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how to plan your first solo trip: where to go

One of the most common topics I’m asked about is, “how to plan your first solo trip?” Well, the first and most important step is choosing a destination.

Deciding where to go for your first solo trip can be overwhelming – the world is a vast place, and you want to see A LOT of it! But there are some critical factors you need to consider when choosing a destination as a solo traveler.

But before you read more, I want to make sure you have a travel bucket list. And not just an in-your-head hypothetical list. I mean a physical list that you can continuously look at for motivation and inspiration.

Once you have this list, then you can keep reading to choose which place on your travel list you should visit for your first solo trip.

If you need more inspiration for your bucket list, then here are the Best Destinations For Solo Female Travelers.

So here’s how to plan your first solo trip by choosing the perfect destination!

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how to plan your first solo trip: where to go

Don’t go to the other side of the world

Consider going to a closer and less remote destination that you can reach by a direct 2-3 hour flight or a 5-6 hour train or bus ride.

Doing this will minimize your stress getting to and from your destination, make you feel like you’re not as far from home, and has fewer possibilities for travel delays or changes.

Staying in your current continent or region of the world means it’s more likely people will speak your language where you’re going and that the culture, food, customs, and what you’ll wear will be familiar to you.

Start closer to home and then “work your way up” to those remote and more hard-to-get-to destinations.

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how to plan your first solo trip: where to go

Timing

How much time do you have for your trip? Can you ocean-hop, or do you need to stay in your current hemisphere? The answer to these questions will help you narrow down your choices. For example, it’s not worth the time and money to fly from the U.S. to New Zealand if your trip is only five days long.

You also need to think about what the weather will be like in your potential destinations. If one of your dream trips is to be laying out on a Greek isle in a swimsuit, but your first solo trip is in February, then you need to save the Greek isles for another trip.

Pro tip: remember that seasons are reversed in the northern and southern hemispheres. So don’t forget about this when you’re considering your destination!

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how to plan your first solo trip: where to go

Budget

What’s your budget for this trip? Can you afford a Western European trip, or do you need to consider somewhere else? We all wish we had unlimited amounts of money to travel whenever we want wherever we want in luxury.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have amazing trips on more of a budget; it just means we need to choose our destinations more carefully. Your budget that might cover a hostel room and group walking tours in an expensive destination could translate to a mid-range hotel and private excursions in another part of the world.

Determine what your budget is, decide how you want to travel, and then choose a destination that will let your budget match the trip you want to take.

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how to plan your first solo trip: where to go

Don’t change hotels too frequently

Don’t change hotels too frequently

A city-hopping trip can be incredible, but changing your “home bases” adds more work and logistics to a trip. Changing housing (hostel, hotel, Airbnb, etc.) is also one of the things solo travelers say stresses them out the most. It’s comforting and easier to come back to the same accommodation night after night.

So I’d recommend a trip where you’d have a maximum of two “home bases” with only one move (at the most). For first-time solo travelers, I always recommend staying in a central location and doing day trips instead of moving accommodation every other night.

If you do choose to city-hop, though, keep in mind that your transportation arrival and departure times might not align with check-in and check-out times, so be prepared to store your luggage.

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how to plan your first solo trip: where to go

Is a destination popular with other solo travelers?

Is a destination popular with other solo travelers?

Research your short list of destinations to determine if they’re places solo travelers commonly go. Get on Pinterest and Google to see how many people share their stories about visiting a particular country or city alone. If you can’t find many people going to a destination alone, you should consider saving this place for a later trip.

But even if many people are traveling alone to a place, make sure that their travel experiences were positive. If lots of people are going to a place alone but not recommending it to other solo travelers or giving positive feedback, then you should probably save this for a future trip when you’re more comfortable and experienced with solo travel.

If you’re a woman, you need to do the above research on other solo female travelers. Women don’t need to know if a place is good for men to travel alone. You need to know if a destination is comfortable for women traveling alone.

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how to plan your first solo trip: where to go

Established Infrastructure

Established Infrastructure

I’ve taken trips where I intentionally chose a remote destination with limited access to technology, phone service, and public transportation. These types of trips can be rejuvenating and freeing, but they can also be mentally taxing because most of us are used to having modern amenities consistently available to us.

Reliable internet, transportation, electricity, and running water make for a more enjoyable and less stressful first solo trip. You’ll feel more connected and more comfortable.

So I recommend choosing a destination with a well-established tourist infrastructure.

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how to plan your first solo trip: where to go

Is a destination a conservative country?

Is a destination a conservative country?

