Ten things to do when you travel alone

Courtesy of Miles (http://www.hazardouspaste.com/)

Some people love travelling alone and there are some that simply wouldn’t dream of it. I used to belong to the latter group. That all changed when I went on a (predominantly) solo, five-month round-the-world trip last year. I had the time of my life and rarely experienced a lonely moment! Most of all, I found it to be a very empowering, refreshing experience. For those of you who still have doubts, well, give it a go, even if it’s just for a week. Based on my own experiences, I recently compiled a series of ‘Lone Traveller’ articles with tips on what to do when you’re out there in a foreign place on your own. This article sums up the ten ‘Lone Traveller’ tips. Please click on each tip to read more.

  1. Opt for a homestay
  2. Reflect
  3. Open your senses
  4. Try something new
  5. Treat yourself
  6. Beware of scams
  7. Take your own picture
  8. Stop for a recap
  9. Make new friends
  10. Learn a new language

If you’re not totally convinced about the benefits of solo travel, read “Ten reasons to travel alone” and “Taking a solo road trip” (a brilliantly written piece on solo travel by my travel blogger pal, TheSoloWriter). For my readers who have travelled alone, I’m interested to know about your experiences or if you have more solo travel tips to share. Please share these in the comments section.

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25 Responses to “Ten things to do when you travel alone”

  1. Nadia 17/10/2011 2:28 pm

    I was an accidental lone traveler. It all started when I realized that I had a 2 weeks holiday and none of my friends are available to travel with me. Also, I just got out of a relationship which left me mentally and emotionally exhausted. So I decided to have a go at it. Never once I regretted my decision. It made me become who I am today, and I’m constantly looking forward to more experiences of traveling. I’ve traveled alone, with a partner and with a group. All of these have its own pros and cons. I agree with your list though. And I am adding a few other options/comments.

    Opt for a homestay
    — or try couchsurfing. (couchsurfing.org)

    — from A-Z of your past, present and perhaps plan your future

    Open your senses
    — exactly, and a lot of endless possibilities

    Try something new
    — and nobody to tell you not to!!

    Treat yourself
    — yes, you are not restricted by other people’s budget

    Beware of scams
    — you will have to learn all the street tips from locals (from couchsurfing hosts too!)

    Take your own picture
    — learn to travel with a very light tripod. I recommend, gorrilapod

    Stop for a recap
    — and its important to keep a journal, also, bring an external hard disk to backup all the photos!

    Make new friends
    — and keep in touch! facebook has helped me to connect with all the travelers I’ve crossed paths with. who knows one day you’ll meet each other again! i once met an american guy in new zealand, then when i was in new york, he happened to be doing an internship there, and then, he came to Kuala Lumpur! all within 3 years! thank you facebook!

    Learn a new language
    — or at least important ones, like, Thank You, and phrases for directions in case you got yourself lost!

    Kuala Lumpur Lass.

  2. velvet 10/10/2011 9:47 am

    Hello Lari,
    Thanks so much for your beautiful comment. I’ve had the same experience: I never felt lonely for a second, I guess because I feel comfortable with myself and I can easily keep myself entertained. Thanks for the great advice in your comment.

    Best regards,

  3. lari 09/10/2011 10:35 pm

    have had the pleasure to travel alone and with family and friends – and must say travel alone is most enjoyable – just be prepared to pay more for a single room and meet the costs of a tour on ur own. australia is a great place for lone travellers – the distances are amazing 🙂 europe and asia too have their joys, perils and compensation. life is a journey in itself – sometimes u are with family , friends and sometimes u travel on ur own – be comfortable with ur self and u will not be lonely. as a now older female traveller i would reccommend that u do not let the thoughts and fears of others stop u on ur lifes journey – the world is there for the looking -:) the alternative is staying at home by urself it is not scary once u take the first few steps 🙂

  4. myla 28/02/2011 7:27 am

    it’s my first time to travel alone and this article is very helpful… thanks 🙂

  5. velvet 26/02/2011 10:17 pm

    Thanks for your comment. I truly admire your spirit. Travel safe.


  6. Provi 26/02/2011 10:03 pm

    Nice article. Yes I am a single traveler. Senior age. Since I retired I understood they were 2 choices either stay home or travel alone. choose the second. My friends think that it is strange’ that I am able to do this. (not normal) I love it. So far I went in a transatlantic cruise, Thailand, Egypt, Machu-Pichu. Mostly cruises. I do not eat in the ship cafeteria, everyday I get well dress, go to all captain activities, ask to be placed on different tables during dinner. Meet the most interested people, some of them gave me the e-mail site I keep in touch. These are people that travel with others. nice conversation. I listen a lot instead of overwhelming the conversations. Smile to others and I am polit. Very important.

