Are you thinking about taking your first trip as a solo traveller? Great! Solo travel can be a rewarding and liberating experience. And I’m going to take you through exactly how to plan your first solo trip!

Anyone who’s ever taken a solo trip can attest to the amazing sense of freedom and independence that comes with it. There’s something incredibly empowering about setting off on an adventure all by yourself, without having to worry about anyone else’s opinion or plans. 

While solo travel is a wonderful way to learn more about yourself and the world around you, planning a successful solo trip can be tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before. 

Before you take the plunge, it’s important to plan ahead so that your trip goes smoothly. In this post, we’ll discuss the basics you need to know before embarking on your first trip as a solo traveller.

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Why Should You Consider Going on a Solo Trip?

One of the most important questions you’ll need to ask yourself before planning a solo trip is why. What would make this trip different from all your other trips in the past? Is there something specific that’s been gnawing at you, perhaps a dream or an unresolved issue that you’d like to explore more deeply?

Before you book your ticket and pack your bags, take some time to think about what would make this trip worth it. Write down a list of all the things you hope to accomplish or learn on this trip and then evaluate them in terms of their importance.

The benefits of travelling alone are many. For starters, you get to travel on your own terms. You’re the master of your trip and no one else is dictating where you go or what you do.

You’re free to explore the world around you at your own pace without having to worry about burdening someone with either waiting around for you or slowing down their travels.

Solo travel teaches you about the world and it teaches you about yourself. It also broadens your perspectives, helps you develop new skills and gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you’re done with the trip.

It throws you out of your comfort zone just enough to see your life in a new light.

How to Plan Your First Solo Trip: 13 important things to do

Now that you have a better idea as to why you should go on this solo trip and you’re psychologically prepared, it’s time to start your travel planning.

1. Be Prepared to Spend Time with Your Thoughts

Spending time with just yourself is something that most people dread, but it’s an important part of the solo travel experience. Remember that you’re not completely alone though! You can always call home or Skype friends and family if you get lonely. You can also travel around and meet new people along the way.

However, that’s not to say that there won’t be times when you’ll feel alone or sad about being away from home. You’ll need to be prepared to make peace with those feelings, instead of trying to ignore them.

Even if this is your first solo trip, you’re not completely unprepared. You have all the experience that you’ve gathered from your other travels, so it’s just a matter of applying this knowledge to this trip.

The most important thing is to be open to new experiences and let go of any preconceived notions about how things are supposed to be done.

2. Set a budget

Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, your trip won’t be successful if you don’t set a travel budget.

This means setting aside enough money for transportation, accommodation, food and any other expenses that might arise during the course of your travels.

It’s also important to plan ahead and set aside some money for emergencies. You don’t want to be stranded in a foreign city with no money and nowhere to go, especially if it’s somewhere you’re not familiar with.

All in all, your budget boils down to two things: knowing your limits and planning ahead for the unexpected.

Staring into the Gulf of Oman searching for the flipflop I just lost to the sea

3. Choose a destination

This is the exciting part – where do you want to go? There are literally hundreds of countries to choose from that offer a wide range of experiences. You just need to find the one that interests you the most and then go from there.

It can be difficult trying to decide where to travel to, especially as a solo traveller, and even more especially if you’re a solo female traveller. As much as we hate it’s the case, some places are still pretty unsafe for women travelling by themselves, while some are perfectly fine.

Before you go ahead and book that ticket, do your research. Find out if the destination is generally safe for women, read reviews on websites like TripAdvisor, ask questions on solo travel social media groups, or ask for advice from other solo travellers you might know.

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out my incredibly long Bucket List or my travel destinations page.

4. Research

Once you’ve decided on your destination, it’s time to start investigating. Research your destination and leave no stone unturned.

You want to be as prepared as possible before you set foot in a foreign country so take the time to do some research about where you’re going.

Language: It would be helpful if you know a few local words or phrases. You don’t have to be fluent in the language but knowing a few words and phrases will make you stand out less as a foreigner when you arrive in your destination.

Culture: It wouldn’t hurt to learn some cultural differences, like tipping etiquette or dress code in the country you’re visiting, because it’s always good to know what to expect when you get there.

Weather: What’s the weather like where you’re going? Even if it’s sunny, could there be unexpected showers that you need to be prepared for? Will it get much colder in at night? Knowing this will help you with your packing later on.

Visa: Find out whether you will require a visa for the country you’re visiting. Some countries offers visa on arrival, some you will need to pre-arrange. If you need help finding out visa information, iVisa are my go to for any questions.

