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How to be a solo traveller and enjoy it: complete guide

Embark on a journey of self-discovery with our guide for the solo traveller! Learn safety tips, budget hacks, and top destinations.



Have you ever considered the allure of becoming a solo traveller? There's something intoxicating about standing alone in an unknown city, surrounded by strangers and foreign languages. 

It’s like being part of a vibrant mosaic - yet distinctively individual. You're the master of your journey, painting each day with experiences handpicked for their resonance to your soul. 

You get lost in narrow alleyways filled with hidden treasures or on bustling streets echoing unfamiliar sounds. Yet within this chaos, there's order; within solitude, camaraderie.

Ready to become a solo traveller? Join us as we unravel practical tips on safety measures, share insider knowledge on planning itineraries that fit any budget, and showcase testimonials from those who have already embarked on this adventure.

Reasons to be a solo traveller

Solo traveller in a mountain

In recent years, we've seen an upswing in people opting for solo journeys. The reasons? Freedom in itinerary planning, opportunity for personal growth, and a thirst to dive headfirst into diverse cultures without distractions. Discover the benefits of being a solo traveler:

Personal growth

Solo travel offers an unparalleled opportunity for personal growth. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and encourages self-reliance, adaptability, and resilience. 

Without the influence or distraction of companions, you have the freedom to discover who you truly are and what matters most to you.

You'll face challenges head-on — whether it's navigating unfamiliar streets or overcoming language barriers — which can boost your confidence in leaps and bounds. 

Freedom and flexibility

The beauty of travelling alone is that every decision is yours alone. You choose where to go, when to leave, what sights to see (or skip), even down to where you want eat without having consider anyone else’s preferences but yours! 

This level of autonomy allows for spontaneous adventures that might not happen if traveling with others.

Deeper cultural immersion

A key benefit often overlooked about solo travel is deeper cultural immersion. When we're on our own in a foreign place we’re more likely become engaged with locals because there isn’t familiar company distract us from new experiences around us.

This direct interaction fosters understanding respect between different cultures. 

Meeting new people

Solo travel encourages you to be more open to meeting new people and making friends with locals and fellow travelers. It's an excellent opportunity to broaden your social network.

Tailored experiences

You can tailor your travel experiences to your specific interests and passions without compromise. 

Whether you're into art, history, food, or adventure, you can create your ideal journey.

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How to be a solo traveller and enjoy it

Solo traveller in front of the Eiffel Tower

Solo travel can be an enriching experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in new cultures, meet interesting people, and learn more about yourself. Here's your complete guide on how to do it right:

1. Planning and researching

Your journey begins even before you step out of the door - with planning. Take the time to craft a well-thought-out plan. This includes setting your goals, outlining your itinerary, and ensuring you have the essentials in place.

Equally important is research – diving deep into the destinations you're about to explore. Familiarize yourself with local customs, learn a few key phrases, and understand the best ways to get around. 

Armed with a solid plan and the knowledge gained from research, you'll navigate the solo travel experience with confidence.

2. Meeting locals and other travellers

Solo travel doesn't mean being alone all the time! It’s actually a great opportunity for meeting fascinating individuals along the way. 

Meeting locals and other travelers is one of the most enriching and memorable aspects of exploring new places. 

Whether you're a seasoned globetrotter or just embarking on your first adventure, these encounters can turn a simple journey into a profound cultural exchange.

This firsthand experience can provide insights and perspectives that no guidebook or website can convey.

Worldpackers offers volunteer opportunities that not only allow you to make positive contributions but also connect with locals who can provide authentic experiences off the beaten path.

  • Discover further information on becoming a volunteer by clicking here!

3. Budgeting

Budgeting is a vital aspect of any travel adventure, and for solo travellers, it can be the key to making your journey more affordable and sustainable. 

To ensure you get the most out of your trip without breaking the bank, consider strategies like careful financial planning, setting a daily spending limit, and seeking cost-effective accommodation options. 

One smart way to save money on accommodation, especially if you're open to unique experiences, is by using platforms like Worldpackers. This plataform connects travelers with hosts around the world who offer free accommodation in exchange for volunteer work

It's a fantastic opportunity not only to save on lodging but also to immerse yourself in local culture and give back to the communities you visit. 

4. Keeping safe

Safety should always be top priority when travelling alone; this includes choosing secure accommodations as well as staying informed about potential risks at your destination(s). 

Worldpackers, in addition to being a budget-friendly option, can also be a safe choice for solo travelers. Many hosts on the platform offer safe and welcoming environments, and you can also connect with experienced travelers and locals who can provide valuable safety tips for the specific places you plan to visit. 

5. Overcoming challenges

Overcoming challenges during solo travel often involves addressing feelings of loneliness, homesickness, and navigating cultural differences.

