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Solo Travel Guide -
Top Tips for Travelling Alone

People of all ages from all over the world love to explore new places on their own. From learning about new cultures, to pedalling through remote countryside or trekking into mountain valleys, travelling solo is a great way to really get under the skin of a country.
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Travelling alone for the first time?

We’re here to guide you. Take a look at our solo travel tips below to find out everything you need to know about travelling on your own. We take a look at the kinds of people who embark on solo travel adventures, what the benefits are of travelling solo, how to plan a solo trip, some of our favourite solo travel adventures, how to stay safe when travelling alone and why joining a small group tour is a great way to travel solo.

 

What kinds of people travel alone?

A wide variety of people of all ages choose to travel alone. From young people backpacking around the world for the first time and busy professionals wanting to escape the rat-race, to over 60s making the most of their retirement and millennials enjoying their precious annual leave, solo travel is fast growing in popularity across many generations and communities.

One big misconception is that you have to be single to travel alone. But that's definitely not the case. Many of our solo travellers have partners at home. Some want to challenge themselves to embark on a solo travel trip for the first time, and others are drawn to parts of the world that their partners aren't keen on visiting.

Furthermore, solo travel attracts people looking for a range of different experiences from bucket list cultural tours and food and drink discovery trips to high-action adrenalin holidays and once-in-a-lifetime mountain treks. There's not a one-size-fits-all persona for solo travellers - anything goes!

Why travel solo?

When speaking to solo travellers, we find that everyone has their own personal reason to head out on their own. But here are a few of the most common reasons people choose to travel alone:

Meet new people

When travelling alone, you're more likely to strike up conversations with your fellow travellers, but also with locals. For example, you might need to ask for directions or for advice on the best place to eat. It may seem daunting at first, but most people will be more than happy to help you and this is a great way to get closer to the people and their culture. You're also likely to meet other solo travellers at hotels, on public transport or at popular cultural sites as you share your stories and experiences.

Become immersed in the local culture

Without any social distractions, you'll have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the local culture. Why not grab a bite to eat in a local cafe, sit back and watch local life unfold in front of your eyes. Listen to the exotic chitter-chatter of a foreign language in Italy, savour the aromatic smell of tacos in Mexico and observe market traders transporting their wares along the bustling streets of Hong Kong.

Do your own thing

Don't wait for friends or family to get on board with your grand travel plans; head off on your own and make your dreams come true. It can be hard to find a travel itinerary that suits everyone, so why not travel alone and visit all of the places that you want to see. Solo adventures give you the freedom to do what you want when you want.

Self-development

Many people go travelling alone to challenge themselves. Heading beyond the beaten track without familiar companions can be daunting, but many people find inner strength and resilience that they didn't know they had. Travelling solo is also a great time for self-reflection, and many travellers learn new things about themselves on every solo trip that they take.

 

How to plan a solo trip

Planning a solo holiday can be fun and exciting, but there are many things that you need to think about to get the most out of your trip.
  • Firstly, pick a date and destination. As you are travelling alone, this is entirely your own choice and can be anywhere in the world, at any time you like - one of the main benefits of solo travel! Consider how far you can travel in the time you have available and think about whether you want to see lots of different places or immerse yourself in one specific country or region.
  • Decide on whether you want to uncover iconic and historical cultural sights, explore remote destinations by bike or hike into the countryside on foot. Take time to research transport and accommodation options to suit your budget and delve into reviews from other travellers to get a feel for the places you want to visit.
  • Creating an itinerary is also wise when travelling alone. It's important to make sure that you not only cover off all of the interesting places that you want to see but also that you are using safe routes to get there and that loved ones at home can keep track of your movements while you're away. 
  • Alternatively, you can save a lot of time and energy and avoid most of the organisation and planning by joining a small group tour. A group tour operator like Explore will do all of the hard work for you from choosing the best time to travel, booking good quality and trusted accommodation, creating an exciting itinerary, and ensuring you are kept safe throughout your trip. All you have to do is pack a bag and turn up!

Travel ideas for solo travellers

 

Culture tours

Transport yourself to the heart of faraway lands with a cultural discovery tour. Solo travellers are spoilt with a wide variety of sights and destinations to choose from including the ancient stone-carved temples of Jordan, Crusader castles and Phoenician ruins in Lebanon, lush tea plantations in Sri Lanka, and the picturesque coastline of Northern Cyprus.

