How to plan a solo trip for beginners: solo trip planning and preparation.

Easy Guide: How To Plan A Solo Trip For Beginners (2024)

Are you dreaming of going on a solo trip but getting butterflies or even fear in your stomach just thinking about it? Then you need my excellent guide on how to plan a solo trip (and traveling) like a PRO!

Did you know that a staggering 84% of all solo travelers are women?

I have traveled solo as a female for close to 3 decades! And I still remember the first time I traveled alone for a whole week to Rome, Italy. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, and I was there by myself.

It turned out great! And you will find out that, too, when you get going, it will turn out better than you imagined.

Affiliate disclosure: I only recommend tours, services and purchases I know and love on this website.

Summary 10 Reasons Solo Travel Is Really Good For You

Woman traveling solo, standing by a beautiful waterfall in the middle of a rich green forest, holding her straw hat towards the water.

First, I want to hit you with ALL the reasons you should not just travel the world but do at least one solo journey in your lifetime!

These are not just my opinions; I have researched a plethora of articles and statistics about solo travel, and these are the most common factors people say they cherish from their solo traveling experiences.

What solo travelers say about why solo travel is so rewarding:

  • You decide everything!
  • You find out who you are and what you like when you are alone!
  • You learn to deal with ANYTHING by yourself…
  • …and therefore, find out how STRONG you are!
  • You learn how to PLAN stuff for yourself…
  • …and how to deal with things not going according to plan!
  • You meet new people on your own terms!
  • You learn how to enjoy your own company!
  • You learn to trust your gut and instincts…
  • …finding out you really can make good judgment calls!

So, considering all these good things, why doesn’t everyone travel solo?

Well, not everyone wants to, that is one thing. And secondly, there is a fair share of fear involved before embarking on a solo journey for the first time!

Common Fears Holding You Back From Solo Travel

Not everyone thinks the same, but here are 10 common fears and worries women have about traveling alone.

  • Personal safety and landing in dangerous situations
  • Fear of not handling or not liking cultural factors
  • Language barriers and fear of not being understood or understand
  • Loneliness from traveling without friends or family
  • Fear of getting lost or not finding their way
  • Physical safety when staying solo in accommodations
  • Health and medical concerns, doctor availability, etc.
  • Stress about packing correctly (!) (I did not know this was a thing)
  • Stressing about budgeting and handling money on their trip
  • Fear of being stereotyped and judged as a solo female traveler (I had no idea about this either)

While researching this article, I learned that one of the concerns women have about traveling solo is the fear of being stereotyped and judged!

Now, this was a very unexpected element for me.

In my own Northern European culture, the stereotyping you would get from traveling solo, if any, would be “courageous, tough, amazing, unstoppable, brave,” and that sort of thing.

Stereotyping or not, the idea of taking on the world all by yourself can be daunting at first if you have never done it before.

If you have never organized things yourself, met new cultures on your own, dealt with language barriers, or found your way in new places, it might seem risky to you.

However, I am going to argue that these worries are lies, in a way, or at least products of your imagination. Constructed by you (and/or imposed by your surroundings), they do not reflect reality and are, quite frankly, not telling you the truth.

Your Mind Is There To Protect You

Women alone in an infinity pool, wearing a hat, gazing into the horizon with a sense of zen. In this article, you will learn all the reasons why you should travel solo and how you can do so.

This kind of worry is your imagination trying to predict and protect you from possible bad things.

After traveling solo all over the world for decades, I am here to tell you that all the worries and restrictions you may have are simply in your head.

And I am not alone either; 72% of women asked in the US say they have taken a holiday alone.

A fun fact: do you know that the weird fear of eating out alone is so common it, in fact, has a name: solomangarephobia! (Briefly explained, it is an “irrational fear of being judged by others as a lonely loser eating alone in a restaurant”).

In this article, you will learn all the reasons why you should travel solo and how you can do so.

But I have to warn you, once you have become a solo traveler, there is no easy way back to traveling with all your friends (although you love them)!

How To Plan A Solo Trip With Confidence

The best adventures are ahead of you as soon as you get going on planning a solo trip for yourself!

The feeling of absolute freedom, peace, excitement, and wonder when you are waiting to board an outbound flight, possibly indefinitely, is a fantastic state of mind that can not be properly explained, at least not by me.

I used to think that the Big Journeys, the Grand Experiences, should probably wait until I found someone to share them with.

But I never met my fellow traveler soulmate. Then what?

Since time flies, I simply had to change my mind about waiting for company. Instead, I bought a backpacker backpack and set off!

