Traveling alone for the first time? Here’s how to do it

Solo travel

So, you’re either thinking about traveling alone or you’ve already decided to go. That’s great! You must have a million questions, like where should you go? And for how long? Will there be someone to talk to? How do you stay safe? And is it all right to travel solo?

The first thing you need to do is believe in yourself. Fear stopped me from traveling alone for a long time, but once I hopped on that plane, the fear went away. The thing with fear is that it’s only in your head. Y

es, you need to take some precautions, but traveling alone is not as scary as it seems. I was terrified the first time and almost didn’t go, to be honest. But now I’ve been to over 20 countries on my own, and it has made me stronger and more independent. You can do it, too. Trust me, you’ll feel invincible afterwards.

Here are my best tips if you’re traveling alone for the first time:

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Book your flights through comparison sites

Now that you’ve chosen a place to go, you’ll need to find flights. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is through comparison sites like Skyscanner, Kiwi and Momondo. These sites do all the work for you by comparing the best and cheapest flights and showing you the options. I always find great deals on Skyscanner, like my recent round-trip to Bosnia from Denmark for $45.

If you don’t have the Skyscanner App yet, download it here! I’s free and can help you find amazing deals all around the world.

So, you’re either thinking about traveling alone or you’ve already decided to go. Awesome! You must have a million questions, like where should you go? And for how long? Will there be someone to talk to? How do you stay safe? And is it all right to travel solo? Here's everything you need to know.

Choose a place where you feel comfortable and safe

Traveling alone for the first time can seem daunting. And truth be told, the first time is more about the experience of solo travel than the destination. So make sure to choose a place that you feel comfortable with.

It could be somewhere close to home or somewhere you’ve already been with friends. If you want to stretch your boundaries further, pick a new destination further away. It doesn’t have to be on the other side of the world. But it would be best to pick a place where they speak English and are used to tourists, like Scandinavia and most other places in Europe or Southeast Asia.

Here is my pick of the 5 safest countries for solo travelers.

Traveling alone

Make a plan (and a backup plan)

My best advice is to make a plan and always have a backup plan. That way you’ll avoid stressing over where you’re staying, what to see and how you’re getting from A to B.

Plan ahead so that you arrive at your destination well before sundown. And always write down the name, address and phone number of the hotel you’re staying at, just in case the taxi driver doesn’t know the way. I also always carry my hotel’s business card on me in case I get lost or need a taxi to take me back. You can get their card at the reception.

Read next: The ultimate guide to solo female travel

Traveling alone

Book hotels in advance

Booking your hotel in advance can ease a lot of stress when you’re traveling alone for the first time. You should also book airport transportation in advance. When you book your hotel or hostel, ask if they will send a driver to pick you up or if they have a shuttle service.

Go easy on yourself and spend a little extra money on a good accommodation. I prefer to stay at reputable hotels when I travel by myself, because they have great customer service and security and that makes me feel safe. I always book my accommodation through booking.com, which I find the cheapest and easiest to navigate.

Find the best hotel deals here: Booking.com

Traveling alone

Talk to people

If you’re going to a touristy place like Thailand, there are lots of other solo travelers. Most likely, they’ll be easy to talk to and they’ll want to make contact. If you’re staying at a hostel or join organised day trips, you’ll have someone to chat with and ask questions. Ask them where they’re from and where they’re going next. Or if they know a good restaurant nearby. They might ask you to join them for dinner or a beer. That happens a lot, especially if it’s a group.

I always book my tours locally or through Get Your Guide, like this food tour here. Joining a day tour is the perfect way to get new friends and meet other people. I always do that when I travel solo.

This photo is from when I joined a Thai cooking class in Bangkok. I ended up hanging out with the girl to my left. She was also a solo traveler.

Traveling alone

Let someone know where you are

As a rule of thumb, I always let my husband know where I am. Especially when I’m traveling around. I tell him the hotel name and address, and if I’m on a day trip I tell him where and with which company. On my first backpacking trip to Thailand, my mom worried sick because I was there during the Mohammad cartoons controversy, and some enraged muslim on TV swore to kill all Danes. The media didn’t help one bit.

Your family loves you and probably worries about you every day, so text them and let them know what you’re up to throughout your trip. That will make you (and them) feel more safe, and in case something did happen, they’ll know where you are.

Read my 27 essential travel safety tips

Traveling alone

Don’t draw attention to yourself

Traveling alone is not dangerous, but you’re always more vulnerable when you’re by yourself. Try to blend in as much as you can and follow local customs. That means, dress modestly (especially in conservative countries) and hide flashy jewelery and expensive camera. That way you won’t attract the wrong type of attention or scammers.

