Top 9 Questions About Solo Travel Answered

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As a woman who travels solo a lot (and yes, still a lot even though I've been in a serious relationship for the last two years!), I get my fair share of questions about traveling alone.

Even though I wrote a post not long ago about Why I'm Not Afraid to Travel Alone, the questions still come pouring in. In fact, I got one on my Facebook page recently, asking why it doesn't scare me to travel by myself.

So I figured it was once again time to address the big questions about solo travel!

Here are the top questions I get asked about traveling alone – and my answers to them.

Top Questions About Solo Travel Answered

1. Isn't solo travel dangerous as a female?

I actually HATE this question. It's kind of like asking, “Isn't going to the grocery store alone dangerous?” Because the answer, of course, is NO – traveling alone is not inherently dangerous, regardless of your gender.

Do women have to travel differently than men? Yes, we do – but women have to do LOTS of things differently than men, and it says more about gender stereotypes and inequality than anything else.

So long as you're not doing anything while traveling that you wouldn't do at home (i.e. not wandering off with strangers or walking around unfamiliar neighborhoods alone after dark), chances are you'll be fine.

I'm not saying that nothing bad has ever happened to a woman while traveling, but it's a fact that bad things happen far more often to women when they're at home. Making travel a “scary” thing for women is unfair, but unfortunately it's something that the media latches on to and convinces us is true. Talk to just about any solo female traveler, though, and they will tell you that travel in and of itself is NOT dangerous just because of a person's gender.

Amanda at Lake Louise

2. How do you keep your money/valuables safe?

This is a good question. When you travel alone, you're more or less your own body guard and police force. It's up to YOU to carry all of your possessions into the bathroom with you, keep an eye on your phone and camera, hide your cash, and overall make sure your valuables are safe.

On travel days (when you have no choice but to carry everything you own with you), I suggest keeping valuables like your laptop or iPad or phone in a bag that you can always keep your eyes on. And money? Spread your cash and cards out throughout your bags – don't keep it all in one place.

Many people will suggest you use a money belt, and this might be a good idea on travel days so you can hide your credit cards and passport. But for just walking around, I think money belts are silly – as soon as you reach in to get some money out, everyone will know exactly what you're trying to hide.

Here are some other things I do:

  • Don't carry a ton of cash. I take a debit card that works abroad and take money out of local ATMs when I need it – traveling with a huge wad of cash is something I avoid at all costs!
  • Take advantage of the safe in your hotel room or locker in your hostel – there's no need to take ALL your cash or credit cards or passports out with you. (And yes, that does mean that my passport is NEVER on me when I'm out and about, unless I know I'll need it for some reason.) Only take what you know you'll need – and as much as you're willing to potentially lose. You can also check out this portable safe, which is great to use when you have larger items that won't fit in a standard hotel safe (or when you HAVE no hotel safe).
  • Always have a back-up credit/debit card hidden somewhere in your main luggage, just in case your primary one gets stolen or lost.
  • Don't flash your valuables around, especially on public transport in bigger cities. You don't need to let everyone on the metro know that you've got a DSLR, iPhone, AND iPad in your messenger bag…

And, at the end of the day, it's always smart to get a good travel insurance policy for those “just in case” situations.

RELATED: How to Keep Your Money and Valuables Safe on Your Travels


3. How do you get around tour companies or accommodation that try to charge you extra if you're a solo traveler?

Another great question that I get a lot! There are a lot of tour companies and hostels (and even some hotels) that will charge you more if you're traveling alone – basically since you want a 2-person room to yourself.

Sometimes, there's no way around this. That's just how it is.

But there ARE plenty of tour companies and hotels that DON'T charge extra if you're traveling solo. Some hotels/hostels will offer single rooms for solo travelers. Companies like Intrepid Travel and G Adventures will just pair you up with another solo traveler on the trip instead of making you pay more money (though they DO also offer a single supplement if you really want your own room). Even some cruise lines have done away with single supplement fees to try to woo solo travelers.

It may take you more time to find the hotels and tour companies that won't charge you extra if you're traveling alone – but they are definitely out there!

