Advice for the First Time You Travel Solo

The things I wish I would have known before I chose to travel solo for the first time.

travel solo featured image for travel blog

1. Having “too much” time

The first time I chose to travel solo I was astounded with the amount of extra time I had! However, never feel like you’re “doing it wrong.” There is simply no wasted time trying to decide where you want to go/eat because there is no one to bicker with! If you need a mid-day nap after walking 10 miles through Paris, take that nap! Do what you need.

travel solo and get your picture with the Mona Lisa!
A nice family I spoke to in the Louvre took this for me, after I took their photos!

2. Creating your itinerary

Create your personal itinerary by reading travel bloggers you trust, and starting way ahead of time. Through your favorite travel bloggers, you will learn what exactly you want to do and what you don’t want to do (because typically your favorite travel bloggers will share travel traits with you)! They may also have tips- like the post you are reading- about travel solo and what it is like at your destination. By starting early, you will have time to buy your tickets to museums/monuments.

travel solo and the louvre
A nice couple who were already taking photos of each other took this for me!

3. Be open to making friends

As many solo travelers do, I recommend staying in a well-reviewed hostel (many travel bloggers also review hostels)! Here, you will meet so many new people! While you travel solo, you really should consider making a friend or two! They might be from Australia, or Canada, or Spain, or California! Honestly, my favorite night I have ever spent when travel solo was with friends from my hostel in Paris, drinking wine along the Seine river (photo below!).

Also, don’t be so stuck in your itinerary that you miss out on an amazing opportunity, that you may not have known about when making your itinerary! If a new friend asks you to come somewhere cool, and it sounds better than your plans, go for it! Be spontaneous!

travel solo and make friends
From that night with friends on the Seine I told you about!

5. Safety

Being alone, safety is what everyone first worry’s about when they travel solo. This topic deserves it’s own piece (and it will get one, stay tuned). Until then, remember these important tips:

  • Don’t walk down allies or streets that are empty and far away from others
  • If you feel uneasy, literally walk into the middle of the street. Cars will stop and no one wants to assault/mug someone who is walking down the middle of a street.
  • If someone approaches you with drinks, food, or drugs, do not take any.
  • If you do find yourself alone, tell someone that you trust where you are and that if you don’t text/call within the next 5 minutes, to send for help. Avoid this resort at all costs.
  • The golden phrase for safety is, “I don’t know you, stay away from me!” or the country’s language equivalent to this. This phrase will never be taken as a joke by any passerby’s and will bring you the attention that might save you!

5. How to Dress

If you travel solo, one of the most enjoyable parts is being able to fit in with the ‘locals.’ Research the place you are visiting well, if your clothing is close to the typical trends of the locals, you will be more comfortable and safe. (check out this packing list for Paris, to fit in with locals there!) Another tip, brought to you from one of my great traveling friends, is to remember that “some clubs don’t let you in if you aren’t dressed nicely.” So always pack at least one nice outfit if you plan to go clubbing!

travel solo and how to get photos of yourself
Believe it or not, an 8 year old girl took this photo.

 

6. Taking Photos

How do you get photos (other than selfies) of yourself when you travel solo?! This topic was one of the hardest to navigate for me, the firs time I chose to travel solo. Here is a list of people who are safe to approach and trust your phone/camera with, in my experience (note: this list also requires your best judgement. If a situation seems odd, avoid it):

  • A family
  • A group of young/teenage girls who speak the same language as you
  • A worker or civil servant
Travel Solo in front of Notre Dame in Paris
My favorite photo a stranger ever took of me!!

I hope this helps you with all of the times you travel solo! Did you learn something new? Is there something that I forgot? Let me know by replying to the post!