Go with your instinct

Last but not the least, always listen to your instincts. You know, the feeling something isn’t right.

Two years ago, I took a trip to Russia on my own. After a few days of palace watching, the girl at the hotel reception asked me if I wanted to see the lightshow – something really famous in St. Petersburg and just a short walk away. But I had this nagging feeling that I shouldn’t go out alone at night. “Oh, you’ll be fine,” she said. “Everyone goes to the lightshow.” I wanted to, but couldn’t shake that feeling off me so I stayed in. She shook her head like I was being silly. A couple of days later, I read that several people had been mugged by gangs in the neighborhood I stayed in.

While it’s great to step out of your comfort zone, remember to trust your inner voice and follow your instinct at all times. Even in the face of seeming paranoid, awkward or rude. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Traveling alone

Traveling alone for the first time?

I’ve talked to too many people who put off their travel dreams because they don’t want to do it alone. If you dream of going to Europe or Asia or somewhere else but don’t have a partner, try to find the courage to go anyway. You will meet people on the way, and you’ll find the courage and confidence that comes with traveling alone. And if there’s no one to talk to (I doubt it!), you can always chat with the staff at the hotel, bar or restaurant. There’s always someone ready to talk and help you out. You’re never really alone.

Are you thinking about traveling alone? What are your main concerns?

Read more posts about solo travel

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83 Comments

  1. Resplendent post.Traveling alone is a great experience which we earn by traveling alone.We can explore better when we are alone.Nice images taken by you.Thanks for the post as well as for tips.Keep sharing.

  2. Awesome advice for solo travelers. I don’t know for what reason, but I never had any fear of traveling alone. However, if I would have this issue, I would use your suggestions.

      1. Hi good post but what about people who are really paranoic and always expecting the worst this condition doesnt help, So I ve got for xmas present a free flight to the US to a place I been before but now is alone! And will have no car and can just use uber and things like that, I dont know if uber its safe in the US im from south america and very afraid its going to be only 4 days but I feel it will be like the end of the world to me because of my extreme fear and I will absolutely even sleep with the lights on. Any advice :(.

  3. I really like your suggestions for a first time solo traveler !! I’m really really thinking about doing it in the next month or two!! To SE asia … the only thing holding me back is that I’m waiting on a double lung transplant they say could take up to a year to get in so was gonna travel before hand incase I can’t after. Money is ok I get 2500 a month oh and I’m from Canada !! Suggestions on wearer I should hold off or just go for it ??

    1. Hi Ryan,

      My advice is to live in the moment, because we never know what tomorrow brings. South Asia is the perfect place to travel solo, especially for a first-timer, so I’d say go for it – if you’re well enough, that is!

      All the best of luck on your transplant. I hope your recovery is quick and smooth!

  4. I love to travel alone. I was a bit nervous on my first trip but I told myself: You travel alone but it doesn´t mean that you are alone. There are people who can help you if you get lost or in trouble.

  5. I’m single and just starting out life as a new nurse. Now that I can finally afford to travel, I’m saving up for a big trip. This post was very inspiring. I’ve always been wanting to travel but afraid to do so alone because of the dangers. I don’t know where to start and how to set my plans up, where to stay or eat, sight see. My dream has always been to go to Ireland, Scotland, Italy and England for now. Should I visit one place, or are there reputable agencies that offer multiple locations at a time to visit in maybe a 2 week stretch. Help!

    1. Hi Christina,

      Yay, that you’re up for traveling solo! It’s a big step, but so, so rewarding. I was nervous as well before my first trip, but once you’re on your way, it goes away.

      Sure you can find a tour operator that takes you to Scotland, Ireland and England because they’re so close (not Italy, it’s too far from the other countries). It will be pricey, though. I just researched really quick and found a tour at 2389 USD for 10 days. Other tour operators seem to take the same price so I think it’s the going price.

      You could always choose one destination and start out with that. Then, when you’re comfortable with solo travel, embark on more trips. Scotland is safe and easy to get around on your own. Maybe you could start there?

  6. Honestly I’ve never traveled alone before, because I always thinking I will be lonely if I should traveling alone. but thank you for your posting, it really good tips.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Rijal. There’s always a chance of feeling lonely when you travel solo, but for me it has never been a problem. If I needed company, I just went on a group day tour or stayed at a hostel where there were other travelers. There’s always someone to talk to (unless you’re heading to somewhere less known, like Mongolia or Tajikistan).

  7. It’s a dangerous job of being a solo traveler. But if you rather want to be alone than with your friends, these safety tips will help you while traveling. Always be aware with those people who will take advantage on your situation. Reading this blog will you make sure that you will be fully protected while your traveling.