NOW, of course, I know that going solo traveling is probably the most magical, amazing, liberating, educational, mind-growing, and personality-evolving single thing I have ever done.

You see yourself in another light; you see LIFE in another light when you meet the world alone—your perspective shifts.

It happens when you suddenly understand that all you need to do ANYTHING is what you already have within you.

Traveling Alone Expands Your Mind And Your World

Beautiful secluded beach in Costa Rica, with the white surf slowly rolling onto the beach, that is shielded by swaying green trees stretching out over the water.

The thing is, you notice things easier when you are traveling alone because almost all your attention is directed OUT towards the world as you go (not towards your fellow traveler(s).

Really, it is, you forget all about everyday people-pleasing and overly active self-awareness (the bad kind).

Traveling has the general side effect of increased relativity in almost all aspects, I think, and a solo journey is probably the most valuable investment you may actually make in your whole life.

If you travel alone for long periods or even shorter ones, regardless, I promise you the effect will last indefinitely.

You KNOW what you can do now.

If your inner Vagabond has been listening to the WHY so far, below is more about HOW you can find your solo traveler nomad heart AND get the advice you need to get going.

Solo Trip Planning – Start Your Travel Bucket List

Woman sitting on her suitcase on a dusty road, reading a map, with the world globus beside her.

If you are serious about your desire to travel alone but need a little gentle push to get from dream to plan, start planning a solo trip by setting up your travel bucket list.

Get yourself a traveler’s notebook and start journaling. Write down all the places you want to go to and write down why.

In this first phase, you are on a mission to find your DREAM! Motivate yourself and remind yourself of why you have travel goals.

  • Then, prioritize which destinations are more important to you than others and why?
  • Which one of these places can be a short trip, what destinations need a long trip, and what places could be a round trip?
  • What activities or adventures would you like these destinations to give you?

Write down in your vagabond notebook what kind of experiences you want in the different destinations to help you organize your head.

Crushing The What If’s That Sabotage Your Adventures

Me having a nice breakfast by myself while traveling solo. Happy smiling face in front of my plate, wearing a red summer dress.
Solo female traveler breakfast

Now, be aware that there may be some not-so-constructive players in your midst, and you need to identify them.

If not, your DREAM is going to go down the drain even before your PLAN can start evolving.

Do you have an inner voice that tells you this journey thing is ridiculous?

Because it is irresponsible or expensive or egoistic, or you are too old (young), or it is probably dangerous and possibly will kill you or at least ruin your career?

This voice is your FEAR talking, and you need to get past it.

Or do you have well-meaning people in your life who want to protect you? The ones that have not missed a workday in their career and care about safety and predictability and securing a good pension plan?

These people might be positive about your dream BUT may turn out to be slightly more apprehensive about you starting to plan an actual journey, spending actual money on it, and being away.

Be aware if you have a history of “being talked sense into” – it will not help you turn your DREAM into an achievable PLAN.

So, choose your advisors wisely.

How To Plan A Solo Trip – Conquer Your Fears!

Returning from scuba diving in the Dominican Republic
Returning from scuba diving in the Dominican Republic traveling solo

The good thing about your inner mental trolls is that they are yours, so you have some impact – and you can use your good sense to override it.

You just need to know they are there and not mistake them for the little voice of “common sense.”

Choose friends around you who are positive, realistic, AND pragmatic; you need quality advisors to back you up.

Your home-loving, adventure-adverse, overly careful friends may not be the best advisers in this matter.

8 Ways To Kill Your Demons

Here are some points for you so you can take it down from subjective emotions to facts and figures that might be helpful.

  1. You are not irreplaceable or indispensable at work. Your fear of absence is not real. Have you ever experienced someone who seems to have been away from the office for a few days—and it turns out they have been on holiday for weeks? Yeah, that is how fast time flies.
  2. As you are a valued, yet not indispensable, employee – you probably will be able to get a leave of absence without pay with a set return date at some point in the future. Find out how long you can realistically be away (without losing your job at some point)!
  3. If this journey is a life-changer for you, and you want to quit your job anyway, the above concern does not matter, but what about the “hole” in your CV (for longer journeys)?

    Although subject to cultural differences, I would still say it is highly likely that a future employer within a segment that you would enjoy working in might appreciate the fact that you are a person who has invested in your personal growth through means of travel for some time.

