What to Expect the First Time You Solo Travel

Backpacker walking towards mountain village amoing Laotian jungles in Laos
Backpacker walking towards mountain village amoing Laotian jungles in Laos | © leonovo / Alamy Stock Photo
Jack Guy

Striking out on your own to travel in faraway places may seem like a daunting idea to some, but others argue that it’s the best way to see the world. If you’re thinking about making a solo trip for the first time, here’s what you can expect.

It’s easier to make friends than you imagine

One of the most common worries about solo travel is that you’ll struggle to have people to hang around with. In fact this couldn’t be further from the truth. Make sure to stay in hostels that are known for their sociable atmosphere and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet fellow travellers.

Friends sitting around a kitchen table with people at a hostel

More interaction with local people

If you want to learn more about the local culture, travelling solo is the way forward. You’ll be more open to interacting with locals without a group of friends tagging along, and there will be more room for spontaneity. Humans are sociable creatures, and you’ll be amazed how well you can communicate with people even when you don’t speak the same language.

Occasional bouts of loneliness

Of course, traveling alone can also be a lonely experience in some parts of the world. Stray too far off the tourist trail and you won’t find too many hostels, or you might not even see that many locals. For some people these moments of solitude are a valuable part of the solo travel experience, but others can find it a bit lonely. That said, you can always get online to meet new people.

The internet can be a godsend

From staying in touch with family and friends, to meeting new people on the road, the internet has made solo travel a lot easier. Sign up to Couchsurfing to meet locals who are willing to host travellers in their homes, join forums to coordinate with other people in the same area, log on to Twitter to speak to locals in your area or download the CultureTrip app to navigate your way around. Single solo travellers may also find Tinder to be a great way of meeting people, whether as friends or otherwise.

Young woman using the internet on her phone at hostel

Ultimate flexibility

One of the best things about solo travel is that you make the decisions. No more waiting around for four other members of the group to get ready, or deciding on your next destination by committee. When you travel alone, you are in charge.

Better language learning

For those who want to learn the local language when they’re abroad, there is no better way than traveling alone. As we said earlier, you’ll have more opportunities to interact with locals and practice whatever language it is that you want to learn. Once you’ve got to the stage where you can maintain a basic conversation, you’ll make even quicker progress if you get off the tourist trail and speak almost exclusively in the local language.

Slightly higher expenses

While solo travel has many positives, the extra costs are one item in the negatives column. It’s no secret that traveling alone is more expensive. With no one to share the cost of taxis or hotel rooms with, the bills can soon add up. However if you stick to hostels, where there is no single premium, and travel on public transport wherever possible, you’ll be able to reduce the difference. When it comes to tours and excursions, find a hostel and arrange to go with other travellers to bring down the cost.

Woman paying cash at local food market

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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