Travelling alone can be a life-changing experience. Not only do you get to enjoy all the usual perks of travelling, but solo travel also means you have the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want.
But whether you're doing a short stay or heading away for long periods, there are a few extra things to consider as a solo traveller. So to make sure you're covered on your solo holidays, check out these tips on how to enjoy it while staying safe and within budget.
Make the Most of Your Time
One of the biggest reasons people travel alone is so they can be on their own time.
Whether it's going to a cooking class of your favourite cuisine in a new city or changing your plans last minute to stay longer in your dream destination - you won't have to consider anyone else.
You should also remember to push yourself out of your comfort zone where you can. A solo trip is all about doing what you want, but it also means making sure you fill your free time with as many enjoyable experiences as possible.
Stick To Budget
Budgeting can be tricky for solo travellers. With no one to hold you accountable, it can be easy to give in to impulse buys that might break the budget.
There's no doubt that travelling can be expensive. But it's also important to stay on top of your spending. The last thing you want is to run out of money in a foreign country.
There are plenty of cheap or free activities to try your hand at when travelling solo. Whether you're exploring the city via public transit, taking free tours or simply people-watching in a park, you don't have to spend money to have fun.
Plus, a good way to keep an eye on your outgoing money is to enter every expense into a budgeting app on your phone. This way you can see what you're spending and compare it to what you have left for the week.
Learn the Language
Don't let a language barrier stop you from experiencing the world. Learning the local language when travelling solo can allow you to get more out of your trip. Even just a few key words and phrases could make your journey much more enjoyable and easy.
Not only is it common courtesy to have an understanding of the language and local customs, but it might also help you to fully embrace the culture you're in, chat with locals and be open to new opportunities.
Plus, knowing the language could be the one thing you need when you travel solo if you find yourself in a dangerous or unsafe situation where you need help.
Handy apps like Duolingo make learning languages super simple. You should give yourself plenty of time to learn the basics of the local language. Generally, an hour of practice each day in the weeks or months leading up to your holiday should be enough to give you a good base to work with when travelling.
Make New Friends
It's normal to start feeling lonely during solo travel, but it doesn't have to be like that. There are actually more opportunities than you'd think to meet people who are in the same situation as you.
Meeting new people when travelling means you can share your experiences, get handy hints and even meet up with them in other places along the way. Finding another solo traveller on your journey can give you a temporary partner in crime if your schedules line up.
For those who aren't as outgoing, but still want to meet fellow travellers, doing a group tour could be a great way of being a solo traveller without actually having to travel alone.
A group tour also means you'll have people looking out for you, including an expert local leader who will likely know the local tips and tricks of getting around.
For those who still don't want too many people around on their solo travel adventure, there is a range of small group tours that can provide you with the comfort of making new friends while still giving you the freedom of being able to travel alone.
Avoid the Single Supplement
Solo travel is cheaper than travelling with someone else, right? Not necessarily.
When you're travelling solo, you should try to avoid what's known as the ‘single supplement’. The single supplement is charged by hotels or cruise lines to recoup their losses when they book out a room to solo travellers even though it could hold a small group.
Single supplements can range from 10% to 100% of the room’s double occupancy rate, meaning single travellers could sometimes pay twice as much as someone travelling with a partner.
It's always handy to try and book cheap accommodation that doesn't include the surcharge. However, in some cases you could even meet up with other solos and stay together to reduce the overall price for both of you.
Although travelling alone can be an incredible experience, it also means you have to be more alert. While this doesn’t mean you should become paranoid, it's something to keep in mind.
When you're solo travelling, make sure you know where the exits or escape routes are and share your itinerary with friends and family back home so someone always knows where you are.
If you're travelling with a smartphone, you can even share your location with specific people so others will be able to track you.
As a solo traveller, you can also stay safe if you:
- Keep flashy luxury items, like jewellery and smartphones, hidden when in public.
- Avoid being too open with strangers and avoiding telling people that you're travelling solo.
- Dress like the locals to blend in as best you can.
- Consider how you'll get around. Research if there are any scam taxi risks and take extra care when on public transport.
- Keep a physical copy of your accommodation addresses and bookings, flight itineraries, emergency numbers and local maps in case your phone is lost or stolen.
- Avoid connecting to free Wi-Fi that isn't secure or that doesn't require a password to stop hackers from gaining access to your details.
- Trust your gut – if something seems off, don’t do it.
- Make sure that you have travel insurance for added peace of mind. Budget Direct's Travel Insurance options can help if you run into some unexpected conditions.
Choosing the right location for solo travel is the first step for a successful trip. There's a lot that goes into choosing the right spot, but at the core of it, you can look for the ideal blend of safety, beauty and excitement.
You want somewhere that you can easily fill your free time with fun experiences while also finding a range of new cultures and meeting like-minded people.
Iceland might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of solo travel, but it’s certainly one of the best. Reykjavik is the perfect base to start your trip in Iceland, thanks to the scenic day trip destinations nearby.
From the Blue Lagoon to the Northern Lights, there's so much to explore in Iceland. Plus, it offers a high level of safety for a single traveller with Iceland being named the world’s most peaceful country by the Global Peace Index.
While Iceland might be the world’s safest travel destination, Costa Rica is the world’s happiest country, according to the Happy Planet Index. This exotic Central American country has it all from stunning climate and culture to enough adventures for a lifetime.
You can zipline through rainforests, hike around Arenal Volcano National Park, or simply stare out at any of the unbelievable waterfalls.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is overflowing with rich and diverse cultural heritage. With Buddhist temples and a stunning natural beauty, the region is unlike anywhere else on earth.
You can even explore the underground city of Wiang Kum Kam by a horse-led carriage ride. If peace, tranquillity and full cultural immersion are what you’re looking for on your solo travel, there's a good bet you'll find it here.
From the food, fashion, scenery, history, architecture, climate, people and artwork, everything is a tier above in Rome.
Your only challenge for solo travellers will be fitting everything the city boasts into your itinerary. While you want to ensure you catch the classics like the Vatican or the Coliseum, there's plenty more to explore, eat and drink around the beautiful city.