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How to Find Work Abroad

Sometimes, the travel bug bites and you simply want to take off and wander or live in another part of the world. You’ll still have to eat and take care of yourself, so you’ll need to find a job overseas. Listed below are ways you can find work abroad.

Ask Your Office for a Transfer

If you work for a company that has offices in other parts of the world, find out where those offices are and see if there’s one that appeals to you. Once you find one, reach out to department heads and your human resources department to find out if the company offers transfer opportunities. If so, find out if your position can be transferred, and what steps you’ll need to take to make that happen. Before you know it, you could be on your way.

Find a Job Teaching English

One of the easiest and most popular jobs for people looking to work overseas is teaching English. This could involve teaching English to children or adults, and the jobs are usually located in countries where the cost of living is really low compared to the U.S. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to speak the local language, as many of the English-teaching programs are set up so that even people who don’t speak the native language of a country are able to teach its citizens how to speak English. They’re more concerned with helping people learn Western English.

Do Virtual/Freelance Work

Thanks to the virtual and digital nature of so many jobs today, it has become much easier to do remote or virtual work while living overseas. This could involve anything from writing and coding to practicing psychotherapy. In many cases, all you need is a Wi-Fi connection in order to get up and running. This option is especially good for people who are looking to live in areas where there’s a lower cost of living, yet still retain their current remote working status.

Check Out Moving Abroad Forums and Websites

Many people have the same ideas you do when it comes to living and working overseas. These people often visit forums and websites dedicated to advice about overseas work. Sites like Lonely Planet and expat forms are filled with people who are looking for different ways to live out their travel dreams. The good thing about following these forums is that you’ll be able to learn from other people’s good choices and bad choices.

Check the Visa Requirements of the Countries You’re Interested In

Before you buy your ticket, make sure you understand the travel and work visa requirements of the country that you’re interested in working in. Some countries have very lenient visa requirements and rules, while others have extremely strict requirements that can get you thrown out for a single infraction. People from overseas who want to work in USA companies have to jump through a lot of hoops. Make sure you have all your paperwork in order so that you don’t get an unpleasant surprise after landing in the country of your choice.


travelling abroad alone for the first time

15 Tips for Traveling Alone for the First Time

by Elizabeth Gorga - Last updated on April 25, 2023

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  • Before You Go
  • General Travel

Traveling alone for the first time can be intimidating. You may have endless questions racing through your mind, like where to go, how to get there, whether or not it’s safe and easy to get around, and if you’ll get lonely while traveling solo.

person wearing backpack standing in brown sand landscape

Solo travel may seem intimidating, but when you learn how to step out of your comfort zone, the world is yours to explore.

Traveling alone is just like any new experience—there can be fear of stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. But as they say, when you step outside of your comfort zone, that is where the real growth and adventure happen.

The top tips for traveling alone for the first time will help get you ready for your big trip. Once you push your fear of the unknown aside , you can start taking active steps to prepare yourself for your first solo adventure.

By planning ahead and learning from experienced travelers, you’ll build your confidence, settle your nerves, get inspired for your first solo trip, and feel fully prepared to spread your wings on your own. You’ve got this!

15 helpful tips for traveling alone for the first time

If solo travel is completely new to you, you may wonder how to travel alone for the first time without any hiccups. There are lots of things to consider when traveling internationally alone for the first time—from the destination to travel logistics to safety while exploring a foreign place.

Not every single destination is the same when it comes to solo travel, so it’s best to take extra precautions and set plenty of time aside to do your research so you can feel confident before you go. Here’s everything you need to know if you’re traveling abroad alone for the first time.

1. Choose a solo-friendly destination

One of the top tips for traveling alone for the first time is to choose a solo-friendly destination that is going to be easy to explore on your own. Some countries are much easier to navigate as a solo traveler than others. Consider destinations with booming tourism industries.

Typically, this means the country is set up to host travelers. You’ll find it easy to navigate and get around by public transportation (so you can avoid getting lost). English is widely spoken in many of these places, so you can communicate to some extent even if you don’t speak the native language.

Popular tourism spots also mean there are tours, hostels, and lots of other travelers—all key when it comes to meeting new people.

2. Consider the local language

person sitting on ground and holding coffee and pastry

Put your skills to good use by ordering your daily snack in the local language.

Do you speak any foreign languages ? If you do, you might find it exciting to visit a destination where you can put those language skills into practice. On the other hand, if English is your only language, it’s a good idea to stick to a destination where English is widely spoken if you’re traveling alone for the first time.

If you want to avoid a language barrier all together, consider popular English-speaking destinations like Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, and England. But keep in mind that English is common in lots of countries even if it’s not the native language, and many big cities have English speakers. When in doubt, brush up on the local language with an app like Duolingo so you have the basics to help you get by.

3. Plan ahead

Once you know where you’re going, start planning your travels. It’s never too early!

Start looking at flights and comparing flight prices so you can get a good deal on airfare. If you’re traveling internationally alone for the first time, know that planning involves more than getting from point A to point B.

You’ll also need to prepare your travel documents, navigate airport security, and figure out how to get to your accommodation when you land. Ideally, you’ll want to plan to get to your destination before dark and have a good grasp on your transportation options in your destination.

Check out GoAbroad’s international travel checklist to help you feel fully prepared for traveling abroad alone for the first time.

4. Make a backup plan

The truth is, when you travel, things don’t always go to plan . It’s common for flights to get delayed or canceled and for public transportation to fall off schedule. Only the naive believe they can predict everything when it comes to travel plans.

Once you have your plan, write it down and keep it handy. Make sure you have all of your flight information and accommodation contacts, and then make a backup plan.

Is there public transportation if you can’t get a taxi? If your flight is delayed, do you have an extra pair of clean undies and a toothbrush? Remind yourself to stay calm: You’ve got this.

5. Make sure you have an up-to-date passport

hand holding up passport in front of map of the world

Step one: Get your passport. Step two: Discover the world.

If you’re traveling internationally alone for the first time, or have never flown internationally before, you’ll need a passport . Passports can take up to six weeks to obtain, so it’s important to plan well in advance to make sure you have your travel documents in time to fly.

If you already have a passport, check the expiry date. Most international destinations require you to have a passport that’s valid for at least six months after your trip ends. Make sure you meet all the requirements so you don’t run into delays when it comes time to hit the road.

6. Get your visa

What are the visa requirements for your destination? Visa requirements vary from country to country and are also determined by your nationality.

Some countries don’t require a visa, some allow you to get one on arrival, and others require you to apply for a visa in advance and wait for an extended processing time. Do your research to ensure you have a valid visa for the duration of your travels, and apply in advance so that you don’t run into immigration troubles when you fly.

7. Buy travel insurance

If you’re traveling internationally alone for the first time, it’s important to know your insurance in your home country doesn’t cover you abroad. If you get hurt, fall sick, have to be hospitalized, or experience loss or theft while abroad, you’ll want travel insurance already squared away.

Ideally, you won’t get injured or robbed while traveling solo, but it’s always a good idea to plan for the worst case scenario so you can put your mind at ease.

8. Book your hostels in advance

If you’re traveling solo, hostels are usually your best accommodation option. They're cheap, in central locations, and offer the perfect environment to meet other travelers.

While some hostels are possible to book on arrival, if you’re traveling alone for the first time, it’s ideal to book your accommodation in advance to alleviate some stress—at least for your first few nights. Read the reviews from other travelers so you know exactly what to expect.

If you’re traveling for an extended period of time and want to leave some room for flexibility, consider booking a place with flexible cancellation policies so you have the option of changing your plans if you meet new friends and find travel buddies that take you to unexpected places.

READ: What’s a Hostel? 11 FAQs About the Best Budget Accommodation

9. pack strategically.

person sitting on chair with feet up next to suitcase

Packing strategically will help take some of the stress out of traveling abroad alone for the first time.

One of the top tips for traveling alone for the first time is to pack strategically and pack light. Traveling solo means you won’t have someone to watch your bags for you throughout your journey. You’ll need to carry them with you and have them easily accessible through the airport, on buses, trains, and in taxis.

It’s best to pack light and adopt a minimalist mindset. Pack basics that you can mix and match and ideally get a backpack that is lightweight and comfortable to carry. It’s such a small thing, but packing light will make you feel a lot more comfortable when traveling alone for the first time because you won’t need to worry about carrying extra weight.

10. Get your fill of blogs and vlogs

Before you set off on your first solo travel venture, indulge in some inspiration ! Travel blogs and vlogs won’t only get you excited about your trip, but they’ll also give you practical advice on how to travel alone for the first time.

You’ll find even more ideas of how and what to pack, how to get around in your destination, where to stay, and the best places to eat, drink, explore, party, and make friends. Take some notes from experts and seasoned travelers, and get excited for the adventure of a lifetime.

11. Get a local SIM card

Technology makes it easy to stay connected while traveling abroad alone for the first time. Most countries offer flexible SIM card options that you can buy on arrival before you even leave the airport, so you can have access to your phone while overseas.

With a SIM card, you can access maps to easily navigate around a new city, order Ubers and taxis if needed, look up public transportation timetables, translate foreign words, and make plans to meet up with new friends you meet along your journey. On top of all of that, you can keep in touch with loved ones at home so that they know where you are and that you’re safe.

12. Keep your money safe

person holding brown wallet

When you’re traveling internationally alone for the first time, you’ll want to take some precautions with your money.

Before traveling alone for the first time, be mindful of your money. Create a budget for yourself, taking into consideration the currency conversion rate and international transaction fees on your bank cards.

Let your bank know before you travel and keep photocopies of your credit cards in case of theft. It’s always a good idea to carry cash in the local currency, too. You can do this before you leave, or at a local currency conversion shop when you arrive.

Last but not least, don’t carry all of your money with you when you’re out and about while traveling! Keep some in a safe or locker at your accommodation to avoid being a target for scammers.

13. Connect with people

One of the best parts of solo travel is the friends you make. It may sound intimidating at first, and it’s natural to worry about being lonely when traveling alone for the first time. But solo travel actually puts you in the best position to make friends with other solo travelers.

Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with people at hostels, on tours, or while sightseeing. Smile, ask a friendly question, and invite someone new to join you for dinner or a drink. You might find striking up a conversation could be the first step in finding a short-term travel buddy or a forever friendship.

14. Blend in

Traveling alone isn’t dangerous, but you can definitely be more vulnerable when traveling solo. To avoid unwanted attention, do your research before you go so you know how to blend in.

Learn the local customs, be able to speak a few words in the local language, and wear modest clothing that isn’t too flashy and doesn’t scream “tourist” from a mile away. The more you blend in, the more comfortable you’ll feel and the safer you’ll be while traveling alone for the first time.

15. Listen to your gut

Traveling solo is often the smartest thing you can do for your personal growth. If you’re following your inner knowing and saying “yes” to traveling alone for the first time, continue to remind yourself that your inner knowing is strong.

Listen to your intuition and let it guide you. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it—even if that means an awkward conversation or stating your boundaries to someone you don’t know. Your gut will keep you safe and guide you in having the best solo travel adventure for you.

Our Online Advisor can match you with 5 programs abroad—it’s free!

Traveling abroad alone for the first time doesn’t have to be scary.

person in T-shirt and shorts at top of a mountain looking at higher mountains in distance

You’ve got this, first time solo traveler. Where will you go?

Don’t let your fear of traveling alone hold you back from the adventures of your dreams. Yes, traveling alone for the first time can push you outside of your comfort zone, but it doesn’t have to be scary. You have everything you need inside of you to make your solo travel experience exactly what you want it to be. Be smart, plan ahead, listen to your intuition, and remember—you’re never truly alone!

READ NEXT: I Want to Travel the World—Where Do I Start?

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Essential tips for traveling alone: advice from experience

Traveling alone is amazing, but can also be daunting when you're just starting. Prepare yourself with these essential tips on how to travel alone.

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Aug 11, 2023

traveling alone

I've been traveling solo  for over four years now and I've learned a lot about myself, the world and the many types of humans that you meet along the way. I can still remember the first time that I traveled alone and all the mistakes that I made. I now look back on that trip and the ones that followed and laugh at how naive I was. And one of the things I like the most is to help other people who are traveling alone for the first time.

Traveling alone: tips from an experienced solo traveler

I often tease my parents that they never should have let me leave home by myself ... but these days, I have become quite the travel expert. I've been traveling alone in Asia, Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and all over Europe. I've visited over 55 countries, and more than half of them were trips that I took alone.

Traveling alone can be extremely daunting but it doesn't have to be scary. In this guide I will give you my top  tips for traveling alone for the first time . 

We're going to go over picking the perfect destination , flying alone for the first time, safety concerns, and other essential things to ensure you have the most amazing first solo trip .

tips for traveling alone

5 reasons to start traveling alone

If you need some encouragement to step out of your comfort zone and start your solo travels, think of the benefits that you'll get from traveling alone. Here are some examples:

1. Boosting independence and self-reliance

2. Increasing cultural awareness

3. Gaining a new perspective on life

4. Improving your social skills

5. Fostering self-reflection and personal growth

Want more reasons to go explore the world by yourself? Read our full article with 5 benefits of traveling alone.

traveling alone for the first time

Where to travel alone for the first time

Not all cities, places, or countries are created equal for solo travelers! When considering where to go traveling alone for the first time, it's important to choose a place where you feel comfortable and safe.

So, how do you pick the perfect destination for your first time traveling alone?

1. Choose a country that is foreigner-friendly

For your first trip, I highly recommend traveling to a country that has a high tourism industry.

Countries with a higher tourism market are generally more used to foreigners. These countries also often have infrastructure and systems designed specifically for travelers , making them much easier to comfortably navigate and explore.

That also means you are going to stand out less . And the structure for buses, tours, hostels and everything else a solo traveler needs is already set in place. 

Plus, there will be other travelers to meet ! It's always reassuring to know that traveling solo can be a social experience , and that you can  make friends while traveling alone .

Ultimately, it's always up to you decide what kind of travel experience you are looking for and the type of trip that's right for you. I f you decide to visit a country off-the-touristic-grid, you should know that getting around will likely be more difficult, and you might be one of a few foreigners the local people have seen in their lives! T raveling  to countries with less tourism can be more challenging, but no less rewarding. 

solo travel

2. Consider the local language

What languages do you speak, and more importantly, what countries speak those languages? I only speak English and the first country that I landed down in by myself was Russia. Nothing was in English and no one would really speak to me in English.

After that I made an effort to pick countries around Europe where people spoke more English (until I felt comfortable enough to handle a language barrier anywhere ).

Always consider the local language of your destination.  If you pick a city in rural China for your first time traveling alone, and you don't speak any Chinese, then just trust me, it's not going to be an easy trip. I know that from personal experience traveling along in rural China, India, Egypt, Russia and more.

If you do choose to go somewhere English isn't the official language, learning a few basic phrases in the local language shows respect and helps bridge the cultural gap. Locals will appreciate your efforts, and it can lead to more meaningful interactions.

However, many people around the world speak English . When choosing a destination for traveling  alone, there are plenty of places you can go where English isn't the first language but you can still get along just fine. 

However, i f it's your first time traveling alone and you feel  more comfortable  going somewhere where English is the mother tongue, that's perfectly understandable.  It can relieve a lot of stress knowing the locals speak the same language as you!

The top countries I recommend for traveling alone include:

  • New Zealand

Want more ideas? Check out our article about the TOP 25 best places for a solo trip around the world.

Essential tips for traveling alone for the first time

1. make a plan.

advice for traveling alone

Once you know where you're going, you have to figure out how you are going to get there...  and   how you're going to get around  once you've arrived.

Flying alone for the first time can be intimidating . You have to navigate the airport, security lines, and overwhelming feeling of panic and thrill that comes with landing in a new country with no idea of what to expect.

When you land, you might be bombarded with people offering you taxi rides or you might find yourself at a train station with signs in four different languages (none of which you speak).

This is why when I'm giving tips on how to travel alone, I always stress the fact that it's important to  make a plan in advance.

There are never-ending forms of transportation and nothing is stopping you from going anywhere in the world , you just have to figure out how. Rome2Rio is a great website that shows you the various forms of transportation available to make your journey happen,  including the travel time it will take depending on which you choose. 

