Many people come back from their first solo trip to describe the experience as something akin to spiritual awakening. When you travel alone, you have a rare chance to experience the places and people you encounter in your own way, unfiltered by others’ prejudices or expectations. Be your own travel companion and prepare to take an eye-opening journey—you may just learn a few things about yourself along the way.

1. Choose Your Destination


First things first: choose your destination wisely. If you’re tired of hearing other people talk about how incredibly romantic a Paris vacation can be, by all means, go to Paris by yourself. There’s so much to see and do in the City of Light, it’s unlikely you’ll feel alone, much less bored, regardless of whether you stay for a single day or an entire week. Take time to read, eat, talk to strangers, nap, browse for new clothes, and discover neighborhoods off most other tourists’ radar.

If you don’t care about big cities you’ve seen in a million movies, you could go in a totally different direction with a rural holiday in Spain. The rugged Spanish landscapes shelter countless little hideaways where you can rest, watch the stars, cook, and spend some quality “me time.”

2. Pick Your Accommodations


When you take a solo trip anywhere in the world, you’ll find that picking good accommodations presents fewer challenges than when you travel with someone else in tow. In cities you can always go for big hotels, but in smaller towns and villages you can often find lots of family-run hostels, many of which are a bit more upscale and cater to travelers with deeper pockets. If you take a trip to Romeor any other major urban center for that matter—avoid the busy city center and head straight for the quieter suburbs, where you can hear yourself think and actually get a good night’s sleep.

3. Decide Where to Eat


If your mother’s concerned about how you’ll feed yourself on your solo adventure, tell her she can rest assured that you’ll be eating everything, everywhere. The great advantage of traveling alone is that you can eat whenever, wherever, and whatever you want. You solo journey is your time to unwind, let loose, and indulge your inner foodie. Don’t be afraid to taste new things: even if a dish seems unfamiliar or unappetizing, remind yourself that now’s your chance to treat your taste buds and discover something about the place you’re visiting. Remember, you can spend your entire Wisconsin vacation exploring Madison’s incredibly diverse food scene, a growing rival to the restaurant culture of New York and Chicago.

4. Make a Great Sightseeing Plan

Plan a trip

Starting your trip with a great itinerary in hand can make your solo experience more meaningful and, in the end, may actually help you become a better traveler. Think about what you wish to get out of your travels and how you hope to feel at the end of it all. Mix popular attractions with little-known gems, indoor with outdoor activities, spontaneous self-guided excursions with tours led by savvy local guides. Many tourists often show up somewhere with little more than a general idea about what they want to see and do, which amounts to lots of lost time and a great deal of effort spent making plans on the spot. While you can certainly do that, or alternatively enlist a friend’s help for some fun and interesting travel ideas, remember that when you plan a trip based entirely on your interests you can visit places and do things that you enjoy most.

Travel Solo with Your New Best Friend

Taking short solo trips can make you a more confident and knowledgeable traveler. Start with weekend adventures close to home and work your way up to big journeys to distant cities and foreign countries.