Some other tour companies to check out:

  • Overseas Adventure Travel – They don't charge single supplements at all
  • Tauck – Offers special savings for solo travelers
  • Solos Holidays – Caters JUST to solo travelers
  • AdventureWomen – Tours specifically for women; they pair you up with someone else if you're traveling solo
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines – They have ships now offering single rooms

Amanda in Ios

4. How do you deal with loneliness?

Traveling alone DOES have its ups and downs, I won't lie. And there ARE times when I've felt lonely while traveling solo.

However, it's important to remember that alone doesn't always have to mean lonely.

Roughly 90% of the time, I LOVE traveling solo. I love being able to do exactly what I want when I want to do it. This also means that if I'm feeling a bit down, I can decide to skip the sightseeing and just binge on movies in my hotel room all day.

But here's what I do to battle the loneliness that sometimes still manages to seep in:

  • I go on walking tours and day trips, which are great ways to meet other travelers. When you get to a new city, see if there are any free walking tours you can join – I guarantee you'll meet another solo traveler on one.
  • I chat with people on social media – family and friends are just a message away!
  • I go on small group trips (like the tours I've done with Intrepid Travel in the past) usually about once a year. This allows me to explore new places without doing it completely on my own.
  • When I used to stay in hostels, I would hang out in the common areas at night – it's easy to meet other travelers this way.
  • Now, if I'm feeling lonely, I head somewhere where there are lots of people – a park or restaurant or local event. Even if I don't end up talking to anyone, sometimes just being around other people can help!

An outfit for exploring Budapest

5. How do you convince your family/friends to chill out?

When you've traveled as often and as far away from home as I have, your family has inevitably just resigned themselves to what you're doing and accepted that nothing they say is going to change your mind.

BUT, if you're not an experienced traveler (or if your circle is just full of really really anxious people and/or people who haven't traveled much themselves), you might run into some resistance. For example, when I told my graduate school friends that I was going to travel around Eastern Europe for 2 months, they all assured me I was going to die. (Spoiler alert: I didn't.)

It's not always easy to convince your friends and family that travel isn't dangerous and that you can take care of yourself. But here are a few things to try:

  • Have a serious conversation. Find out what their concerns are, and address them in a grown-up way (i.e. don't just tell them they're stupid or get into an argument). Parents worry; it's what they do. And even if you think the things they're worrying about are silly, that doesn't actually mean that they are.
  • Let them in on the planning process. Show them how you're researching your destinations and your accommodation choices. Let them leaf through a guidebook or check out some blog posts with you. Basically, try to show them that you're doing your homework and that you aren't taking nearly as many crazy risks as they assume you are.
  • Agree on a communication plan. When I first started traveling, I would email my mom at least every 2 days to check in and let her know I was okay. Now, she follows my Facebook page and blog in order to keep up with me. I'll email her when I think I might be without Internet connection for a while (just so she doesn't freak out), and I can text her since I have an international data plan.
  • Invite them to go with you. You don't need to invite your nervous dad or bestie to join you on your round-the-world trip, but you can always try a long weekend or shorter holiday. Letting a worried parent or friend see you “in action” (i.e. able to take care of yourself) can help put a mind at ease. And maybe you can even prove to them that traveling isn't nearly as scary as it's made out to be in movies and on TV!

View of Geiranger from Flydalsjuvet

6. How do you decide on where to stay?

Speaking of doing your homework, people often ask me how I pick a place to stay when going to a new place. And the answer is… I'm actually TERRIBLE at this part. In fact, booking accommodation is the part of travel planning that I hate THE MOST. There are so many options out there that it's overwhelming, and I frequently waste entire evenings just reading hotel reviews on

I'm not the type of traveler who can just show up to a place and wander around until I find a room that's to my liking, meaning booking accommodation at least a few days ahead of time is a must for me.

As a solo traveler, there are a few things I consider when looking for options:

  • Location – I try to look for central hotels or apartments that are close to public transport. I also will usually look into the neighborhood (especially if it's a larger city) to make sure that I would feel comfortable walking back by myself after dark.
  • Room types – Sometimes hotels will sell single rooms at a cheaper rate than doubles/twins. If I can book a single room, I often will!
  • Safety – Along with checking out the neighborhood, I'll look for things like 24 hour reception and safes/lockers in the room.

When I used to stay in hostels more often, I would also take into account the common areas and whether the hostel also had an on-site restaurant or bar.

