My best tips and advice for taking your first solo trip

My Best Tips and Advice for Taking Your First Solo Trip

My first solo trip was in 2015 to Paris. As you would imagine, I was terrified, inexperienced, and just didn’t know what to expect. There I was, with my little backpack, going to the city of love, alone. But I was tired; tired of waiting for friends to be ready, and I knew it was time to take the plunge.

I did a little research, booked my flights, and off I went. And you know what? It wasn’t bad at all. That one experience motivated me to take not one, but ten other solo trips and I haven’t looked back since. Just like you, I had my fears. What if I am lonely and don’t have a good time? What if something bad happens to me, who do I call? What if I run into trouble? Guess what? Those same things can happen while in your own city, but look at you, right here, right now, alive and breathing, reading this. It’s easy to expect the worst of every situation but sometimes it’s just fear rearing its ugly head.

Solo travel may be daunting, no doubt. But if you wait for your friends to be ready, you may be waiting a long time. Just do it now, while you can. – Ufuoma

My most recent solo travel to Costa Rica

Putting Solo Travel in Perspective

Think about it. Right now in your city, you probably already do a lot of things alone, whether you have a ton of friends or not. There are certain times when you have to be alone; go to work or school alone, go pick up groceries alone, or maybe you even go to the movies alone. What’s to say you can’t do some things alone in a foreign country, and best part, only for a couple of days?

Solo travel really isn’t all that different. Okay, another scenario. If you wanted to grab say, thai food, you’ll probably do a quick google search for the best thai restaurant near you. You know what? Same thing applies abroad. We already have inbuilt survival instincts and principles, all of which can be translated to a totally new city too. Trust me when I say, you’ve got this!

My Best Solo Travel Tips

After traveling to eleven countries myself, five of which were non-english speaking countries, here are some of my best tips and advice for every solo travelers, especially the ones who are about to do it for the first time. My biggest advice? Stop thinking too much and just do it.

– Do research before your trip

For more awareness

Not intense research as if you were doing a thesis but know the basics of where you are visiting. The culture, currency, how people dress, the latest news in the area, and so on. Confidence comes from knowing what you are doing, where you are going, and having a purpose to your walk. That way, you are able to walk with your head held high and avoid being a victim.

– Stay at a central location

For safety and ease of navigation

I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay at a central location while solo traveling. Central locations are great because most locals know where it is (in case you get lost.), you don’t have to travel to far, or get stuck somewhere. You can do what you have to do, and get back to your accommodation easily.

– Keep your trip short and sweet

To make it less daunting

Don’t push it. Keep your trip short and sweet. I always recommend 5 days as I think that is very manageable. It also helps you become less nervous as you know you only have a few days before heading back home. Thinking about an upcoming 10-day solo travel trip is a lot more daunting than thinking about an upcoming 5-day trip, especially when it is your first time.

– Stay at a hostel or Airbnb

To meet new people

Hostels are an excellent, easy way to meet new people, almost guaranteed. The fact that you are traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone if you don’t want to. I used to think hostels were a terrible mess but after staying in some of the most budget-luxury hostels, I changed my mind. With Airbnb, you’ll have a local host who can give you tips on the country and be a point of contact should anything go amiss.

– Join group tours

To meet new people

Group tours are also a great way to meet new people, while doing something fun. So, a ziplining group tour with other people, for example, is a good way to kick off your trip. Sometimes, you end up hanging out with the group for the rest of your trip, or you can say goodbye if it’s not your thing. The beauty of solo travel is, you call the shots.

Group touring for my first white water rafting experience

– Take some photos

For memories sake (but who needs a reason, anyway?)

Personally, taking photos while on a solo trip helps me feel like I am not alone. It is almost like I am taking others on the journey with me. You can take photos while traveling solo, you just have to get creative. Tripods, self-timers, selfies, and even asking strangers are great ways to get the shot you want. Most of the photos from my trip to Costa Rica were shot by myself. I’ll be sharing a post on how to get great shots while traveling solo, soon on the blog. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

– Pack muted colored clothing

For safety reasons

This is totally up to you, but I like to stick to blacks, nudes, greys, while traveling solo. The idea is to attempt to blend in as much as possible. Of course, things like skin color and mannerism might give away the fact that you aren’t from there but I believe wearing toned down outfits makes it a lot less obvious.

– Keep in touch with loved ones and give regular updates

For safety reasons

Always make sure to update someone back home on your every move while traveling. Or at least share your itinerary with them. If you have the ‘find my friend’ app on iPhone, this will be a very great feature to use. It goes without saying that it is best to stay connected while traveling, so whether that means getting a local sim, or roaming your phone abroad, you want to be in touch with someone back home.

