Travel Easy - Finding Time when You’re a Solo Traveler
Sometimes people find themselves with time to travel, but can’t find anyone to go with them. If your family/friends don’t have time to travel, then you can still travel by yourself!
Go on a solo adventure
If you’re hesitant to travel on your own, you can first try visiting friends/family that live far away or in a destination you’ve been wanting to explore. Maybe you have a friend that moved abroad to teach English for a year. Or maybe you have an aunt/uncle who had to relocate to a different city/state/country. Go visit them! You might have to visit some attractions on your own, but your friends/family will likely want to show you around and accompany you at least part of the time.
Want to travel to a specific place but don’t have anyone in that location? Reach out to your networks and ask if someone you know does. They may have a friend or a friend-of-a-friend that’s interested/willing to be your tour guide or travel buddy in that area. If they have space, they may even be willing to host you for a few days and you’ll be able to save on accommodation costs! Don’t worry if they don’t have space, or if you just like a little more privacy. You can always book a hotel nearby and meet up with your local host as needed.
Learn to enjoy traveling by yourself
You get to pick the destination and itinerary and don’t have to worry about anyone else. There’s no compromising on plans or fighting over how long you get to spend somewhere. Afraid of eating by yourself? You can bring a book or browse your phone while eating out solo, or get takeout and have a picnic. Places with counter bars are also good if you want to sit by others instead of at a table by yourself.
Women can travel solo too! There may be some extra precautions to be taken, but it definitely is possible. You should always be aware of your surroundings even in your hometown so the same applies while traveling. There are countless blogs and articles giving advice about solo female travel and an internet search will most likely even give tips about specific destinations. Some general advice: Try to travel during the day, trust your intuition, keep family/friends informed on your location and itinerary, try to blend in, and remember to enjoy the journey!
If you’re not quite ready to try traveling on your own or maybe you’ve tried it but have decided it isn’t for you, don’t worry, you still have options!
Join a Facebook group
You're not alone in wanting to travel with others. There’s a group with around 20,000 members called “Travel Buddies – Travel Companions – Travel Partners” and people regularly post looking for someone or a group to travel with. If you already have a plan, you can make a post looking for fellow travelers to join you.
Make new friends by joining a tour
G Adventures offers solo friendly tours and will pair you with a roommate at no additional cost. You can also choose to pay the single supplement if you’d like have your own room. You will get to travel with others but still have flexibility to do your own thing throughout the day if needed. Another service that brings solo travelers together is Best Single Travel. Here you can search singles cruises, trips based on when you are planning to travel, and age groups so you are with like-minded solo travelers as well.
Use an app or website
Tinder or meetup.com can help you find local people to hang out with or explore your destination. Meetup.com has groups that organize all different kinds of activities so you should be able to find something that interests you and hang out with people that have similar interests. You can also use Airbnb to sign up for tours or experiences at your destination and you may make new friends along the way!
Ultimately you shouldn’t let other people’s schedules hinder your travel plans. As cliché as it sounds, life is short. Schedules don’t always match up, and travel isn’t a high priority for everyone. But if it’s a high priority for YOU, you can make it happen. Maybe you’ll even meet a lifelong travel buddy while on a solo adventure. Maybe you’ll inspire someone else to travel more by telling your own travel stories. Need more inspiration to take the leap and GO? Check out our travel inspiration and filming location pages!
How fellow explorers are traveling solo:
“Pick somewhere where i want to go, make sure I know what's there (what I'll miss if I don't go out). Generally I don't have problems getting motivated while on holiday. Maybe pack a book or iPad which I wouldn't if someone was with me. And meeting people, walking tours seem to work or if staying in a hostel go into the common room and chat.” - Natasha G.
“I also travel solo, so have a list of possibilities for each place you wish to visit. Either meet a local, eat a new local cuisine, visit what the spot has to offer. Take a few selfies.” - Robert P.
“I have found booking walking tours, hikes, cooking schools, etc... To be good to get me out. As someone I met on a recent walking tour told me, it is a way to make sure I actually talk to someone else that day!” - Mary C.
“I learned that when I am travelling Solo, I don’t have pressure, because usually travel partner have list of all tourist destination to visit while I love enjoying my time, even just to sit and having coffee or ice cream while seeing the city.” - Susi W.
“I'm MORE motivated to do things travelling solo because I don't have to account for someone else and can do what I want to do. I will walk miles in a city or out in nature because I don't have to worry about anybody keeping up with me. You'll find you pay some more attention to your surroundings because you're reliant only on yourself. The biggest thing is just to be confident and don't hesitate to do what you want to do.” - James H.
“That's exactly what I would say too. I mostly travel solo but sometimes book a short tour with a small group, relax and don't have to worry about catching some transport on time. That's then not my problem. BUT even in a small group you can't really do what you want to do. It's always a relief when that tour is over and I am solo again.” - Astrid M.
“There's waaay to many things to occupy yourself when you travel alone. Just be a smart traveler. Just be aware that you will be a much easier target for scams. Remain friendly to the locals yet know when to take your exit. As for the rest, it is very nice to be alone. You don't only get to plan and do things at your own pace, you get to understand your limits and get to discover a lot about yourself too.” - Irisje R.
“Thanks to solo travel I now have friends all over the world.” - Susan C.
“Once you get to the destination motivation isn't a problem. Being solo is great because you can do whatever YOU wanna do. There's lots of volunteer opportunities that allow you to meet others traveling and the locals. And/or programs that hook you up with a local to host you at their home. Some volunteer programs do this and although I was really nervous about staying with a random family, it was the best part of my trip! Also staying at hostels is a great way to meet other travelers and find people to hang out with.” - Leigh B.
“You usually would have a reason to why you want to visit the place (sights, food, hiking, etc). If your usual reason is to take a holiday with 'x', then that will not cut it this time because you're removing the 'with'. So start from there. Travelling solo means you aren't dependent or hindered by someone else. You meet other people generally from hostels, couchsurfing hangouts or some other social medium. But only make plans with them if you really enjoy their company. Disclaimer: If you try it and like it and start doing it more often, and your usual travelling partners start having a problem with that, I will not be held liable. ;P” - Shawn B.
“Here's what changes:
- You stay in hostel dorms or single rooms instead of sharing a twin or double
- You can do whatever you want and don't have to cater to your partners differing plans/slower pace. Productivity increases dramatically if your partner normally hinders you. However that is only true if you can maintain the same degree of motivation when traveling alone.
- People treat you differently and initiate more conversations when you're alone. You're also more likely to receive help from locals in the form of invitations to dinner , free rides etc. Making new friends becomes significantly more likely.
- Costs will rise slightly due to not have a partner to split split-able expenses with ( three-wheeler, gas, motorcycle rental, equipment rental etc.).
- You will have to take responsibility for everything. This means that all your weaknesses will be exposed when traveling solo. You now have to solve all travel problems independently. Your negotiating skills will improve immensely. You have no partner to negotiate on your behalf. You cannot double team the person. It's all up to you now.
- You will feel less secure and more alert. This is because you are alone in a foreign country without an ally to back you up. You are more vulnerable now as a solo traveler but try to maintain trust in the local people. Most are not interested in taking advantage of you.
- Packing doesn't change that much. Your burden my increase slightly if you were sharing some items with your travel partner. Maybe you were carrying two shared items that you were both using and your partner was also carrying two. Well now you have to carry all four of those items.” - Eoghan D.