And, I suppose it goes without saying that I always look for free wifi, too. But that's just the blogger/Internet addict in me and really has nothing to do with solo travel.   πŸ˜‰


Recently, I've been booking Airbnb rooms or apartments more often than hotels. Why? Because it's often cheaper and you get a lot more bang for your buck. Instead of just your standard hotel room, you also usually get access to a kitchen and sometimes an entire apartment for less than you'd pay for a hotel room (for example, my mom and I paid $150 per night for an entire 2-bedroom flat in London earlier this year, where a shared hotel room with two twin beds would have been at least $250).

Plus, having a more “homey” space to come back to can be super nice when you're staying in one spot for a while.

When I'm traveling solo, I often will book B&B-style rooms instead of a whole apartment just so I have someone else to talk to. For safety reasons, I usually only rent from females or couples when I'm on my own – but that's just my personal preference!

(PS – You can get a free credit to try out Airbnb here!)

Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook

7. How do you make sure you feel safe?

Being safe and *feeling* safe are often two entirely separate things. Like I mentioned before, women DO have to travel a little differently than men in some parts of the world.

Here are my three best tips for how to feel safer while traveling solo as a female:

  • Dress the part – If you're going to a destination with a more conservative culture, be aware of what you're putting on your body. If you don't want unwanted attention (male or otherwise), don't make yourself stand out as a tourist by ignoring cultural norms when it comes to clothing. In most cases, this just means covering up a little more.
  • Don't do anything you wouldn't do at home – This should be obvious, but basically don't be stupid. Don't go wandering on your own at night; don't take rides from strangers; don't get drunk or do drugs if you're not with someone you can trust. If you wouldn't put yourself in a situation at home, definitely don't do it while you're traveling.
  • Get travel insurance – I mentioned this before, but having travel insurance to cover those remote possibilities that you have nightmares about (like getting injured or losing your luggage) can help put your mind at ease. Talk to your own insurance company before you leave to see if you're covered abroad. If you're not, consider taking out travel insurance for your trip.
  • Trust your gut – If a situation is making you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself from it. Your intuition is stronger (and smarter) than you probably think.

Amanda from A Dangerous Business Travel Blog

8. Don't you feel awkward doing everything alone?

Being alone may not equal loneliness when traveling, but even if you're not feeling lonely it can sometimes be daunting to do certain things on your own. Like asking for a “table for one” or navigating public transportation or going to a festival, sporting event, or show.

I totally get it. In real life, I can be really introverted and needlessly anxious sometimes. There have been times in the past (admittedly more times that I'd like to own up to) when I skipped meals instead of going into a restaurant alone, or wandered around aimlessly for way longer than necessary because I was too anxious to ask anyone for help. This is silly, of course – people are usually very generous with their help when they see someone (especially a female) traveling alone, and eating alone definitely isn't traumatizing!

Getting over these fears isn't always just a switch you can flip, though – you just have to force yourself to do it. Take your Kindle with you when you go to a restaurant alone. Don't be afraid to ask people for help if you're trying to figure out train lines or bus schedules. Hold your head high when you walk into a museum or festival or soccer game alone – sometimes it really is a matter of faking it until you make it!

And, at the end of the day, remind yourself that the people around you (the ones you're so worried are judging you) are strangers that you'll never see again. So don't sweat it!

Amanda on Dune 45 in Namibia

9. What are the best locations for solo travel?

I've written a whole post about this, which you can check out here: 7 Great Places for Solo Female Travel.

Some of my top suggestions include places like New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, Iceland, and Slovenia because of the natural beauty, overall safety, and the fact that basically everyone will speak English. (I would also add Norway to this list now after having zero problems traveling there on my own recently.) And I suggest Thailand in Southeast Asia because it has a great tourism infrastructure, is cheap, and is filled with other travelers.

BONUS! How do you get photos of yourself?

Lastly, one bonus question! How do you make sure to get photographic proof that you've been to that gorgeous temple or summited that epic mountain? It's a question I get more often than you'd think!

In the past, I was pretty terrible about getting photos of myself IN places. But I'm making an effort to change that! Here are the two main things I normally do:

  • 1. Ask someone else to take my photo – More often than not, if I want a photo at a tourist attraction or monument, there will be others around taking photos, too. I'll look for another solo traveler or a nice-looking couple and ask if they can take my photo. I then always offer to take one of them in return. Easy!
  • 2. Use the timer on my camera – When I find myself in places with less people, I'll sometimes use the timer mode on my camera, set it up on a wall or rock or my little Gorilla Pod (I don't always travel with a full tripod), and let the camera do its thing. This sometimes takes a few tries to get right, but it works!