Do a bit of research in advance and create a rough outline of what your trip will entail. If you're going to travel alone for the first time , it's always best to have a general idea of how you'll get from Point A to Point B during your trip. 

And if it's your first time flying, do some research on how airports, security and immigration work, just so you feel more confident. 

However, remember that the beauty of traveling alone lies in the freedom to change your plans spontaneously . Embrace serendipity and allow yourself to wander off the beaten path – you might discover hidden gems you'd never find in a guidebook.

2. Take extra measures to prepare yourself

traveling solo

In addition to researching ahead of time and making a plan, why not take extra measures to prepare yourself? Taking additional steps to ensure that you are safe and comfortable will help you avoid unnecessary stress and ease your overall travel experience.

Always buy travelers insurance before you leave. Your local insurance at home will not cover you when you are traveling overseas. Travelers insurance covers theft as well as injury abroad. Of course, no one plans on getting injured or robbed, but it's better to be safe than sorry —   especially when you are traveling alone for the first time!  

>> How about getting a 10% discount on Pax Assistance international travel insurance? Just  click here ! If you are verified in any Worldpackers  Pack plans , you get even more - a  20% discount on Pax Assistance international travel insurance! *Valid for all nationalities, except for United States and Canadian citizens. If you are a US or Canadian citizen, we recommend World Nomads . 

If you've decided to book hotels, hostels or other accommodation in advance, read reviews . If you've decided to leave room in your schedule for spontaneity and book places on the fly, read reviews! Give yourself the security of knowing that the place you're staying in comes recommended by other travelers.

3. Pack light

pack light

Before I started traveling alone, I was a major over-packer. When my family would take vacations I would bring a month's worth of clothes instead of a week's worth. Once I began traveling alone and backpacking a lot more, I realized that lugging around a bunch of suitcases by yourself is not easy. 

I now travel with a minimalist mindset and only pack the bare basics. Even still, I bring too much and end up donating things along the way!

Whether considering what to pack for long term travel or a short vacation alone , packing light and only taking what you need is going to help you feel a lot more comfortable on your first trip alone . Minimalism makes it easier to navigate new places and keeps your belongings secure.

I recommend choosing a travel backpack or s mall, functional bag that makes it easy to organize and keep track of your belongings. 

For example, when I take overnight trains and buses, my bag is so small that it can sit with me , meaning it doesn't have to go under the bus or in the luggage compartment on the train. It's easy for me to grab and haul around, and I never get tired carrying it.

Check out the Worldpackers minimalist packing list for extra inspiration on how to travel light!

4. Stay connected

stay connected when traveling alone

While solo travel encourages independence, it's wise to keep in touch with friends and family back home. No matter where you go in the world, stay connected and always let someone know where you are . 

To this day, whenever I land in a new country I get a local SIM card at the airport. This makes it so much easier to navigate and feel comfortable in a new city or country.  With a local SIM card you can easily book an Uber or Lyft, find your way on public transportation or use Google Maps and walk to your accommodation. 

Data in foreign countries (read: outside of the US) tends to be very affordable, and in most cities around the world, you can have a local SIM working before you even leave the airport! Investing in a SIM card will help you so much throughout your trip and save you from yo u from the inevitable mountains of anxiety that can come from being lost, alone, and/or hungry.

My first time traveling alone I had no data, no idea how to read a map and didn't know left from right, let alone north from south. I once got off a bus in Milan at the wrong stop and ended up walking for over three hours in the hot sun before finally finding a police officer who was kind enough to help me get where I was going. This same scenario played out on numerous occasions until I finally learned from my mistakes and made the decision to always buy data .

Another reason you should always travel with cellular data is to keep in touch with people back home and let someone know where you are. This is particularly important when traveling alone, and even more important when it comes to solo female travel .  I check in with my mom daily, even if it’s just to say, "Hello, I'm alive. Here's a picture of my face in front of a museum today". 

Staying connected and having access to being connected through a local SIM will ease your anxiety considerably and make your overall travel experience easier. 

To learn more about the best international SIM cards for travel and anything else related to first time and budget travel, check out  Two Birds Breaking Free travel blog.

get a local SIM card

5. Socialize when you can

Solo travel offers valuable moments of reflection and self-discovery, and it's great to learn how to enjoy your own company . However, it's not because you're traveling alone that you need to stay alone.

Don't shy away from socializing with other travelers or locals when opportunities arise. Some of the most memorable experiences happen when you step out of your comfort zone.

If you choose to stay in social accommodations, you'll likely find travel buddies without making much of an effort. Hostels are excellent choices for solo travelers seeking to meet like-minded individuals. These places often host communal areas and social events, making it easy to connect with fellow travelers and forge meaningful friendships.

Also, don't spend all the time within the travelers' bubble. Interacting with locals can greatly enrich your travel experience. 

Engage in conversations with shopkeepers, street vendors, waiters and such to learn about their culture, traditions, and recommendations. Their insights might lead you to the most authentic experiences.

stay open for new friendships

6. Consider doing a work exchange

Participating in work exchanges or volunteer programs like those offered by  Worldpackers is a great way to immerse yourself in local culture while ensuring a safe environment.  

These opportunities provide accommodation and often meals in exchange for your skills. That way, you can stay in safe accommodations that have been reviewed by previous volunteers, while you also save money, develop new skills, and form strong bonds with locals and fellow adventurers.

You'll find work exchange positions in several different kinds of hosts, from hostels and holistic centers to ecovillages and NGOs, all around the world. And there's also a variety of skills that you can help with, from welcoming guests or bartending to gardening or teaching yoga. 

Got interested? Read our articles about how to travel alone with Worldpackers.

doing a work exchange is perfect for traveling alone for the first time

You might also like to read:

  • 25 amazing adventures for solo travelers to meet like-minded people
  • How to deepen your solo travel experience

Why traveling solo is a social experience

7. trust your intuition.

Your intuition is a powerful tool while traveling alone. If a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe, listen to your gut feelings and remove yourself from it. Prioritize your well-being, even if it means declining an invitation or changing your plans.

Traveling solo will teach you to stay open and try new things, and also when to respect your boundaries . Go with your instinct and trust yourself — you've got this.

trust your instincts

Ready to start traveling alone?

Traveling alone is a life-changing adventure that empowers you to discover the world and yourself in ways you never imagined. Embrace the freedom, be open to new experiences , and remember that solo travel is not just about the places you visit, but the people you meet and the lessons you learn along the way.

If you follow these tips on traveling alone, you will have done everything you can do to ensure your safety and comfort on your trip. Now it's time to relax and enjoy the thrill and magic of travel . Happy travels!

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Justyn Gourdin

My name is Justyn and I've been traveling the world for the past 4 years now. I've visited over 55 countries and love sharing my adventures with basically anyone willing to listen. I work online as a freelance writer and online marketer which allows me to chase my dreams around the world.

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travelling abroad alone for the first time

Jun 01, 2019

Oh very good

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Justyn (Author)

Jun 03, 2019

Thank you so much! I hope that it was helpful for you and that you liked it!

Thnx Justyn 🤗

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Apr 03, 2022

very helpful, Thank you

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Jun 12, 2022

brillaint blog, very helpful for a female solo traveller!

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Dec 19, 2022

I am 17 years old, and I used to travel to Italy when I was young, and I have the Italian residence permit, but it is expired. Therefore, I want to go back to Italy to renew the residence permit. I need help so that I know how to travel to Italy again

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Solo Traveler

Solo travel tips, destinations, stories... the source for those who travel alone.

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Travel Solo for the First Time: Complete Guide for Newbies

Janice Waugh

June 7, 2023 by Janice Waugh

a first time solo traveler gazing in awe at her surroundings

You're going to travel solo for the first time. It's a big deal and yet, not such a big deal if you know how.

You likely have some questions.

You may have some concerns.

Don't worry, we're here to help.

For more than 14 years, Solo Traveler has been helping people with solo travel tips for newbies, as well as for those stretching their solo travel muscles to more challenging destinations.

Some people don't give their plan to travel solo a second thought. Others live with anxiety at every stage of the planning process. For still others, their worries only come at the 11th hour. They are about to leave and start to panic.

Having a good sense of what solo travel is like and planning for it will go a long way to easing you into your first solo trip. There is a lot of information on Solo Traveler. In fact, there are over 700 posts about the many aspects of solo travel.

This post covers the basics of how to travel alone for the first time. It will also point you to more in-depth articles on specific aspects of solo travel. If you're in your 20s or 30s, check out this piece on solo travel .

It's my hope that it will help those who are new to solo travel find what they need to go with confidence.

a make traveler with arms outstretched, viewing the green landscape around him

Table of Contents

How to Travel Alone for the First Time

When first-time solo travelers announce their intention to travel alone, they often face a lot of questions from family and friends. The primary one is, “why”? To get this issue out of the way, read about the why of solo travel here .

Now, let's get on to the how.

Preparation for your first solo trip can be broken down into a number of parts. You need to decide:

  • How much you have to spend.
  • Where to go.
  • How to get there.
  • Where you will stay.
  • How long you will stay.
  • How you will travel at your destination.

Huh! Those six decisions look pretty familiar to anyone who has traveled. Yes, much of solo travel is the same as all travel.

However, there is another list, this time of questions, that first-time solo travelers need to consider:

  • Am I ready to travel by myself?
  • How challenging a destination should I consider?
  • Am I comfortable with my own company?
  • Do I want to meet people on my trips or is solitude my objective?
  • What do I need to do to be safe?
  • How do I ensure my loved ones that I will be safe?
  • Am I better to go solo on a group tour or is independent solo travel right for me?

Those seven questions are not the questions that every traveler asks. They are, however, important for those traveling solo for the first time.

Below, we'll get into tips and advice that will help you answer each question.

senior woman standing in front of a map holding a passport, preparing for first time solo travel

Is Solo Travel a Good Idea? Get Ready for Your First Solo Trip

Solo travel is a confidence booster but you have to actually travel solo for that to happen. So how do you gain confidence before you go? I have a few suggestions.

  • Find your cheerleader . When you tell people about your trip, notice who is excited about it. Spend as much time as you can with those people as they will build your confidence. Try to avoid the naysayers.
  • Stop watching crime shows. They are not representative of the dangers in the world.
  • Plan how you will stay in touch with home . The fact that you will stay connected will build your confidence.
  • Find a local contact . Chances are, someone you know, knows someone where you're going. Get the concept of six degrees of separation working for you.
  • Find out if there is a Greeter program in your destination so that you can meet up with a local.
  • Be patient with yourself . Take your time. Please know that even very experienced solo travelers become overwhelmed from time to time, especially at the outset of a trip. It will pass! Be prepared to handle this by reading Feeling Overwhelmed? How to Conquer First-Day Solo Travel Anxiety .

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Best Countries for a First Solo Trip

Your choice of destination for first time solo travel is important. It can make the difference between a successful, confidence-building first trip with a future of many more solo trips, or one with mixed results. I suggest that first trips be to destinations where it's easy to find people who speak your language. In your own language, you'll find it easier to navigate, feel safer, and meet more people.

Certainly you can travel your own country. There is always more to see near home. But if you want to visit another country, as many new travelers do, consider Canada , the United States , the United Kingdom , Ireland , Australia , or New Zealand .

You'll find more specific ideas for where to go on your first solo trip here.  You may also want to read  Best Solo Travel Destinations: Real Solo Travelers Love These,   Best Budget Destinations for Solo Travelers , and Summer Solo Travel: Great Destinations, Good Times Guaranteed .

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Travel Solo but Not Lonely

Solo travel need not be a lonely experience. Many solo travelers say that they meet more people traveling alone than they do when traveling with others. After all, you are not focused on a companion. You are open to meeting people and that makes people feel comfortable approaching you.

However, there are things you can do to make sure you have a social experience. Here are a number of posts that will help.

  • How to Travel Alone Without Being Lonely: 10 Tips & 12 Posts
  • Eating Alone Is Easy When You Know How
  • Tips for Shy Solo Travelers

Stay Safe While Traveling Solo

There is so much to be said on this topic, especially when you are traveling solo for the first time.

Here's a link to our  Solo Travel Safety: 50 Tips post that covers just about everything you need to know.

Here are a few basics:

  • Arrive at a new destination well before dark . Daylight gives you a better sense of the safety of a place.
  • Take the business card of your hotel with you when you go out for the day.
  • Don't tell people you meet where you're staying. Your accommodation should be your safe zone.
  • Be prepared to be impolite if someone is bothering you. This comes up in Solo Female Travel Safety: Advice for What Women Worry About .
  • Always have travel insurance . Since I started to travel at 15 years of age, I've always had insurance. Read: A Complete Guide to Travel Insurance for Solo Travelers .
  • Use public Wi-Fi with a VPN. If you're planning to use public Wi-Fi for doing anything that requires security, such as booking a hotel room with a credit card, make sure you have a VPN. Read  Best VPN for Travel: What, Why, How & New Recommendations .
  • Keep your money and credit cards in multiple places . Here's  How to Manage Money While Traveling .
  • Download these safety apps . Here are 10 Solo Travel Safety Apps to give you peace of mind.

Remember, as you travel you're in a holiday mindset and a different culture. Both factors will affect your ability to judge situations. To keep you safe in a variety of situations, it's helpful to be clear on your safety rules before going. And, most importantly, trust your instincts.

female travelers on their first solo trip walking throgh a city on an audio tour

Should Your First Trip Be a Tour?

When does a tour make sense?

  • being alone
  • your safety
  • finding the time to plan
  • missing important highlights
  • navigating new cities
  • getting lost
  • If you want to go to a destination that you consider challenging.
  • If you want to break up a long trip. If you're on your own for a month or more, you may want to include a tour so that you have company for a while and you can relax while someone else manages the details.

Tour companies are not all the same. There are a wide variety of experiences available and a number of things to consider when choosing a tour.

Read  How to Choose a Tour: Top Tips for Solo Travelers.

Taking a tour can be a good way to get an introduction to a destination and help you build your confidence. By adding time on your own at the end of a tour, you can then travel solo independently for the first time as well.

You'll also want to browse our solo travel tours  page or, if you already have a good idea of what you're looking for, use our searchable trips page to get to what you want faster. Solo Traveler is the best source for a continuously updated list of a variety of tour companies offering trips with no or low single supplements. If you'd like to receive it by email each month, you can sign up here .

a woman on her first solo trip smiling from the driver's seat of her car

How to Plan to Travel Alone

If you have decided that you have the confidence, that you are comfortable in your own company, and that you can take care of your safety, you may have decided that you will travel solo independently.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Make a budget . Know how much you can spend so that you plan your transportation and accommodation, the two most expensive aspects of a trip, accordingly. Here's more on creating a budget , along with a handy interactive spreadsheet.
  • K now the basics . Before you leave, be sure you understand the visa requirements and spend a few moments to understand the currency exchange. Make sure your passport doesn’t expire for at least three months after your trip ends as some countries have such a minimum for visitors.
  • Book your flights/trains.  Yes, you check your passport and visa needs first and then book your flights. You don't want to get ahead of yourself, put the money out for a flight and discover later that you have to pay a fee to have it changed. Also, book your transportation so that you arrive before dusk. Everything looks better in daylight and, if your hotel/hostel isn't to your liking, you'll have time to make changes.
  • Book your accommodation. Arriving in a new city, not knowing how it works, and still having to find a place to stay can be stressful, especially when it's your first time traveling solo. Plus, you can end up spending more than you budgeted because you just have to get a place. If you're looking for a hotel, we use and recommend . Here are a variety of other options: Best Accommodation for Solo Travelers: The Choice is Yours .
  • Study a map. Maps provide a bird’s-eye view of a new destination. They give you a sense of distance between places and, therefore, what’s possible to do in a day. You’ll also get a sense of where the areas are that you want to avoid for safety reasons.
  • Add important numbers to your phone. Research useful apps for your phone and download them when you have free Wi-Fi. While you may not want to stay connected with home as you travel, important numbers should be in your phone before you leave. Get the front desk staff at your accommodation to help you add important local numbers to your phone such as the one for your hotel or hostel.
  • Pack light so you can manage your own things. One carry-on sized bag and a daypack or large purse should do it. Here's how to pack light . A reader recently provided an excellent reason for this from their own experience: “I used the info on your blog about traveling with only carry-on and a small wardrobe when I traveled solo to Peru. Having no checked bag saved me from missing a connecting flight in the Lima airport.”
  • Arrive at the airport, train, or bus station early. Whether it’s traffic congestion or a massive lineup at the airport, many things can slow you down when trying to catch a flight.
  • Don’t plan much for your first day. Take the time to settle in and get to know the city and how it works. Do people line up for the bus? What’s the street food like and where are the busiest stands? What’s within walking distance of your lodging? Take it slow and learn.

