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A solo traveller enjoying a the view on a cruise

If you wonder how solo travellers get the confidence to strike out on their own, you’re in the right place. Follow these 5 steps to become a confident solo traveller.

Start close to home

You don’t have to hike the Pacific Crest Trail like Cheryl Strayed in Wild on your first trip out. If going out on your own isn’t your usual thing but you’re interested in solo travels, start small. Many people are intimidated by going to the movies alone or going out to dinner by themselves. Start doing more things by yourself close to home, then it will be easier the first time you’re on your own far from home.

Take a trial run with a local weekend or road trip by yourself. Keep a journal as you learn what works for you. Some people prefer the anonymity of a large hotel, where others want the more personal welcome of a smaller bed and breakfast. Learn what you prefer where you speak the language before you venture further afield. If you start to wonder why you wanted to do this, remember what you’ll learn travelling alone.

Go solo in a group

There is a whole industry dedicated to helping solo travellers (and avoiding the dreaded single supplement). Many trips are focused on a specific interest—like a walking tour or winery tours. If everyone in the group is a solo traveller, then no one feels left out. Check the reviews of the tour—ome are focused on matching up singles while others are more destination and activity focused. Pick a group that matches with your goals for your trip.

Some tours cater to more adventurous travellers, others skew younger and budget-conscious, while others offer a luxury experience for the solo traveller.

Learn something new

Immerse yourself in a pastry class in Paris, a yoga retreat in Bali, or adult space academy in Alabama, USA. Travelling solo allows you to explore what you’re interested in and focus exclusively on what you want to do. It’s a great way to relax and learn a new skill without worrying if someone else is having a good time. It’s also a great way to meet other people who share your interest.

Give back

Spending time volunteering with like-minded people is a great way to spend a solo trip. Focus on a cause that’s important to you, and you are more likely find new friends that will last a lifetime.

Volunteer-tourism opportunities include building houses with Habitat for Humanity and turtle conservation in Costa Rica with Global Volunteer Network.

Venture out on your own

Now that you’re a practiced solo traveller, you’re ready to plan a trip on your own. Pick a destination that’s meaningful to you, and know that your itinerary is completely in your control. Feel free to change your mind as opportunities present themselves—that’s how I learned to scuba dive in the Galapagos.

Have a safety net

Going alone doesn’t mean being reckless. It’s always a good idea to let someone know your travel plans and an expected return date.

Register your travel plans with Safe Travel and subscribe to travel advisories at your destination to help you know what’s going on.

Get a quote on travel insurance before you leave. There’s nothing like 24 hour emergency assistance to give you peace of mind while you’re on the road.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Roderick Eime; cropped from original