Solo Travel Tips: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Travelling Solo

My first big trip was solo, and it wasn’t like I dipped my toes in the water and eased myself into the world of solo travel. Nope, I just dived headfirst. This little Aussie girl went to Tanzania, Africa as her first solo trip.

Lots of people thought I was crazy, even I thought I was crazy at times. And as I sat on the first of 3 planes to take me across the world, I doubted every decision I’d ever made. Did I need too? Nope! That trip truly shaped me into the person I am today and fuelled a whole other part of me. If I wasn’t already wanderlust before, I sure was after that trip.

I just want to say this first – If you are thinking about a solo trip, DO IT! Seriously, you won’t regret it. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but it’s something I think everyone should do atleast once (and once will turn in too many more times, most likely!). Solo travel is so ENPOWERING! I hope that the things I wish I knew before travelling solo, and my top solo travel tips will help you feel more confident in solo travel.

I, for one, was not going to sit around waiting for someone to embark on my crazy adventures with me. I’m still not. If I want to do something, I’m going to do it. After many trips since that first venture to Tanzania, I’ve learnt that I love travelling solo and I also love travelling with other people, and I think I’ve found a nice balance between the 2. If I do half my trips with loved ones and half solo, I’m happy.

Looking for inspiration for your first solo travel trip? I’ve got you covered!

Anyways, I’m going to stop rambling on and get in to this now!

Five Mistakes to Avoid If You Are Travelling Solo

You’ll get lonely

1. You’ll get lonely, but that’s okay!

This is the number one thing you need to know, because you will get lonely at times. Sure, most of the time you’ll be hanging out with new friends, locals and having an all-round great time exploring, but it’s inevitable that you will get lonely, and that’s totally ok.

What you’ll learn is that alone time can be good. You’ll learn to become more comfortable with your own company and love yourself even more.

Making friends is easy

2. Making friends is easy

I won’t lie, I was paranoid about making friends when travelling solo. What if no one liked me, or no one spoke to me? Those thoughts were just paranoia, and far from the truth.

If you are travelling somewhere, you are obviously going to be among like-minded people, so of course you will get along! From my experience, making friends abroad is very easy, people are kind and always open to meeting new people, especially if you are solo!

You are way stronger than you think

3. You are way stronger than you think

If there’s one way solo travel makes you feel, it’s like a badass. Sure, there’s time where you might feel down, but most of the time, you feel powerful and strong and all round awesome. Solo travel has taught me that I can actually conquer anything, and do anything I put my mind too.

My first solo trip made me start this blog in the first place, because, why couldn’t I? You’ll learn so much about yourself travelling alone, and part of that is realising how strong you really are.

Don’t dwell on the bad experiences

4. Don’t dwell on the bad experiences

Things are probably going to go wrong, that’s inevitable. Maybe your hostel messed up your booking, or you get lost, or a cab driver tries to rip you off. These things can seem like the end of the world at the time, and it’s ok to be upset. But letting it get you down and ruin the rest of your trip? Not a chance.

This is probably one of the biggest things I’ve learnt, and I’m still working on it. Be upset for an hour, move on, and enjoy the rest of your trip. It’s truly the only way forward, and one day you will probably look back and laugh about it.

5. The world isn’t so scary

In today’s day and age, everything can be blown out of proportion. The media will take something small and make it into something huge. I remember sitting at my laptop reading about solo travel in Africa and seeing so many sites saying to be extremely careful.

Sure, I was careful when I was away, and have been every time I’ve travelled solo since. But there’s a difference between being smart and being overly careful. I always ask myself – would I do this at home? If the answer is yes, I’ll do it. No, on the other hand, I’ll think it over again. You can be smart and careful without being overly cautious and missing out on epic experiences. Keep reading for some of my top safety tips!

My top solo travel tips

My top solo travel tips

Travelling solo can be hard at times, but I’ve found that these tips can make everything a little easier!

Have a way to connect

Connecting with your family and friends back home is the best way to combat feeling lonely. Technology these days makes this so easy, how cool is it that you can facetime your family across the world and all you need is internet connection and a phone. With just about any hotel or hostel offering free Wi-Fi these days, hop on facetime to someone back home when you feel a little lonely.

Have a way to connect

Stay in hostels

This is the best way to meet new people and make friends. You’ll meet like-minded people and be surrounded by fellow travellers. If the idea of sharing a dorm room doesn’t really appeal to you, many hostels offer private rooms. Just make sure you opt for a hostel with common areas for you to meet others!

Start small if you are worried

If you are still not sold, start with a small trip to gain some confidence.  You don’t need to go across the world for a month, you can go somewhere new in your own country or somewhere close by for a week.

Stay in hostels

Learn some of the local language.

You don’t have to be fluent, but making an effort to learn some key phrases and questions in the local language will make your life a whole lot easier. You’ll also leave a great impression on locals, they always appreciate you putting in the effort to speak the local language. It may sound obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t do this.

Don’t be afraid to ask!

Ask as many questions as you need. Ask for help, ask for directions, anything. People are generally nice, and being afraid to ask will get you nowhere!

Solo Travel Safety Tips

  • Only use registered taxi’s and ride services
  • Share your phone location with someone back home
  • Always keep a business card of your hotel or hostel
  • Don’t flash expensive cameras and other items

Travel planning resources for your solo trip

  • Skyscanner: The best place to book flights! Skyscanner searches the internet for the best deals.
  • My personal favourite for booking hotels and hostels! With a great review system and lots of search options, you can find your perfect accomodation.
  • Get your guide: A great site for booking day tours and tickets for activities, shows and anything else you can imagine!
  • Travel Insurance: Never travel without travel insurance! I recommend Travelex travel insurance.
  • Trip Advisor: If you like reading reviews like me, check out trip advisor for reviews on restaurants, hotels and tours.

I truly hope you have enjoyed reading this and I’ve either inspired you to travel solo, or calmed some of your doubts. At the end of the day, be smart and have fun. Go on and conquer the world!

Happy travelling,