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Tips from Seasoned Solo Travelers

Over on the Solo Travel Society on Facebook, there are many experienced solo travelers as well as people who are new to traveling alone. I asked those experienced travelers what tips they would offer a solo travel newbie and here's what they had to say.

  • Annalie   Carry a game with you, like a backgammon set, chess, a pack of cards. People all over the world can become friends over a simple game!
  • Scott   Leave the third pair of socks and the fourth t-shirt at home. Pack more smiles than you think you'll need, and more patience. Take all the expectations out of your pack and leave 'em at home.
  • Pamela   Go to the market while you are traveling. The experience will shed light on cultural, culinary, agricultural, linguistic, and family composition differences. People are always willing to teach you something new and befriend a stranger with a wealth of information. My first experience of this was in Aruba. I saw very little at the market that I was familiar with, but I came out with knowledge and friends.
  • Tony   Join free walking tours whenever you can! It's great for getting to know the city, learning its history, and meeting other backpackers.
  • Laurie   When you travel solo for the first time–or any time, for that matter–spend Day One at your new destination getting oriented: stop at the local chamber of commerce for a free map and suggestions for must-see points of interest; if you ride, rent a bicycle, you'll cover a lot more ground and still be able to see things up close and personal; chat with storekeepers, cab drivers, and servers and ask them their thoughts about their mayor, their favorite place to eat and drink, changes they've seen in the area over the years, and where they would take out-of-town visitors. Spend the rest of your time following up on their suggestions and return to let them know how you fared.
  • Toni   Give yourself the gift of strangers: ask questions, share impressions, get directions. Use Facebook or Twitter to friend or follow for ongoing exchange and learning.
  • Sam   Make sure (wherever possible) that you arrive at your next destination during daylight hours. When you have to find your way from the airport or train station to your accommodation it is much less nerve-racking to do this during the day when you can see where you are going and there are lots of people around and shops open to ask for directions. Once you get to your accommodation you then still have some time up your sleeve to get your bearings, have a look around, and plan where you will start exploring the next day. Plus, if you are staying at a hostel it is good to arrive before people are making dinner or having afternoon drinks as this is one of the best times to get a feel for the place and meet new people.
  • Tracey   Take the time to observe how people interact and how things work. While sitting at a sidewalk cafe, on a park bench, or just killing time standing in a lineup, I love to watch locals going about their day. If you pay attention to the little things, you can learn a lot: how to use public transit (and how to conduct yourself on it), whether to pay your bill at your table or at the counter, whether people are expected to line up in an orderly fashion or just jump in where you can, how to tip, or how to hail a cab. I find this particularly useful in a place where I don't speak the language.

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Stories About First Solo Trips

travelling abroad alone for the first time

What is first time solo travel really like? Well, that depends a bit on you, but here are a few descriptions by readers of Solo Traveler.

  • Deborah I was a late bloomer as far as travel goes. I took my first solo trip to Nassau, Bahamas when I was 34. I was nervous at first, but I got there and made so many travel friends. I had a glorious time. I haven’t stopped traveling yet and I’ll be 64 soon. I'm planning another big trip around the world. I'm retired now and will live on the “road” until I decide to come back.
  • Massy On my first solo trip I went to Japan. I am an introverted person and I get very self-conscious about myself (seriously). On January 1, 2013 I posted on my Facebook page the “2013 mission to Japan.” On my birthday in July 2013, I bought a ticket as a gift for myself. I got a lot of questions from friends because no one really went solo. I made it to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. It was the most worthwhile and enjoyable experience. It was fascinating to see how communication clashes and cultural differences bring people together. It was just an amazing journey. I learned so much. I met new people. What a journey! It’s addictive.
  • MG I went to Puerto Vallarta and I was depressed. Then I met new friends at the hotel. I didn’t expect to end my vacation having so much fun. This is one good thing about traveling solo. You get to meet new friends that you wouldn’t have if you were in a group.
  • Leslie I had just gotten my professional designation, which took 7 years of exams (post-college) and I wanted to do something big to celebrate. I love to travel, but several of my friends said they couldn’t get the time off or couldn’t afford to go somewhere too far away. I finally decided I shouldn’t be held back just because no one could travel with me, so I booked a camping safari in Tanzania! I love animals and an African safari had always been one of my dreams. Surprisingly, I wasn’t that scared to get on a plane and fly halfway around the world by myself (and to a Third World country, no less). It was exciting! I learned that I’m much more self-sufficient than I thought and that traveling alone can be fun and very rewarding. Now that I know I can travel alone and be just fine, I feel like the possibilities are endless!
  • Zola My first earned vacation out of college I booked a week in Mexico. I loved going on an adventure by myself. I learned a few lessons from first time solo travel that have been useful for my other solo trips I have taken to Bali, Egypt, and Thailand.

If you're looking for even more tips, don't miss The Ultimate Solo Travel Guide: Travel Alone & Love It .

Enjoy your first solo trip!

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Editor Tracey: tracey @

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travelling abroad alone for the first time

The content of Solo Traveler and any resources published by Solo Traveler are meant for entertainment and inspiration only. Please note that while we have advertising clients promoting destinations, products, services, trips and tours on Solo Traveler and that we endeavour to only work with companies in which we have confidence, we are not responsible for the delivery or quality of their products or services. Every person and every travel situation is different. Your safety, satisfaction and fun traveling solo are your responsibility alone and not that of Solo Traveler, its publisher, editor and/or writers.

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The Road Is Life

Travelling Alone for the First Time – 25 Essential Tips for the First Time Solo Traveller

Travelling alone for the first time can be a daunting proposition for many people. Maybe you’ve purposely chosen to go alone because you want to experience the  benefits of solo travel   for yourself, or maybe you are forced to do so through lack of available companions.

In either case a little foreknowledge can go a long way on the road . Below are 25 practical tips for people preparing to go travelling alone for the first time, put together from years of mistakes and lessons learnt by myself and other experienced backpackers.   

25 Essential Tips for the First Time Solo Traveller

Travelling alone for the first time

1:  Don’t  over pack

It always causes many rolls of the eyes and smirks when someone walks into the hostel with a giant backpack that is taller than them and probably just as heavy.

What you pack is obviously very location dependent but unless you are planning on doing a lot of camping or other outdoor activities then you should be able to fit everythin g into a pack no more than 65L .

For most things you can hire gear and there are shops in every country if you end up needing more. Bring the minimum and work it out later.  

2: Don’t blow your budget on transportation  

Your transportation can be one of the biggest costs of the trip. New travellers often aren’t aware of the cheapest ways to get around and can end up spending a lot more than necessary.

The luxury of travelling alone is that you have flexibility and that always saves you money.  Click  here for a detailed guide on how to save money on transportation.  

25 essential tips to help you travel alone for the first time

3:  Don’t book too much in advance  

One of the best parts of travelling alone for the first time is the ultimate freedom it can provide. When planning ahead try not to book too much. T he place  you’ve booked  might  end up not being  in the best area , you might not like the destination  or maybe you meet some cool people who are staying somewhere else  or moving on and you want to follow . Most of the time you can extend  your stay if you are happy and most tours or activities can be booked on the day or the day before.  

4: Find out the best/cheapest way to access your money before you travel  

The modern world has made it so much easier to access money and make payments when travelling. Most destinations have ATMs and so many businesses now take card. The days of travellers cheques, wire-transfers and exchanges are thankfully mostly over.

All cards however are not created equal and the fees can take a huge chunk out of your funds. See here for tips on the best way to access money while travelling. (This isn’t to say everywhere has easy access to ATMs/card payments, make sure to always research your next destination).  

The top tips for travelling alone for the first time

5:  Get involved!  

Your first few nights in a hostel can be intimidating, not many people are used to living in such an environment. There are some people who have been travelling for a long time and people of all different ages, backgrounds and experiences. Don’t worry about it, travellers tend to be super friendly and welcoming!

Don’t pull out your phone or laptop, it is like an impenetrable social shield. Go to the bar/common room, get a drink and introduce yourself to random people, let people know it is your first time travelling or first time travelling alone and you are sure to make some friends who  will show you the ropes and take you out for a good night.

I learnt so much about travelling from just sitting down next to people in the common room and saying hi.  

Making friends at the hostel while travelling alone for the first time

6: Meet different people  

Following on from the last point, it can sometimes be much easier to just slide in with the group of people from your own country where the conversation and interaction is familiar. This can be awesome sometimes when you have been travelling for a while, but you should try to branch out.

Meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds massively widens your perspective on the world and you can learn a lot , not to mention making friends and having meet ups all over the world in years to come.  

7:  Don’t sweat the small stuff, inconvenience will happen… frequently!  

When you are new to travelling it is common to see people getting super frustrated over delays, procedures, red-tape and all the myriad of other things that can happen in a foreign country. Time is perceived differently between cultures and if you happen to be from a western country you likely have keen sense of time and efficiency.

If you can’t learn to let go and just go with the flow then you might find yourself annoyed and upset far too often. Just have a smile, always carry a book and try to remember that sometimes the hardships and obstacles are an integral part of the experience and may even make great stories one day!

Travelling alone for the first time

8:  Learn to take good photos  

A lot of people think that their hastily snapped phone pics are masterpieces, but unfortunately that is often not the case from an objective point of view. I’m not saying everyone should rush out and buy a super expensive camera, some mobiles take amazing shots these days.

What I mean is that you should invest some time learning about shot composition and browsing professional travel photography to see what kinds of things make a great shot. Memory is so fallible and one day all you will have left are your photos, so make sure they’re good!  

Since there may not always be people around to take your photos, make sure to bring a compact tripod with you so you never miss a good photo op!

A backpacker travelling alone for the first time

Capturing the beauty of Albania

9:  Protect your photos  

Leading on from the last point, I think this tip is the most important of all. It’s always tragic and heart-breaking to hear of or meet people who have lost months’ worth of memories due to a stolen or lost camera. There are a number of ways to ensure your photos are safe,  see this post  that details all the best methods to keep your precious memories protected.  

10: Chat to hostel staff and listen to their advice  

Hostel staff are often a fount of knowledge, whether they are local or foreign. They’ve often been in the area a while and have seen many travellers come and go, they will have heard all the stories of woe and wonder and will usually be happy to pass their knowledge along.

Local scams, tips on safety, best places to eat, drink or dance; have a chat and you get to socialise at the same time as getting some pearls of wisdom rather than mulling over old google reviews probably left by some package tourist.  

11:  Double check which bus you’re on!  

This may sound like a joke, but once you’ve attempted to navigate a huge foreign bus depot with no English signs and make it on time to your bus, usually after leaving too late and still drunk from your hostel… then you will know the pain! Double check the bus  and  stand number at the ticket window and on the ticket.

Check the front window of the bus for a destination name, ask the conductor or driver, and just for good measure say the destination name to some locals and see what response you get. This isn’t for every station of course, some are very well organised and marked, but you’ll know the ones I mean.  

Travelling alone for the first time

Trying to figure out a Bulgarian bus schedule

12: Have a plan to get home and don’t go off alone  

There’s an unhealthy level of caution, which is what stops some people from having great and adventurous experiences that are usually safer than driving a car back home. However there is a healthy level of awareness and caution that you should always have when travelling or even when in a new and unfamiliar place back home.  

Let loose for sure but always know when and how to get home safely and have a plan, make sure you are always with someone you trust (and preferably met before getting annihilated in the bar!). This goes for guys and girls, most crimes are ones of opportunity, don’t be an easy target.  

13: Say YES to new experiences  

Most people travel because they want to have an ‘experience’, what that means is a rather esoteric and subjective concept and difficult to put your finger on. I will simply state my opinion that it is not about seeing things and being comfortable. You can do that with an armchair and the national geographic channel and save money on plane tickets.  

The best way to grow as a person is pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone and shedding your shell; meet people, take part in activities and try things that you wouldn’t normally have a chance to do at home.  

Travelling alone for the first time

14:  Follow people, not plans (but always maintain your freedom).  

One of the biggest mistakes I made when travelling alone for the first time was sticking rigidly to plans I had made in advance. I was going to see this and go here and do that and never deviate from schedule.

I met some awesome people along the way who I was having a great time with but I would still just leave and follow the plan; sometimes it worked out alright, other times I was miserable and wished I could go back in time and keep travelling with them.   

I learned that the people you meet are definitely the best part of the travelling experience and compromising your plans can lead to much more fulfilling adventures ( this is actually how Ann and I met! ).

In saying that,  sometimes there are things you just have to do and places you just have to go, don’t lose your freedom. If it’s meant to be you will meet up again somewhere!  

25 essential tips to help you travel alone for the first time

15:  It’s ok to fall in love – but don’t let it ruin your trip!  

Finding love on the road can lead to some amazing and fulfilling relationships. You will meet so many like-minded and adventurous people it might be hard not to fall in love (multiple times)! This is ok, explore it, cherish it, have an amazing time but always remember why you went travelling alone in the first place.

If your love affair starts interfering with the enjoyment or fulfilment of your trip then consider going your own way for a while. You might find it wears off quickly and if it’s meant to be you can always meet up later.

I once met a girl who flew in to South America for an amazing 6 month trip; 2 weeks later she met a guy and ended up staying in the same country for 5 months, spending almost all her money, just for the relationship to fizzle out.  

The Road Is Life

Read the story of how we met in Bangkok, Thailand

16:  Think twice about valuables  

Nowadays we are flush with technology, most people in the west have a laptop, smart-phone, tablet, e-book, smart-watch, and the list goes on. The more you bring with you, the more stress you will be under to look after it all.

On my first backpacking trip I travelled with just an iPod and camera and was completely carefree. Admittedly smart-phones and e-books are just so useful it is hard to imagine travelling without them now.

If you don’t want the stress then consider what you can live without, if you have the latest top of the range phone then think about using an older one for travelling. Most hostels have computers and there are internet cafes everywhere so laptops aren’t essential.  

17:  Don’t be a dick to locals (unless you have to)  

I once had the misfortune of witnessing the supremely ugly spectacle of a western backpacker screaming abuse at a poor shopkeeper in Bangkok. The guy was red-faced, saliva flying everywhere, hurling abuse at this poor unassuming local – and it was all over about 50c extra charged on a t-shirt.

This is disgusting behaviour is an extreme example, but you see people being dicks to locals  all over the place in a variety of ways.  

Making friends with a local in Bulgaria

Ann making friends with a local in a Bulgarian pub

In a lot of places you have more money than almost every local you meet, this should make you humble and gracious, don’t let it make you arrogant and overly self-assured.

I have to add the caveat that  unfortunately  in some situations (luckily quite rare)  locals  can be overly forceful, there are always scam artists and  some people can behave inappropriately; if you are uncomfortable or afraid then sometimes you just have to lose your shit and tell people where to shove it.  

18: Don’t obsess to o  much over budget  

A lot of travellers can be overly strict with their budget, I was certainly one of them! Setting a daily budget to try and stretch out those travelling days for as long as possible is great but you should also consider how much value you’re getting from your days.

You will go to places that you may never visit again, do you really want to miss the opportunity to participate in a unique experience or join a fun group on a pub crawl, just because it is a bit over budget?

On my first solo trip I pinched pennies and ended up travelling 2 months longer than expected. On my second solo trip I travelled one month less than expected, but I bet you can guess which one I had more fun on and remember with greater fondness?  

Travelling alone for the first time

Making new friends at the full moon party while solo travelling in Thailand

19:  Watch out for scams  

The art of the scam is ubiquitous and you will encounter scam artists frequently on your travels. As mentioned in previous posts, many people in many countries are so much poorer than you are it is hard to comprehend.

While I do not tolerate people trying to scam me, I also try to have some forgiveness and understanding and I don’t let it affect my mood. You will inevitably get scammed for small amounts frequently, it’s just spare change for the most part. What you want to identify and avoid are the bigger scams; money changers, fake tours, vehicle rentals, fake fines/police, etc.