  8. My situation seems silly compared to yours, but I have only flown round-trip one time. I have a fear of flying. That one trip I flew with my husband to Chicago on business. But now I have a grandchild whom I have never got to hold who lives on the other side of the country, and I have no one to go with me. That flying fear, plus being alone has me frozen. And I just don’t know how to get past it. Any suggestions?

    1. Not at all, Wanda! We all have fears in one area or another. When I’m scared, I always fight it with facts. I think statistics, like what’s the actual chance of something going wrong? I also turn to meditation when I need to focus and get my mind off anything unpleasant. There are so many good and free meditation apps and calming music apps (I use Insight Timer). I’ve also found The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle genuinely helpful!

      I hope that you get past your fear so you can hold your little grandchild soon. All the best wishes from Denmark.

  9. This is the first time i will be travelling out of my home country and i happen to be travelling alone because no one is ready and i’m tired of waiting. i will be travelling to Amsterdam next month. I’m scared as hell but also ready to travel solo. i’m glad i found your blog. really helpful tips.

    1. Bee, I hope you’ll have a GREAT trip. Amsterdam is a lovely city and friendly towards solo travelers. It’s always scary in the beginning, but it gets much easier, I promise.

      All the best to you.

  10. Hi, I am planning to have my first travel ever alone, but I was too scared to push it through because I have no guts to do it, but my heart wants it. And your advised really helped me a lot. Thank you very much.

    1. Hi there, it’s perfectly normal to feel scared. I was too in the beginning, and I still feel the rush when I’m off to a new country alone. It’s all about picking the best first trip – make sure to find somewhere nice and safe. Maybe a town close to you or a neighboring country. That way it won’t feel as intimidating.

      All the best!

  11. Im so excited that im going to Thailand in April 2019. i planed with going with others but in the back of my head i know i was going to be doing this solo and i am. im not scared but at the same time I am because this is also my first time traveling out of the country.

    1. Hi Anthony, Thailand is one of the most solo friendly destinations in the world so you picked a great starting point! You’re bound to meet other people there if you ever feel alone.

      Have the best trip 🙂

  12. Thank you for this post! I’m not sure when I’ll be going, but I’d love to go to South Korea within the next year. My boyfriend lives there with his own place and everything. Transportation is cheap there, rent is cheap. And he’s already flown out to me in America, but he was not afraid his first trip. I AM TERRIFIED!
    I have motivation to go because of him and another good Korean friend, but as I’ve stated, I AM TERRIFIED! My biggest worry is getting the information at the gates wrong and missing my flight. I’ve flown before when I was 12 with my family inside the US (which, even that we almost missed our transfer flight). But now I have every wish to do it alone, but I am so scared. I really want to do it for my boyfriend. I feel like there’s nothing to worry about but I have anxiety just within the airport, not on the plane. I’m also quite introverted. Any tips to ease my conscious? Thank you so much 🙂

    1. Hi Lori, I’m so glad to hear from you. I hope I can help you a little with your anxiety.
      First of all, to avoid your worst fear you should find a direct flight. Is this possible from where you live in America? If it’s not, then you need to book a flight with a long layover (min. 3-4 hours). That way you’ll make sure to have enough time.

      When you land, go straight to a flight monitor screen and find which gate your next flight is.You should know that they won’t just leave without you if you’re late – first, they call you over the radio several times, and sometimes they even stand at the gate (from your first flight) waiting to take you to your next one – I tried this once.

      We’ve all been scared in the beginning, so know that it’s perfectly normal. I had fears, too. But luckily, none of them came true and today I travel all over the world. That first flight will be the hardest, but once you do it, you’ll feel so invincible – it’s worth it.

      Hope this helps <3

  13. A superb article that really motivates you to go travel solo and explore the beauty of nature with everything is clean and fresh. A helpful and nicely written content. Loved it absolutely. Thanks for sharing it. Hope to go to travel solo one day.

  14. Like many, I too have been putting off my dream of traveling solo. The reason was fear or lack of confidence. Somehow I couldn’t overcome the fear of taking up traveling all alone. Furthermore, whenever I decided to travel solo, many questions came up for which I couldn’t find answers. Luckily, your post have cleared them all. I can say that your write-up has put all my queries to rest. My confidence has risen high, and the fear seems to have disappeared into thin air. The post has truly provided me all the impetus and courage to travel alone. In the end, I want to request you to post a blog on travel destinations safe for solo woman travelers.

  15. I am a 12 year old girl who likes to travel solo when l get a job so l need an advisor who have traveled alone …..
    Hope you could help me? ???