    Yes I am shy. but I learned to overcome this. I do have an accent right away they know that although I live in CA I am not american. That is interesting during conversation.
    To other give a try specially if you area Senior, healthy and able to do it. The room is your no waiting for decision maker, is up to you. Just protect yourself, be safe, dress well, head up; look good. YOU WILL ENJOY YOURSELF. OTHER WILLS ENVY YOU. IF A PARTNER COME INTO YOUR LIFE NEVER SAY NO GIVE A TRY. My next trip Valencia,Spain

  7. stefanie 09/09/2010 1:08 am

    I loved your article. I have traveled alone at least twice a year since my divorce. It sounds odd to my friends who travel with their families, but I really love it. As you said, it is so empowering. And while one day I might find a travel partner, it feels good knowing that I do not have to depend on others to see the world..

  8. velvet 21/04/2010 1:17 pm

    Thank you Laurie for your wonderful comment!


  9. Laurie 21/04/2010 12:34 pm

    This is a great article, thanks. I took my first solo trip last year and to Morocco. I was nervous at first, but as you say being open to trying new things and meeting people really opened up a world of possibilities unlike any other trip I’d taken before.

    It is empowering and enriching — for the experiences others introduce you to and for the friendships that extend beyond the travel. LOL about taking a picture of yourself, you’re so right, I did it and felt so silly at first but it’s another way to meet people and it’s strangely liberating at the same time, everyone should try it!

  10. Runaway Juno 21/04/2010 4:35 am

    Yes I am a fan of solo travel. I do all the 10 things! 🙂 haha how wonderful. Sometimes having some company from your world is great, but make a company on the road is better ( for me, just yet). Not many of my Korean friends are open for travel or meet strangers. yes they discribe as ‘strangers’.
    I can BE myself is the best thing.

    I sure take a lot of picture of me! haha
    Nice article Keith! 🙂


  11. JFK 19/12/2009 12:10 pm

    Thanks for these tips, but I think I still wouldn’t like traveling alone.
    Mostly because I am a bit shy and if there is no one with me to push me a bit, I would not really get myself to try out something new.
    Also if you discover something interesting it’s just half the fun if you cannot share it with anyone. I want to say “wow, look at this!”

  12. herry 01/11/2009 1:13 pm

    i am living in china.i like traveling here and there alone.in this way ,i can release myself from traditional life and orthdox belief.
    these tips are useful.
    i like cycling.

  13. Kaden 23/07/2009 6:55 am

    Traveling solo is the most pleasurable ways to experience the world. Nothing and no one to really hold you back, whatever you feel like doing you can do it. I’m 24 and just recently started traveling on my own, I hve such an adventurous spirit. This past weekend I booked a last minute vacation to NYC (I live in Florida). Explored Brooklyn and Manhattan on my own and learned how to use the subway system. I had the time of my life! Met other solo travelers too, people I normally wouldn’t meet if I were with a group. Traveling Alone is very empowering.. Came back from the trip with a
    confidence I never had before. 🙂 already planning my next solo trip to either Tokyo, Hawaii or London. Hmmmmmmmm

  14. jim 22/07/2009 10:39 pm

    Liberating, empowering, etc. are not words that have ever come to mind. I’ve traveled alone my entire life (well, since I was 12 anyway) and wouldn’t want it any other way. On the times I have had to travel with others, I’ve found it boring, frustrating and stressful.

    If you want to see what you want to see, just do it. Get off the beaten path and don’t make plans unless it’s required. I don’t know what to say about the dangers, I’ve walked through the middle of them. In my opinion if you can communicate with people despite any language barriers and have a sense of humor (ie make them laugh), there are no real dangers.

  15. velvet 20/06/2009 6:27 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for your comment. I agree with you. Keeping safe is paramount when travelling alone but a good dose of adventurous spirits is important too. I’ll definitely be checking out your site.


  16. Lisa at Wanderlust Women 20/06/2009 2:45 am

    Keith – “Have passport and solo travel” has been my mantra for more than two decades. I found your post through Tammie at http://www.soloroadtrip.com

    Women have to keep safety in mind but you also need an adventurous spirit.

    Next week I’m talking about why I do what I do, drop by and let me know what you think.

    Happy travels.

  17. velvet 28/04/2009 10:55 pm

    Thank you for your comments!

    “Psychological sofa” – love that term. A solo trip IS the “psychological sofa” and that is so true!


  18. jen laceda 28/04/2009 9:11 pm

    Keith, I wish I had done a solo world tour before I got married / had family. Nowadays, I’m just cooking up ways on how to convince the hubby to go on a roun-the-world journey (with our daughter). But he has a great (aka busy) hospital job and wouldn’t think of taking a sabbatical. What’s a girl going to do? Heeheehee. These tips are great. It didn’t even cross my mind to do a ‘home stay’. That’s a good tip!

  19. Solo Road Trip 28/04/2009 5:31 pm

    Thank you Velvet Escape for the mention! Solo road trips (and solo travel in general) are something I’m passionate about. Few things in life are as liberating, empowering, and rejuvenating. And this applies to both men and women. I have as many men email me with trepidations about going it alone as I do have women. The rewards are not delineated by gender. I liken solo trip to a “psychological sofa”. LOL — Tammie Dooley


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