Accommodation: Look up the best areas to stay in. You’ll want to find somewhere that’s central so you can get around easily, but also an area that’s safe to walk around by yourself.

Food: Are you adventurous enough to try new food while you’re away or would you rather stick with what’s familiar? Are there any dietary requirements you need to be aware of, like me? It’s always good to do your research on this if you know that you’ve got strict dietary criteria.

Getting around: Research how you’ll get around the area you’re visiting. If you need to, look up some routes and times of public transport. Figure out whether you’ll be walking around a lot or whether it would be better for you to rent a car or take taxis. I always check to see if Grab or Uber are available in the country I’m going to in case I ever find myself without a way to get back to my hotel.

Activities: What can you do in your free time? Will there be any attractions or activities available that you might want to check out? If so, take the time to look up some information. Maybe even plan a few things you definitely want to go and see during your stay.

Safety: Being a solo traveller in a foreign country can sometimes put you as a target for local scams. Make sure you always do your research about how to stay safe in the area. Knowing what areas are not safe for solo travellers is definitely something I would recommend.

It can get quite daunting doing all this research, especially if you’re new to travelling, but it’s better to be prepared than sorry right?

How to plan your first solo trip Me in front of the entrance to the Taj Mahal
Me in front of the entrance to the Taj Mahal

5. Make your bookings

You know where you want to go, you’ve researched your destination in detail and now it’s time to get booking your trip!


First up is flights. Flights can be expensive, so I always start with Skyscanner to get a rough idea of how much it will cost me. Then I go to the airline’s website and check out their deals or discounts if they have any going on. If there’s not much of a difference in cost, I’ll book direct with the airline. If there is, I’ll usually book through Skyscanner and enjoy the discount.

Some other resources I use for looking up and booking flights are:

Related: What to expect when flying alone for the first time


The accommodation you choose all depends on what type of traveller you are. There is no right or wrong answer to that question. Whether you prefer to get social in hostels or enjoy some R&R in a luxury resort, there will likely be options for all kinds of travellers at your destination.

A lot of solo travellers stay in hostels so that they can get to know others. It’s also your cheapest option if you’re on a tight budget or just want to save money.

If you’re a little wary of mixing with others on your first solo trip, that’s absolutely fine! I tend to stay in a hotel by myself when I travel alone as I prefer quiet nights and I mix with other travellers when I go out on a group tour. It’s a great mixture of both!

Wherever you stay, be sure to compare prices and read reviews before you decide on your accommodation. Other traveller reviews are imperative!

Here’s a list of websites I use for finding accommodation


When planning your first solo trip abroad, I highly recommend pre-arranging accommodation transfers. It can be difficult to navigate foreign airports and cities on your own. So, having a transfer waiting for you upon arrival can be a great relief!

It may be the more expensive option but for a first-timer it’s definitely worth it.

Alternatively, if you’d rather take a train or a bus, check out the timings and exact details of how you can get to your accommodation before your trip.

6. Get travel insurance

The minute you’ve made your bookings is the time to get travel insurance. You might think it’s an unnecessary expense, but you can’t put a price on your safety. If anything were to happen to you during the course of your trip, medical costs can be very expensive so you want to make sure you’re covered.

Also, if you had to cancel your trip for any reason prior to leaving, you may be covered for refunds if you have travel insurance.

There are tons of great policies out there that cater specifically to solo travellers. This is your opportunity to round up all the things that could possibly go wrong while you’re away from home and get an insurance policy that caters to your needs.

World Nomads offer a free quotation, with add-ons if you plan to do extra adventurous activities (such as skydiving or white water rafting!).

How to plan your first solo trip Me on a bike in Halong Bay
Riding a bike on an island in Halong Bay

7. Book some activities

So you’ve got your flights, accommodation and travel insurance sorted. Now it’s time to book some activities! If you’re nervous about travelling solo, this is a great way to ease yourself into it. You can get to know the area whilst doing fun things at the same time. It’s also a great way to meet people along the way.

I suggest just booking a few activities and going out on your own the rest of the time. You don’t want an overpacked schedule that will leave you feeling overwhelmed and tired on your first solo trip!

Get your Guide and Viator are great for organising day trips or tours around cities. You’ll join a small group tour with like-minded people and more often than not you’ll be picked up from your accommodation and dropped off afterwards, which is really convenient.

8. Create an itinerary

Perhaps I’m a little nerdy, but this is one of my favourite things about planning a trip! I love roughly planning my day and it keeps me at ease having a bit of a schedule. That’s not to say I don’t like to be spontaneous when I travel – I just like to have a bit of an itinerary set out.

