Over the past six years I've written thousands of solo travel tips in hundreds of posts on how to travel solo.
It's time to wrangle them together and distill my best advice into one post.
The top 10 solo travel tips were difficult to choose – there are so many tips I can offer. That's why they are followed by the most popular solo travel posts. Use them to dig into the details of advice on specific issues.
Top 10 solo travel tips
As I say, it's hard to come up with just 10 solo travel tips but, if asked to come up with just 10 I'd offer these.
- Book your first night accommodation in advance. Know where you're going to lay your head. At least, have a good idea because it makes for a soft landing in a place where everything is new. Our Travel Resources page has a list of excellent accommodation booking options.
- Arrive well before dark – This is important as everything looks better in the light and, should you not be happy with your accommodation you have time to make a change. I learned this the hard way in Havana. Trust me. When you're going some place new, daylight will help.
- Plan for some social time – Whether it's taking a class or a day tour, plan for some social time. You will likely meet people alone one way or another but plan for it to make sure. Go to Viator to book your entrance to attractions and events around the world. (Tours sometimes require a minimum number of people for booking. If you can't book online, call the tour company directly and see if you can join a group.)
- Carry the essentials when you go out. Carry the business card of your hotel so that you have the name of the place where you’re staying in the local language. Have copies of your emergency contacts, insurance and passport on you.
- Manage jet lag. On your flight out and back, avoid alcohol, drink lots and lots of water and get yourself onto the time zone of your destination as soon as possible. Be aware if you are jet lagged and slow down decisions. You may be more clumsy and indecisive because of it and when you're traveling solo, this can be an issue.
- 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. It would be a strange occurrence for you to choose to ask the wrong person for information so, go ahead, smile and ask for help.
- 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 and the CN Tower in Toronto. This will help you explore cities safely.
- Stay low-key. Don't flash jewellery or expensive cameras and electronics. Be discreet to avoid unwanted attention.
- Eat at the bar or communal table. A table for two or four leaves no opportunity for a solo traveler to be social. Eat at the bar or in a restaurant with communal tables and you could be mixing with the locals in no time.
- 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.
Top 20 Solo Travel Posts and Pages
Out of more than 1,200 posts on solo travel, here are the 20 focussing on the why and how of solo travel that have been the most popular in the last year.
- Travel Alone Where & How – This is a page that points people to some of the broad spectrum of posts on Solo Traveler, many of which are not mentioned here.
- Bare Minimum Packing – Traveling light makes solo travel easier and less expensive. Follow the solo travel tips in this ultimate packing post.
- Solo Travel Deals – For people looking for a tour or cruise, this is the page to check out for travel that doesn't include a single supplement.
- Eating Alone is Easy When You Know How – Advice on this one aspect of solo travel that many people find particularly difficult.
- A Road Trip Alone: be prepared with these 10 tips. – Clearly, many solo travelers like a road trip. This post has had almost 40,000 readers in the last year.
- Affordable London. Affordable Paris. Affordable New York… Our series of 32 Tips posts give you great tips on saving money and/or navigating some of the more popular or challenging destinations.
- Get the Single Supplement Waived: Good News! – Oh the single supplement – the bane of solo travelers. Here's the good news.
- Solo Travel Destinations. Our destinations section has over 300 posts written by readers on destinations that they recommend for solo travelers. They include the why, what and how of the destination.
- The Solo Traveler Accommodation Guide – This is another crowdsourcing project with the readers of Solo Traveler. We've put together a free downloadable ebook of hotels, hostels, B&Bs and more that they recommend.
- How to Travel Alone Without Being Lonely: 10 tips & 5 posts – Loneliness is a concern of many who are considering solo travel for the first time. With these tips you'll find that it won't be an issue at all.
- Caught in the Act of Becoming – Solo travel is about much more than travel. It’s about building confidence, discovering new interests and talents and living life to your own rhythm.
- 9 Tips for Those Who Struggle to Keep a Travel Journal – A journal can be a great companion. Here is advice on how to keep one regardless of your travel style.
- When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed: 43 Tips for Traveling Alone – This post contains the wisdom of dozens of solo travelers offering their advice to newbies.
- What to Do at Night When Traveling Alone – 7 Tips – Some people find it intimidating to go out in the evening. For those who don't want to stay in with a book, here are 7 tips.
- Night Safety for Solo Travelers: 15 tips – Now, if you are going out at night, here are solo travel tips to help you stay safe.
- Travel Resources, Gear & Books – This is the list of products and services that I use for solo travel.
- Planning and Packing Tips for Checked Baggage – There are ways to minimize the cost and hassle of checked bags. Check out these tips.
- Solo Travel Destinations: how to be safe wherever you go – Here are the basics of solo travel safety from the planning stage to the travel stage.
- Simple Travel Hacks: Savings for Solo Travelers – This post will give you solo travel tips to help you travel farther, longer and more often.
- Travel Solo and Practice 3 Essential Life Skills – I have often thought that this site is about life first with travel as the backdrop – but it’s been subtle. Here I bring the subject of life, front and center.