Ever thought about traveling solo? It’s an amazing experience that we think everyone should try at least once—and while you’re a student is the perfect time! Solo travel can seem scary at first, but it’s actually really fun and exhilarating. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to grow and stretch yourself with something outside of your comfort zone.
Not convinced? Let us answer your solo travel questions.
All your solo travel questions, answered.
Sure, you might be taking a few more selfies than usual when you’re flying solo, but solo travel can teach you about a lot more than how to use the self-timer on your phone! Even if you’re the most extroverted of extroverts or if you’re terrified of the thought of even seeing a movie alone, literally everyone can learn something from taking a solo trip, whether it’s across town or across the world.
Embrace freedom and flexibility. Traveling solo gives you ultimate flexibility and freedom—you are totally free to focus on whatever is most important to you for a few days (or a few weeks!). If you want to spend all afternoon napping in a park or want to splurge on a fancy meal, there’s no one to stop you.
Learn about yourself. Sometimes all that freedom can feel overwhelming, but it’s also a great way to learn about yourself and what you love! On a similar note, since you’ll be on your own, traveling solo is also a great chance to give yourself a chance to hear your own voice without all the noise and distraction of everyday life.
Tackle new challenges. When you’re flying solo, you also get to make a lot of decisions on your own, which can be exciting but also scary at times. However, usually you find that you’re able to handle a lot more than you thought you could—which is definitely a serious confidence boost!
Where you might rely on a friend at home to navigate the way to a new restaurant in town or help you decide which shirt to buy, when you’re traveling solo, you’ll have to do those things yourself. You might be surprised to discover what you’re able to tackle on your own!
- Start small. Your first solo trip doesn’t need to be a 6-week backpacking adventure across Southeast Asia. Try a weekend road trip to a new city or go somewhere you’re a bit familiar with. Been to New York before but didn’t have a chance to check out everything you wanted? Try a short trip back on your own.
- Share your plans. There’s a lot of concern about whether or not solo travel is safe, especially for women, but it can be just as safe as any other kinds of traveling. A lot of staying safe while traveling depends on listening to your gut, using your head and planning ahead. One great way to stay safe is to share your travel and accommodation plans with a few close friends or family members at home so they can know where you are. And it never hurts to have a check-in system either!
- Use your head. Avoid sketchy areas of town, be smart when staying out late, keep your valuables locked away in your room (or don’t bring them at all!) and be aware of your surroundings. In many places, you don’t have to be scared. You’d go to the grocery store in your hometown by yourself, so you don’t need to freak out about going to a market in Italy by yourself, either. But being aware of your surroundings can go a long way.
Where should I go?
Some places make for easier solo trips than others! Some of our favorites:
- Canada/the US: staying close to home is perfect if you don’t have much time or want to get a feel for solo travel before embarking on a big adventure. Try a weekend trip in a new city like Seattle, Boston, Montreal or Vancouver or get out in nature by visiting a National Park.
- Europe: there are so many places in Europe that make for amazing solo trips, but especially so in student-friendly cities like London, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome.
- Australia and New Zealand: besides being some of the safest places to travel, the locals also speak English, which makes everything a bit easier to navigate. In fact, Australia is the #1 destination for solo travelers!
Still not sure?
Try a group tour—you can go on your own but once you’re there, you’ll meet up with other people your age and an expert trip guide. It’s an amazing way to make new friends, see somewhere new without all the planning and feel safe in a new place even if you want to go on your own.
The (Actual) Art of the Selfie
If you came here looking for actual ways to get that perfect shot while traveling solo, no fear. Some of our best:
- Ask someone to take a picture of you! Look for other travelers, they’re usually happy to snap a pic of you (and often will ask for the same in return). Pro tip: teenage girls around the world are particularly willing to (and good at!) getting that perfect pic.
- Use your phones self-timer. If you’re somewhere a bit remote or not crowded, you can prop your phone up on something (a wall, a rock, a fence—get creative!) and use the self-timer to capture a pic. Practice makes perfect!
- Just embrace it! Sure selfies may have a reputation for being basic, but you’ll regret it more if you leave without a single pic of yourself.
- Grab a GoPro—while it’s a bit more expensive, having a GoPro is a great way to get pictures of yourself, especially mid-adventure! You can easily attach them to a handheld mount (like a selfie stick) or other mounts to keep filming or snapping pics hands-free.
Want more inspiration before you go? We’ve got a few more reasons why you should travel solo.