A woman traveling alone

Solo travel tips

While many people wonder why anyone would want to travel alone, others think solo adventures are the best! As for me, I prefer travelling by myself, because it allows me to interact more with local people and step out of my comfort zone. Whether you want to have time to yourself or you’d like a challenge, there are lots of reasons to travel alone. Travelling by yourself requires courage and forethought. Here’s some advice to help ensure you enjoy a memorable and rewarding experience.

Planning a solo dream trip

Letting your interests guide your choice of destination

If there’s an advantage to solo travel, it’s that your trip can be entirely about what you want to do and see. The whole idea is for you to be happy, so choose a destination that fulfills you. Your family and friends might be concerned about you heading out on your own, or about the region you’ve chosen to explore, but you really shouldn’t let their worries put you off. Trust your own instincts – a destination that intrigues you will probably make you the happiest and most relaxed.

Planning your trip

Travelling comes with its share of unforeseen events and surprises. Make sure they’re happy ones by planning ahead. Proper immunization with up-to-date vaccines, knowing what to wear, having a grasp of local customs and weather, should all figure into your pre-trip thinking. The Government of Canada travel website is an excellent resource on what to expect at your destination as a solo traveller. You’ll see that there are a lot of places where, in taking some reasonable precaution, you can travel safely on your own.

Plan for solitude and culture-shock

The thing I enjoy most about travelling is the feeling I get with a change of scenery, discovering a new culture, and experiencing a different country. Sure, along with that there’s a bit of a sense of uncertainty and disquiet. I’ve developed the habit of always keeping a travel diary, which allows me to voice those feelings. If I’m feeling especially lonely, I turn to reading for a change of mind and perspective. When the need to connect is strong, I can always turn to my fellow travellers or family at home for comfort.

Make new friends

A great thing about travelling alone is that it encourages you to reach out to other travellers and the local community. Some excellent pathways to make new connections when you feel the need for company are places like common spaces at youth hostels, group excursions, guided tours, and social media sites dedicated to travellers. You’ll find you form friendships amazingly quickly when you travel and some of these friendships may even last for ages.

Follow your gut and stay confident

Whether abroad or at home, I believe it’s never a good thing to subject yourself to a situation or a person that makes you feel ill at ease. That’s especially true when you’re travelling by yourself; you have to speak up and say “no” to unpleasant people and hostile situations. After all, you’re on this trip to enjoy yourself, so there’s absolutely no reason to tolerate unpleasant situations. That being said, don’t hesitate to reach out to people for advice or to accept genuine help when it’s offered.

Be proud of yourself

Buying a plane ticket, heading out on an adventure and experiencing life far away from home is something to celebrate. Feel proud about it! Just do it! You’ll learn an awful lot and will return from the experience enriched.

Gabrielle Asselin