I have written on a few different occasions about travelling solo, so hopefully I now have you fully convinced that it’s something you should do! Now that you’ve decided to go for it, I thought I should share some more practical advice on travelling by yourself for when you start asking questions about where to stay, what to do, and what to bring. If you’re planning a solo trip and have some of these questions, read on! This my advice based on my own experience of travelling alone.
Where to stay when travelling solo
Anywhere I’ve visited on my own so far, I’ve gone for AirBnB when choosing my accommodation. You don’t have to rent a whole apartment just for yourself, there are lots of people who rent out a room in their apartment on AirBnB and also give you access to a bathroom, kitchen, and usually the living space too. This is also a great way to meet someone local, have a chat and get to ask questions.
- Tip: It’s important to read all the details and house rules before booking somewhere, and always, always, ALWAYS read the host reviews. A great host will have lots of advice and tips for things to do where you’re staying!
I don’t do hostels often, but they have long been recommended for people travelling on their own because it’s a great opportunity to meet other travellers, find people to do things with, and usually there are events in the evenings you can take part in. If you don’t mind sharing your space with others and you’re the type of person who loves to meet new people, hostels could be a great experience for you!
You have other options like hotels, traditional B&Bs, or staying with relatives or friends, but the two above are what I recommend for solo travel in new places, especially if you don’t know anyone else in the city or area you’re visiting.
What to do when you’re travelling by yourself
The best thing about travelling by yourself is you get to decide what you want to do with no need to compromise with anyone else over the activities you do in a day. So first of all, if you’re deciding what to do, the answer really is whatever you want! That being said, there are a few things that I recommend in particular if you’re exploring on your own:
I find walking tours a great way to get acquainted with a city, and if you’re by yourself it’s also an opportunity to do some exploring with other people, and to meet a guide who might be able to give some recommendations as to what to do next. Also, if it’s a quick visit and you don’t have a lot of time, it’s a great way to cover a lot of ground in a few hours.
I really believe museums are best experienced alone, because everyone has different interests and everyone has a different pace. Going by yourself means you can choose what to see and be as fast or take as long as you like. You don’t have to wait around for someone else to be done and you don’t have to worry about holding anyone else up, and you can enjoy the experience much more.
Tip: Get a ‘City Pass’ –
Most cities you visit should have some sort of ‘City Pass’ that gives you access to a range of attractions and helps you save money. When I went to Philadelphia I got a one-day pass and in the one day I visited four museums, went to an observation deck, and got a free drink with my Philadelphia Cheesesteak using the pass. Make sure you’re going to go to enough places to make it worth it before buying!
What you should bring when you travel alone
These are things that are useful whether you’re travelling alone or with someone else, but you might be especially glad of these if you are going solo:
A portable charger:
This is especially important if you’re going to be taking pictures with your phone, because the battery won’t last a full day of snapping everything in sight. When I travel I use my phone not only for photographs but also for google mapping my way around, as well as sending messages to family and friends to let them know what I’m up to and that I’m okay. Bring your charger so you can plug your phone in when you stop in a cafe or restaurant, and bring a portable charger for when you’re out and about.
Make sure to pack some books or magazines or download Netflix to your phone (or if you bring a tablet or laptop, even better). You’ll be very glad of this whenever you have some down time, whether that’s on a bus or plane from one place to the next, or if you’re looking for something to do before bed and all your exploring hasn’t quite worn you out enough just yet!
Cash and cards:
It’s best to have a mix of cash and cards just to be safe. It’s also a good idea not to keep all your money in the one place, that way if anything happens to get lost or stolen (hopefully not!), you won’t be completely stuck.
A local taxi app:
I recommend looking up any sort of taxi app available that lets you hook up your visa card to pay for your ride. If you get stuck, you’ll be glad to have it. It doesn’t have to be Uber (I have never used Uber so can’t say if I recommend it), lots of regular taxi companies have apps you can use.
There is a lot to take into consideration when you head off by yourself, but with a bit of planning and organisation you could have an amazing trip. What’s most important is you stay safe and enjoy yourself!