30 of the Best Solo Travel Tips from Readers (April 2024)

by | May 21, 2024

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Last updated on May 23rd, 2024

Featured image: JourneyWoman readers share their best solo travel trips from April | Photo by friends_stock on Envato

Solo travel tips from women

Curated from our Facebook Group and Email Tips 

This month’s reader tips are all about safety, packing light and being practical when we travel  — no doubt to avoid hefty checked bag fees.  Culled from inbound emails and our private Solo Travel Wisdom Facebook group, we love to share these first-hand solo travel tips with everyone to help you travel safely and well. If you have a solo travel tip share please do so!  (You can do that here!) 

Tip: You can download these tips as a PDF or print them using the icons above!

30 Solo Travel Tips to help you travel safely and well

1. G0 to the places that call to your spirit. — Berta G.

2. Research everything before you go- make your own travel notes. Knowing what you are seeing deepens the experience. — Tracy T.

3. ViaRail cross-Canada train. Toronto to Vancouver. They have great solo cabins; the food is incredible, and the scenery is sublime. The only downside is having to sleep through parts of it and miss huge stretches of scenery. Very tempted to go back the other way one day to catch up on what I slept through. 🙂 And you meet great people from all over. — June B.

4. One of the most uplifting experiences I ever had was when I followed the sound of singing and ended up as the only white face in a church service in Swaziland. I was warmly welcomed, sang and danced with the congregation, and learned something of the roots of our gospel music. Follow your music, figurative or literal! — Marti S.

5. St Viateur Bagels in Montreal. Dream bagels, you will not forget the taste. I haul bags of them back on the train at the end of my stays. The area is nice to walk around to get a feel for the city. — Nancy M.

6. Be sure to check government websites for entry requirements like visas etc as soon as you choose a destination. Many people discover they need a visa on trying to board a plane and don’t have one! — Chris P.

Note: Use a program like iVisa to confirm which visas you need and apply for them through the website.

7. Use the Find Me GF app to find reviewed restaurants for gluten-free food around the world. — Beth H.

8. I’ve been using the Tripit app, If you aren’t familiar with it, I highly recommend it for organizing your itinerary. — Miriam W.

9. Always learn the ‘basic words’ of the country you are visiting. I was once able to get my A/C fixed by a hotel engineer who had very little English. It was blistering hot outside and my A/C would run for ten minutes, then shut off. I managed to convey this to him; he went away and came back in 11 minutes. He fixed it quickly once he knew what to look for. We were both thrilled that we communicated with each other. — Judy S.

10. Google Translate is my new friend! I actually use it at work with the housekeeping staff – they are Spanish speakers. Sometimes I can use my poor Spanish to get my point across, but then I don’t understand them most of the time. — Kitty P.

11. I will only take direct non-stop flights if they are available to where I’m going. Saving money isn’t worth it at this point in my life. I’ve decided I’ve earned the convenience! — Arlene P.

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Solo travel safety tips

12. I take a photo of the front of the hotel where I’m staying. Sure helps me because usually someone drives me there and they look so different walking or in daylight. — Darlene S.

13. Beware of taking taxis in Lisbon – they overcharge everyone and it is much better to use the Bolt app or Uber. However, traffic moves slowly there, so if you are on a timeline, give extra time for the driver to get to you. I also heard that two British women paid 200 euro each for a Tuk-tuk ride, and the driver made up most of the ‘history’ of the city to boot! Lisbon is very safe, but pickpockets are known to take advantage in crowded situations – like subway, and Tram 28, or other situations that have many people in close quarters – like the National Holiday they had on April 25th. — Kerry O.

14. In Barcelona, there is a scam where someone ‘drops’ something in front of you, and when you lean down politely to help them pick it up, they attempt to take your bag. This happened twice to my daughter on La Rambla. Be aware! — Carolyn R.

15. When I arrive in a new location in the morning after a long overnight flight, I drop my luggage at my hotel, find the hop on/hop off bus and ride around to check out the city and plan out the places I want to see during my visit and how best to get there. If they don’t offer that option, I will find a walking tour instead. After a nice meal, I return to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep and wake the next morning energized and ready to go. — Debbie D.

For book and library lovers

16. For local walking tours try the Millennium Tour (also the ABBA tour!) in Stockholm, a Harry Hole walking tour in Oslo.  The latter in particular such a hoot – the guide had arranged for someone to speak out the upper window at Harry’s apt, “oh, he just left – yes, in a black car…”  then ended at his fave watering hole – Shroders, so good that I went back on my own for an exquisite salmon meal.

