Your vacation plans may differ from your loved ones, but that is no reason to deprive yourself of a trip.
Solo travel is a new level of perspective on another culture and relationships with yourself. You may need to make more decisions when traveling alone, but there is no need to compromise: You won't have to coordinate anything with anyone but yourself. We share our experiences why solo travel is interesting and how to organize a solo vacation that will give you a sense of freedom.
Answers to basic questions about traveling alone:
Why travel alone?
What are the challenges when traveling alone?
How not to get bored while traveling alone?
What should be considered when planning a safe solo trip?
Where is it safe to travel alone?
Why is solo travel interesting?
A solo trip is an opportunity to re-know yourself and the world.
Complete freedom of movement. Go to bed early but suddenly change your mind and go to a party. Spend the whole day at the beach or go to a museum in another city to see the same painting. Sign up for a spontaneous surf lesson, choose a cafe with a beautiful sign, see not a single sight, but read a dozen books - only you set the rules (or cancel!).
perception of local life. A single journey seems to bring focus: colors become brighter and impressions richer. Alone we ponder what's going on around us and come back with strange treasures.
To meet new people. In a solo trip, there is no one to share impressions with every moment - but it is much easier to engage in a dialogue with others. And discover the joy of knowing the country through people. It may turn out that the Indian boatman knows local mythology very well, the chef of a cafe in a small Himalayan village is trained in Australia, and you can leave a quiet life in England to volunteer at age 87.
Introduce yourself. You are your own best and most reliable friend. And if you don't know, it's because you haven't taken a solo trip yet.
More housing costs. Traveling in a company is often more profitable than traveling alone - especially when it comes to renting a house, car or taxi. If possible, book a room in advance and take a closer look at hostels if you don't mind active communication. Many countries have women-only hotels and hostels for solo travelers. They don't always help save money, but you'll feel more secure there.
It's less secure. Traveling within the company is easier. On the other hand, the presence of other passengers is not a guarantee of safety and we are more likely to be alert on a solo trip. Follow simple precautionary rules, choose quiet countries - and a solo trip will bring no more risks than a family vacation.
Sharing impressions is more difficult. Sometimes it's really nice to touch someone's shoulder and say, "Look how beautiful!" you mean. But solo travel is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the moment without being distracted by arguments. And if you get bored, you can always find an interlocutor or send a video greeting to your loved one.
How a solo trip is comfortable and not boring
The biggest advantage of solo travel is that everything is in your hands!
Be open to communication. Even if you are not the most social person, try to hang up the phone in the evening and observe local life. The next step is to maintain a dialogue with a barista in a cafe or talk to a neighbor on a tour. You learn about the atmospheric village, which is not included in the guidebooks, and the family cafe, where the cookie recipe is transferred from the great-great-grandmother, from such small conversations. And it's just fun and refreshing!
try something new. Solo travel is the best time to try something you've always put off or embarrassed about. Surfing, pottery or bachata lesson - no one expects masterpieces from you, just have fun!
Show initiative. A group is needed for a master class or excursion. Don't give up on an idea just because you came alone. There are many such travelers around you: Maybe they dream of going on a tasting or paragliding, they just don't know yet. Feel free to invite other tourists to have breakfast on the bus or at the hotel. Save on trips - and maybe make friends.
Look for a balance between the planned and the spontaneous. Have a list of places and things to do and the freedom to improvise in case you get bored. Don't plan too much: it will definitely be an evening when you just want to watch the sunset.
How to make solo travel safe
Traveling alone is a step towards trusting the world, but basic safety rules are important everywhere.
Prepare for a solo trip in advance. Download offline maps like maps.me to your smartphone, book accommodation and mark your hotel and attractions on the map. Google Translate or iTransl A translator app like ate will also help. Take photos and copies of important documents, learn about typical tourist traps and unsafe areas, get multiple debit cards and keep all your valuables and useful items in one place.
Use car rental, public transport and official taxi services. Popular applications for calling a taxi, as a rule, are not responsible for the safety of passengers. It may be more convenient to rent a car, take the subway, book a transfer at a hotel, or ask the guesthouse hosts to drive you to the airport.
Stay in touch. If possible, buy a local SIM card with internet or turn on roaming. That is why it is easier to navigate on the ground and more convenient to communicate with relatives - always have a person who knows where you are.
Be careful with alcohol. When traveling alone, try not to leave drinks unattended.
Do not walk alone in dark streets. If you are traveling alone, avoid questionable places. In any incomprehensible situation, it is better to change the route to a more crowded and well-lit route. A solo trip to local slums is also a dubious idea.
Do not tell strangers where you are staying. Clarity is great, but let this be about your taste in music, not the address of the hotel and the list of valuables you carry with you.
Get a first aid kit. Have the medicines you need and the first aid supplies "just in case" with you.