Solo traveler woman

10 tips for your first solo holiday runs smoothly

We’re told that life is too short to not go for what we want, and that we shouldn’t always follow the crowd. But doing things by yourself is daunting especially when that independent activity is boarding a plane to another country. Solo travel is on the rise with more operators, cruise lines and hotels creating deals for single travellers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the fear of solo travel magically goes away. If you’re thinking of jetting off on your first solo adventure then we salute you, wish you luck, and pass you on these 10 tips to make the whole experience less intimidating.

1. Start small

Every time you read an inspirational story of someone trekking through Borneo or exploring Brazil themselves, keep in mind that their first solo trip was probably to Budapest or Berlin. Don’t feel you need to travel across continents for your first unaccompanied adventure – there’s plenty of four day European city breaks with your (and only your) name on them.

2. Consider escorted touring

If you can’t find anyone else to accompany you on your dream trip, but you really hate the idea of solo travel, consider Escorted Touring. Most operators include flights and hotels fees within the final cost, as well as an experienced guide.

3. Or a cruise

Single supplements are slowly becoming a thing of the past in the world of cruising. P&O, Thomson Cruises, Fred Olsen and Norwegian Cruise Line all offer single cabins at no extra cost.

4. Give your full itinerary to friends and family

Travelling by yourself can be daunting, for you and your loved ones. Before you leave provide your nearest and dearest with a full itinerary and keep them updated (especially when you move between cities or countries).

5. Bring some entertainment

As much fun as you’ll have exploring new places, you’re probably going to want some downtime. And downtime by yourself can be a bit too quiet for some people, so remember to pack a book, e-reader, tablet or portable game console.

6. Consider hotels with a restaurant on site

There’s very few people in the world who don’t get self-conscious dining by themselves. While we recommend sampling the local cuisine at least once (yes, that includes a sit-down solo dinner) if you book yourself a hotel with a restaurant attached, you won’t need to feel awkward every night of your trip (even less so if you treat yourself to room service).

7. Be confident

Travelling yourself is a great way to boost your confidence, and you’ll need plenty of it. Whether it’s asking for directions, booking your own transportation, or striking up friendships in a hotel – when you’re travelling alone you don’t get to hide behind you’re confident best friend.

8. Take a selfie stick

Photos are one of the best souvenirs you can bring home with you – and the best photos will have you in them. Selfie sticks have become popular enough that you don’t need to feel self-conscious using them either.

9. Have fun planning an itinerary unique to you

If you decide to not go to the escorted touring route, and opt for a true solo adventure, have fun creating an itinerary that is special to you. No more standing around a tourist site that you have no interest in or missing out on an attraction because no one else wanted to go in. This is your trip and the flexibility to do what you want is the best part of it!

10. Forget what other people think

Whether it’s concerned family or friends, you might get a few questions about travelling alone. Most of these questions come from a loving place so just take them in your stride. You only live once, and you’ve got a bucket list to complete.

Morag Lee

Morag is the resident blog writer at Barrhead Travel. Can usually be found exploring a cruise ship or on a city break.