    1. Hi Micah, I think it’s great that you dream of traveling solo when you get older. It’s a great way of seeing the world. What would you need my help with specifically?

  16. There is a little bit of fear while traveling in First Time Solo. Many questions arise in mind. Safety is the first priority for solo traveling. Before the traveling, you set up the plan for traveling all things is very helpful. Your information is really awesome. I am happy with your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Hi, I’d like to travel and can’t find anyone else to come with so looks like im going solo. What is the best way to go about it? Book a tour to meet other people? Or just rock up somewhere with places you want to go and hope for the best.

    1. Hi Adel, good for you that you’re going on your first solo trip! Booking a tour is always a great way to meet other people. You could also do some day trips while you’re traveling – that’s also an excellent way of getting new friends. I’ve done that a lot. If you go to a country like Thailand, you’re sure to find lots of people in the same boat as you.

      I hope this helps.

  18. Hi Miriam,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I’m thinking about going to Greece this year but I’ve never been outside the U.S. or traveled alone. Do you think it would be okay for me to do a trip like this without any experience or should I start with something smaller and closer to home? I feel like I could and should just take the leap but I’m unsure of my abilities.

    1. Hi Rose, only you know the answer to that question.

      You need to follow your intuition. Picture yourself in Greece, doing the things you’re dreaming of seeing there. Now picture yourself there alone. What does your gut feeling tell you? Does it feel right and enriching? Or do you feel something is off, like an ache or a flattening? We’ve all been scared before our first solo trip, so fear is normal. But you need to distinguish between fear and your gut feeling here.

      As for Greece as a solo destination, I’d say you’ll be safe. Just remember to take the usual safety precausions – like don’t walk alone at night if it’s dark, don’t share personal info about your hotel with strangers. Greeks are very nice people and they’re used to tourists – and that’s in your favor.

      I hope you find your answer, Rose. Traveling solo is so rewarding, but it’s important to take at at your own pace.
      Best of luck.

  19. How many weeks would you recommend for a first solo trip? I’m going to the Gilis and Bali, wondering if I should do 4-6 weeks? Comfortable with being alone but the longest I’ve been away is 3 weeks.. Not sure if I’ll get home sick by week 4…

    1. Hi Emma, maybe you should start with three weeks. Since it’s your first solo, you’d want to take it slow and easy. And if you do decide that you want to stay longer – you can always change your ticket. I’ve done that a couple of times myself.

      Bali and Gili was my first solo destination as well. It’s a great place to start.

      Have fun!

  20. Hello! I’m Brittany. This is great advice and helped me really think of all things I should be thinking about. I live in a small town, no one seems to leave the town. I love my family so much and would never leave them. I would like to be able to take mini trips for myself to go to big places. I have never left the U.S. But i have a best friend who was my grandparents exchange student years ago. I’m 21 now and would love to see my best friend in the Netherlands. I am scared to go but my parents are the ones who will tell me no. How do I change they’re minds?

    1. Hi Brittany,

      Your parents love you so much, that’s why they don’t want you to leave. My mom was very scared the first time I went abroad as well (I was 23).

      What could help is to involve them in the travel planning. Show them that you’ve got this. Let your friend pick you up at the airport, let them know where you’ll be staying and show them your travel itinerary and the things you want to see in the Netherlands. Promise that you’ll check in with them every other day. That will help soothe their mind.

      They might need some time to adjust to the thought of you traveling. Let them know how much this means to you (plant a seed – if you know what I mean). And eventually they’ll know they have to let you go. Although you’ll always be their little girl, you’re an independent woman at 21 who makes her own decisions.

      You can do this, Brittany. I believe in you.

  21. I see you say don’t go out alone at night but I am planning on my first solo trip to Austria and Germany in December and want to see and take photos of Christmas lights and see Christmas Markets at night around Vienna and Salzburg. This would require my going out alone at night of course. What specific recommendations do you have for if you DO go out alone at night?

    1. Hi Donna, it’s not like it’s dangerous to walk alone when it’s dark. But you should avoid dark alleys and empty streets. If you stay where there’s people or just take a taxi to your destination, you will be fine. I felt very safe both in Vienna and Salzburg as a solo female traveler. Some cities are worse than others when it comes to safety, but Austria is super safe. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful trip.

  22. Hi Miriam, nice traveling tips for solo travels and yes this is so important to tell your family member or and good friend that in which city and hotel you are staying and yes you always have a backup plan.