You can read about a lot of scams by googling scams and the country name and also by chatting to other travellers about things they have seen or heard.  There are plenty of honest people and operators, arm yourself with knowledge and let your intuition guide you.  

The best tips for travelling alone for the first time

Markets in Morocco are notorious for scam artists…

20: Learn to reflect  

Running around to loads of different attractions, shooting hundreds of photos and then settling in to a good book on a bus journey to the next place is often the norm. This can however leave you with a feeling that the experience wasn’t quite real and the memories can fade away rapidly.

I made the mistake on my first overseas trip of spending  way too much time with a camera glued to my face. Learning to reflect means taking the time at a destination to just sit and take it all in, feel gratitude and immerse yourself in the moment – this will lead to much richer memories.

Long journeys are also a great time to just put some music on and replay all the great memories, reflecting on what you’ve seen and learnt.   

Travelling alone for the first time

21: Find your travel style  

When I first started travelling I had a short attention span, I just wanted to race around and see as much as possible, experience as many things as possible. The lure of the unknown was much stronger than the satisfaction of the here and now.

There was nothing wrong with this as I had a great time and met plenty of like-minded people to travel with. Nowadays however I like to slow it down a bit, spend longer in places I enjoy and just really take in a destination. 

When you travel alone for the first time you will get the opportunity to try both and will naturally find your own style. The key is to be having a great time and not to worry about what anyone else thinks  you should be doing.  

Girl walks alone on a beach

22: You’re not invincible because you’re overseas  

You see it all the time travelling, people land in another country and suddenly think that they can get away with anything. People with no experience will hire motorbikes (and likely ride without a helmet), do potentially dangerous activities while drunk, take substances given to them by random strangers and a whole host of other things that they would never do back home.

I have seen the results of this behaviour and it often ends horribly. The rush of endorphins you have when travelling makes you feel great and it can make you feel like nothing will ever go wrong. Before doing anything potentially dangerous, take a little step back and think ‘should I be doing this right now?’  

25 tips to inspire first time solo travel

23:  Get travel insurance (and read the fine print)!  

Following on from the previous point, you probably will do at least a few silly things when you are travelling, I certainly did! Even if you are the most responsible and safe person in the world, bad things can happen. Good insurance can be the difference between it being a horror story or an inconvenience.

Most travellers have heard the horror stories, but how many have read the fine print of their own policy? On my first trip I engaged in a lot of activities that I later learned weren’t covered on my insurance.  Good policies  often have an easily accessible activity list  so you can scan it before you buy and take copy with you to double check before doing any activities.  

Heymondo  is great for backpackers and adventure travellers. As a reader of The Road Is Life, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance by using the link below!

►Get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance◄

24:  Believe in yourself  

It is perfectly natural to be apprehensive before travelling alone for the first time. I put my trip off for a month after second guessing my decision and had all sorts of crazy ideas about what travelling alone was going to be like. Trust me, you will be fine, many people before you have taken the leap and they are no different than you.

Everyone feels some sense of trepid ation and insecurity before  plunging into the unknown but it’s often not until we take the plunge that we experience just how capable and resourceful we can be.  

25:  If you can’t take the leap all at once – start with a tour

If you really feel like travelling alone is what you want to do, but you just can’t quite push yourself to do it, then consider booking a short tour to start. Book a one way ticket and a one week tour, that way when you fly in you have someone to meet you, an instant group of companions and a protected realm in which to adjust to the world of travel.

If the thought of continuing on alone afterwards still terrifies you, you can always book a ticket home, but I have a feeling you will be anxious to ditch the guide and venture onwards!  

A female solo traveller in Dubrovnik Croatia

Discover more solo travel inspiration!

  • 1 5 Inspirational Quotes to Inspire Solo Travel
  • 8 Benefits of Travelling Alone

Enjoy this article? Pin it for later!

Feeling a little apprehensive about taking the leap into solo travel? Don't worry I got you! I've been there before myself. Don't make the same mistakes I did, check out my list of 25 tips to help you ease your way into first time solo travel like a pro! #solotravel #travellingalone #backpacking

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29 Tips When Travelling Alone for the First Time

by Other Way Round Travel | Jun 29, 2021

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Our Best Tips for Travelling Solo

The single most difficult part of solo travel is deciding to go. Especially for the very first time. The act of travelling solo, however, is far easier than we build it up to be. 

Partially because in today’s day and age, we spend very little time truly alone. We worry about safety, loneliness, how we will be perceived by others, and if we would even like travelling alone in the first place? For most, the answer is a resounding yes. But you’ll never know until you try it. 

So take a deep breath, and take the plunge. At worst, you’ll hate it and never travel alone again. But at best, you’ll no longer have to wait around for friends to travel with, you’ll gain a new sense of independence, and you’ll have the trip of a lifetime.

Here we share 29 of our best tips for when travelling alone for the first time.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Other Way Round (@otherwayroundtravel)

Considering Travelling Solo?

Often people find themselves first travelling solo because their friends and partners don’t share the same desire to travel the world. Or you find that your friends’ busy lives and complicated schedules will just never match up with your own. Finding time to travel is difficult. An entire group finding the time to travel together? Near impossible. 

Fortunately, many travellers find that they actually prefer solo travel. 

But whether it’s by choice or necessity, you’re thinking about travelling on your own and probably wondering…

Is it safe? 

What if I get lonely? 

The truth is loneliness is to be expected once in a while. But the trade-off is getting to tailor a trip to your desires. You don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. Often at the end of the trip, you find yourself more confident and self-sufficient than when you first began. 

As for safety, solo travel is no different from other types of travel. It’s as safe as you make it. By following some simple tips (that we’ll share below) you’ll be able to enjoy a safe trip abroad.

Travelling alone for fist time in Parque Tayrona Colombia

Best Tips When Travelling Alone for First Time

Follow these tips and you’re practically guaranteed to come away from the trip a solo travel convert. 

Tips for First Time Solo Travellers

1. Consider what level of difficulty you’re ready for

Let’s compare India and Colombia . Two popular travel destinations. One is a sprawling chaotic country known for ancient traditions, street food, and 1.3 billion locals. The other is filled with modern metropolises, scenic green landscapes, and a Caribbean coastline. And one destination (Colombia) is far easier to navigate than the other. Before you choose where to go, consider what level of difficulty you’re looking for on your first solo trip abroad. 

Ask yourself…will there be a huge language barrier? Is there a well-established tourist infrastructure? Is this a popular solo travel destination? 

This is your trip after all. You’ll want to feel comfortable leaving the confines of your hotel room.

2. Don’t forget to give yourself some challenges

On the other hand, you do want to push yourself a little outside your comfort zone. You could travel solo in your own country if what you’re looking for is a predictable “safe” trip. But odds are you’re looking to experience something new. This means you’ll need to do something that scares you a little. 

It can be as simple as signing up for a salsa dancing class. Or a trekking excursion. Something that interests you but also something you’ve never tried back home. 

3. Plan your first days in the country

Book your first few nights’ accommodations and plan out exactly how to get from the airport to your hotel upon arrival. This will save you the pressure of figuring out shuttles, buses, and taxis while likely experiencing a bit of jet lag and culture shock. 

You should plan to take it easy your first few days in the country to get your bearings. Don’t pack day one with a full itinerary of activities or you’ll overwhelm yourself straight out of the gate.

4. But don’t plan too far in advance

One of the major benefits of solo travel is the ability to pivot your plans at will. If you decide that you hate Cartagena and would rather spend more time in Medellin, you want to be free to do so. Booking too far in advance can hinder the spontaneity of your trip. 

If the thought of forgoing planning and showing up without lodging and activities pre-booked terrifies you, try to find only refundable and flexible bookings. That way the option to cancel is always on the table.

(Read Also: Solo Travel to South America )

Travelling alone in Jardin Colombia

5. Research your destination thoroughly ahead of time. 

The single most important task for soon to be solo-travelers is to research your destination. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be. Study maps of the country and learn the city names. Scour the internet for blogs detailing the best places to go and things to see. You can never do too much research. 

Here are a few important questions to research before you go: Do I need a visa? What are the most popular tourist destinations? What are the cultural norms in the country? Where are the cities I plan to visit located in the country? Are there days when many attractions will be closed? What is public transportation like?

6. Sign up for a walking tour. 

Arriving in a new country is overwhelming. You’ll be immediately immersed in an unfamiliar culture. Often the best remedy to the uncertainty is to sign up for a walking tour of the city. Most major cities offer free and/or paid walking tours, where you can meet fellow travelers and get your bearings with the help of a local guide. 

7. Before you leave your hotel – know how to find it again. 

Whether that means grabbing a hotel business card with an address or dropping a pin on an offline map, just be sure that you have something other than simply a hotel name to guide you. In the event you do get lost and need to hail a cab, they may not be able to find the hotel easily by name alone. 

8. Download offline maps or get a SIM card. 

GPS isn’t essential but it definitely makes travel easier, especially if you’re nervous about getting lost. If you pick up a local SIM card or download offline maps you’ll be able to navigate even the most chaotic streets back to your accommodation.

First time travelling alone walking tour

9. Don’t Overpack. 

The two packing rules for solo travelers. 

1. Only bring what you can carry easily yourself. 

2. You always need less than you think you do.

A good rule of thumb is to leave 1/4 of your bags empty. This leaves room for any souvenirs you may want to snag. 

10. Start your trip with an open mind. 

Try not to make assumptions, or even better, have any expectations at all. Go into your first solo adventure with an open mind willing to take in whatever experiences the world offers you. Overly romanticising destinations will only lead to disappointment. 

11. Prepare to wander aimlessly. 

The best way to get to know a new city is to immerse yourself in it. Walk with no real destination in mind and forgo Google Maps. You’ll stumble upon hidden gems you would have never otherwise experienced. Keep in mind travel is rarely just about the destination. 

12. Be open to new cuisines. 

Food is one of the great joys of travel. Each country has its own signature dishes and preparations. You should aim to try as many as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask a local where they like to eat and order dishes based solely on what others around you are eating.

(Read Also: Swapping Solo Travel for a Group Tour )

Tips when travelling alone for the first time

13. Be financially prepared. 

Even if you’re not planning on sticking to a strict budget during your trip it’s beneficial to know the ins and outs of the local currency. What is the conversion rate? Will you be able to use credit cards or will most transactions be in cash? How much money are you prepared to spend on this trip? Many credit cards have hefty international fees, so be sure to have at least one card set up for foreign transactions. 

14. Have more cash than you think you’ll need. 

In your bank account and your pocket. Don’t set out on your very first solo trip abroad tight on money. You should also withdraw a little more money from the ATM than you think you’ll need. This prevents you from getting stranded without cash on hand to help yourself out of sticky situations. 

15. Be sure to arrive EARLY for flights, buses, and trains. 

Especially if this is your first international trip ever . In many countries transportation can be unpredictable. It’s best to arrive early so you’re not rushing in at the very last moment. 

16. Bring a book. 

One of the biggest concerns of first-time solo travellers (aside from safety) is eating alone in restaurants. The easy remedy to this slightly uncomfortable situation is to bring a good book or something to occupy your time at the table. Eventually, eating alone won’t seem so lonely and you might even find yourself comfortably people-watching instead.

First time travelling alone reading a book on beach

17. Seek out strangers with similar interests. 

The truth is you’re never truly alone in the world. Meeting people on the road as a solo traveler is easy. If you’re looking for companionship opt to stay in hostels, join walking tours, or sign up for a cooking class. Pick a social activity that interests you and you’ll meet fellow travelers who share those interests.  

18. More of an introvert? Book an Airbnb or quiet guesthouse. 

Hostels have become ubiquitous to solo travel. But if you’re someone who gets easily overwhelmed when surrounded by strangers or the idea of sharing a room holds zero appeal, don’t be afraid to book a private room. The most important part of solo travel is that YOU are comfortable. 

19. Remember things will go wrong. 

Most often these mishaps just create funny stories to entertain your friends back home with later. Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

(Read Also: Debunking 9 Myths About Small Group Tours )

Tips for when travelling solo for first time

Safety Tips for First-Time Solo Travellers

20. Have one confidant back home to check in with. 

It’s always a good idea when traveling alone for the first time (or any time really) to have a family member or friend back home to check in with. Decide if that’s going to be every night or every few days and stick to it. That way if the worst does happen, someone back home will be able to notify the proper authorities immediately. 

21. Know the emergency numbers. 

Before you arrive you should jot down the emergency numbers on your phone and do a little research on decent hospitals in the area. This way you’ll be prepared if you ever are confronted with an emergency. 

22. Google common scams in the country or city. 

Scammers recycle the same schemes on hordes of unsuspecting tourists. But if you know the most common scams ahead of time, you’ll likely be able to avoid them. 

23. Have confidence (or fake it till you make it). 

Walk the streets with your head held high. Even if you’re nervous. Exuding confidence makes you less of a target for scammers because it looks like you’ve been there before and know a thing or two…even if you don’t. 

24. Don’t keep your cash and credit cards all in the same place. 

The most commonly reported crime against travelers is pick-pocketing. And even that is uncommon. To be on the safe side, separate your cash and cards into a few different pockets in a few different bags to avoid them all being snatched at once. 

25. Try to blend in. 

When packing, focus on comfort over fashion. You’ll want to stand out as little as possible and wearing flashy accessories will only get you unwanted attention from unsavory characters. 

26. Plan to arrive at new destinations during the day. 

Arriving somewhere new after dark adds a whole other level of challenges. Save yourself some hassle and try to avoid night-buses and red-eye flights until you feel more confident navigating on your own.

27. Be cautious hiking alone. 

If you’re travelling somewhere famed for its trekking, Peru for example, you should try to make friends and hike as a group. If you insist on hiking alone, choose popular trails, notify someone you trust where you’ll be hiking and for how long, and be sure to give yourself ample time to complete your hike during daylight. Even experienced outdoors people can find themselves in over their head if they sprain an ankle in a remote area.

Travelling solo for first time with a group tour

28. Bring a small first-aid kit. 

Most travel-related injuries can be remedied by a bottle of Ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol, or a decent Band-aid. Although you can find these items in any country in the world it can be beneficial to have them on hand. 

29. Always trust your instincts. 

The biggest asset of any traveler, solo or not, is your gut. Always trust your inner voice. If a situation seems unsafe –leave it. As a solo traveler, you’re solely responsible for your safety.

Group Trips for Solo Travellers Aged 25-45 !

We’re  Other Way Round Travel   and we bring together groups of solo travellers aged 25-45 for immersive & authentic trips to the most exotic places in the world. Here’s some of our popular trips.

11 Days in Mexico. Breathe in the pulsating Mexico city, roam the charming streets of traditional Oaxaca, and hit the beach in sun-drenched Tulum.  See Itinerary

colombia group tour for solo travellers

12 Days in Brazil. Admire street art in  São Paulo, trek rainforests in colonial Paraty and marvel at the madness of Rio de Janeiro. See Itinerary

colombia group tour for solo travellers

12 Days in Peru. Cook ceviche in Lima, sail the Amazon, hike to Machu Picchu and become awestruck by the Sacred Valley.  See Itinerary

colombia group tour for singles

15 Days in Colombia. Dance salsa. Meet coffee farmers. Sail tropical islands. Hike lush jungles. Taste the finest Caribbean rum .  See Itinerary

Group tours of colombia

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  • Solo Travel

How to Travel Alone for the First Time

Last Updated: September 29, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Archana Ramamoorthy, MS . Archana Ramamoorthy is the Chief Technology Officer, North America at Workday. In 2019, she went on a three-month sabbatical from her work and solo traveled throughout Southeast Asia. She is a product ninja, security advocate, and on a quest to enable more inclusion in the tech industry. Archana received her BS from SRM University and MS from Duke University and has been working in product management for over 8 years. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 45,236 times.

Traveling alone can be an incredibly rewarding and fun experience. It can also be dangerous without the proper preparation. With the right planning, you can make the best of your solo trip, be prepared for anything and make memories you'll carry with you forever. [1] X Research source

Preparing for the Trip

Step 1 Outline an itinerary and budget for your perfect trip.

  • If you're going on a multi-destination trip, create an itinerary for each destination.
  • Read travel guides and reviews to figure out what's really worth your time.
  • Check local event guides for any seasonal activities that might align with your trip.