    You may also take courses online or at your destination during your journey to show off your desire to evolve. It could be positive; use it as a skill in your CV!
  4. If you have children, well. I do not have children, so I can not have an opinion about that. It will be a personal assessment between you and your spouse or the other parent, and the children and their feelings.
  5. Your family and friends will miss you, and that is GOOD, not bad. And it does not mean that you can not leave them alone for a few weeks or months (or more) – they are adults and can take care of themselves. There is social media, and if they miss you too much, they can even come to visit you for a week at some point in your journey.
  6. Set up an attainable budget with a reasonable timeline and think long-term if you need to. A realistic budget will calm down both your inner Troll and your worried surroundings. The math will beat any emotional argument, and odds are, the math says it is going to be possible.
  7. SAFETY! Are you going to survive all alone in the world? Well, the odds are yes. It is NOT dangerous to travel alone. What MAY be dangerous to make bad judgments while traveling, like not researching your destinations, getting super drunk in Cali, Columbia, or walking home alone after midnight in a dark city you don’t know. Or not listening to locals and other clever little things.

    The point is that these are all factors you can affect, so you take responsibility for your safety. And people are people everywhere; most of them are kind and helpful, so don’t be paranoid.
  8. Then there is the fear of being lonely while traveling alone, which is a possible scenario, at least for periods – but again, there are ways to counter that. You can make friends – if you want to.

6 Great Tips For Not Feeling Lonely Traveling

Traveling solo does not mean traveling alone. From my Inca Trail trek in Peru where me and my group made a human pyramid, in front of a vast green valley with mountains on each side.
Traveling solo does not mean traveling alone

Traveling solo definitely has the potential to make you feel lonely from time to time, as you are away from friends and family, and all your challenges and adventures are solely your own.

And although solitude can be a good feeling, loneliness might not be exactly so.

If you have a fear of feeling lonely while traveling solo, that is a factor you can benefit from working on before your trip.

There are things to do in order to manage and reduce the feeling of loneliness while “on the road.”

The most important thing is that you have a mental awareness, you are prepared for such a feeling and if it occurs you will not be overwhelmed by it.

Secondly, you do all the possible pre-trip preparations beforehand. Take a look at the list below, where I give you a lot of really smart and simple options to avoid making your solo travel experience lonely.

  1. Book occasional organized activities with other people, many of whom are also traveling alone. You find this option almost everywhere in the world, through your hotel, hostel, FB groups or SoMe ads, and adventure companies where you are staying; there are so many options!
  2. Book parts of your journey through organized tour operators, like G Adventures, which organizes small group travels all over the world. G Adventures also organizes “bucket list” journeys like walking the magnificent Inca Trail.
  3. Even if you are a “single room minimum three-star hotel” kinda person, try booking into a nice hostel every now and then! That can be cheap and social, and although the clientele is predominantly relatively young – by far not all! Travelers come in all ages and sizes.
  4. Check FB groups for your destination. A LOT of people are traveling alone and looking for company and new friends.
  5. Use TINDER! If you can, that is, without feeling bad about it. You can connect with other travelers or locals who live where you currently are visiting. You might get a date, or a guide to show you your current city, or maybe a friend?
  6. Search Instagram for posts on your current or future destination. Both for tips on activities or things to see, but also maybe you find someone living there who would love to show you around for a few hours or a day!
  7. If you use Airbnb or Vrbo, you may be lucky (or smart) and find accommodation with very nice landlords or ladies who may offer both breakfasts and guidance on your current destination – making it at least social. Airbnb can also provide local activities in the area where you are staying; you will get suggestions in your e-mail immediately after you have booked your stay.

Visualize Your Plan

A little girl with a large suitcase beside a busy road
Solo traveler in the making

An IDEA without a PLAN is still only a DREAM – you need to make it actionable for you.

Set up a timeline, or something like a timeline, in your calendar or on a large piece of paper all over your wall. You need VISUALISATION of your plan!

Factors that will affect your planning process and possible outcome are:

  • Your work situation
  • Monthly income and expenses = potential to save money
  • Your family situation
  • Social duties
  • Your preferences: destinations, duration, activities, and standard?

Talk to whoever in your world needs to be PART of the process if you have such stakeholders in your life, and make sure they approve of your DREAM and your PLAN.

After doing this, identify a time in the future when it will be possible for you to take time out of your life and travel! Even if it is not as long as you would prefer.

Also, you need to have a budget, one that is both attainable and sensible, to be able to make the journey you are planning. Look into how long time you will need to save up for your first planned solo journey.

Then you make the decision, and you hold yourself accountable.

Solo Trip Planning – The Important Budget!