I also suggest when planning your first solo trip that you share your itinerary with a friend or family member. Share your flight and hotel details with them, as well as the dates you’ll be away. This will put their minds at ease too.

How to plan your first solo trip Me jumping on a beach in Oman
Jumping for joy on a beach in Muscat at sunset

9. Pack your bags

You’ll have done your research on the area already so you should have a good idea of what you need to pack clothes wise – a rain jacket if there are likely to be showers; hiking boots if you’ll be going out on the trails.

The suggestion is always to pack light. And it’s a good idea. But I don’t stick to it for every trip I take. It really depends on where I’m going, how long I’m going for and how easy it is to get around with luggage. Sometimes I’ll just have my trusty Osprey backpack with me, and other times I’ll have a big suitcase as well as a smaller day backpack.

Some of the things I recommend packing for your first solo trip are:

Important documents: of course you’ll need your passport but what else should you bring with you? Firstly, make sure your passport has at least 6 months left after your flight back. This will be a requirement for a lot of countries. Other than your passport, you’ll be required to have your visa, vaccination card and drivers licence if you plan to rent a car on your travels. You should have your travel insurance certificate also.

Spare battery: Running out of battery is one of my travel pet peeves. When you’re taking tons of photos and videos throughout your trip you’ll need to make sure your phone has enough life in it in case you need to call for a taxi/uber or call your hotel late in the evening. Having a portable charger with you will be a lifesaver if your battery doesn’t last very long.

Travel journal: I’m currently using the Clever Fox Travel Journal, but any notebook will do. It’s not essential to bring one of these, but it is nice to have a record of all your memories from your solo trip. I also use mine for writing down things I want to do and how I’m feeling on any given day of my trip.

Emergency funds: While I don’t recommend bringing too much cash with you, I do recommend having a little extra that you can spread out between your luggage/on your body. You never know when you might need it (like that time I got stranded on Socotra). Having a credit card for emergencies is also a good idea.

One thing you don’t need to pack is valuables. Leave your jewellery and expensive items at home. Basically, don’t pack anything you can’t afford to replace in case it gets lost or stolen.

10. Download apps

Before you head off on your adventure, it’s helpful to have a few travel apps downloaded in case you get in a bind. My go to travel apps are:

  • Google Maps – pinpoint the places you want to visit and use it for directions back to your hotel if you get lost
  • XE Currency – when someone quotes you a price, you can put it into the currency converter and make sure you’re not being ripped off
  • Uber/Grab – Grab is the Asian version of Uber and works pretty much the same way
  • Calm – let’s be honest, travel can sometimes be stressful and if you’re anxious about travelling alone, this is a great app to help you de-stress
  • Find Me Gluten Free – this is great if you have food intolerances. It will show you any nearby restaurants that that are suitable
  • Google Translate – I had some great conversations with some kids in Jordan solely using this app! It’s really handy when you don’t speak the language and need to speak to someone
  • Meetup – if you’re interested in meeting new people in the place you’re visiting, this is a great way to do so
How to plan your first solo trip Me with a monkey in India
My new friend in India

11. Make copies of your documents

It’s a good idea to make a few copies of your passport, visa, vaccination certs, travel insurance cert and leave them in different places. I always leave one set in my hotel safe, one in my luggage and keep another copy on me at all times when I’m out and about.

I also recommend taking photos of all your documents and emailing them to yourself so you can access them wherever you might need them.

It’s also a good idea to have a note of your hotel contact details printed out and in your phone.

12. Let go of any preconceptions

Letting go of any preconceptions is key to enjoying your first solo trip, so don’t go into it with too many expectations. You may be excited about seeing a certain place, but it’s important to remain open to the new experience and not set yourself up for disappointment.

For me this is one of the most exciting things about travelling and can sometimes lead to unexpected surprises!

Even if you’ve visited a place before, I think it’s important to let that go and experience the location in an entirely different way.

13. Enjoy

Yes, it’s cliché time! Now that you’ve learned how to plan your first solo trip and all the hard work is done, it’s time to actually enjoy your trip!

Whether you choose to travel independently or join a tour, there’s nothing like exploring somewhere new on your own. See something you love? Go back and spend more time there! Missed an attraction? There’s always the next day.

Don’t forget to take lots of photos, write in your journal and embrace spending time with yourself!

How to plan an epic solo trip Pinterest Pin

For more travel tips and inspiration, check out the following posts:

Now that you know how to plan your first solo trip, are you ready to take the plunge? What excites you most about travelling alone for the first time?


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