With a shared passion for travel, AAA has teamed up with Samantha Brown to explore the world. Together, we're making travel more accessible and tangible for everyone, including with these tips and tricks for traveling alone.
There are a lot of perks when you travel alone. For starters, you get to set the pace. Not into museums? Guess what? You don’t have to go! Enjoy browsing local boutiques? Take all the time you want. Nobody’s sitting on a chair in the entryway, nodding off while holding your bags. It’s liberating! I personally love traveling alone. If it’s your first time tackling a solo trip, I have a few tips.
1. Speak the language
First, it’s probably best to go somewhere where you speak the language. That doesn’t mean you can’t travel internationally, but if you speak English, it may be easier to visit Ireland, Australia, or the U.K.
If you're heading to a destination where you don't already speak the language, take some time beforehand to learn basic phrases like "hello," "please," and "thank you." English is widespread as a second language in many countries, especially in Europe, but locals will appreciate your effort to meet them on their own terms even if you end up switching back to English.
2. Choose your comfort zone
Another thing to consider? Whether or not you want to visit a big city. If you’re not a city dweller, navigating New York, Chicago, or Washington, D.C., might make you nervous. However, I think they are ideal places for solo travel. Lots of people in big cities do stuff on their own, include going to movies, visiting museums, and even dining alone. Plus, the streets are usually bustling with people, which makes it safer for you.
3. Play it smart
Of course safety is a concern when you’re traveling without a partner or group. Never feel obligated to tell people you’re alone. A white lie here is 100% A-OK. In fact, I don’t think there is anything wrong with sporting a fake wedding band. I know, I know. I wish that wasn’t such an effective deterrent, but it really is.
4. Get acquainted
All that said, don’t be afraid to engage in conversation. People often feel compelled to chat up the person eating dinner alone. Ask for recommendations on restaurants, shops, and fun things to do. That’s the exact kind of thing that will make your trip even more memorable.
5. Try a solo travel package
Many tour providers offer packages aimed at solo travelers who want to vacation with a group. These packages often avoid the dreaded "single supplement" fee by having single travelers room with each other, by offering single-occupancy accomodations, or by using solo travelers to fill in last-minute vacancies. Tour provider Contiki, for example, offers packages to travelers age 18 to 35 and doesn't charge a single supplement.