Solo female traveling surfer in sunset on the beach
Solo female traveling surfer in sunset on the beach

Your BUDGET is the important next step. You need to identify how much money you can spend on your journey in total.

Your budget is pretty much divided into two parts. The expenses before departure, and the expenses during your journey.

Keep in mind you may have to make some particular investments before departure if you are going somewhere that calls for particular preparations and equipment or you are planning to do some special activities.

Expenses before departure can be:

  • Clothes and equipment
  • Travel gear
  • Extra travel insurance for your destination and duration
  • Visa expenses
  • Vaccines for your particular destination
  • Pre-paid flights and accommodation if you prefer
  • Pre-paid activities
  • Travel books
  • Medical equipment

For long journeys, it can be smart to have some parts of the journey preplanned and others open.

Preplanned and pre-paid parts of the journey are good for predictability but bad for flexibility. Make sure to leave time slots (and money) open for impulsive whims as well!

You are going to meet people who tell you stuff you did not know before you left.

And you probably are going to want to change your plan or priorities now and then, stay longer or shorter in places – or go somewhere you didn`t know existed before you left home.

So, when you have decided on the costs of preparation and pre-planning before you leave, you also know what the rest of your budget will look like.

This will influence how long you can travel, in what style you can travel, and what activities you can participate in on the way.

You need to identify your requirements and set a general daily budget for yourself. Life is full of ruthless priorities; good luck.

Slow Travel Or Adventure Travel Or Fast-Lane Travel?

Scuba diving while solo traveling in Cuba. Under-water photo of me over a light grassy sea floor, in a black wet suit with a yellow regulator, the vast blue sea in the background.
Yours truly scuba diving while solo traveling around in Cuba

Based on your time available, prepaid flights, accommodation, and all the other things above, you are left with a playing budget for your journey!

If you have a set return date to go home, you can predict your daily budget. The money you distribute within your start- and end dates are dependent on your defined interests.

If you do not have a set return date, this is the money that will decide the duration of your journey – shorter or longer – depending on you.

Remember that this budget will also cover all the things you did not plan for.

The impulsive changes of plans and activities, change of flights, the amazing dive trip you suddenly heard about, or the extra bus ride and hotel or hostel at a place you found out about.

So the key is to be able to keep the fun-output high and the living expenses as low as possible.

Make sure you know what you may expect to pay for accommodation in your chosen destinations so you do not get any surprises.

Also, the prices of food and transportation options are smart to research beforehand.

Join a morning yoga class on South Beach, Miami, by one of the lifeguard towers as the sun ascends from beyond the sea.
Solo traveler beach yoga

Although many websites will help you find accommodation, there are a lot of apps that are a great help to find amazingly chic or amazingly cheap, very last-minute bookings when you are in your impulsive phase!

If you are flexible and can handle the lack of pre-planning to a certain extent – this is a great option.

You can find the perfect way to travel solo that works for you, like booking a charter trip, an organized group tour, or just getting a plane ticket and traveling from day to day!

Even heading out on a road trip is a great way to travel solo, find out how to plan a perfect solo road trip here!

Every destination has its own special features and activities, courses, or adventures you may enjoy.

Check out the list below for a few ideas as to what you may try out, and remember that fear of feeling lonely?

Participating in cool and interesting things like this will probably stall your feeling of solitude more than enough!

  • Practice photography or take a course
  • Learn a language while traveling; there are lots of schools giving lessons
  • Register to do voluntary work before you go
  • Work for room and board – to increase your total travel time. Many hostels offer this.
  • Learn a skill
    • Surfing
    • Yoga
    • Dancing
    • Meditation
    • Cooking, take a local cooking course
    • Anything that you love and that is available to you

Wrap-Up How To Plan A Solo Trip

If traveling solo sounds impossible, scary, or a tad more exciting than you prefer, but you still dream about it, I am here to tell you that you CAN do it, and it is NOT dangerous (if you travel the right way, lots of advice coming up).

Let me say it again: there are sooo many reasons why traveling alone is a travel category that is the most beautiful gem of travel, you might say, and none of them really are about being egoistic.

You see things differently, you learn things in a different way – and you will get to know yourself a lot better.

I love traveling solo so much that I am even scared I might have become a horrible travel companion!

So, are you ready to discover who you are when everyone you know is gone? You will not regret it.

Related blog posts:

8 Powerful Tips: How To Overcome Fear Of Flying By An Expert Traveler

14 Best Caribbean Islands For Solo Travel By An Expert

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