about solo travel. So how do you find what you really need to know for your first solo trip?
That's what this post is about.
It's designed to help those new to solo travel find what they need to go with confidence.
Essential Information for First-Time Solo Travelers
On the right-hand side of the green bar at the top is a search box. You can use this to find information on anything specific on Solo Traveler. Want recommendations on how to manage your money? Click on the “Travel Money” tab to find tips and advice on just about any related topic. Want information on a specific destination? Search using the search box or click on the “Destinations” tab to find articles organized by country. Going to a major city? See what we have in our 32 Tips section. We also have the Accommodation Guide which is full of recommendations from other solo travelers. There's so much on Solo Traveler! But now, here's a small selection of specific posts you might want to check out for your first trip.
Solo Travel Planning for Newbies
- Solo Travel Basics: Answers to the Questions Everyone Asks
- Travel Planning and My Fear of Commitment: How I Beat It
- Best Destinations for Solo Travelers: Deciding Where to Go
- The Sweet Spot for Solo Travel: the question of “when”.
- Best Accommodation for Solo travelers
- Going Alone? Travel Insurance is a Must
- VPN for Travel: What, Why and an Easy Setup Guide
- Bare Minimum Packing
Tips for While You're Traveling Solo
- Solo Travel: Revel in Your Grand and Glorious Independence
- How to Travel Alone Without Being Lonely: 10 tips & 12 posts
- Eating Alone is Easy When You Know How
- Solo Travel Safety: 50 Tips (Revised and Updated)
- 15 Ways to Be a Good Traveler: solo or otherwise
- Solo Travel Tips: What You Need to Know to Travel Alone
- What to Do at Night When Traveling Alone – 7 Tips
- Travel Apps that Save Money and Make Travel Easier
- Better Photos: Taking, Storing, and Sharing Your Pics
Some Final Advice for Those on Their First Solo Trip
- Tips for Shy Solo Travelers
- What If You Travel and You Don’t Love It?
- When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed: 43 Tips for Traveling Alone
- Getting Past the Fear: Taking Your First Solo Trip
Solo Travel Tips for Newbies from Seasoned Solo Travelers
Over on the Solo Travel Society on Facebook, there are many experienced solo travelers as well as people who are new to traveling alone. I asked those experienced travelers what tips they would offer a solo travel newbie and here's what they had to say.
- Annalie Carry a game with you, like a backgammon set, chess, a pack of cards. People all over the world can become friends over a simple game!
- Scott Leave the third pair of socks at home . . . the fourth t-shirt . . . pack more smiles than you think you'll need, more patience . . . Take all the expectations out of your pack . . . leave 'em at home.
- Pamela Go to the market while you are traveling. The experience will shed light on cultural, culinary, agricultural, linguistic, and family composition differences. Not to mention that people are always willing to teach you something new and befriend a stranger with a wealth of information. My first experience of this was in Aruba. I saw very little at the market that I was familiar with. But I came out with knowledge and friends.
- Tony Join free walking tours whenever you can! It's great for getting to know the city, learning its history and meeting other backpackers.
- Laurie Spend Day One at your new destination getting oriented: stop at the local chamber of commerce for a free map and suggestions for must-see points of interest; if you ride, rent a bicycle, you'll cover a lot more ground and still be able to see things up close and personal; chat with storekeepers, cab drivers, servers, and ask them their thoughts about their mayor, favorite place to eat and drink, changes they've seen in the area over the years…and where they would take out-of-town visitors. Spend the rest of your time following up on their suggestions, and return to let them know how you fared.
- Toni Give yourself the gift of strangers: ask questions, share impressions, get directions. Use Facebook/Twitter to a friend/follow for ongoing exchange and learning.
- Sam Make sure (wherever possible) that you arrive at your next destination during daylight hours. When you have to find your way from the airport or bus/train station to your accommodation it is much less nerve-racking to do this during the day when you can see where you are going and there are lots of people around/shops open to ask for directions. Once you get to your accommodation you then still have some time up your sleeve to get your bearings, have a look around and plan where you will start exploring the next day. Plus, if you are staying at a hostel it is good to arrive before people are making dinner or having afternoon drinks as this is one of the best times to get a feel for the place and meet new people.
- Tracey Take the time to observe how people interact, and how things work. While sitting at a sidewalk cafe, on a park bench, or just killing time standing in a lineup, I love to watch locals going about their day. If you pay attention to the little things, you can learn a lot: how to use public transit (and how to conduct yourself on it), whether to pay your bill at your table or at the counter, whether people are expected to line up in an orderly fashion or just jump in where you can, how to tip or how to hail a cab. I find this particularly useful in a place where I don't speak the language.
What about you? What is your best tip for a solo travel newbie?