How to Take Your First Solo Trip

Going on your first solo trip is not an easy task. Travelling alone can be scary - like going to the kitchen to fetch water at midnight kind of scary - and worse. When I set out to travel alone, I was super excited at first. I had chosen a temple/ beach town just 4 hours away from my home for my first solo trip. As I sat in the bus, all alone, the fear and panic set in. I thought of myself as a big idiot who could be sitting on a couch at home cuddling my dog. But instead, I chose to go to a small town, all by myself. I started questioning what I would do on a beach all alone. I didn't want to be a sad lone traveler. In fact, I had half a mind to get down and take a bus back home. But I didn't and I had the most enriching experience. That's why I want to tell you how you can take your first solo trip.

First Solo Trip

Where to Travel Alone

When you set out travelling by yourself for the first time, pick a destination close to you. If you go far away to a location where nobody speaks your language, it can be daunting. For your first solo trip, find a place close enough to your home but a place that offers a different culture, food or landscape.

Also, if you pick places where there's a ton of art and history, you can tour these sights by yourself. Again, if it's a beach destination, you can meet tons of fellow travelers over beer at a beach shack. So choosing the right location is key when you're traveling alone.

Read More
If you want to know more about Gokarna, where I traveled solo for the first time, take a look at my article How to Spend 2 Days in Gokarna

Where to Stay on Your First Solo Trip

Where to Stay on Your First Solo Trip

When I'm planning a solo vacation, I prefer hostels over hotels. Hostels offer inexpensive accommodation, often quirky decor and fun vibes. Above all, they are a great place to meet interesting people and make friends.

If you're traveling within India, I strongly recommend Zostel, which is a chain of the coolest hostels across India. Like seriously, everyone from the people at the reception, the ones who run the cafe and the guides are all really cool and friendly. They even have numbers of vehicle rentals, taxis etc handy in case you need a ride. If you're a solo female, take up a bed in the female dorm, which is a totally safe option.

How to Make Friends on a Solo Trip

If you're staying in a hostel, the best way to make friends is to strike a conversation with your roommates. Ask them where they are from and what they plan on doing during their stay. Chances are that you'll find a travel buddy just by asking this simple question.

Another great way to meet people while traveling (which worked for me) is to talk to the people seated near you at a cafe. I know this sounds intrusive and shameless, but hey, that's me. When I went to Gokarna on my first solo trip, I went to the Namaste Cafe right after freshening up. As I was waiting for my meal to arrive, I overheard the conversation of three girls sitting next to me. Blabber-mouth me couldn't be quiet for too long so I jumped in on their conversation. That was the beginning of a great trip with those three incredible girls that I had just met!

Making friends on your first solo trip

How to Stay Safe When Traveling Alone

Safety is paramount, irrespective of whether or not you're traveling alone. Follow these basic safety guidelines to avoid/ get out of any uncomfortable situation:

  • Give your travel itinerary including bus schedule, taxi numbers, hostel details etc to a family member or a close friend.
  • Take pictures, scanned copies of your travel documents and mail it to yourself.
  • Keep your cash and cards in a wallet or purse which you always carry with you or store in a locker.
  • Never carry valuables in your luggage and get a small lock for it, if you're apprehensive about losing clothing items.
  • Carry the number of the hostel with you whenever you venture out.

All in all, be on your guard and trust your instincts. If you do this, you will have a great time when you're traveling by yourself!

They tell you that solo travel changes you and they're right. It pushes you to embrace one of the biggest fears of mankind - being without a partner. The beauty of this form of travel is that even though you're by yourself, you're never really alone. So go on you, take your first solo trip and discover a lot more about yourself.

18 Comments

  1. Very lovely thoughts! Best wishes on all your future travels 🙂

    1. Thank you, Nazneen. I wish you the same 🙂

  2. I did my first solo trip some years ago and it is great that you are sharing your advice here. I think a lot of people are looking for advice on how to meet people when travelling solo.

    1. I agree, how to meet people on a solo trip was one of the biggest questions in my head as well.

  3. I would love to do a solo trip I think! I have only ever traveled with family or with friends. My husband and I now travel everywhere but I find when you are in a couple (or group) you are much less approachable for people. I can only imagine it would be a super unique experience!

    1. Travelling with family and friends is great fun too!

  4. Whenever I went for my first solo trip I had the safety in mind hence why I went to Japan. I applied some your tips and had the best time. Good tips worth sharing.

    1. Thanks Moona, I’ve always wanted to visit Japan!

  5. Once you are out there on the road on your own you will be faced with decisions you need to make, fears you need to overcome and discover your true self and how much you are capable of 🙂 Thanks for sharing your solo travel experience !

  6. I definitely didn’t follow your close to home advice on my first solo trips, but couldn’t agree more on it being such an enriching experience. Making sure to stay at a hostel is such a great call, so much easier to meet people!

    1. I think you’re brave to have ventured far away from home, all alone, for the first time 🙂

  7. I enjoy traveling solo always. Never feel awkward but sometimes you might feel a bit uneasy but overall it’s interesting. Solo trip is the best way to know the real you. It teaches a lot of practical things. Cool tips for first-time solo travelers.

  8. Being a solo traveller myself, I agree with all these tips. That first step of taking that initial first solo trip can be scary, but then it tends to hook you. At least that’s what happened to me 🙂

  9. What a really helpful guide. I’ve always wanted to travel solo but a few of the factors you mentioned above would be a concerned for my loved ones while I was away, not for me so much. My only concern would be a lack of self control. Thank you for the tips.

  10. Congrats on crushing your first solo trip! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Solo travel isn’t for everyone, and I always get excited meeting others who love solo travel. I totally agree that hostels are probably the best place for solo travelers to stay because they’re the best place to make new friends!

  11. I agree the very first solo trip is incredibly scary at first but liberating when the trip starts 🙂 I traveled solo to an international destination and man I was shivering when I showed up at the ticket counter. But things went smoothly later on 😀 Great tips.

  12. Pingback: How to Spend 2 Days in Gokarna - The Spicy Journey

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