Last updated on September 24th, 2023
Featured image: Prepare for adventure with these solo travel tips from JourneyWoman readers | Photo by natanavo on Envato
Why we love solo travel and more packing and money-saving tips
Curated by Marion Broverman, Facebook Group Moderator
Every month we curate solo travel tips from our readers, and this month’s tips are all about getting out and exploring the world. These tips include packing ideas, safety tips and advice to explore cities. Here is the shortlist of the best solo travel tips, culled from inbound emails and our private Solo Travel Wisdom Facebook group. We rely on first-hand solo travel tips from you — our readers — if you have one to 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!
Top Solo Travel Tips from July
1. When someone is worried about feeling lonely on her solo travel adventure. What’s wrong with feeling lonely? Why do we try to avoid it so hard?? Loneliness is part of the human experience. The saying “what you resist persists” is so true. Trying to avoid and deny feelings of loneliness only makes them stronger. Allow ‘lonely’ and see what’s beneath it. Usually, it means we are uncomfortable being with ourselves and our feelings. Watch what happens when you accept and feel loneliness. Let it be there and see the gifts that come from that. Likely, you will begin to enjoy your own company. And then you know you’re NEVER alone. — Jennifer C.
2. Palermo Sicily: Santa Caterina has a bakery at the side corner in a square. The cannoli are huge and come with chocolate chips or candied peel or combo. Don’t plan on lunch. The fountain of shame is there too. Beautiful experiences. — Nancy M
3. While enjoying a solo visit to Copenhagen, I had an excellent lunch at “Hooked” restaurant. (several locations throughout the city). The staff are friendly, and happy to answer my many questions regarding their food & local sites. I lingered long after lunch studying my map & I never felt rushed to leave. Prices were average, the fish is tasty, and their Christianshavn location is very clean. — Margaret
4. I’m traveling with my new camper and prefer remote/off-grid camping. However, a girl needs clean laundry, showers, Wi-Fi, and civilization every now and then! I’m at Grumpy Bear Campground in Bryson City, NC. Perfect stop-over to recharge batteries, water up, laundry, showers etc. As all private campgrounds go, the spaces are small but for a few days to re-group it has the best laundry/bathhouse I’ve ever seen! And you’re right on the river! — Lynn McN.
5. In Riga, Latvia don’t forget to visit the market in the Zeppelins by the river. The outside has crafts, fruits and handmade things. Inside are some good restaurants and food counters. Lots of choices and craft beer too. Close to the market is a touching Holocaust museum. This museum is worth a visit. Another Holocaust memorial site is within walking distance from this market for those who are interested. Riga was my last trip just before the pandemic. I loved it. — Nancy M.
6. Went to Europe for three weeks at the end of May. Left five days open in the middle of the trip. Spent it on Korcula Island in Croatia at a great Airbnb right on the Adriatic Sea. Try to add unplanned days to a planned trip, those are the days that will often be the most memorable! — Lori Dodd Terhaar
7. Always use AirTags. — Kathleen S.
8. The first time I used an AirTag was last month on a 3-week trip to Sicily and Calabria. It was also the first time my bag was “lost”. I could see which Heathrow terminal it was in – so helpful! It was also the first time I packed a spare change of clothes in my carry-on. I have a tag in my purse, car and keys. It’s helpful! — Patty McL.
9. I just read about taking one or two pillowcases on the plane, especially on long flights. You then fold up your coat and/or sweater and put it in the pillowcase to use against the window to help you sleep or as lumbar support for your back. Quick, easy, and doesn’t take up luggage space. I will be trying this on my flights coming up. — Jan M
Make packing a breeze with these solo travel tips from JourneyWoman readers
10. I HIGHLY recommend The Undress. I’ve used it for years to change out of sweaty post-run/hike clothes without worrying about flashing people around me. A friend once forgot dry clothes after a day on the trail so I lent her my Undress to wear as a dress. I’ve also used it as a makeshift robe when I’ve had to shower at a campsite or refugio where there’s limited space to put your clean stuff down. Instead of wrapping a towel around me and hoping it didn’t fall off, I was able to walk back to my tent or bunk without incident. — Cherry G.
11. Attitude Living skin, home and personal care products are fabulous. EWG- PETA and ECOLOGO certified, their vegan products are refillable and many have plastic-free packaging. I love their marine-friendly mineral sunscreen sticks, deodorant, shampoo bars, biodegradable wipes and foundation sticks that are spill-proof and perfect for travel. Shop Attitude Living here! — Julie P.
12. Always buy four-wheeled luggage, not two-wheeled luggage. Pushing is less stress on the body than pulling, is their sage advice. — Diana E.