Step 2 Plan your flights and ground transportation in advance.

  • Make sure you can pay for a taxi, train ticket or whatever else may be necessary as soon as you get off the plane. [3] X Research source
  • See how the locals get around. If your destination has strong public transportation, a bus pass can be a great way to see the city. Maybe you're headed somewhere bike-friendly, there may be rental options.

Step 3 Book your accommodations ahead of time.

  • Location is incredibly important. Decide if you want to be near tourist attractions and events or something with a more local vibe. You'll want a neighborhood where you feel comfortable and can easily get around.

Step 4 Educate yourself on your destination and its customs.

  • There are a few phrases that are universal. A few common phrases are: [5] X Research source "Where is the bathroom?," "I need help," "My name is...," "Hello," "Goodbye," and "Thank you."

Step 5 Pack the things you need and nothing you don't.

  • Pack for the appropriate weather conditions. Common items are: a jacket, socks, underwear, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 pairs of jeans, two light tops and two warmer tops. You may consider special weather items like a bathing suit or rain jacket.
  • Pack for emergencies. Common items are: copies of all your important documents, a travel first aid kit, cash, and a map.
  • Pack for passing the time. Traveling alone can be boring. Make long bus rides more interesting by packing a book, playing cards or games. This can also be a great way to meet other travelers.

Archana Ramamoorthy, MS

Staying Safe During Your Trip

Step 1 Share your itinerary with someone you trust and check in often.

  • Keep this person updated about any major changes to your trip.

Step 2 Notify any necessary contacts that you won't be home.

  • Look into international phones. If your current phone plan won't work where you're traveling, it might be beneficial to get a burner (or temporary) phone with international minutes. Make sure you know the country code for calls and how to contact the authorities by phone.

Step 5 Act like a local and don't draw attention to yourself.

Enjoying Your Trip

Step 1 Sign up for a local tour to acquaint yourself with the city.

  • If you're staying at a hotel or hostel, ask the staff or other guests if they recommend any bars, pharmacies, restaurants or locations nearby.
  • Walk around and see how close you are to the nearest bus and train stops.
  • Memorize the address of where you're staying or keep it saved on your phone.

Step 2 Document your journey.

  • Make sure you're not spending too much time by yourself and try to limit your time on your smartphone or social media. [15] X Research source

Step 4 Be flexible.

Expert Q&A

Video . by using this service, some information may be shared with youtube..

  • When you return, write reviews of your experience for fellow travelers. Thanks Helpful 10 Not Helpful 0
  • If you're leaving the country, make sure you know where your embassy is located. Thanks Helpful 8 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure to exchange contact information with any new friends or connect with them on social media. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 0

travelling abroad alone for the first time

  • While traveling alone, be careful with any alcohol consumption. Be sure not to drink too much. Thanks Helpful 16 Not Helpful 0
  • In the event of any medical emergencies, make sure you know where the nearest hospital is located. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 1

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20 Best Countries to Travel Alone for the First Time

06/26/2023 by Ashley 23 Comments

Hey, I know that going on your first solo trip can be nerve-wracking, from deciding to go, to planning it, to actually going.

I was surprised to find — and I think this is a common experience — that the hardest part was making the decision to go. Once I was on the road, everything fell into place. I found my stride, and I enjoyed it so much that I laughed at how scared I’d been of the whole idea.

Traveling alone is a gift. You will be presented with daily opportunities to learn and grow, and you will become closer to yourself as a result.

Since it can be overwhelming to decide where to go first, I’ve compiled a list of 20 destinations that I loved over nine years of firsthand solo traveling experience, and I know you will love them too:

Table of Contents

1.  Thailand

thailand packing list

It should not come as a surprise that the Land of Smiles is first on the list — it’s the perfect spot to “test the water.” Thailand is friendly, affordable, easy to travel through, and full of other travelers and delicious food. There are multiple daily flights from all over the world arriving in Bangkok, the country’s capital, sending new and seasoned backpackers, budget and luxury travelers, fresh grads and retirees, solo travelers (like you!) and tour groups on an epic journey around the country.

I recommend beginning in Bangkok and learning how to  fall in love with the city , or starting off in Chiang Mai up north — there are so many things to do there, like  cooking courses and temples , and  playing with elephants ethically .

Next, head south and go  scuba diving  around one of the  many gorgeous islands , some of which are well known and some of which are  lesser known , or even participate in a  10-day silent meditation retreat .

If you end up loving your experience in Thailand, it is so easy to extend your journey and explore nearby countries by plane, train, or bus.

A Complete Guide to Thailand

2.  Malaysia

Malaysia Beach

Malaysia is often overlooked as a travel destination in favor of its neighbors — and to me, that’s mind-boggling! As a multicultural country, the locals generally speak at least two languages, and English is usually one of them. I personally never had a problem with communication when traveling there. In fact, having a common language helped me have more local interaction in Malaysia, including  participating in local events  and  being invited to local family celebrations .

Like in Thailand, you can have all kinds of travel experiences in Malaysia, from cities and small towns to beaches and mountains. I also think, when it comes to  islands ,  diving , and off-the-beaten-path experiences, it’s hard to beat Malaysia, both the peninsular part and Borneo.

So if you are hoping for an interesting cultural experience minus the language barrier on your first solo trip abroad, Malaysia could be the ideal choice.

A Complete Guide to Malaysia

niijima japan onsen

Japan is one of the cleanest, safest, most polite, and most organized countries I’ve ever visited. It was also one of the most unique in terms of culture,  food , and the delightful mastery of technology in everything from  art museums  to bathrooms. Plus, cities like Tokyo and Kyoto are some of the most interesting in the world and are great to visit any time of year, even in the dead of winter .

I should warn you that language  will  be a problem at some point. I got pretty confused at the train stations, as some signs are only in Japanese. And since English isn’t commonly spoken, it was challenging at times to communicate with some hotel staff and restaurant waiters. However, you can always rely on apps to navigate and use the classic “point and nod” method to order your food. All that said, people are so kind and friendly, the language barrier wasn’t as stressful as it can be elsewhere.

If you are traveling solo for the first time, the idea of sleeping in a hostel room can be daunting. In Japan, you can opt for a capsule hotel, which is very similar to a hostel, except that your bed space is much more confined, and your personal space is respected. Eating alone is not only acceptable but a norm in Japan, so it’s an awesome place to do that, especially if that’s usually intimidating to you.

A Solo Female Travel Guide to Japan

A Complete Guide to Japan

4.  Iceland

landmannalaugar iceland

Iceland is gorgeous, and an outdoorsy person’s dream. Plus, it’s been ranked as  the safest country in the world  several years running. This means that you ( and your parents ) can put your worries aside. Another thing you wouldn’t have to worry about is getting lost. Most travelers in Iceland drive  the Golden Circle  or  Ring Road , and while I think that’s just right for  a road trip with a buddy , it’s amazing solo too. If you don’t feel like driving, the public transportation system is great as well.

Additionally, Iceland is delightfully small and intimate. With such a small population, it feels more like a big neighborhood where everybody knows everybody and there’s so much trust that people don’t even lock their cars when they grocery-shop. Almost everyone speaks English quite well, too, so there’s no language barrier either.

The only drawback is that  Iceland is pretty expensive . You can cut your costs by staying in hostels and buying your own groceries. But I’d say that Iceland is absolutely worth it if you can afford it!

A Complete Guide to Iceland

5.  Germany

where to travel alone for the first time

Germany is my favorite country in Europe. I liked it so much that  I moved to Berlin for five years . I think that Berlin in particular is perfect for first-time solo female travelers: there are  so many things  one can do alone, such as visiting galleries, joining an alternative street art tour, and shopping at flea markets. When you’ve had enough of the artistic scene there, you can hop on a train to  Spreewald  or  Stuttgart , or visit the castles in the rest of  Baden-Wüttemberg  and enjoy the beautiful nature Germany has to offer.

The country is safe, navigation is a breeze, English is widely spoken, the locals are generally helpful — Germany just checks all of the boxes for first-time solo travelers! I also really appreciate its cultural diversity, and for some reason, I feel like I can be 100% my true self there without being judged — and perhaps that’s exactly what you are looking for for your trip.

A Complete Guide to Germany

6.  New Zealand

where to travel alone for the first time

If you are under the age of 30 and planning a working holiday, New Zealand may end up being the destination of your first solo trip abroad! Many people use this opportunity to explore the country on their days off or after finishing up work contracts, and as New Zealand is such an awesome country for a road trip, I highly recommend gathering 3-4 people and renting a camper van for a drive around both islands.

Even if you are not considering the working-holiday opportunity, New Zealand is still awesome for first-time solo travelers, especially if you are comfortable driving long distances. You could take buses and trains, which are generally convenient and inexpensive, but to  get to off-beat places , a car is much more ideal. It’s also the best way to  find all these amazing views . Navigation is fairly easy, and the locals are incredibly friendly and helpful. Find more info on  road tripping New Zealand here.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to stay in a social hostel for your first couple of days and look for a road-trip buddy — just because you set off on this trip alone, it doesn’t mean that you need to be by yourself the entire time!

A Complete Guide to New Zealand

7.  California

convict lake california winter

To my non-American readers, if you are looking at the States for your first solo trip abroad, allow me to present to you the home I grew up in — California! While each state has something to offer, and  many places in the US  are perfect for solo travelers, I truly believe that California is the ideal destination for first-time solo travelers.

Some of the best spots in California are San Francisco,  Humboldt County ,  Orange County , and everything along the  Pacific Coast Highway . I suggest beginning in San Francisco, as it’s a tourist favorite, with ample public transport, high walkability, and a vibrant cultural scene. There’s truly nowhere else like the Bay Area.

If you want to head off the beaten path,  Humboldt and the Lost Coast  are beautiful and laid-back. There are also a bunch of road trip routes to choose from. My favorites are the  Southwest  (California and beyond) as well as  Highway 395 . Finally, if you want to see the last free place in America, head down to  Slab City . You can also enjoy dozens of amazing state and national parks, like Anza Borrego and Death Valley . There are just endless ways to  enjoy California as a solo traveler !

A Local’s Guide to California

8.  Hawai’i

where to travel alone for the first time

Hawai’i isn’t typically what comes to mind when most people think of a solo trip. But I was so pleasantly surprised there that I genuinely think it’s perfect for first-time solo travelers!

Thanks to its rich culture and tropical climate, Hawai’i feels more like a country of its own, with so many things to do that are totally solo friendly. You could do a road trip along the  Road to Hana , explore  Lanai , or join the  Maui Surfer Girls  camp, designed specifically for solo female travelers who are looking for a supportive group of women to take up a new sport with. It’s an experience that is both empowering and fun!

The Big Island  is especially suited for  solo female travelers in Hawaii  because of the amount of  spiritual experiences  there are, plus the rugged adventure you’ll find.

A Complete Guide to Hawaii

9.  Peru

where to travel alone for the first time

If your heart is set on South America for your first solo trip, I recommend Peru. This incredibly diverse country will expose you to a variety of experiences, cultures, and especially climates. Iconic spots, such as  Rainbow Mountain ,  Huacachina , the  Peruvian Amazon , and  the Inca Trail  (and  many other hiking trails ), are absolutely gorgeous. I mean, they are all bucket-list worthy!

As most people visiting Peru end up at these sites, you will hardly be alone, so most tours are more than happy to welcome single supplements. Peru also has a vibrant backpacker scene, so it’s really easy to meet others at hostels and on tours.

Note: My biggest piece of advice for you is that you learn a little Spanish. Don’t expect locals to know English.

Also, Peru’s safety reputation isn’t as great as the other countries on this list, but really, all you need to do is to exercise the same precautions as you do back home. Here are  safety tips from 31 solo female travelers  to get you started.

A Complete Guide to Peru

10.  Botswana

where to travel alone for the first time

Want your first solo trip memories to be filled with wild elephants? Botswana’s the answer, as it has more than anywhere else in Africa. In fact, it’s my favorite country for  wildlife viewing  out of all of the African nations I’ve traveled to so far. It is slightly more expensive than other countries in Africa, but it’s also one of the safest, and has decent roads and a great safari lodge system as well. It is also quite the perfect place to try out glamping, especially since the cost of private accommodations may not differ much from that of basic dorms.

A Guide to Botswana

11.  Switzerland

Zermatt switzerland

The mountains make Switzerland ideal for solo female travelers (and the country is considered safe, too). Outdoorsy girls will love staying in little huts in the Alps owned by local families. While many places in Switzerland are pricey, hiking is free. If you don’t want to  hike in Switzerland  alone, there are hostels where you can join a day trip. You absolutely must go for a hike on the Edelweiss Trail, which gives you an amazing view of the Matterhorn.

A Guide to Switzerland

12.  Namibia

sossusvlei namibia

Namibia has a special warmth — both temperature-wise and people-wise. In the summertime, it’s in the 80s or 90s, and there’s so much to do. The place is an adventure junkie’s dream!

Go  sandboarding  if you visit Namibia. It’s like snowboarding, but you go down a sand dune. I’d only gone snowboarding once in my life and told the guy how terrified I was — but I was fine. The sand is really soft, and it doesn’t hurt to fall.

The country is surprisingly a wonderful place for a road trip — you can read all about mine  here . You’ll see plenty of  wildlife in Namibia , along with some amazing  astrophotography  opportunities.

A Guide to Namibia

13.  Canada

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Canada is world-renowned for having some of the friendliest people, so this comes at no surprise. Finding where to travel alone for the first time often boils down to where travelers will find the perfect balance of adventure and safety, and Canada is right at that intersection. I love Montreal for a winter weekend escape or Quebec for a fall road trip . If you want to experience the Canadian wilderness, head to Banff, where I found some of the most breathtaking hikes.

Since Canada as a whole is such a stellar pick for solo travelers, it might be tough to choose where to go. I put together this list of the absolute must-visit spots to help narrow down your search.

A Guide to Canada

14.  Singapore

singapore from level 33

You’ve never been to anywhere cleaner than Singapore, I guarantee it! There are so many rules — no littering, spitting, or chewing gum — and they enforce them. It does, however, make it nice to walk around. Also, English is one of the main languages there, so you can communicate just fine, making this a great pick for solo female travelers.

You absolutely must see Supertree Grove. It has giant trees that light up at night, synched to music. Plus, it’s open all the time. I had no reservations about going there at 4 a.m. — Singapore is that safe.

Singapore gets a reputation for being ungodly expensive, but some careful planning focused on  free activities in Singapore  will help you save money here. You can also find more info on  traveling in Singapore like a local here.

A Guide to Singapore

15.  Ireland

fall packing

Some people may be surprised that  Northern Ireland  would be a good choice for solo female travelers, but it’s super safe now — the problems are in the past. Hospitality is one of Ireland’s strong suits. Irish people are so friendly and welcoming. You walk into a pub, and you’ve made a roomful of friends.

Belfast is a lot more manageable than Dublin for solo female travelers. It’s just calmer and less overwhelming. When you’re by yourself, you don’t need all the constant stimulation, and in Belfast, you’ll feel more at ease. Don’t miss the Titanic Museum there. I don’t have much interest in the  Titanic , but the museum was so well done and interesting and interactive!

If you can make it to  western Ireland  to see some natural beauty, definitely work that into your itinerary as well.

A Guide to Ireland

where to travel alone for the first time

The beautiful architecture is the star of the show in Spain, especially in Granada. You don’t need to be with anyone else to enjoy its cool mix of Eastern and Christian influences. You especially can’t miss the Alhambra, a famous fortress originally constructed all the way back in 1889.

Also, Granada is safer than Madrid and Barcelona, where you have to be constantly watching your back for pickpocketers.

Other smaller cities are definitely worth checking out, like seaside Málaga, because they’re the perfect size for solo female travelers. You’ll be able to see more of those places without the greater safety risks of bigger cities.

17.  Mexico

where to travel alone for the first time

Some travelers are too quick to write off Mexico as unsuitable for female travelers, but I disagree. Mexico is an incredible place to travel solo for the first time because it’s bursting with cultural richness, amazing food, and an astounding variety of landscapes. Mexican people are generally very warm and hospitable, making it a great place to meet locals and get to know the culture.

