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Samantha Brown’s Best Tips for Traveling Alone

There are a lot of perks when you travel alone.

For starters, you get to set the pace. Not into museums? Guess what? You don’t have to go! Enjoy browsing local boutiques? Take all the time you want. Nobody’s sitting on a chair in the entryway, nodding off while holding your bags. It’s liberating!

I personally love traveling alone. If it’s your first time tackling a solo trip, I have a few tips. First, it’s probably best to go somewhere where you speak the language. That doesn’t mean you can’t travel internationally, but if you speak english, it may be easier to visit Ireland, Australia or the UK.

Another thing to consider? Whether or not you want you’d like to visit a big city. If you’re not a city dweller, navigating New York, Chicago or Washington D.C. might make you nervous. However, I think they are ideal places for solo travel. Lots of people in big cities do stuff on their own, include going to movies, visiting museums and even dining alone. Plus, the streets are usually bustling with people, which makes it safer for you.

Of course safety is a concern when you’re traveling without a partner or group. Never feel obligated to tell people you’re alone. A white lie here is 100 percent a-okay. In fact, I don’t think there is anything wrong with sporting a fake wedding band. I know, I know. I wish that wasn’t such an effective deterrent, but it really is.

All that said, don’t be afraid to engage in conversation. People often feel compelled to chat up the person eating dinner alone. Ask for recommendations on restaurants, shops, and fun things to do. That’s the exact kind of thing that will make your trip even more memorable.

Do you ever travel alone? What are some of your best solo travel tips?

There are a lot of perks when you travel alone. Here's how to make the best of a solo trip, plus tips for staying safe.

This Post Has 22 Comments
  1. Do your homework and try to plan ahead. If you are a single guy (like I used to be) and you meet some fabulous woman who wants you to go home with her and it appears to be too good to be true, it probably is.

  2. Traveling solo is great for a weekend or just a few days, but any longer and I get really depressed and lonely. I long to share my discoveries with someone I know. What I’ve found that has worked the best in recent years is to travel with a friend or two. While we may all be excited about a new city or country, it’s usually for different reasons. So, while we enjoy exploring many sites together, we also plan some solo hours or days into our trip where we go our separate ways and see those things that are more interesting individually. It gives us a break from each other, time to really indulge and relish our personal interests, and something new to talk about at dinner that night. It’s also comforting to know, that if I don’t show up at my hotel that night, someone will miss me. We may stumble on to something in the course of that day, that the others might enjoy too. When that happens, it’s a happy surprise and we go back another day as a group. There’s also value in going along (pleasantly). I’ve learned new things and enjoyed experiences I wouldn’t have sought out otherwise.

  3. I travel alone quite often now …. after living abroad. But one thing I always do is check in with the same person everyday….be it by email, text, or a phone call. This person has my itinerary and knows where I should be.

    It takes part of the “I’m alone” out of traveling alone.

  4. I used to travel a great deal and I’ve lived in Europe whilst otherwise working. While abroad I just lived my life as I always had but for the notion that I was “new in town.” That being the case I let the locals tell me what I should see/do/explore/experience with greater authority than a dogeared brochure tossed on a hotel desktop. Oh, and one more thing: I always asked the bartender to serve me the local brew (it seems there always is one). Great conversation-starter and a great way to occupy an evening at the local pub. That and talking food. And varieties of whiskey. And dogs for some reason.

  5. I’ve been traveling alone for years, initially for business (as well as the fact my husband hated to travel), and now its because I don’t want to travel with anyone. I go all over the world, traveling at my own pace, going where & went I want to. I’ll generally stay in major cities at major hotel chains (due to safety factors), but will use public transportation to get to other areas. I’m pretty careful about walking into sketchy areas, and use my internal radar’. Sometimes I’ll pull out my cell phone and pretend to be talking, but I’m always aware of my surroundings. I’m not concerned about eating alone, and while I’ll have something to read with me, I will readily engage in conversation with others, and thus will look to eat at a bar, as opposed to a table for one. I’m a woman in my 60’s, still working full time, and see no end to my travel adventures. Next month I’m off to Madrid &!Bilbao and in Feb it’s the South of France😉

    1. I have a ‘real’ camera and a mini tripod and used it to take ‘selfies’ long before that term was coined. Mine has a velco strap which means I can also wrap it on poles or branches to get a shot I want . Also, depending on where you are, you can usually so a picture swap, taking pictures of couples who normally only get one of the in a photo and they will usually reciprocate.

    2. I’ve never been turned down when I asked someone to take my picture … but I always offer to return the favor. For the best results, look for someone with a “real” camera (not a cell phone) who looks like they know how to use it. They are usually happy to take a photo of you. Also, waiters are usually happy to do “one more favor” for a customer.