13. Considered the pros and cons, but I think I’ll stick with two wheels. As others have mentioned, four-wheelers are hard to push on carpet, cobblestones, and uneven pavement. Plus I think they’d be easier to break off due to the placement on the luggage. — Ramona B.
14. I’ve just started using an app called Airalo. It allows you to buy an eSIM for your existing phone (not all phones support them though) which gives you data in a country without buying a physical SIM card or (worrying about roaming fees). It’s a bit fiddly at first with turning off settings to make it your primary SIM but it does work! — Rachel A.
15. Ziploc bags of varying sizes are marvelous for packing. — Rosemary L.
More Solo Travel Tips for International Adventures
16. My favourite research: fiction set in a destination, (often mysteries) – then an associated walking tour: Sherlock Holmes Baker St in London, Millennium (also ABBA) tour(s) in Stockholm, Harry Hole in Oslo, Literary Walking Tour out of Key West Public Library. Sujata Massey’s fourth Perveen Mistry just out, Mumbai plan in December – wrote a suggestion to the author (“There’s a Market out there!”). She referred me to Khaki Tours for a personalized one, they know the books! Also, cf. TripFiction.com. — Julie Steinbach
17. Can I please ask if anyone has had High Tea at Sketch Gallery in London? My top tip is to have a quick think after every trip and note down in your phone items you wished you’d left behind or ones you needed more of- don’t forget to check the weather a week out and alter your clothes if need be! — Virginia M.
18. Canada is the latest country to launch a digital nomad visa. It looks like it’s still working out the finer details. More information is here. I believe they are the 37th country to offer a digital nomad visa. — Paulette D.
19. I keep a multi-currency wallet – when I travel to the US or Canada I stock up on currencies. Since I live in Mexico it is difficult to get various currencies so when I am in the US I hit up an ATM and take out some US and when in Canada (Vancouver) I go to the currency exchange place and get any and all that I need. Last trip I got money for Guatemala, Nicaragua and Peru. I like having some cash on hand just to cover me for a few days and not relying on ATMs when I get to a new country. Next trip to Vancouver I will stock up on some other countries. Never know when the backpack will be calling… I am always prepared. — Christine P.
20. Anyone looking to travel to Europe in 2024 should be aware of a new requirement that will go into effect for U.S. passport holders. The application form, which will be available on the official ETIAS website as well as a mobile application, has a fee of 7 euros or $7.79 U.S. dollars (based in current exchange rate). All communication is done by email. Once you are approved for travel, the authorization entitles visitors to stay in European countries that require ETIAS for up to 90 days within any 180-day period and travelers must be in possession of a valid ETIAS during their entire stay. According to ETIAS, most applications should be processed within minutes, but in case an application takes longer, decisions will be sent within four days or up to 14 days if the applicant is asked to provide additional documentation. Confirmation of application submission will be sent on email with a unique number that is needed for future reference. — Barbara T.
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21. I’m not sure if this is a tip or a heads-up. Vantage Travel, a solo-friendly tour operator, filed for bankruptcy this week and is being sold. They are holding a lot of money for trips already booked but have laid off all staff and are apparently not operating. Their website makes it appear they are still taking bookings but I wouldn’t. (I’m a previously happy customer with two trips already in their bank account and not happening.) — Marti S.
22. Don’t use Atlantic Tours if you visit the Canadian Maritimes. They have terrible hygiene standards on their bus tours. No view rooms and we ate our breakfasts and dinners in the basement of motels for half of our 13-day trip. Oh yeah, and 7 out of 20 guests tested positive for Covid when we got home. — Kathleen S.
23. This tip is aimed at treadmill walkers. A new genre of experiences has emerged on YouTube. A bunch of channels offer quiet walks in high resolution. The creators hold a stabilized high-def camera with binaural audio and walk around Tokyo at night, or Times Square in the snow, London in the rain, or the back alleys of New Delhi, all without narration. I can hear the ambient sounds and see all the ordinary things usually edited out of sizzle reels. It really feels like I am there. These virtual walks allow me to travel without traveling. Some folks just watch for the soothing calm it gives them. I enjoy the tiny distinctive details of places I am “returning” to and it’s a way to check out places I’d like to go. There are dozens if not hundreds of channels, often specializing in regions. A few I watch: Nomadic Ambience (NYC, Japan, Iceland), Virtual Japan (Japan), Watched Walker (London, Paris, Spain), Keezi Walks (India, China, Vietnam, South America). Google “quiet virtual walk” for your destination. — KK Jane C.
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