Traveling with friends, family and colleagues can be great, but solo travel is a unique experience that can open you up to exciting, unexpected possibilities and teach you more about yourself. You can make your own itinerary, eat wherever and whenever you want and make new friends wherever you go. Here are some of our top tips to help you make the most of solo traveling.
Why you'll love traveling alone
There are many reasons to love solo travel. You get to check out only the spots you’re interested in and plan your day from beginning to end on your own terms. Whether you want to spend the morning at the beach, take yourself on a food tour, go on a hike or browse the local shops and markets, you’ll have the flexibility to do it.
Traveling alone can also be a great time to unplug, decompress from the daily grind and reflect. We can all get caught up in the small and large demands of the day. Solo travel can give us the space we need to relax, recharge and appreciate life on our own terms.
Tips for traveling alone
Follow these tips for a relaxing and enjoyable solo trip.
Plan what to pack
Planning what to pack is even more important for solo travel than when traveling with a companion or a group.
Packing light can help streamline things and give you greater mobility, especially when using multiple forms of transportation. You’ll be better able to keep track of what you bring and transport it from place to place. You’ll also have more room to bring back souvenirs for your loved ones — and yourself.
Share your itinerary with friends or family
It’s important to share your itinerary during any kind of travel, but it’s especially important for solo travelers. Make sure a family member or trusted friend will know where you are at all times, and don’t forget to check in with them frequently.
Think about safety
Make sure to secure your valuables wherever you’re staying, whether in a safe or a locked suitcase. Have emergency contact info readily available and accessible. Research your destination beforehand, know what you’re getting yourself into, make yourself aware of common scams and exercise safety and common sense. As a rule of thumb, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Consider tour groups
Tour groups can be a great way to see the sights, meet locals and fellow travelers, and visit far-flung places you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Interspersing your solo travel with a little group time can be a valuable and rewarding experience.
Develop a (loose) itinerary
No matter what kind of traveler you are, it can help to plan ahead and develop an itinerary when traveling solo, even if it’s a loose one. Include a list of your must-do activities: things you‘d like to do and any events or attractions with time and date constraints.
It’s also okay to follow no schedule at all, go with the flow and embrace spontaneity. If you want to wake up late, relax by the pool or stay in one spot longer than you’d planned, now is the time to go for it.
Solo travel is the perfect time to embrace flexibility and adjust your schedule to your wants and needs. Give yourself over to the rhythm of the day, and don’t shy away from unplanned opportunities or adventures. You might make some of your greatest memories by skipping what’s on the agenda and venturing off the beaten path.
Do what you want to do
Solo travel is one of those rare times when you don’t have to consider the needs or preferences of anyone but yourself. Embrace it! Take lots of pictures, linger in places you might otherwise be rushed through, take yourself to a fancy dinner and order dessert and buy yourself a nice gift or keepsake. Even if something seems like it’s for groups or couples, don’t be afraid to try it out. You’ll never know when you’ll have another chance.
Enjoy your alone time
Solo travel is an opportunity to be introspective, enjoy time by yourself and just unwind. It can be rare to get this much alone time, so soak it all in.
While you’re enjoying your alone time, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and meet new people. Strike up conversations with other guests, sign up for a tour group or guided excursion, frequent local hotspots and seek out solo travelers like yourself. You might just make some lifelong friends along the way.
Think about future travel
A solo trip is an ideal time to figure out your likes and dislikes, how you want to use your time on vacation and what type of travel — structured or loose — feels best to you. It may also be a chance to earn points or miles for future excursions if you use a rewards credit card to book your trip. If you have a Citi ThankYou card, using Citi TravelSM to book your trips can help you earn points you can put toward future travel, whether you’re planning another solo excursion or one with companions. With options to book everything from flights to hotels and rental cars, Citi Travel can also help you put together the perfect itinerary, so you can make your next trip one for the books.
Disclosure: This article is for educational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and is not a substitute for professional advice. It does not indicate the availability of any Citi product or service. For advice about your specific circumstances, you should consult a qualified professional.