1. Go to the Destinations That Interest You the Most
When you start planning out your first solo travel trip, it can be tempting to start out by researching destinations that are good for first-time travelers. You’ll most likely come across an article mentioning Southeast Asia at some point, as it’s one of the most popular spots for new travelers. But you know what? Just because lots of people head to Southeast Asia doesn’t mean that you should, too.
Rather than going where you think you should go, think about where you’ve always dreamed of visiting. For me, that was Eastern Europe, so one of my very first destinations on my solo trip was Sarajevo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Unconventional? Yes, but I loved every second I spent there.
Maybe Southeast Asia has always been calling your name, in which case you should definitely go — it’s one of my favourite regions of the world. But if you feel the urge to go somewhere else, don’t be afraid to book your flight there. You’ll most likely enjoy your travels far more if you’re visiting the places that most interest you.
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2. Stay in a Dorm Room Every Now and Then
Hostels don’t have the greatest of reputations, but when I travel, I’ll opt to stay in one over a hotel 80% of the time — and that’s not because of the price!
Hostels are fantastic for solo travelers because they make it so easy for you to make friends. Rock up to a dorm room in any hostel around the world, sit on your bed, and I guarantee that within an hour, you’ll have made plenty of friends from around the world.
Even if you think hostels sound disgusting or you value your sleep, give dorms a go. As long as you check the ratings before you arrive and stay in the highest-rated hostel, you’ll likely have an amazing stay!
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3. Join Tours in the Places You Visit
I’m a huge fan of taking tours as a solo traveler, because they help me to gain a better understanding of the place I’m in while allowing me to make friends at the same time.
Tours don’t have to be expensive, either. In practically every city around the world, you’ll find a free walking tour leaving every day, where you can turn up, spend a couple of hours walking around, and then tipping whatever you think the tour was worth. If you’re budget-conscious, this is a great way to meet people while saving some cash.
Ask at your hostel for any recommendations for tour companies, too. You may find that the hostel runs their own tours or that they can recommend affordable and awesome companies you could go with instead. Checking out a nearby attraction as part of a group is nearly always more fun than going there alone.
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4. Build Flexibility Into Your Plans
One of the easiest ways to ensure you have a successful solo trip is to build flexibility into your travel plans. As tempting as it is to have the safety net of a fully-booked trip, once you’re on the road, you’ll find it far more enjoyable to have greater flexibility.
What happens if you show up in a place and meet some amazing people, but the very next day, you’re due to fly somewhere else? Or what happens if the same thing happens, but they’re moving on the following day while you’re staying in that hostel for the next five?
Meeting friends is the best part of solo travel, and that’s because you can change your plans and travel with some new people for a while.
I highly recommend only booking your travels a week in advance to leave room for you to change your plans every so often.