Solo Traveler Who’s Been to Over 100 Countries Shares Best Travel Tips
I started my solo-travel journey in 2013 with a one-way ticket to Bangkok and a freshly created remote job.
What was meant to be a short sabbatical from the US turned into visiting over 100 countries in the last decade.
Here are the things I wish I’d known back when I set foot in country No. 1.
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Planning is your friend
Although I love the idea of spontaneity, I usually stick to a more structured itinerary.
Still, I make sure my reservations and bookings are refundable. That way, my trip’s stricture is never too rigid, and I can change my mind.
I’ve used apps like Wanderlog and TripIt to efficiently plan out my multi-city trips.
Travel insurance is, no pun intended, a lifesaver
My travel insurance has helped me in many binds, from when I was robbed in Cambodia to when I had to be helicoptered to a hospital in Nepal.
Some travelers I’ve met don’t deem it necessary, but I say you won’t realize how much you need it until you actually do.
I’ve used World Nomads and Safetywing and have been happy with the coverages from each.
A lot of apps can help you feel safe and confident when you travel
As a woman traveling alone, I lean on tech to help me feel safe and secure.
If I have service, I link Google Maps to my smartwatch, so my wrist buzzes when I need to make a turn, eliminating my need to have my phone out if I’m navigating a place where petty theft is common.
I use the Maps.Me app to access maps offline.
Google Translate also has helpful features. I use the audio feature to communicate in countries where I don’t speak the language and the camera feature to translate menus and signs in real time.
You may be alone, but you don’t have to be lonely
Solo travel means you’re on your own, but there are plenty of chances to stay social and connect with local customs and cultures.
Throughout my travels, I realized things as simple as going on free walking tours of a city are a great way to connect with other travelers.
I’ve also made friends during my travels by participating in activities from sites like EatWith, Airbnb Experiences, or WithLocals.
It’s OK to get inside info from others — we don’t need to reinvent the travel wheel
There’s no need to plan an entire trip from scratch without insights for others.
I’m all for connecting with locals, joining travel communities, or finding destination-specific groups on social media.
In recent years, I also started consciously incorporating women-run tour companies, businesses, and activities into my itineraries.
Doing so has helped me create a global community from the women I’ve met throughout my travels.
A long-term trip is a marathon, not a sprint
At the start of my solo-travel journey, I rushed my trips and eventually felt burned out. Fortunately, I learned to take breathers and slow down my pace.
Slow travel has helped me dive into a destination while making my trip more sustainable.
Responsible tourism has always been at the core of my travels, and a way to be more mindful on the road is to limit your carbon footprint and keep tourism dollars in one location.
Pick destinations that are meaningful to you, and don’t feel pressure to see something because everyone else is
Design a trip around your priorities, and don’t feel like you have to go to trendy destinations or overhyped tourist attractions unless you want to.
Conversely, if you want to go to that tourist trap, do it. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for doing something that might be deemed overrated.
Lastly, just take the trip
Don’t wait for friends, family, or your partner if you’ve been dreaming of traveling somewhere.
Solo travel will push you out of your comfort zone and challenge you in ways nothing else can.
I started my solo-travel journey in 2013 with a one-way ticket to Bangkok and a freshly created remote job. What was meant to be a short sabbatical from the US turned into visiting over 100 countries in the last decade. Here are the things I wish I’d known back when I set foot in country…