Conservative countries require men and women to dress in specific ways and to follow certain etiquette. Often, the dress and etiquette aren’t optional, which can be uncomfortable or difficult for some people to adopt.

You need to consider your comfort level and adaptability when choosing whether to visit a conservative country for your first solo trip. This might not be a problem for you. In which case, go ahead and book your first solo trip to a more conservative country!

But if you think it might be hard to adjust your mindset to travel in a conservative country, you might want to save these destinations for later trips.

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Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I plan a trip for myself?

    Here’s how to practice and prepare for a solo trip:

    1. Determine your travel budget.

    2. Decide on your travel style/partner(s)

    3. Choose a destination

    4. Book flights, rental cars, and other transportation

    5. Book your accommodation

    6. Research things to do and book tours, day trips, and excursions

    7. Get travel insurance

  • How do I start traveling solo?

    Here’s how to choose the perfect destination for your first solo trip:

    -Don’t go to the other side of the world. Consider going to a closer and less remote destination that you can reach by a direct 2-3 hour flight or a 5-6 hour train or bus ride.

    -How much time do you have for your trip? Can you ocean-hop, or do you need to stay in your current hemisphere? The answer to these questions will help you narrow down your choices. For example, it’s not worth the time and money to fly from the U.S. to New Zealand if your trip is only five days long.

    -What’s your budget for this trip? Can you afford a Western European trip, or do you need to consider somewhere else? We all wish we had unlimited money to travel whenever we want, wherever we want in luxury.

    Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have amazing trips on more of a budget; it just means we need to choose our destinations more carefully. 

    -Don’t change hotels too frequently. A city-hopping trip can be incredible, but changing your “home bases” adds more work and logistics to a trip. Changing housing (hostel, hotel, Airbnb, etc.) is also one of the things solo travelers say stresses them out the most.

    -Research whether a destination is popular with other solo travelers.

    -Pick a destination with well-established tourist infrastructure.

  • Is solo travel lonely?

    Solo travel doesn’t have to be lonely. I rarely find myself feeling lonely when I travel solo because I always meet people throughout my trip. I’ll pair off with another solo traveler on a group tour, or I’ll go on a guided pub crawl, or I’ll chat up fellow travelers at my hotel or hostel.

    It’s easier than you think to connect with people when you travel solo, and you’ll always be able to find opportunities for this throughout your trip.

    If you’re worried about homesickness, schedule regular Skype or FaceTime calls with your loved ones throughout your trip. Choose a phone and data plan that will let you text and call anytime you want. And post regularly on social media so your friends and family can keep up with every step of your adventure.

  • Are solo vacations fun?

    Yes, solo trips can be LOTS of fun! One of the greatest joys of traveling solo is that you always get to do what you want to do. If you don’t enjoy museums, then you don’t have to plan any museums into your itinerary, the way you might have to if you were traveling with others.

  • Where can I travel solo as a female?

    The Best Solo Female Destinations in The United States:

    1. Seattle, Washington

    2. San Francisco, California

    3. Austin, Texas

    4. Chicago, Illinois

    5. Boston, Massachusetts

    6. New York, New York

    7. Orlando, Florida

    8. Portland, Oregon

    9. San Diego, California

    10. Tucson, Arizona

  • How long should a solo trip be?

    For your first solo trip, I recommend traveling for 10-14 days. This will give you plenty of time to explore a destination without being rushed, but not too much time that you get bored or homesick.

    It’s essential to consider how much time you have for a trip when choosing a destination. You also need to think about what the weather will be like in your potential destinations. If one of your dream trips is to be laying out on a Greek isle in a swimsuit, but your first solo trip is in February, then you need to save the Greek isles for another trip.

    Pro tip: remember that seasons are reversed in the northern and southern hemispheres. So don’t forget about this when you’re considering your destination!

  • Where should I travel alone for the first time?

    The Best Destinations for First-Time Solo Female Travelers:

    -The United States

    -Canada

    -Greece

    -Caribbean Islands

    -Thailand

    -Western Europe

  • Is it OK to go on vacation alone?

    Yes, absolutely! Solo travel can be one of the most fun and rewarding forms of travel. But the number one thing you need when you’re traveling solo is confidence. YOU CAN DO THIS! So here’s how to be confident traveling solo:

    1. Practice for solo travel.

    2. Don’t listen to other people’s insecurities about traveling solo.

    3. Thoroughly research destinations.

    4. Play to your strengths.

    5. Plan the majority of your trip ahead of time.

    6. Trust your instincts.

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This article about how to plan your first solo trip is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post about how to plan your first solo trip are entirely my own. Some of the links in this post about how to plan your first solo trip are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission from this article about how to plan your first solo trip.

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