17. Then of course, there’s Agatha Christie’s room at the Pera Palace Hotel – where she wrote “Murder on the Orient Express” – about to book for some September time in Istanbul.  The Barbados resort setting for her “Murder in the Caribbean” was worth checking out for fun – and learning that the management didn’t have a clue about its literary immortality.  Ditto for the Central Hotel in Stockholm, where Wallandur stayed – DID stay there, discovering that management’s missed marketing moment… — Julie

18. Oodi Central Library in Helsinki is most impressive, it’s big & bright with lots of windows, there are coffee shops throughout the library & plenty of light wood. It was chosen as the winner of the 2019 Public Library of the Year award in the World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). The annually presented Public Library of the Year award is presented to a public library that is either newly built or set up in premises not previously used for library purposes. In 2019, a total of 16 libraries from all over the world applied to be considered for this award. The other libraries that made it to the final were Green Square Library and Plaza in Australia, Bibliotheek LocHal in the Netherlands and Tūranga – Christchurch Central Library in New Zealand. The award’s sponsor, IT company Systematic, awarded USD 5,000 to Oodi.

19. ‘Oodi was designed together with customers for a long period of time. We received more than 2,000 ideas from customers to serve as the basis of the architectural competition. ALA Architects designed an amazing and unique building that takes all the elements most desired by customers into account. The customers immediately made Oodi their own, which is our greatest success. The Public Library of the Year award tells us that the world has also taken notice of this,’ rejoices Director of Oodi Anna-Maria Soininvaara. — Lois E.

20. When I read “Travels with Charley” in college in the ’60s, said to myself, “Some day” – eventuating in my six-month USA VW van trip with my dog & laptop in 1989. Now, my favourite form of travel research is fiction (and film).  Recent gems from current planning for: Budapest “The Invisible Bridge“, Cyprus “The Island of Missing Trees“, both from TripFiction.com – glad you’re partnered, had discovered on my own. Re Sujata Massey, love love love her Perveen Mistry series, with a Mumbai trip later this year, wrote her about the need for a walking tour – she referred me to a local guide who would create one for me! — Julie S.

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Books can be a great source of travel inspiration, taking you on great adventures around the world

Clothing tips

21. I buy scarves as souvenirs. They take up little space and I recall the trip every time I wear a particular scarf. – Arlene P.

22. I LOVE my reversible cotton print maxi skirt. I get 2 completely different looks/colors/patterns. Planning to take it on every trip, and may buy another. I also found a reversible sweater at Goodwill. If anybody knows a source for reversible clothes, other than Amazon, please tell. —Ramona B.

23. When backpacking for 3 months last year in Europe, I wore Teva sandals every day. Not only were they super comfortable, but I could wear them into the water – super helpful when on the pebbly beaches! — Kim H.

To check a bag or not…

24. I have decided that it is OK to check a bag! I’m tired of wheeling a carry-on through airports, especially when there is carpeting which makes it so annoying. I have a personal item and a smaller bag of stuff too important to check. — Nat H.

25. Heading out tomorrow for 3 weeks. Could take a carry-on and having back issues right now so yup checking my bag so I don’t have to hoist it. Though must admit my backpack is pretty heavy! — Kitty P.

26. My mantra – just because it’s carry-on size does not mean it must be carried on. I get a free bag with my preferred airline, so I always check my bag. I hate the scrum that happens with everyone trying to put all their worldly possessions in the overhead. I also have a blown shoulder so I’d have to have someone help and I won’t do that. — Sandy B.

27. I always check a bag – I don’t like hauling my bag around an airport, especially in washrooms. I know better, my bag is checkable – but I make sure I have my essentials with me and roll the dice. — Heather D.

28. Another thing that relates to luggage. I mostly fly out of Montreal and Vancouver and across Canada. I almost exclusively fly with Air Canada. It’s not the cheapest, but I’ve worked up my Aeroplan status to a level that gets me priority security and there’s bag tracking too! They send bag info via text and on the app, which is very reassuring. So I feel pretty good about checking a suitcase now. — Nat H.

29. Delta has a similar feature on its app. That, combined with an Apple Air Tag makes me pretty comfy about checking. — Kitty P.

30. I usually travel multiple places and take local transportation in country. So have learned it is so much easier to travel light with a carry-on suitcase. Roll my clothes tight, take easy to wash and dry shirts. Don’t buy silly souvenirs. Now I buy only a nice piece of jewelry I know I will wear and doesn’t take up room in by suitcase. — Linda P.

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1 Comment

  1. Deborah Brooks

    I liked one thing about living a short time in Sarasota, Fl. The Salvation Army store had loads of nice like new clothes for cheap. And the had a senior citizens day.


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