In Mexico, you’ll find  pristine beaches , beautiful mountain landscapes, crystal clear cenotes (swimming holes), and fantastic cities like  Oaxaca ,  San Miguel de Allende ,  San Cristobal de las Casas , and many more to explore.

If you’re concerned about  staying safe as a solo female traveler in Mexico , I get it. With alarming stories on the news about violence in Mexico, it can be daunting to think about going there alone. However, most of these stories come out of specific regions of the country that are far off the tourist track. This isn’t to say that popular areas don’t have risks, but there are plenty of ways to stay safe in Mexico as a solo female traveler.

A Complete Guide to Mexico

18.  Costa Rica

where to travel alone for the first time

There are few places on earth with as much biodiversity and an overall abundance of outdoorsy things to do as Costa Rica. It’s also one of the best places in Latin America to  travel through as a solo female traveler  because of how easy it is to meet other travelers and how safe it is .

From the thick  green jungles  of Costa Rica’s interior to the golden beaches on both coasts , this is one of the places I will go back to over and over again. Imagine going from a  remote beach with rock arches  one day to hiking to a gushing waterfall in the jungle the next. Plus, the national parks here are next-level. My favorites are  Manuel Antonio National Park  and  Tortuguero National Park . Costa Rica is paradise on earth, and as a solo female traveler, it’s absolutely ideal.


A Complete guide to Costa Rica

19.  Finland

where to travel alone for the first time

Finland is a fantastic destination for first-time solo travelers not only because of its beautiful scenery but also because it’s one of the safest places on Earth to travel alone in. Crime rates in Finland are astonishingly low, the people are super friendly, and you don’t have to know any Finnish because most people speak great English.

From idyllic cities like Helsinki to small coastal villages and wintry Nordic scenes, Finland is perfect for travelers who love the outdoors and don’t mind chilly temps.  Finnish Lapland  is one of the best places to visit in Europe in the wintertime, too, because of the unique celebrations of the region and the possibility of catching the northern lights.

20. Portugal

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Gorgeous cobblestone streets, astounding seaside views , and warm hospitality all keep solo travelers coming back to Portugal over and over again. As one of Europe’s most affordable countries to visit, it’s become an excellent place for budget-conscious travelers as well. Pair that with amazing food, delicious wine, and stunning landscapes, and you’ve got yourself a world-class travel destination fit for adventurous women.

Like most of Europe, pickpockets are common in big cities like Lisbon and Porto, but overall, crime is still quite low here. Plus, Portuguese people tend to be friendly and willing to help visitors, so even if you’re alone, you don’t have to feel alone.

travelling abroad alone for the first time

First Name:

So these are the 20 destinations that I have personally traveled to and think are perfect for first-time solo travelers. Which one will you choose?

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Jerry James says

12/03/2018 at 3:50 am

Wow… awesome list there. From Asia to Europe, Europe to America and Africa, hard to pick destinations as there are many other places just like this, nevertheless you have crafted marvelous content, loved it. Hope to visit all those places. Firstly, I wanna got to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal from Ammonite Adventures and then I will try to go through this list. Thanks !!!

Anil Kumar says

08/28/2019 at 2:38 am

I am a beginner solo traveler.I am going to start my first trip to Bhutan on this 1 st September.and want to see the world.need good suggestions and recommendations. I am 50 year old.

Vijay Patel says

03/28/2019 at 3:47 am

Wow! Amazing list about the destinations across the globe. One of my favorite place to visit is Thailand and my dream destination is California. These 2 are one of my favorite places. So, thank you for sharing just great and very helpful list of some of these travel destinations.

JoAnne says

04/11/2019 at 5:46 am

We’re you actually traveling solo? I was just wondering who took the pics.

This is great information.

Kristin says

04/11/2019 at 9:34 am

I took them, ye of little faith:

Whitney says

05/24/2019 at 9:09 am

Im new to global travel and I realize that my friends are not about this life?. I want to see the world and I am so down to do it as a solo traveler. Thanks for the post it has givien me lots of insight?

05/25/2019 at 11:28 am

Yay get it!

Mylene says

06/25/2019 at 10:02 pm

Sooner or later, I’ll start my fist solo travel! I hope so hahahaha

Frances says

07/15/2019 at 10:37 am

I have Christmas Holiday OFF (all 2 weeks)… any recommended places specifics to traveling alone for the Holidays? Thanks1

09/26/2019 at 7:15 am

Taiwan should be on this list!

09/26/2019 at 8:30 am

Agreed. I haven’t been back in over 10 years but it’s such a lovely place with friendly people.

Simon Payne says

12/30/2019 at 12:31 pm

Wow! Great stuff, thanks Kristen. I backpacked in 1992 as a young 20 year old and did many of the places you mention. I’ve just had my 50th and I am going to do it all over again. No distractions, just nature and me. Where are you now then? Simon.

12/30/2019 at 12:39 pm

Wow that’s amazing! I’m still traveling! Not done yet.

D. Styne says

03/07/2020 at 3:11 am

I am making some life memories fantasy about heading out to the entire world and investigating each culture that presents on the planet. In the wake of perusing your accommodating article, I think my 50 to 70% dream is finished and I now just set up the bank balance for it. This is an extremely helpful article for travelers and tourists who want to travel to the best places all around the world. In any case, it’s extremely supportive and you’re the best for imparting it to us. Keep this work ongoing.

Tina K. says

07/07/2020 at 7:16 pm

What a lovely and inspiring writer you are, not to mention an intrepid solo traveller. I found the content organized, informative and uplifting.

Thank-you. I am ready for my next journey

07/08/2020 at 11:07 am

Thanks Tina!

suzanjack says

09/24/2020 at 4:04 am

It’s a wonderful place to visit with friends thankyou for sharing with us , I am planning to visit Iceland with my friends but unfortunately, just because of COVID we cancel the plan. But definitely, we will visit there. Once again thank you for sharing beautiful places. says

02/23/2021 at 9:51 pm

I started traveling alone at a very young age. I agree Thailand and Malaysia are great countries to start with. I cant wait to explore more of this earth as a solo female traveler

Camilla Centerwall says

03/22/2022 at 1:17 am

I love the list of travel destinations! I also think that the Nordic countries of Sweden,Norway, Denmark and Finland could/should be on it! 🤗 So please come and visit! You are most welcome!

Fatima Ahmed says

03/28/2022 at 2:41 am

Hi Kristin,

Great blog! Kudos to your solo travels all around the world, very inspiring too.

I would like to suggest a few more to the list. I would add Albania, Czechia, Canary Islands, Austria and Poland where one can easily travel solo, saying from personal experience 😉

Good luck on future travels.

Kind regards

03/30/2022 at 9:20 am

Thanks for the additions!

04/18/2022 at 2:59 am

South Korea is also a great country for first time travellers. Safe, convenient and there are more English signs compared to Japan. It’s also a small country, so you can cover most key places just within 2-3 weeks. I would also like to add Hong Kong (& Macau), Taiwan, Vietnam, the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and New York.

04/18/2022 at 2:42 pm

Great suggestions!

World of Wanderlust

How to travel Solo for the First Time (20 top tips)

If this is your first visit to my blog – welcome! I’m Brooke and I have been travelling the world solo for the past seven years. Over the years I have made many mistakes, booked last minute flights out of bad situations and met so many fellow solo travellers along the way. With the help of my fellow solo travel friends, I’ve put together the best tips for your first time travelling solo.

travelling abroad alone for the first time

How to Travel Solo for the First Time

Book your accommodation via ratings.

There are so many hotels I have checked in to and realised they look nothing like the photos. The safest bet I have found is to check the rating overall as well as considering how many people have placed a review. If the hotel has a 5 star rating but only one person thinks so, you might wish to reconsider!

Make an effort to meet other travellers

When I first started travelling solo at twenty years of age, I would often find myself becoming more and more introverted. I found that over time conversation became easier, flowed more naturally and I soon realised I was facing the same questions from new friends: Where are you traveling from? Where are you traveling next? What are your favourite places so far? These small conversation starters can quickly form friendships and before you know it your solo dinner for one became a fun adventure with someone new.

Start your day early

I’m often asked how I manage to get photos at national monuments like the Eiffel Tower without any other travellers in the frame and the truth is to wake up for sunrise! Waking up at sunrise means less crowds, no lines, beautiful morning light and the chance to see a place almost all to yourself.

Buy travel insurance

One of the non-negotiables when I travel is buying travel insurance. When you travel alone you don’t have anyone looking out for you so for peace of mind, I always book travel insurance in case anything goes wrong. This extends to flight delays and cancellations and having travel insurance in these situations causes less stress because you know you won’t be the one footing the bill.

How to take better Solo Travel Photos | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Something I learned early on in my travel career was to pack a light suitcase or backpack and relish in the rewards of lugging less weight up a flight of stairs! There have been so many instances where I have found myself at the bottom of 100+ stairs leading out of a subway suitcase in tow, that I have learned it is always better to pack less.

Travel alone but not lonely

Early on in my love affair with travel I realised how easy it is to make friends abroad. We are lucky to live in the age of social media and globalisation where it is possible to meet people to show their city to you before you even arrive! Smiling at locals, learning a few words of the local language and hitting up local coffee spots is a great way to meet people.

Visit Local coffee shops

Speaking of local coffee shops, they are a great place to meet interesting people or even just sit for a while and people watch. Often we get caught up in “seeing the sights” of a new city and forget to pause to take it all in. These moments are often where I have had some of my best ideas, met people I still keep in touch with today or just taken time for myself to consider my surrounds.

Travel with a book

Often when you travel alone you will find yourself with free time on your hands. This could come whilst standing in a line, waiting between courses at a restaurant or on long bus rides. I find it best to always travel with a book to immerse myself in and never feel lonely whilst accompanied by my favourite characters.

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Stay sober if exploring at night

This one is subjective but it is a travel rule I have unknowingly implemented for myself. While I love a glass or two of wine with dinner, I love feeling safe more. I will only ever have a glass of wine if I plan to walk around a city by myself at night because I’d rather have my wits about me and feel safe. There are a few situations I have found myself in over the years where I have been thankful for being sober so I can make a quick escape. There is nothing worse than feeling as if you are being followed or watched when you are walking alone so be sure to get yourself out of any situation you feel uncomfortable in.

Catch public transport

Although it can sometimes be daunting using a new public transport system, it is always the cheapest and often best way to see a city. There is no better way to feel like a local than to learn your local stops and make use of the subway.

Pick your destination(s) wisely

Let’s face it: some destinations are safer than others. I’ve written before about the safest destinations for solo travellers and I stand by these as some of my favourite places I have been alone.

Go your own way

One of the most common options for solo travellers is to join a group trip but from experiencing both, I much prefer to travel on my own accord. Group trips have a way of feeling rushed and focus heavily on the main attractions, so much so that you often don’t get a feel for the place you are visiting.

Solo Travel in Europe

Give yourself challenges

A great way to see a city is to challenge yourself to achieve a certain amount of walking each day or a visit a certain set of places each day. Sometimes I embark on a day of coffee tasting and make my way to 10-20 of the cities’ most popular coffee shops. Other times I will depart on a day of vintage shopping and dart my way all over the city in search of treasures.

See what you are capable of

One of my favourite solo travel memories and equally one of my worst was when I took a mountain bike down Death Road in Bolivia . It was the experience that sparked my interest in mountain bike riding and because of this, I found out what I was capable of.

Take your time

One of my favourite travel hacks over the years has been to slow myself down and notice more beyond the obvious. I can spend countless hours inside museums noticing the most minute details and before I know it, I’m knee deep in researching a particular artist or genre.

As much as I love my planned days with a set itinerary of what I would like to achieve, I also love getting lost and having no plan at all. I find this option is best for cities you have never discovered before as it prompts you to form an opinion without expectations. Cities I have loved getting lost in include Antwerp, Stockholm and Tallinn.


Ask locals for advice

Often the coolest cafes or concept stores I have discovered are small hole-in-the-wall finds that I never would have found without the advice of a local. I’m always asking waiters, bus drivers and baristas where I should explore and blindly travelling on their recommendations.

Consider a cruise

I know, I know: you can’t believe you are reading this. But I mean it when I say cruising has become one of my favourite ways to travel having explored the Middle East and Asia by cruise ships. This is a great way to take the stress out of travel because once you’ve checked in to your cabin, you never have to move your luggage again. You wake up every day in a new port, explore, eat, sleep, and do it all again! I would definitely recommend cruising for solo travellers who would prefer less stress and a more relaxed way to travel.

Learn a new skill

Every year I travel to Paris to learn a new skill in pastry making. Through travel, desserts and pastry have become a really strong passion of mine – so much so that I even opened my own bakery three years ago ! Learning a new skill like pastry classes, wine pairing, language lessons or even art appreciation is a great way to immerse yourself into a culture completely.

Embrace the complete freedom of solo travel

Whenever a person asks me how I gained the confidence to travel solo, I often go into a long tangent about how great it is not just to spend time alone but to love time alone. The complete freedom of solo travel gives you time to learn more about yourself, explore your interests and become a truer version of yourself.

Solo travel must haves


Brooke Saward founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen, with a particular weakness for French pastries.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

You may also enjoy:

These are the best cities to travel …, the best places to travel solo in 2023.


I’ve never read anything more realistic than this! I used to be so scared of travelling alone because you don’t really know what to expect. It’s great seeing content like this that will help people be more confident in going out there and experiencing the world. One thing that caught my attention is the notion of making an effort to meet other travelers, especially solo ones. I believe that this can bring more color into our experiences, but a lot of people still find it hard to strike up a conversation with strangers. Do you have any tips on how …  Read more »


A very inspiring post. Accidentally stumbled upon your blog. Sometimes you really want to travel alone. Especially when all the advantages of such a trip are so beautifully described.

ward aronciano

Thank you for sharing this one! glad that i bumped into this blog of yours since it definitely motivated and helped me a lot!

Camella Homes

 I haven’t tried yet to travel solo, but your blog makes me want to try it. Thank you for the best tips for me to try as a first-time solo traveler.

KD Master

Hey there! Useful Post, you always have good humor in your posts/blogs. So much fun and easy to read! And for the record, we are still at it on the Flash reading.

Shagun Bohra

Such a well written blog. I am going to travel solo soon and this piece of writing gave me so many tips. Thankyou so much for sharing, you’re doing a great job:)

rosie abigail

Such a good post!! I’ve never gone solo traveling before, I’ve always been too scared or too reliant on others. But recently, I’ve really had the desire to get out there and travel how I want to travel – to see the world that I want to see! Every post I read of yours makes me feel more prepared and more ready to get into the world of solo travel. So, thank you

rosie abigail ✨

Brooke Saward

Thanks Wendy, appreciate the feedback!

Wendy Atlanta

What a fantastic blog!, I had to go find your first London one and it was also fabulous. I am looking forward to enjoying many of your highlighted places myself.

Carly Pitt

Your blog inspired me to travel solo 6 years ago – love seeing all of these new articles to inspire other women!


Traveling alone doesn’t mean being alone. I always made amazing friends on the way and there are good people out there also traveling alone. It’s fun meeting new people on the road….

Seb W.

For some reason, I always avoided traveling alone. Don’t know, but it seems like I need someone to have my back if anything goes sideways. :)

Malik Khan

Wonderful post.

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' class=

Hi I am travelling to Rhodes for a week in july and staying in a hostel in Faliraki. I'm an 18 year old female student and I'm nervous as its my first time travelling. I was just wondering has anyone else been in my situation/have any experience ?. E.G did you make any friends or where you just alone?etc, and any tips. Thanks Melissa :).

' class=

Good for you for giving it a go, and getting out there.

Solo travelling is great, because you get to do what you want, when you want, and not be "beholden" to others...

In a Hostel, you will soon meet other like-minded travellers to socialise with, go about with if you wish, or not, if you wish...

IME the Greek people are lovely, friendly and helpful!

Don't worry, but do use your normal common sense and street smarts!

I daresay you will have some "adventures" but I bet you enjoy yourself.....

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Best advice I can offer is to remember “knowledge is power” No matter where you head off to in the world, whether you are a first time overseas or an experience traveller always do your research beforehand. Check where you are going, work out rough distances and costs, which is very easy to find these days via the internet, in books or speaking to someone who has visited where you are going.