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41 Comments

  1. So good, Brooke!!! Your posts are amazing- so practical. You should write a book if you haven’t already!

    1. WOW!!!!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!!! That is my DREAM! So it means SO MUCH that you would say that!!!! ❤❤❤❤ you’re so inspiring

      1. Girl, I’m not just saying that either! Go after it because you can totally get there! You are a smart cookie and have a lot of good information to share !! Xo

  2. Good points! I especially like the tip about who to ask to take a photo for you. I have found some of the best spots in a foreign city from chatting with those who have snapped a pic for me!
    Happy traveling!
    -Patricia @keatoncollaboration
    http://www.keatoncollaboration.blogspot.com

  3. I love this 🙂 nice work ! Jamie

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  4. The friends bit is so true. You meet people you never imagine you will meet and may never see again so take the opportunity

    1. Exactly!!! I almost said no to the best night of my life because I thought I didn’t need friends while solo traveling. I’m so glad I said yes!

  5. Wonderful tips! I especially like your tip about getting non-selfie photos of yourself. Asking a family is a smart idea; we’ve always had fantastic experiences with mothers, in particular. Thank you for sharing…I’ll be traveling solo for a spell this summer and will definitely reference your helpful tips as I plan!

    1. Thank you for such a kind comment!!!! I’m so happy I could help you this summer- and yes about the mothers! Having only selfies would be sad to look back on!

  6. Great post! I totally agree with creating your own itinerary….It really helps if you plan it way ahead of times! + Making new friends always helps if you are travelling solo. 🙂

  7. Awesome post, I definitely agree with all of these and when I reflect on things I’ve done alone, places I’ve walked in the dark or shortcuts I took when feeling comfortable in a place I always remind myself how silly I was. I love getting strangers to take my photo, I actually made a really good friend this way! X

    1. I’m glad you liked it!!! And I’m glad you’re safe now- I also agree with making good friends by asking people to take your photo!!


  8. Great advice, I’ve been traveling solo now for over 7 years, next trip I think will be Greece. I learn something new every trip and learn how to pack differently and better each trip too. The bag is getting smaller and smaller.

  9. Love this Brooke! I was on my own travelling solo properly for the first time (not as part of a tour group) & I was feeling properly lonely & nervous at the time. This post really helped me to feel more confident in my ability to travel alone so THANK YOU! <3 xxx

    1. Your welcome! Thank you for reading and I am so happy that it could help you!!! My entire goal is just to help people, so thank you for letting me know that I did that!!!!

  10. Great post.
    Solo travel lets you experience the world from a completely different perspective. I remember sitting by the bonfire in Laos talking to this guy. He recommended me a book. Vagabonding AN UNCOMMON GUIDE TO THE ART OF LONG-TERM WORLD TRAVEL. I got it for my kindle. Half way through I was thinking what a waste of money it was as it was all common sense to me. Only then did I realise that this particular book was talking about the set of skills I’ve gained during my travels, but took absolutely for granted. Loved it 😊

      1. I would particularly recommend the last few chapters. It tells how life is never really the same, because you start seeing things differently. The news that you’ve never paid attention to suddenly means so much as it might be one of your most memorable destinations. Do you know the very magical glasses of curiosity that you put on when away? There must be a way to have it on in your hometown 😊

        1. There definitely must be!!! What an interesting subject… Like when you’re traveling in a new place, every door, window, and ally seems absolutely magical. And when you come home, where does that magic go? Thank you for the thought provoking comments, maybe we could double-team a blog post about this!

  11. This is excellent advice! For the longest time, I feared traveling on my own. (It might have something to do with the fact that I was 20 and in Israel.) My latest trip to Italy was fraught with minor miscommunications between me and my travel partner. We simply weren’t in Italy for the same reason! Consequently, my next two big trips are going to be solo (I’m 6 years wiser and will speak at least one of the two languages where I’m headed. Probably helps.)
    Thanks for this!


      1. Much appreciated. I’ll post a number of times next week. Tomorrow will be a bit of an emotional post but the others will be very travel related

    1. Thank you so much!!! I love your blog too! And your instagram!

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