  23. Thanks so much for this post! I’m starting my first solo trip on Tuesday and though it’s only for 10 days my anxiety is already through the roof. This really helped! 🙂

  24. Hi Miriam! I’m planning to travel alone in January to BKK and it’s gonna be my first time to travel by myself. My questions are.. What are the things should I bring with me? How many days would be the ideal stay for a fisrt time solo traveler like me? Did you follow an itinerary?

    1. Hi Chris! Great for you 🙂

      How would you feel about being there for a couple of weeks? Thailand is a long way to travel, so 10 days it the minimum. I’m sure you’ll love it there and will want to extend your stay (which you can) 🙂

      Sometimes it can feel a bit more relaxed when you have a fixed plan. I would definitely book the accommodation beforehand.

  25. I love to travel but i am nervous how to travel alone . my main thing is how i can travel alone , who will talk to me there , i might be feel bored .

    Please guide me so i can travel .

    Thanks you

    1. Hi Kumar,
      That fear of feeling lonely is very normal. It really comes down to the destination you choose. For instance, a country like Thailand is easier to make friends because there are so many solo travellers.

  26. hi miriam i am 21 living on my own i have ben lost for a long time i realy need ths i always dreamt of traveling on my own but i never done it before i always talk about that with my sister she want it doing together thats okaj for me but we have saved money she even has way more than me she always says that we beter wait until we have a beter job so that we can save more but we already have enough even if its just is once we can pay that she is scared that she will lose a lot of money from her savings i understand that but i have the feeling the more i wait the more of a feeling it wil never happen and i learned to never wait for other people or i wilnever go anywhere if my brother and sister finds out i go alone they wil only talk negative until i change my mind instead of supporting me what should I do

    1. Hey Cinzia, it’s not an easy situation you’re in. Have you thought about going on your own and just not tell your siblings until just before you go? It’s your life, I mean. And only you decide what you want to do with it.

  27. Hi Miriam,

    I traveled with friends to thailand this year, but really would like to do Texas..san antonio and austin as a solo traveller next year….is it okay for a woman to travel alone and is there anything i need to know before doing this trip. I will book my trip through a travel agent.

    1. Hi Marlette, I haven’t been to Texas myself, but I can’t see any reason it shouldn’t be okay. The most important is that YOU feel safe doing it. And if you book through a travel agent, he/she will make sure to find you a nice hotel in a nice area. I’m sure it will be great!

  28. Hi Miriam !
    Thank you for this great post 🙂
    I’m currently on a trip alone for the first time, and have been alone in Portugal for 3 weeks now.
    I’m interrailing home (to Denmark ;-)) and will be there in december, so alot of lone-travelling the next month and a half.

    I’m not really scared of most of the places I’ve planned to visit, but somehow the countries in eastern europe is my biggest concern of being a woman traveling alone (trying not to worry though). I’m going to Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade (my friend will stay in belgrade with me), Bratislava, Budapest and Prague in the eastern Europe. Do you have any experience travelling alone there? How is the atmosphere ? Did you feel safe? 🙂

    1. Hi Laura 🙂

      Eastern Europe is my favourite area in Europe and it’s also the safest! You have absolutely nothing to fear. People are so nice, and I’m sure you’ll love it. I’ve travelled alone in the Balkans many times and have always felt incredibly safe – more so than in Paris or even Copenhagen. Croatia and Slovenia are very relaxed and kind to solo travellers. And they love us Danes 🙂

      Ha’ en fantastisk tur hjem. Jeg var selv på Interrail alene gennem Østeuropa for nogle år siden. Fantastisk oplevelse.

      Kh. Miriam

  29. Hey Miriam! Just wanted to say I love this article you have written. I’m only 15 years old but this summer I’ll be going to Nanjing China by myself and other teens my age. I’ll definitely use your advice. Thank you!

  30. Hi Miriam, My name is Micah , I’m only 13 years old but I love traveling . My biggest wish is to trael alone but being a girl is there something! And can you tell me which was one of the best place you have traveled!!

    1. Hi Micah, you have a beautiful name 🙂 My favourite places are Thailand and Croatia, and they’re both great for solo travel, although you should wait to travel solo until you’re older. Start by visiting your own town or other cities nearby on your own. It’s a good way to begin solo travel.

  31. Hi Mariam, Great Solo travel tips. I am glad i found this blog. I always travel solo. That’s why i am always on the lookout for the best Solo travel tips. Thanks for sharing this informative article with us 🙂

  32. Very informative article people who travel solo like me, I am also solo traveller from India and your article helped me a lot thank you very very much. And I also read your story and it’s inspire me to travel.

  33. I think you have visited many places so you can tell me which is the best place for you. If you have visited India also, which place did you like best? If you want to visit India then you are welcome.

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