The 5 Things You Need To Know About Solo Travel

August 12, 2015,

Traveling is the bomb. I love it; you love it – that’s why we’re both here right now. There are different types of travel from luxury to camping, different ways to or purposes of travel and different people to travel with. Every travel experience is unique and is a learning experience.

One year ago, I landed in Barcelona and began my first solo adventure. I spent one short week exploring Barcelona and fell in love with the city and with solo travel.

A lot of people ask questions about solo travel like, “What do you do when you’re alone?” “Is traveling alone safe?” “Do you get lonely?” “How can I travel solo and not look silly or awkward?” and my favourite, “What is a good amount of time to travel solo?” I am going to answers these questions today.

What do you do when you’re alone?
I explore my surroundings through my five senses. When you’re alone, your experiences are magnified: you truly see what you’re looking at, you taste the food you are eating, your skin feels the heat or the icy wind, you smell the scent of freshly ground coffee beans and you hear the rumble of the traffic and the words of strangers. Your sensations are not quieted because you are not focused on the experience of your travel partner. Maybe this all sounds selfish, maybe it sounds luxurious. But it’s something you need to experience at least once.IMG_3078

Is traveling alone safe?
I believe the world is a safe place. But I also believe that you should listen to your intuition and also apply the same common sense you would while you’re in your own city or town.

Do your research. Dress like a local and blend in if possible. Plan out your route beforehand. Don’t walk around carrying a map or a purse without a zipper.

Barcelona is supposed to be the European capital of pickpocketing and I didn’t get robbed. Don’t let other people’s stories become your own stories. But of course follow your gut. Choose a location you are ready for. Choose a location you feel safe visiting. If you are ever anywhere where you no longer feel safe, listen to yourself and follow your gut. Politely decline an invitation. Take another street. You are safe.IMG_2844

Do you get lonely?
As a formerly shy person and an introvert, there are definitely moments of loneliness while traveling solo. Some people are the conversation starters and I don’t tend to be one of them. I still am working on this (using personal development and tools like the Courageous Confidence Club).

After two (three now) solo trips, I have come up with a few ways to speak to people and make connections while traveling.

How can I travel solo and not look silly or awkward?
Always carry a book with you. I love reading while waiting for my food to arrive or while sitting in a park. We often wish we would have more time to just relax and read – and what a perfect opportunity to catch up on your reading list. You can also bring your laptop and do some research or work while in a café that provides Wi-Fi. I also recommend researching your route in advance that way you already know where you’re going (but also take the time to let yourself wander without a destination in mind – however, during daylight). 

What is a good amount of time to travel solo?
My first day in Barcelona was an emotional rollercoaster – I almost booked a ticket to Rome because I thought I might be happier there, somewhere familiar. Luckily, I didn’t give in to the fear. My second day was better. My third day was good. The fourth was great. The fifth day was amazing. The sixth day I had to pack my bags and head back home. I was hooked and I knew that this wasn’t a one-time thing. Six months later I left for Florence solo. In October I leave solo on a one-way ticket to Barcelona to explore more of Europe, from West to North to East to South.

The short answer? It’s different for everyone but I would recommend at least 8 days. If you can’t get away for that long, a weekend getaway is valuable too. 

Now it’s your turn – how do you travel?
Have you ever traveled solo? Did I miss any questions you might have about solo travel? I would love to answer your questions!The 5 Things You Need to Know About Solo Travel // at happiestwhenexploring.com

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4 Comments

  • Reply Ilena Ciricillo August 12, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    I appreciate the answer to the question of how not to look silly or awkward because, this may seem vain, but I think everyone is looking at me and by consequence, judging me when I am anywhere new and unfamiliar.

    I’m looking forward to your posts on your autumn travels and thanks again. I am encouraged and reassured ;))

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring August 21, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      We all do – it’s pretty interesting, isn’t it? I will write an extended post to answer this question!

  • Reply Celia August 14, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I hope some day I have your courage to try a solo trip. You truly inspire me:)

    • Reply Happiest When Exploring August 21, 2015 at 11:32 pm

      That means the world to me. I hope you do. I know you can and will!

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