Party for One – Solo Traveling

Everything you need to know to travel by yourself. 

As a travel lover, I am always ready to plan my next trip. But I don’t always have a travel buddy to go on these adventures with. Once, I booked a bucket list trip to Peru with my best friend. 4 months out, she shared she was pregnant.


I was devastated and asked several people to join me – my sister, boyfriend, and even other friends – but no one could go. So, I went alone. 

What is Solo Travel

In my experience, there are two ways to solo travel. The first is the traditional image that pops into your head. The lone traveler with just a backpack, ready to take on the world alone — though, I travel with a suitcase. 


The second is the solo traveler who books group travel. Group travel is professionally organized, with a trip leader, an itinerary, and transportation. You start as a solo traveler and often come out with lifelong friends.


For more on the benefits of group travel, check out my post, Exploring Together, but for now, let’s focus on the lone traveler.

Photo by Michael Barón on Unsplash

Choosing Where to Go

The first step of any trip is choosing a destination. The next is how to get there. This is one of the best benefits of solo travel – flexibility.


For example, if you want to visit Paris but flights from LAX to Paris are $1200, you can expand your search and see that flights to London are only $600.


So, you fly into London, spend a few days there, and then head to Paris by train for less than $100. It’s a win-win, saving nearly $500 and adding a second destination to the trip.


And for longer trips, solo traveling allows the flexibility to change your plans at the drop of a hat. Like when your new hostel friend has an extra ticket to see Taylor Swift just a few countries over.

Choosing Where to Stay

As for hostels, solo travelers don’t have to stay in them – but it can make traveling alone easier.

Solo traveling can be done in a hotel, an Airbnb, or a hostel, or you may even choose to rent a converted van to take your travels on the road.

The benefit of a hostel is the opportunity to make new friends, participate in activities, and get some great suggestions from the staff — often travelers like you. Even if you’re not keen on sharing a room, many hostels offer private rooms — the best of both worlds.

Picking a hostel and a room is crucial to the experience. I researched my stays on – with a strict rule to only stay in a hostel ranked 8.0 or above.

Then reviewed the comments to see how others felt about its safety, cleanliness, and social style. As a traveler, I like a good social scene, clean rooms, and staying in women-only dorms.

I also love hostels that offer family dinners or have a bar on site – both make great meeting spots to find other travelers.

As for the room, I try to find a 4-bed dorm or a 6-bed dorm. Rooms any larger will make sleeping through the night difficult.

Photo by Nicate Lee on Unsplash

Preventing Loneliness

One of the most common themes I hear from others on why they don’t want to travel alone is the fear of loneliness. 

And I have learned that it takes a bit of work to keep the lonely feeling from creeping up on you. 

Some of the ways I surround myself with others include: 

  • Booking a walking tour in each new city I visit. It’s a great way to learn a little about the new place you have stepped into and a great way to chat with other travelers. I nearly always find another solo traveler in the group. (Pro tip: This is the perfect place to ask others to take photos of you. They are experiencing the tour with you and often will ask for you to reciprocate the favor.)
  • Spend time in the hostel common area. I have found an easy way into a conversation. If I hear an American accent, I ask where they are from. Boom, instant friend.
  • Joining in the hostel activities. While in Brugge, the hostel offered a chocolate-tasting class. Not only did I get chocolate, but I had a chance to chat with others.
  • Talk with friends back home. My partner and I FaceTime every day when I am away. Often first thing in the morning. It’s always a great way to start my day.

If You’re Thinking About Traveling Solo – Go!

Solo travel can have its ups and downs. Sometimes, you’ll wish you had someone to share a special moment with. It will test your ability to speak up and make friends.


But the challenges will be small in comparison to the wins. Successfully navigating to a new place, making new friends, and exploring exactly how you want is thrilling.


Being alone without the distraction of work, friends, or family is a practice of self-realization and while few have done it,  I believe it’s an experience everyone should try at least once.

If you have ever solo traveled, share your experience below in the comments and keep exploring!

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