  • Facing loneliness: Possibly one challenge faced by many solo travelers is feeling lonely. It’s important to remind yourself that it's okay to feel this way and there are always ways around it - like joining group activities or using platforms like Worldpackers to connect with other travelers.
  • Dealing with homesickness: Another common issue is missing home, family, friends or even food! Stay connected with loved ones through regular communication, either through calls, video chats, or even keeping a travel journal to document your experiences. Bringing along a few comfort items from home can also provide a sense of familiarity.
  • Navigating cultural differences: Cultural shock can be overwhelming but remember: you're here for a new experience! Do your research before arrival to understand the local customs and traditions, which can help prevent cultural missteps. Be open-minded, patient, and respectful when interacting with people from different backgrounds. 

By acknowledging and actively addressing these challenges, you'll be better equipped to navigate the ups and downs of solo travel, making your journey not only an adventure but also a valuable learning experience.

6. Embracing spontaneity

Solo travel allows for flexibility – embrace the freedom of changing your plans last minute, discovering hidden gems off tourist tracks or simply spending an afternoon in a local café watching life go by!

Embracing spontaneity is a key element that can turn your journey into a thrilling and transformative adventure. It's about being open to the unexpected, going with the flow, and seizing opportunities as they arise. 

Spontaneous decisions can lead to remarkable encounters, unique experiences, and unforgettable memories that you might have missed if you rigidly stick to a pre-planned itinerary.

7. Travelling responsibly

Responsible travel involves being mindful of your impact on the environment, local communities, and cultures. It not only benefits the places you explore but also contributes to your personal growth and enriches your travel experiences.

Here are some key principles to keep in mind:

  • Reduce your environmental footprint: Practice eco-friendly habits, such as minimizing plastic waste, conserving energy and water, and supporting eco-conscious tour operators and accommodations. 
  • Respect local culture: Make an effort to understand and respect the customs and traditions of the places you visit. Dress appropriately and behave in a way that honors local customs. 
  • Support the local economy: Choose locally-owned businesses and vendors whenever possible, from restaurants and shops to accommodations. Your spending can have a positive economic impact on the community.
  • Engage in ethical tourism: Be cautious about participating in activities that exploit animals or harm the environment. Choose ethical wildlife experiences and responsible tour operators.
  • Contribute to the community: Consider giving back to the places you visit by volunteering, donating to local charities, or participating in community initiatives. 

8. Reflecting on the journey

Your solo trip isn't just about places visited; it's also about personal growth achieved during journey. 

Take time out each day reflecting upon experiences - what did you learn? How have they changed your perspectives?

Whether it's a profound moment of solitude by a serene beach, a deep conversation with a local, or simply recalling the challenges and triumphs along the way, this self-reflection allows solo travellers to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world they've explored.

Testimonials from solo travellers

Solo traveller in front of a lake

Stepping out of your comfort zone and embarking on a journey alone can be daunting. However, the experiences and growth that come with it are worth every bit of fear you may have. 

But don't just take our word for it! Here are some testimonials from fellow Worldpackers who've enjoyed their solo travels:

1. Madelyn's volunteer experience in United Kingdom

"I'll never regret taking the leap and going overseas on my own, not as long as I live! Some of the best memories of my life came from the time I spent on the coast of Scotland, volunteering in the United Kingdom as a receptionist through Worldpackers. 

Not only did I make great friends and learn more about people and other cultures as I moved from hostel to hostel, but I got to know more about myself!" 

2. Janaína's solo travel experiences

"And in my opinion, there's no better way to find out what you're capable of.

Think of it this way — almost everyone who has traveled will report back to tell you how travel changed their life.

When you travel, you're no longer obligated to play out the various roles you've become accustomed to fulfilling. This gives you the freedom to rediscover and reinvent parts of yourself that you've silenced.

Fearing what's on the other side of your comfort zone is natural, but don't allow it to keep you playing small." 

3. Julie's journey as a solo traveller

"Wherever you go independently in this world of ours, you're sure to meet others like you, and many not like you, along the way.

Traveling expands your worldview and connects you to your global community. Why go anywhere at all if you're not keen on experiencing other cultures and meeting new and exciting people?

Traveling solo not only opens your mind to new adventures and experiences, but to new friendships and connections as well."

4. Nicole's thoughts on the benefits of traveling alone

"After going to several cities and countries alone, I’ve encountered incredible experiences and have made connections that I probably wouldn’t have if I had traveled with family or friends.

It is truly amazing how solo travel puts you in the right places to meet people."

Ready for your solo travel adventure?

Exploring solo is an art form, a test of strength, and a voyage into self-discovery all in one. As you've seen, it requires careful planning, safety measures, and smart destination choices.

Your adventure as a solo traveller can take you to big cities teeming with life or secluded nature retreats where tranquility reigns supreme. You get the freedom to choose your pace - whether that's getting lost in local markets or finding solace amidst natural beauty.

Solo travel also presents unique opportunities to connect with others on the road. From group tours to shared meals with locals – every interaction paints another stroke on your global canvas.

The world is waiting for you... will you step out alone? Subscribe to the Worldpackers Community for free and start saving your favorite volunteer positions until you are ready to get verified.

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