Otherwise contact your hostel and ask them for the best options from the airport or the port, most will typically provide detailed information on how to reach their establishment, because its in the interest for you to arrive safely.

But just to note, if you are not the centre of attraction person, talking loudly, who just loves everybody to know your business at home, then don’t try to be one when overseas, just be comfortable in yourself.

And finally there are good and bad people in all countries don’t assume that your fellow countryman is anymore honest person than a local. Too many times I have seen cases where people have taken the word of a fellow Brit as gospel, the same types of people who at home they would not give the time of day too. But yet the same people ignore the well meaning advice of locals.

Always stick with what you are comfortable with and if you would not do this at home why do something silly overseas. 90% of incidents I have heard about overseas could have been prevented by a bit of common sense.

Have fun and enjoy!!

As SS said research, make sure you know the local customs and behaviour.

Check out how to use the public transport (ticketing etc varies) and whether it's safe. Always check to see the buses return regularly.....has been known to go only one way ;-)

Look at the Top Questions on the Rhodes forum for advice, it's a good place to start.

Don't drink too much away from your hotel or accept that a party thrown by strangers however nice they seem is going to mean they will look after you.

If you are going to eat out or even just a coffee check out the Solos reviews for the hotel or hotels near to see if there are places recommended.

EssexWanderer :Hi thank you ! I am glad im getting "out there" and I really hope I do meet like minded people :)

Screensilver : Hi yes thats exactly what I have been trying to do, I have researched Rhodes a lot and I am going to contact the hostel today, but I already have an idea of the taxi price from the airport etc. I really do hope that I meet other people in my shoes luckily as you said us brits bond over the little things haha, I totally agree when you say that just because someone is a brit doesnt mean that they are any more trust worthy than a local !, I am going to try to be quite careful who I trust, and stick with my common sense. thank you again :)

suebovington : thank you I am checking the Rhodes form now ! and I actually hadn't thought about searching for reviews on places to eat !! And considering I will be eating out all day thats very helpful haha, thank you !

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the Tripadvisor community and has been removed.

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

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10 perfect places to travel alone for the first time.

Have the solo trip of your dreams by picking one of these awesome places to travel alone for the first time.

Solo travel can be transformative .

Taking those first steps outside of your comfort zone and navigating unfamiliar cultures is an instant self-esteem booster. Moreover, the benefits of empowerment and self-determination persist long after you have returned home.

That said, travelling alone for the first time is a big deal. Solo travel statistics suggest that safety concerns , fear of loneliness and the higher cost of travelling solo are the main reasons for people not travelling alone .

The key to mitigating these risks is choosing the right solo travel destination.

Make the right choice. In this article, I share my top 10 countries to travel alone for the first time, based on my experience of over 30 years of female solo travel.

coloured map of the world

Some articles on this website contain affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases . Read the full disclosure here .

>>> Looking to kickstart your first solo trip? Check out these inspirational solo travel books or these awesome quotes about travelling alone .


Why is Your Choice of Solo Travel Destination Important?

Choose the right solo travel destination and you’re well on the way to having the trip of your dreams. But choose the wrong solo travel destination and it can be a very different experience.

What do I mean by this?

Let’s put it a different way. Do you want to head off on your first solo trip to a country for which there are safety concerns?

You also need to consider the country’s infrastructure . For example; is there a good transport network?

japan-shinkansen-train passing platform

Even though you are travelling solo you won’t want to be alone all of the time. So, ask yourself if there will be opportunities to meet other travellers ?

Finally, your chosen destination has to suit your travel budget .

Other factors to consider include what you would like to get out of your trip – for example; recharge or adventure – and your preferred climate.

As with many other life decisions, your choice may boil down to balancing competing priorities. That said, it’s good to have a few ideas and inspiration for starters.

Where Should I Travel Solo for the First Time?

In no particular order, here are my top ten favourite destinations for first-time solo travel:

1. Japan 2. Thailand 3. Malaysia 4. Italy 5. Spain 6. Portugal 7. Iceland 8. Switzerland 9. Scotland 10. England

The Best Places to Travel Alone for the First Time

If I was forced to make the decision at gunpoint, I would name Japan as my favourite solo travel destination.

Japan is famous for many things but, for me, it’s the intoxicating mix of the ancient and the modern that continues to seduce me. Unlike many countries, it manages to retain its rich culture and historical heritage whilst innovating and embracing technological advances.

golden temple with reflection in lake and trees which is included in a 3-day kyoto itinerary

Kyoto has temples and shrines a-plenty (spend three days in Kyoto to fully appreciate the city). And Japan is also home to some of the most sublime gardens in the world (Kenroku-en in Kanazawa and Sengan-en in Kagoshima are my favourites).

lake with reflections of tea house and trees at kenroku-en-garden

Japan also produces some of the best food on the planet, from  okonomiyaki  in Osaka  to the often-imitated Hakata ramen in Fukuoka . And let’s not forget the sake ( Himeji is one of the best places to sample this).

woman called the flashpacker holding sake glass in bar

Largely thanks to its excellent high-speed rail network , Japan has a superb and efficient travel infrastructure. Japanese rail passes cover the length and breadth of the country (although JR Passes are not the bargain they once were )

The country is clean, very safe, people are kind and polite and you won’t be viewed with suspicion or pity because you are travelling alone. Solo dining  is a cultural norm.

Curious to learn how to explore this exceptional country? This 2-week Japan itinerary has all you need to know.

I have visited Thailand on three occasions and can vouch for its reputation as one of the best solo destinations in Asia.

Unlike Japan, Thailand is very budget-friendly . Transport is cost-effective and there is no shortage of cheap accommodation, including hostels and apartments.

There is a well-established tourist path and infrastructure and there should be no difficulty in meeting fellow travellers.

The Land of Smiles really does have something for everyone.

Temple hop in Ayutthaya and Chang Mai. Or take a boat trip to see the best of Bangkok’s history.

profile of stone buddha statue

Thailand brims with natural beauty , from hills and waterfalls to picture-perfect beaches. In 2022, it’s still possible to find your own piece of paradise on an unspoilt Thai island.

wooden pier reaching out to sea at sunset at santhiya-resort-koh-yao-yai

Whilst Thailand is considered to be relatively safe, remain vigilant. Sadly, spiking drinks is common and theft on night buses has been reported.

Malaysia is a criminally underrated solo travel destination that has a rich historical heritage and offers a diversity of cultures and landscapes.

mountain overlooking sea and islands on langkawi malaysia

This is a relatively safe and inexpensive country and has an efficient travel infrastructur e.

Furthermore, Malaysia is home to some of the best, and cheapest, food in Asia. This is hawker stall heaven.

Peninsular Malaysia is a good place to start. Although it is more developed and more touristy, it includes the capital, Kuala Lumpur as well as other popular destinations, including Melaka and Penang . 

jetty reaching out to red wooden hut

Eastern Malaysia is quieter and may appeal to those with a more adventurous nature. This side of the country features white sand-fringed islands that offer sensational diving  and the jungles of Borneo.

Above all, don’t overdo it. Malaysia is a vast country and unless you have a lot of time available, you will need to choose between Eastern Malaysia and Western Malaysia. 

This was one of the first countries that I visited as a solo traveller 30+ years ago, and one to which I have returned more times than I can count (it also helps that I have good friends in Rome).

Italy is famous for many things .

From the serenading Venetian gondoliers to the hilltop Tuscan towns , this is an outrageously romantic country. But neglect the smaller medieval towns such as Tuscania and Civita di Bagnoregio at your peril.

rolling landscape of tuscany italy with old house

Italy’s  landscape  is equally majestic. From the lakes of Lombardy to the dramatic cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, there’s something for every solo traveller in Italy.

I’m a complete Italian Renaissance fan-girl and Italy’s  artistic legacy  is the best in the world. Florence , Sienna and  Urbino are amongst many towns and cities that display their artistic treasures like the jewels they are.

In Rome, the historic landmarks of Ancient Rome paint a vivid picture of the Empire’s triumphs and tragedies.

This a well-worn cliché, I know, but  Italian food  is to die for.

Each region has its own specialities and even in the humblest establishment, you are guaranteed a first-rate meal. And the humblest, and most famous Italian dish of all is pizza, which is reason enough to visit Naples .

For the coffee  connoisseurs amongst us, Italy’s bars serve the best coffee on the planet. And don’t get me started on the  gelato .

Thanks to Italy’s position on the Grand Tour of the 17 th  and 18 th  Centuries, it has had centuries to hone its travel infrastructure.

Many of the best Italian solo destinations are accessible by train, including high-speed services. And if you cannot reach a destination by train, there will usually be a bus that will get you there.


Italy’s infrastructure and travel connections serve a well-worn tourist trail . Along the main visitor routes, locals will be used to accommodating a solo traveller’s needs and will be more forgiving to those who do not speak Italian.

Thanks to the global popularity of Italian cuisine and a plethora of TV shows and movies set in Italy , the country will appear instantly familiar.

Whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Italy is a super safe destination, Italian cities are no more dangerous than those in many other European or North American cities.


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I have also travelled to Spain on multiple occasions and consider it to be one of the best solo travel destinations in Europe, especially for female solo travellers.

Amongst the many things for which Spain is famous are its beautiful beaches, dramatic mountains and volcanic peaks . Spain has beautiful cities and a temperate climate , allowing year-round travel. Spain is also relatively affordable compared with many other solo destinations in Europe .

The chance to step inside the whimsical buildings of Antoni Gaudí is reason enough to go to Spain. Visiting La Sagrada Família is an essential part of any Barcelona itinerary .

Mass tourism is well-established and its infrastructure is well-developed.

RENFE, the country’s train network serves major towns and cities. Smaller towns and villages are covered by buses.

Spain has a rich  historical heritage and is second only to Italy in the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the unsurpassable Alhambra Palace . The Roman Empire – Tarragona has the best Roman ruins in Spain – the Goths and the Moors have all left their mark on the country.

piazza in sunshine with cathedral and basilica

There is a vibrant  cultural scene and foodies will leave the dining table feeling very satisfied. What makes it so exciting is that each region or city has its own speciality not to be found elsewhere(try an ensaïmada in Palma de Mallorca for instance).

Melt-in-the-mouth seafood, fragrant olive oil and spicy chorizo are the staples of Spanish cuisine . And let’s not forget the excellent local wine, tapas and paella.

steaming pan of paella

Spaniards are friendly and English is widely spoken in the tourist hubs.

Spain ranks in the top 10% of the safest countries in the world. However, as with any big city across the globe, watch out for petty crime such as pickpocketing.  

Don’t miss the tourist hubs on the mainland; among my favourite cities are Córdoba , Granada , Seville and Valencia .

But ignore Spain’s islands at your peril, especially the Canary Islands .

For Spain in a microcosm, spend a week in Tenerife , basing yourself in the lovely town of Puerto de la Cruz . Using Tenerife’s bus network , it’s super simple to explore this lovely island.

ochre coloured buildings and mural of womans face

Travelling alone in Gran Canaria is also easy. It has abundant accommodation, relatively modest prices and the bus service in Gran Canaria is extensive and affordable. There is something for every solo traveller, from the vibrant capital of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to the charming towns of Puerto de Mogán, Teror , Agüimes and Arucas (to name but a few).

pretty street lined with whitewashed buildings which are draped with red flowers

Likewise, travelling alone in Lanzarote is a piece of cake. It has one of the most extraordinary landscapes in Spain, the attractive capital city of Arrecife and one-of-a-kind artworks by Cesar Manrique, including his Jardín de Cactus .

close up of 3 low round cactus plants

  • Canary Islands Solo Travel: The Ultimate Guide
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  • Gran Canaria Solo Travel: Itinerary & Essential Guide
  • Lanzarote Solo Travel: The Ultimate Guide

Spain’s neighbour on the Iberian peninsula is also a fabulous destination if you are on your first trip alone. Although Spain and Portugal have similarities, there are also a few differences that might help you choose the country that is right for you.

cliffs by coastline of portugal with deep blue sea

First and foremost, sunny Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Europe , important if you are travelling alone on a budget.

As Portugal is a relatively small country , you can cover more ground in a shorter space of time. Although its travel infrastructure is not as well developed as that in Spain, it is easy to travel around independently.

Like Spain, English is widely spoken but Portugal tends to have a more laid-back vibe .

There is no shortage of fabulous solo travel destinations in Portugal. From the gorgeous cities of Lisbon and Porto to the wine region of Douro Valley , there’s something for every solo traveller in Portugal .

multocolored buidlings of porto portugal along the river

Don’t ignore the gorgeous island of Madeira . Featuring spectacular scenery, a year-round balmy climate and an abundance of cheap day tours to explore the island with ease, it’s a dream solo destination.

orange bird of paradise flower with blue sea in background

READ THIS NEXT: Solo Travel in Madeira: The Ultimate Guide

Due to its well-deserved reputation as an expensive country, Iceland may not be the solo travel destination that immediately pops into your mind. But bear with me.

an icelandic horse close up in snow covered field

For the safety-conscious solo traveller, the crime rate in Iceland approaches zero . There is little chance you will be robbed, attacked or harassed.

If you want to treat yourself, Iceland is well-placed for splurging . Linger over a meal at one of Reykjavik’s excellent restaurants or buy that handmade Icelandic jumper you have been coveting.

Yes. This is an expensive country, but there are ways to save money as a solo traveller in Iceland.

On the downside, Iceland’s public transportation system is limited.

As there is no railway and a shrinking network of long-distance  bus  routes, many visitors hire a car. But if you don’t fancy taking your chances behind the wheel, excursions to suit all tastes are plentiful and easy to book. These are also good opportunities to meet other travellers.

This is a dramatically beautiful country. For a taster, base yourself in Reykjavik – a fabulous destination in its own right –  and take a tour of the Golden Circle .

modern chech front in reykjavik against setting sun

Don’t leave the country before visiting the Blue Lagoon . Yes; it’s pricy but it is unique.

people drinking at swim up bar in blue lagoon iceland

READ THIS NEXT : Iceland Solo Travel: Itinerary, Trip Costs & Essential Tips 

Switzerland doesn’t often appear on lists of the best solo travel destinations. This is a cruel oversight.

I have visited this staggeringly scenic country many times and it is one of the best places in Europe to catch a super scenic train ride, including the famous Glacier Express . Switzerland is a solo traveller’s dream destination, especially for mature solo travellers.

red and white train in swiss valley

Switzerland has been assessed as the second safest country in the world – Iceland claimed the coveted top spot! – and is characterised by its cultural and regional diversity .

Public transpor t in Switzerland is world-renowned for good reason. Trains are clean and punctual to the second, albeit pricey. To reduce costs, look into buying an Interrail Pass or a Swiss Travel Pass .


  • How Does Interrail Work? The Ultimate Guide 
  • Is Interrail Worth it? An Interrail Pass Review

Visit the German region in the central and eastern parts of Switzerland for the majestic cities of Zurich, Bern and Base l.

Take day trips from Bern to explore some of the country’s most magnificent Alpine scenery . From Basel take one of Europe’s most unusual walks: the 24-stop Rehberger Weg , a 5km trail waymarked with art installations.

first switzerland

Another highlight of this region is car-free Zermatt, home of the mighty Matterhorn. Although a popular ski resort, there are plenty of things to do in Zermatt for non-skiers.


The western part of the country is French and includes Geneva, Montreux and Lausanne .

Use Locarno as a base to explore the Ticino, Switzerland’s Italian region. The free Ticino Ticket, one of Switzerland’s few travel bargains, makes exploring the lakes and elegant towns of this region a breeze.

And if that’s not enough, consider the excellent Swiss chocolate, cheese and fondues . Switzerland is not a place to diet.

It’s a truism that we are often guilty of ignoring destinations on our doorstep. In my case, this was Scotland.

Now I question what took me so long to explore it.

From rolling hills and jagged mountain faces to white sandy beaches, Scotland features some of the most striking and diverse landscapes in the UK. It’s a walker’s and photographer’s paradise.

close up of brown highland cow in inverness scotland

From London, take the Caledonian Sleeper to Fort William on Scotland’s west coast.