– Fill out your itinerary with things to do

To stay motivated

I honestly cannot count the number of times I tried to chicken out of exploring a new city because I got overwhelmed with fear. Thankfully, I had a full itinerary so that kept me motivated to soldier on. Also, if you can, pre-book some tours before your trip. The thought of seeing your money go to waste will ensure that you do not cancel last minute and actually get out and have a good time. Say no to sleeping in all day when you travel, that’s what home is for.

There you go! My best tips and advice for taking your first solo trip. I hope you find it helpful but more importantly, stop waiting for friends and family to be ready to travel with you. You can travel all by yourself, have a great time, and head back home. Yes you can! I hope you take the plunge just like I did three years ago. It’s honestly one of the best travel decisions I have made.
For more tips, please subscribe to my blog here, or browse the travel tips section. New posts are up every Fridays.
Are you considering traveling solo for the first time soon? Let me know your thoughts, fears, or concerns in the comment. If you have already traveled solo, what has the experience being like for you? Let’s chat in the comments.
Tired of waiting for your friends to travel with you? @theufuoma shares her best tips and advice for a successful first solo trip. Check it out. Click To Tweet

Until next time,

Happy travels.

About the author
Working Professional by day, Travel Blogger by night. Here, I share my personal life and travel experiences as well as helpful tips to help readers start their own travel journey. Want to talk? Contact me on Don't be a stranger!


  1. Excellent write up! I think the game changer is the group tour and staying in hostels, it makes all the difference . I will definitely have this in mind next time I’m planing a trip . Many thanks for this.

  2. Really want to go on a solo trip sometime next year. Im nervous thinking about it but Im sure it won’t be so bad. Your tips are so great. I will be coming back to them. What country would you recommend for a first time based on your experience?

  3. Very timely! I have been on the fence about solo travel for a while now. Definitely going to use these tips.. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love how brave you are. I’ve taken two solo trips but they were to big European cities. I am working my way up to more exotic places! You have some great tips here. I think tours and hostels make a huge difference. I stayed in a dorm and ended up hanging out with the seven Irish lads who were there, but on my other trip I was in a private room and didn’t get to meet anyone else.
    Keep travelling and I can’t wait to read your post about taking your own photo, I really need some tips!!

  5. I agree with what you said, “tired of waiting for friends to be ready”. Because, they will never be ready. It’s good that you finally took courage to start your solo travel and now you enjoy it much. Have fun wherever you go and happy travel!

  6. These are great tips. I’ve traveled solo several times because my friends never seem to have the combination of vacation time and vacation funds to plan a trip. I follow a lot of these, especially the research part. I love to plan and look things up so I can make informed choices.

  7. Tons of great advice! Love the photos as well, traveling solo can definitely be scary as hell, but that’s just the adrenaline starting to kick in! I know what you mean about waiting for people to be ready or not, sometimes you just need to go.

  8. I think these are great tips. They let you enjoy the wonder and magic of travel, while still keeping a grasp on reality. For example, I think it’s super important to check in with loved ones as you said. Not just for safety reasons, but to let them know you’re thinking of them!

  9. Great advice. It is funny how the thought of traveling solo can be scary, but the reality can be exhilarating.

  10. These are all great tips! I’ve actually come to PREFER traveling solo- it means making my own agenda, setting my own schedule, eating the food I want to eat, etc. And I can always go out and make friends if I get lonely (especially if I’m staying in a hostel 🙂 )

  11. Love your picture in the water! Such a great tip about pre-planning your adventures and sticking to it! I have only taken business trips alone, but I would have no problem going alone otherwise if my buddy wasn’t around. Great post! 🙂

  12. I love this! I’m taking my first solo trip to Vancouver in May and I’ll be there for 4 days. Sounds like I picked a good amount of time to be there. Thanks!

  13. I’m an advocate for solo travel all the way! One of my biggest life regrets is not traveling alone sooner. I had no clue it was a common thing till recently. Solo travel has expanded my horizon on so many levels. It’s not made for everyone, but I recommend every male and female to try it once.

    1. I agree. Maybe not for everyone but I always urge people to try it first. It’s amazing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  14. 100% love. I recently asked a group of women when was the last time they traveled solo. Most of them said never. And several of them said they were afraid. I want more of us to take that first step…that’s all it takes to get but by the travel bug. Lol. Great post, as always!

  15. This is a great post! I’ve been on a group tour on my own before and had a great time. Definitely made me feel so much more confident in life and in travelling!

    1. I know! I stay inspired by your solo adventures. Love solo travel too and can’t wait to go on more solo adventures. Thanks Amara!

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