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Tips for Traveling Solo

Published June 10, 2023
5 min read

Key points about: solo travel

  1. A solo traveler may have more freedom to explore destinations the way they want to.

  2. Some safety precautions include choosing the right location and staying in touch with a friend or family member at home.

  3. You could save money when traveling alone by taking advantage of inexpensive accommodations, flight discounts, careful planning, and credit card rewards.

A solo trip can be an empowering adventure outside your comfort zone, or a chance to relax and take in the scenery of your destination at your own pace. When you travel by yourself, you don’t have to compromise on activities or your vacation budget. Your first time traveling alone might feel intimidating, but this guide on how to travel alone may help you enjoy an unforgettable solo journey. 

Things to do before you travel alone

A little preparation could set you up for success on your solo trip. Consider taking the following steps before you embark.

Research your destination

Before you depart for your destination, you should do a little homework. You may want to start with a quick internet search, then check out guidebooks, news articles, and blogs. If you’re going to a different country, make sure you research the local language, currency, and customs. You should also note nearby hospitals and emergency numbers. Finally, keep an eye out for must-see attractions and hidden gems.

Make copies of important documents

When traveling alone, especially to places outside the United States, making a few copies of your documents in advance is a good idea. Those documents could include the data page of your passport, other photo ID, a visa, tickets or transit passes, and medical forms. You may want to leave one set of copies at home with a trusted friend or family member, keep originals in your hotel room, and carry another set of copies in your bag.

Safety tips for traveling alone

Whether this is your first solo trip or you’re a seasoned explorer who knows how to travel alone, these tips may help you travel safely.

Picking safe places to travel alone

Everyone has unique safety priorities and comfort levels to consider. Your personal safety standards are a vital part of choosing a solo travel destination. Many factors contribute to a location’s safety, including crime rates, potential political unrest, weather conditions, infrastructure, and disease management. 

A U.S. Department of State travel advisory search could provide basic data about a country’s risk levels. Solo travel blogs often offer more detailed or personalized information, especially if you’re concerned about traveling alone because you’re of a specific demographic, such as a solo female traveler.

Share your itinerary with someone

Sharing your travel plans with a trusted point of contact at home could save the day if you have an emergency or logistical issue. Your itinerary should include flight details, the regions you plan to visit, and contact info for your hotels or hostels. If possible, try to connect daily—even a quick text message could let your loved ones know everything is going well. If you won’t have cell service, try to establish an alternative communication method before you leave. 

Store important documents wisely

Losing your money or ID could quickly turn a great trip into a nightmare. You could avoid the worst-case scenario by storing your driver’s license, money, credit cards, passport, and other important paperwork in a few different spots. Whenever possible, try to keep your passport and some cash in a safe within your hotel room or hostel, and keep a passport copy with you. You could store the money and cards you plan to use each day in a purse or backpack for easy access. Finally, it’s a good idea to invest in a money belt that could hold an emergency credit card, some cash, and a photo ID, in case your bag is lost or stolen.

What to pack when you travel alone

If you’re sightseeing in New York City, you’ll need different clothes and supplies than you would need backpacking across South America. No matter your destination, though, lugging multiple suitcases around on a solo trip could slow you down and cost you baggage fees. Packing as light as possible may help make traveling alone more manageable. 

While you don’t want to add too much weight to your luggage, you might consider packing extra supplies. Solo trip safety essentials include a first aid kit, luggage lock, portable phone charger, and a credit card for emergency expenses. You may also want a pocket-sized travel journal to jot down notes and record your experiences. 

How to budget when you travel alone

Traveling alone may seem expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. While you may not be able to split expenses like hotel rooms or taxis, you could build your itinerary around your budget and follow some quick tips to save money. 

  • Use public transportation. Buses, subways, and trains offer an exciting way to explore your destination and usually cost much less than renting a car or taking a taxi.
  • Stay in hostels. At hostels, you usually rent a bed in a shared space for a low price per night. Many hostels offer community events. You might make new friends at a hostel with shared meals, a walking tour, a guest party, or a movie night.
  • Check out free attractions. Excursions often become expensive quickly. Even if you plan on a few pricier outings, you could save money by planning free adventures too, like visiting a museum on its free day.
  • Take advantage of flight deals. When you’re traveling solo, you could use travel websites to identify last-minute discount flights all over the world. Your credit card could unlock even more travel perks.

Did you know?

Solo travelers may want to consider the Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card, which offers 1.5x miles on every dollar of every purchase. There’s no limit to how many miles you could earn. Turn Miles into cash. Or redeem as a statement credit for your travel purchases like airfare, hotels, rideshares, gas stations, restaurants and more.1 That means with every grocery store run, cup of coffee, or new outfit, you could be saving toward your next adventure. And with Discover Match®, you get an unlimited Mile-for-Mile match of all the Miles you earn at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no limit to how much we’ll match.2

Solo traveling can be a liberating way to experience someplace new. With some preparation and the right tools, you could enjoy the solo trip of a lifetime without breaking your budget.

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  1. Redeem Miles: Starting at 1 Mile, you can redeem your Miles as a credit to your account to pay for all or part of your bill, for cash as an electronic deposit to your bank account, or for a credit for Travel Purchases made on your statement within the last 180 days. Travel Purchases include airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites, commuter transportation, restaurants and gas stations. Restaurant purchases include those made at merchants classified as full-service restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, fast-food locations, and restaurant delivery services. Gas Station purchases include those made at merchants classified as places that sell automotive gasoline that can be bought at the pump or inside the station. Gas Stations affiliated with supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale clubs may not be eligible. Even if a travel purchase on your statement appears to fit in a Travel Purchase category, the merchant may not have a merchant category code (MCC) in a Travel Purchase category. Merchants and payment processors are assigned an MCC based on their typical products and services. Discover Card does not assign MCCs to merchants. Certain third-party payment accounts and digital wallet transactions may not be eligible for credit redemption if the technology does not provide sufficient transaction details or a qualifying MCC. See Terms and Conditions for more information.
  2. Discover Match®: We'll match all the Miles rewards you've earned on your credit card from the day your new account is approved through your first 12 consecutive billing periods or 365 days, whichever is longer, and add it to your rewards account within two billing periods. You've earned Miles rewards only when they're processed, which may be after the transaction date. We will not match: rewards that are processed after your match period ends; statement credits; rewards transfers from Discover checking or other deposit accounts; or rewards for accounts that are closed. This promotional offer may not be available in the future and is exclusively for new cardmembers. No purchase minimums.
  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.