Active holidays

For solo travellers who love active holidays, cycling and walking tours are a great way to get under the skin of a country, to immerse yourself in the local culture and make new friends. Cycle through the wilderness of the Hamada desert and freewheel down the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, pedal along forest trails in Bosnia or trek through the spectacular snow-capped mountains of the Canadian Rockies.

Wildlife expeditions

Go in search of exotic mammals and birdlife on a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife adventure. Solo travellers can discover rare Bengal tigers in India, the Big Five in Botswana, lazy sloths in Costa Rica and wide-eyed lemurs in The Lost Continent of Madagascar.

Food and Drink

If you love trying new food and drink, a solo food and drink tour will take you beyond the beaten track to uncover secret gastronomy delights. Barter with market traders for fresh ingredients in Vietnam, sample tasty street food in Thailand, indulge in delicious home-cooked casseroles in Turkey or try your hand at making traditional tamales in Mexico.

 

Will I have to pay a single supplement?

Solo travellers are occasionally charged a single supplement by hotels. This charge is designed to compensate a hotelier for the loss of income that may occur due to a room being occupied by only one person, not two. This can also be referred to as a premium charge for the benefit of having a room to yourself. But you can, of course, avoid this fee if you are willing to share a twin room with another solo traveller.

On Explore tours, we offer solo travellers the option to stay in a twin room with another solo traveller of the same sex as standard. Alternatively, you can choose to pay a single's supplement to have the room to yourself.

How to stay safe while travelling alone

Travelling alone may seem daunting, but as long as you are careful and have your wits about you, solo travel can be perfectly safe. Here are a few tips to help you to stay safe while travelling on your own:

Keep belongings secure

Travel with a bag that can be securely fastened and is not easy to grab. Be sure to keep valuables such as jewellery, cameras, phones and laptops hidden from view and don't carry travel documents unless absolutely necessary.

Stay alert

Don't let your guard down when out and about, especially when travelling at night. While you'll want to have a good time, be mindful of how much you drink and never leave beverages unattended. If you feel uncomfortable about your surroundings, move on to somewhere else or go back to your accommodation.

Respect local cultures

Take some time to understand the local dress codes and traditional customs of the destinations you are travelling to. In some locations, you may be required to cover up more than you are used to and refrain from certain behaviours to avoid causing offence to the local people and drawing unwanted attention to yourself.

Travel in a group

If you are unsure about travelling alone, an Explore small group tour will provide you with the extra security and reassurance of travelling in a group and with an experienced local guide. Plus, you'll still experience the thrill of travelling solo. This is also a great option for areas of the world that are perceived to be less safe or if you are travelling alone for the first time.

How to solo travel without travelling alone

Choose a small group tour
Never feel lonely as you join like-minded travellers to explore exotic destinations and make new life-long friends on a small group tour. The average size of an Explore trip is just 12 which is big enough to get to know new people and feel safe, but small enough to give you the freedom to explore the destinations you visit. Plus, on average, at least half of the people joining our small group tours do so on their own, so you'll feel right at home within the group, and the unique experience of travelling solo will not be lost. This is also a popular choice with people travelling alone for the first time.

Travel with an expert tour leader
Another big attraction of travelling with a group is that all of the planning and organisation is done for you, so all you need to do is pack a bag, turn up and be ready for a fun adventure. A knowledgeable local guide will lead the group so you'll get to see all of the best sights, as well as some hidden cultural gems that you may not have found on your own.

Enjoy free time to yourself
Group travel can also be more cost-effective than booking everything yourself - you'll benefit from group discounts on accommodation and travel as well as organised activities. There will also be opportunities for you to do your own thing. Whether you choose to explore the quaint cobbled streets of Madeira on your own or join new friends to share stories over delicious tapas in Spain, you'll have the best of both worlds to hand.

Stick with a group for reassurance
Lastly, as a solo adventurer, you may feel more comfortable travelling in a group when encountering unfamiliar cultural differences, or perhaps when trekking into remote mountain valleys. Feel at ease as you delve into a maze of colourful souks in Marrakech with a group of friendly companions and pedal through lush tea plantations of Kerala under the watchful eye of your group leader.

Get ready for a solo adventure

Join one of our small group tours to embark on a thrilling trip to fascinating destinations around the world with other like-minded solo travellers.
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