This is the starting point for one of Britain’s most scenic train journeys, the famous Jacobite Steam Train , also known as the Harry Potter Train . Fort William is also a good jumping-off point for the dramatic Glencoe valley , one of Scotland’s must-see sights.

the jacobite steam train going over a curved viaduct known as the harry potter bridge

Scotland is the land of awe-inspiring castles , which come in all shapes and sizes. The most famous are Dunrobin Castle, Eilean Donan Castle,  which keeps watch over the Isle of Skye, and Inveraray Castle .

The main cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh have oodles of cultural attractions but the often underrated city of Dundee , an easy day trip from Edinburgh , is snapping at their heels

Whisky lovers will have plenty of opportunity to down a dram or two. Scotland is home to over 100 distilleries in the five different whisky regions (my favourites are the Oban Distillery and Tobermory Distillery on the lovely island of Mull).

Seafood lovers will love the gorgeous town of Oban on the country’s west coast. This is the seafood capital of Scotland and also the gateway to the romantic Hebridean Islands.

oban harbour

For solo travellers, Scotland is relatively safe and the locals are very friendly . There is a wide variety of accommodation on offer, from hostels and bed & breakfasts to boutique and castle hotels.

Driving is the easiest way to explore Scotland, allowing you to reach places that are more off the beaten track. However, this is not for the faint-hearted. Some roads in the Highlands and Islands are single lanes punctuated with passing places that you can pull into if necessary.

green valley with lake reached from fort william to glencoe

Scotland’s major towns and cities are linked by train and bus. Scottish Citylink is an express coach service that runs long distances.

I travelled in Scotland  without a car  and managed just fine using buses, trains and day tours.

During my visit to Inverness, I took two day trips with the local  Rabbie’s Tours  who were excellent. Group sizes are small and the knowledge and humour of their drivers/guides are first-rate.

Call me biased, but England is one of the easiest places for travelling alone for the first time.

telephone boxes

As an English-speaking country, it is an appealing destination for visitors from Australia, the US and many European countries.

The travel infrastructure is good with good rail links across the country. For places not served by a train station, you’ll usually find that coaches or local buses are available.

The natives are generally friendly , especially outside of the main cities and in the north of the country. Although Londoners have a reputation for being reserved, in my experience this is overstated and people will usually try to help you.

As England is a popular solo travel destination, it’s relatively easy to meet other travellers , particularly in the main cities.

From dynamic cities to seaside towns and rolling hills, England offers a vast variety of places to visit. But like bees to honey, most visitors head to London .

the castle-like tower bridge in london

And why not?

From its plethora of cultural attractions to its historical attractions and vibrant pub and restaurant scene, London is one of the world’s greatest cities. And there are plenty of things to do in London as a solo traveller .

Take in the best free view in town from the Sky Garden (or if you want to spend some money visit the View from The Shard ). Walk along the south bank of the river to view some of London’s finest bridges . Or explore some of London’s best landmarks , including the London Tate Galleries and the historic Tower of London.

There is something for every single traveller.

Fancy some sea air? Jump on a train to take day trips from London to one of Kent’s seaside towns or to the lovely Rye and Camber Sands .

Dunes at Camber Sands

But as great as London is, don’t ignore England’s other great cities.

Visit Liverpool for its rich maritime heritage, striking architecture, buzzy cultural scene and all things Beatles.

Newcastle upon Tyne , the jewel of the northeast, is an easy train journey from London. From here, you can visit Berwick-upon-Tweed and the wonderful Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

Just a few reasons to visit England as a solo traveller.

Travelling Alone for the First Time on a Group Tour

I hope that these fabulous places will inspire you to plan your first solo trip.  But if you are not sure whether you are ready to travel solo, why not  join a  group tour ? 

This is a supported and structured way to travel alone for the first time.

You’ll have an expertly curated itinerary and will gain valuable insights into the country, its culture and its history. There’s safety in numbers and a group tour will provide ready-made travelling companions.

There are lots of  group travel companies  out there but two companies that I have used and can recommend are  Exodus Travels  and  Explore Worldwide!

single supplement group travel companies opt in image

Where Will You Take Your First Solo Trip?

In an attempt to provide focus and not overwhelm, I deliberately confined these choices of places to travel alone to ten.

It was a tough choice to decide which countries to omit.

In Europe, Ireland, France and The Netherlands were on the shortlist. Further afield, New Zealand, Argentina, Vietnam, Indonesia and Israel just missed the cut.

Whichever place you choose for your first solo trip, have a ball. You won’t look back.

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at [email protected] or follow her on social media.

travelling abroad alone for the first time

A Beginners Guide to Traveling Alone for the First Time

Solo travel can be intimidating to some people, especially if you’re traveling alone for the first time – it’s completely normal. Some people fear getting bored, some think they’ll feel lonely, and others may have safety concerns.

These are all valid reasons for hesitation; however, solo travel is still a life-changing experience that you should have at least once in your life. So, I put together this step-by-step guide to help you prepare for your first solo adventure – whenever you’re ready, of course.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission if you purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Please see  full disclosure  for more information.

Traveling Alone for the First Time? Here’s What to Do!

#1 understand that you are not alone.

Like I said, it’s okay to feel anxious about traveling alone or at least have your concerns. In fact, I used to be like you!

YES! I wasn’t born a solo traveler and I was trapped in one hell of a comfort zone. I thought I couldn’t enjoy my own self’s company, I had an overprotective family, I wasn’t financially independent, and I used to be a bit more uptight and uncomfortable when put in new, unknown situations. So what happened?

Well, if you’re new here, then you’d probably want to read  the story of how I started solo traveling  (if you’re curious enough). To cut a long story short: It was love at first sight. It just took me a few months to figure out how I can spend the rest of my life doing this once I realized this was what I wanted.

But the very first step you need to take to gain the courage to embark on your solo adventure is to understand that you’re not alone. It’s completely natural to feel hesitant or intimidated and it shouldn’t make you feel like a coward. Even frequent, veteran solo travelers like myself still feel anxious sometimes.

Your beginners guide to travelling alone for the first time

#2 Define your obstacles

So, you want to start traveling solo, right? But what’s stopping you? We each have different cases and obstacles and I like to believe that to every problem, there’s a solution. But don’t we need to define the problem first in order for us to be able to solve it?

Let me help you do that. Here are the most common 3 obstacles that prevent people from traveling alone: fear of boredom, safety concerns, and parents’ disapproval.

#3 Address your concerns and conquer your fears

Once you define what are the reasons hindering you from solo traveling, it’s time to work on the solving part. Here are some possible solutions to each of the common obstacles that I’ve previously mentioned.


“Will I get bored? Will I feel lonely? How am I going to have fun on my own?”

These are all questions I constantly get whenever someone learns I’m a solo traveler. And you know where’s the irony? It’s that even though I’m usually traveling alone, I never ever felt lonely.

Traveling alone makes you way more flexible and open to meeting new people, unlike when you’re with a group of friends when you tend to be more closed off.

Your beginners guide to travelling alone for the first time

You may ask, “ but what if I’m shy, an introvert, or socially anxious/awkward? ” Well, I have just the reads for you. The following eye-opening blog posts address (and solve) common problems like beating solo travel boredom, making friends while traveling alone, and overcoming solo travel anxiety. In these reads, I’ll let you in on my top tips on how to approach and meet others on your trip, even if you’re an introvert or if you get anxious, as well as ideas for how to stay entertained.

MUST-READ: How to Beat Solo Travel Boredom

Must-read: how to make friends as a solo globetrotter, must-read: h aving anxiety about traveling alone here’s how to overcome it, bonus tip: bring a game with you to break the ice with other travelers on the road 😉.

Roam Syndrome © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.


“Is it safe for a woman to travel alone? Is this destination safe for a female solo traveler?”

I’ve heard these questions countless times.

Female solo travel and safety concerns always come hand in hand whenever any woman, who happens to travel alone, brings it up. Be it fear of sexual harassment or crime, it’s always the women who have to worry about the safety bit.

Traveling, in general, is not always rainbows and butterflies. There are mishaps on almost every single trip. That’s completely normal. It’s part of the package – that’s part of everyday life. And honestly, my main advice to you is that a little bit of common sense would do. Anywhere.

Practically speaking though, there are various safety precautions that you could take to stay (and feel) safe while traveling alone for the first time (or 100th time).

MUST-READ: 10+ Tested Safety Tips for Female Solo Travel Newbies

Another thing you need to understand is that there are so many stereotypes about so many countries out there. Don’t believe everything the media tells you. Travel with a positive mindset, and open heart, and a whole lot of common sense. And most importantly, don’t let the mishaps or negative experiences stop you from enjoying your trip.

If you have the time, check out the blog post below and read about a group of badass female solo travelers and their experiences in “so-called unsafe destinations”.

MUST-READ: “Unsafe Travel Destinations”: A Big Fat Lie That Media Feeds Us

Parents’ disapproval.

“How do I convince my parents?”

Well, this one’s the trickiest. Every parent is different, so I honestly can’t guarantee you results for this one, but read along in case I might be able to help.

If your parents are overprotective out of fear for your own safety, that’s completely normal. All that you have to do is prove to them that you can depend on yourself and that they can trust you.

Check out the blog post below for a useful read to all the gals who’d like to start solo traveling. There’s a section dedicated to that parents’ issue with some ideas on how you can earn their trust.

MUST-READ: An Open Letter to the Female Solo Traveler to Be

On the other hand, if your parents are just totally strict just for the sake of it, that’s a bit of a sticky situation. The previous read might be able to help you (or not). Y’all know your folks better. But it doesn’t hurt to try, right?

I honestly would have never thought I’d be where I am today. I grew up having an overprotective mom so traveling with my friends was always an issue, let alone traveling alone! I went from that to full-time travel blogger, but how?

  • Earn your parents’ trust and prove that you could depend on yourself.
  • Become financially independent.

#4 Choose a destination

If you’ve reached step number 4, I’m assuming you’re now determined and ready to try traveling alone for the first time. Taking the first step towards solo travel could be pretty scary, but let me tell, it’s not as scary as it seems. It’s all about taking that leap of faith – once you take it, you’ll feel much more confident. Trust me on that!

Now, you’ve got to choose your destination and since this would be your first solo trip, I highly advise you to go easy on yourself. So, here are my tips for choosing your first solo destination:

Your beginners guide to travelling alone for the first time


Going somewhere that’s somehow familiar kind of makes things easier. You don’t want to throw yourself into a completely different culture or worry about the language barrier when you’re all new to this.

Even if you haven’t visited the destination before, it being local still makes it familiar to you. At least you have an initial understanding of how things might be and what to expect.

I still remember my first-ever solo trip like it was yesterday. I went to a  Nubian village  in Upper Egypt, I got incredibly sick for my entire stay, but the lovely Nubians took great care of me, and I hung out with awesome people (when I had the energy). Despite how awful that trip might sound, it was actually one of the turning points in my life. I learned a lot on that trip and it was one of the main triggers that lead to the conception of Curls en Route. Nubia now has an extra special place in my heart.


You can still choose an overseas destination for your first solo trip – there’s nothing wrong about that. In this case, it’s always better to choose a country where a language you’re fluent in is spoken widely. Communication can make or break a trip, so you want to be able to communicate easily in a language you’re comfortable speaking.


A good call would also be traveling to a country with a similar culture to yours – one that shares some cultural factors like native language or traditions and norms. Or maybe you can go somewhere where you’re least likely to experience culture shock. If your destination of choice happens to be where a friend or family member lives, it might also be a good idea.

BONUS TIP: You can start off by joining a group tour organized for solo travelers. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone while not being a 100% on your own. It’s also perfect for making friends.

#5 start planning your trip.

Now that you have your destination picked out, it’s time to get down to business – PLANNING your trip! Start by looking up flight tickets – you want to book in advance to land good deals. You should also search for accommodation options in parallel as this is usually the second largest bulk in your budget.

While looking up flight tickets, it’s wise to compare your options on different flight aggregators. I personally prefer Skyscanner and Google Flights. As for accommodation, my favorite two platforms for finding and booking a place to stay are Hostelworld and

Afterwards, you want to put together a rough itinerary for your trip. I like to note down all the places that I wish to see and all the bucket-list-worthy experiences I’d love to have in my chosen destination. However, I also like to leave some room for spontaneity and change of plans. Most of my best memories made on trips were the result of spontaneous decisions!

#6 Do further research

Research is crucial for an unforgettable trip, especially if you’re traveling alone for the first time. You need to research accommodations, not just to get the best prices, but to also check reviews made by other solo travelers and to see if the location meets your criteria. Another thing you must research is the cultural norms and traditions of the destination you’re visiting. You need to make sure your behavior would be respectful of the local culture.

You’ll want to research the best times to visit weather-wise and look up what to wear there. It’s also smart to look up all the common scams and tourist traps the destination is known for. There are so many things to research and the more you know, the more confident you’ll be.

Your beginners guide to travelling alone for the first time

#7 Take the necessary precautions to prep yourself

When you’re traveling alone for the first time, you first need to mentally prepare yourself for it. If the idea makes you anxious, it might be good to check out my latest read on overcoming solo travel anxiety. It also covers some tips for introverts.

MUST-READ: Having Anxiety About Traveling Alone? Here’s How to Overcome It

It also goes without saying that you need to take some safety precautions. In case you haven’t already read it, the following blog post is an important read whether you’ve solo traveled before or if you’re traveling alone for the first time.

30+ Golden Tips for Those Traveling Alone for the First Time

Now that you’re about to get down to some real business, I’ve got to pass the torch on to you. So, let me share some of my solo travel wisdom with you.

Here are 30+ pieces of advice that I’ve learned from over 7 years of solo traveling:

  • Always trust your gut
  • Keep an open mind
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to people
  • Be well prepared
  • Don’t look like a tourist
  • Use common sense
  • Do not panic in times of crisis
  • Let someone know your whereabouts
  • Do your research
  • Set intentions, but not expectations
  • Try to arrive during the day
  • Download offline maps
  • Buy an eSIM and a mobile data plan to stay connected
  • Walk more often
  • Don’t be afraid to get lost
  • Travel with both cards and cash
  • Spend the first day exploring
  • Talk to the locals
  • Respect the local culture
  • Save your accommodation’s address and phone number
  • Print a hard copy of important documents
  • Lock your passport and valuables in a safe
  • Have a plan B
  • Research the common scams
  • Have a sense of your surroundings
  • Track your spending
  • Check reviews
  • Make a packing list
  • Lie but only if you need to

(Totally not encouraging you to scam anyone, but sometimes you may have to lie out of necessity. Example: If you’re getting unwanted male attention and you feel uncomfortable but don’t want to sound rude, you can always say you’re with someone. Or if some creep had the audacity to ask about your hotel and room number.)

  • Embrace self-discovery
  • Maintain a positive mindset
  • Always wear a big fat smile

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance!

Travel (solo or not) isn’t always rainbows and butterflies – things might go down south sometimes. You might fall ill or lose your luggage, and that’s when you’ll thank me for having your back covered with travel insurance.

SafetyWing offers different travel insurance packages, tailored to your needs, but their Nomad Insurance is my favorite option.

This travel medical insurance is perfect for frequent travelers. It covers lost checked luggage, travel delay, doctors, hospitals, and more. It even covers the COVID-19 emergency quarantine period if deemed necessary by a physician.

GET INSURED NOW – Nomad Insurance

Booking a trip soon here are some useful travel resources:.

  • Book your flight with Skyscanner , Kiwi , CheapOair , or WayAway .
  • Book your hostel with Hostelworld .
  • Book your hotel with or Agoda .
  • Get your travel insurance with SafetyWing .
  • Hire a car with Skyscanner , Discover Cars , Rentalcars , or AutoEurope .
  • Book your tours with Viator or Klook .
  • Download an eSIM from Airalo .
  • Check out my trip planning tools for more travel resources.

Sharing is caring!

You might also like:

  • How to Prep for an Adventurous Solo Road Trip
  • Having Anxiety About Traveling Alone? Here’s How to Overcome It
  • Going to a Music Festival Alone – How to Make Friends, Stay Safe, & Have a Great Time

Meanwhile, if you like my content and would like to see more of it, subscribe to my newsletter  here .

travelling abroad alone for the first time

Nadine is an Egyptian curly-head who decided to quit the norm because it just doesn’t suit her. She ditched her 9-5 as a magazine editor to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time digital nomad and to inspire aspiring travelers to embark on their own solo adventures.

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