Travel tips: How to make the most of a solo adventure

Travel tips: How to make the most of a solo adventure

To some, travelling solo may seem daunting.

For me, it’s provided some of the most liberating, authentic and enjoyable experiences of my life.

I encourage you, at least once, to try travelling solo.

Exploring the world is my passion. I’ve been travelling, predominantly solo, for 13 years.

Whether it’s a trip interstate, a multi-country tour, or travelling to visit a friend somewhere in the world, there’s something so inspiring about travelling by yourself.

While I love spending time with friends and family, and I’ve shared some amazing trips and experiences with other people, I also love my alone time.

Travelling on your own is an adventure – you don’t know what’s going to happen, you’re challenged, and everything is up to you. For me, that’s an awesome feeling. There’s true freedom in that.

But I realise, for some, the idea of heading out on a solo adventure is incredibly daunting. Making every decision alone and being dependent on only yourself can be intimidating.

So, I’ve put together some tips that can help you to experience the best that solo travel can offer.

Plan ahead

Yes, this one seems a little obvious. But as a solo traveller, it’s really important to have an outline of where you’re going and what you’d like to do.

Book your flights, lock in accommodation, select travel routes and research activities before you go.

This will make the impending trip seem less daunting. The more you do in advance, the less you’ll need to worry about and do when you’re on the road.

Emma in the Grand Canyon, USA

Emma in the Grand Canyon, USA.

Allow for flexibility

In contrast to my last point, leave a little wiggle room for the unexpected. Both the good and the bad!

This frequent traveller has missed multiple modes of transport a little more than she’d like to admit.

A lot of accommodation sites now have free bookings with zero cancellation fees. You can also book airfares and some transport tickets that have a “flexi” option, in case you want to change dates.

If you’re loving a place, stay. If you’ve had enough, go.

The beauty is that you’re on your own and it’s up to you what you do next.

Share your itinerary

Make a document or listing of all your planned destinations, travel arrangements and bookings. It will not only help you to feel more organised, it’s helpful for sharing your movements with family and friends to put them at ease.

It doesn’t need to have every detail – just list the main places you’ll be visiting, including the address of your accommodation, arrival and departure dates and any major activities you’re planning.

Communicate with friends and family

One of the beautiful things about travelling alone can be the chance to switch off, and you may feel tempted to put your phone on airplane mode and leave the world behind.

However, it can get a little lonely at times.

Bringing your friends and family along virtually through social media with the odd update can add a surprising amount of comfort.

Your solo adventure doesn’t mean you have to feel isolated. Knowing people are looking forward to your photos, hearing what you’ve been doing and talking about your new experiences can be heart-warming. 

Travel tips: How to make the most of a solo adventure

Take a book to read to fill in any quiet times when travelling solo.

Carry a book or journal at all times

Solo travellers can seem to have a beacon of light shining from them – letting all who pass by know they are “alone”.

Personally, I like my down time and prefer not to interact with people constantly.

To avoid having others think “oh that poor woman, travelling all alone, I must befriend and talk to her”, I carry a book or journal.

Have a book to read or something to write in – whether it’s in an airport, a hostel common room, a restaurant or on the beach.

It will, of course, entertain you, but it can also be the deterrent to any eager beaver travel buddies coming your way.

Join a tour, at least once

Again, contrary to some of my previous information about the joys of ‘me time’, you may actually enjoy meeting some new people.

Tours can be such a wonderful break in your solo travel; a chance to meet new people and for someone else to take the lead.

You may think of solo travel as being elusive, a vagabond, alone. And yet, I’ve met some amazing people on walking tours, day trips and group activities. Some I’ve even maintained friendships with long after the event.

It can also be really nice to switch off and let someone else be the planner and lead you around in your travels.

Be a tourist sometimes… it can be a really enjoyable way to travel.

Enjoy the time to reflect

One of my favourite things about travelling alone is the time it gives me to think.

Everything is at my speed and on my own agenda, whether it’s on a bus, sitting in an airport, lounging in my hotel room or taking a stroll through a charming city.

I love the time alone with no interruptions. It’s just me and my thoughts.

I’ve found that I get my best ideas when I’m travelling on my own. I come back from my travels inspired, rejuvenated, motivated and ready for the next adventure life has coming my way.

Challenge yourself. Step outside the box. Give yourself the gift of time to be just you. Experience the joy of solo travel.

Emma Lovell, She Defined author

Emma Lovell

Emma Lovell is a writer with a passion for travel, social media and adventure.

When she’s not travelling, she’s documenting her stories and planning the itinerary for her next journey.

Based on the Gold Coast, she loves getting to the beach and soaking up the best her local area has to offer.