  6. For 2 years I’ve done 2 trips and will do another in 2018, because I’m really happy all day long. I think it’s the most selfish thing I do because everything is whatever I want, at whatever time, and I eat that way too, never lonely, and eating is a real highlight of my trip, as well as photography. You just intensely get into those things because it’s just you, by yourself. My retirement trip took me to Venice, for Carnival, and then a week in Florence. It was just a terrific 2 weeks. In 2017, it was tiptoeing thru the tulips in Holland, & getting to really feel at home in Amsterdam, where I stayed in a rented apartment for 2 weeks. That was also a perfect visit.. I think that if you enjoy your own company, have a little vein of a contemplative nature in yourself, and are use to retreating, you’ll be fine traveling alone and loving it.

  7. Hi. I am a middle aged woman and i travel solo a lot of the time. When i stay at hotels i always ask for two keys, one for me and one for my husband who is arriving later because of a missed flight. I never tell anyone i sm solo and check in with my husband at home every day

  8. I travel solo a few times a year and love the freedom to do and see whatever I want at my own pace. Safety is my top concern and I use some of my training as a retired flight attendant when staying at hotels. I too ask for two keys, always throughly check out my room including ensuring the windows are locked no matter what floor I am on, and lastly, I always leave a note on the dresser that states where I will be that day. This way, if for some reason I don’t return, the note will let someone know where I was planning to be that day. I use the room safe but wipe off the key pad once I have closed the safe w my passcode. I am not paranoid, but have heard so many stories over the years that I am just very aware of things and have also learned to trust my inner voice. I have also found cruises to be one of the safest ways to travel and there are so many options and itineraries plus the possibility of no single suppliment.

  9. I love traveling alone. France, Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland. I wear a fabulous fake wedding band. I use caution, but enjoy meeting new people.

  10. I have had so many say I am brave to travel alone, and maybe that’s true. I decided I need to do it alone, or not do it at all. My alone trips have taken me to about 12 cities in Europe. Once in Prague, I wondered what I was doing there alone! Everyone was having so much fun and there I was with no one have wine with, laugh with, to eat dinner with. That’s the hardest part! Not being able to share all the wonderful things I see is also difficult, but if my husband was along, he would be standing outside waiting for me. I have had a few times that brought me to tears and also some wonderful experiences. So again, I will be traveling soon, alone, and seeing the sites I want to see. Life is short!

    1. Carolyn, Try signing up for a one-day cooking class where you prepare — and get to enjoy — a delicious dinner complete with wines and dessert with your fellow classmates. I did this in a village in Tuscany and it was a highlight of my trip. Next I want to try taking a drawing or watercolor class and I’m sure there are lots more options. Happy travels!

  11. When I was 20, I traveled alone to Scotland. I have always been a Mary, Queen of Scots fan. This was such an extraordinary trip. I was young, but so many folks in country looked out for me. I didn’t mind being alone at all. There were so many interesting people to talk to, who wanted to know what In was thinking ab out their country. At that young age, it was pretty heady stuff.

  12. I want to do a solo trip on my motorcycle just haven’t come up with a destination. I did live in Europe and did check some areas on my own. GERMANY, Austria, France and Italy. I agree with interacting with people is fun no matter if there is a language barrier you can still do it.

  13. First, I just want to say how delighted I am that Samantha Brown is back on TV…I really missed her absence. I watched her on the Travel Channel for years, but now that she is on PBS and has a great website, I enjoy her all the more.
    I have traveled solo around the world for many years, and prefer to travel on my own, for many reasons. The joy that comes from new discoveries, the autonomy, freedom, and the opportunity to make new friends. I also am very independent and prefer to make my own decisions when things go wrong and I have to recalibrate my trip, or I just want to change my plans. I have never felt fear or loneliness, and trust my instincts if I have unknowingly wandered into a bad neighborhood or met an unsavory person. I highly recommend cruises for solo women travelers. There are also numerous women’s solo travel groups online for asking questions or offering your own advice to other women. travelers.

  14. I like to do group tours solo. It’s the best of both worlds. You have safety, always someone to talk to if you want, but also free to do what you want.

  15. I do as much research as possible so if planned activities don’t go as planned, I have good plan B’s. And C’s. I join tours and meet tons of people usually from many different places in the world – and the conversations help me plan out future trips! And in some of those future trips, free places to stay! If I’m going to a place with a different language, I will learn enough to get around so I’m not lost (or being taken advantage of). Plus, learning their language goes a long way in how you are perceived and sometimes treated by the locals. By learning your surroundings and some of the language, you won’t stick out too much as a tourist – which can usually help in feeling safer!

  16. I love solo travel because of the drama-free autonomy — you know what I’m talking about! But I disagree about being safer in big cities. I’m a small town girl and love settling into life in a small village in Tuscany or Burgundy or Ostfriesland (that’s not on the usual tourist group itineraries) for a week or more where I can meet the lovely people there and experience village life.

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Samantha Brown’s Best Tips For Traveling Alone
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