What about a selfie stick, you're asking? Well, first I'd like to point out that I had a selfie stick for my point-and-shoot camera waaaay before they became a thing. These days, though, the only selfie stick I travel with is the one I use for my GoPro (either an GoPole Evo or my GoPro 3-way mount), and therefore don't bother with one for my camera or phone. If I really want a phone selfie (or something for Snapchat), I'll just use my super long arms and snap one that way. The front-facing camera on most phones is usually really poor quality anyway, so this is a last resort when it comes to getting a photo of myself somewhere!

Swimming at Three Sisters Springs

What other questions do you have about solo travel? Leave them in the comments below!


"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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109 Comments on “Top 9 Questions About Solo Travel Answered

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  1. Lucky for me, my family and friends have kind of always been in the ‘resigned’ stage anyways- so I have never had to worry about convincing them about my plans. My mum always knew I had a huge love of travel and has been really good.

    I’m someone that loves my own space and time with myself, so that is what I specifically love about solo travel. I don’t ever have any worries about eating by myself- although I do take a kindle so I don’t get bored.

    The thing that is the most tricky for me is the whole looking out for your own belongings thing. It is so annoying when you need to go into the bathroom with all of your bags because you don’t have anyone to leave them with!

      Lugging all your bags into the toilet stall with you is the WORST! I don’t really love eating alone, either, but I love everything else about traveling solo so much that I get over it!

    My personal favorite is people who bring up the movie Taken and/or Hostel when pointing out the dangerous of traveling as a female and staying in hostels.

    I love hanging out with people I have met in hostels. It can lead to travel partners and future friends to visit.

      I know – I HATE when people bring up movies like that and then use them as a valid argument about solo female travel. It’s like… umm, no. That’s Hollywood and not even CLOSE to reality!

        I have a friend who had no idea that a hostel was a real thing. She only knew the movie! She panicked when I told her I would be staying in one. After explaining them (and telling her about my previous stays) she felt much better. πŸ˜‰

          Haha oh my gosh!! Well, I’m glad you were able to allay those fears!

        I love your posts! I have only traveled solo a little bit and of course it had its challenges but overall it was great.

        I traveled in Spain and in Argentina with my husband who speaks absolutely NO Spanish and is a little less adventurous so I was responsible for all public interactions and big decisions. Other than having him to help watch luggage it was actually far less stressful to travel on my own in India where it was just me taking care of me.

        I’ve also traveled (within the US only) as the only adult with my two daughters at various ages. (They’re now 10 & 13.) And I got a lot of the same questions as I did with solo travel. Ultimately though, the world is not quite the scary place the 9 o’clock news makes it seem to be. I think/hope my daughters are learning that through our & my adventures and will feel comfortable themselves when they’re old enough for solo travel.

          That’s great that you’re instilling a love of travel in your daughters at a young age! They’re lucky to have such an adventurous mom!

    Loved this detailed post, Amanda. I like traveling with people, but I think I love traveling with myself MORE.

      Same here, Priya! I like a good group trip every now and then, but even on those I need to carve out some time to do something on my own each day.

    So great to hear your tips! I haven’t done a solo trip, but I’ve been thinking about it, and your answers definitely help put me at ease!

      Awesome to hear, Rachel! I hope you decide to give solo travel a try at least once!

    The “isn’t it dangerous to do XYZ alone as a woman” thing drives me nuts. I haven’t done a ton of solo travel (although I am currently planning a trip) but I do a lot of outdoorsy stuff by myself – hiking, mountain biking, trail running, etc. and I hate getting asked that question. I don’t believe that I’m in more danger just because I’m female and, even if the risks were a little higher, I’d still do them. Because I really and truly enjoy doing things on my own and I refuse to let fear dictate my life. Excellent post!

      That kind of stuff baffles me – why would it be more dangerous for you to go hiking or mountain biking as a woman? Is nature going to treat you differently somehow because you’re a female?? Good on you for doing it anyway! You’re so right – you can’t ever let fear dictate your life!

      I’ve been told that I’m brave for going to the cinema alone! So far all my solo travels have been to places where I didn’t stand out (US, Sweden) but I’m going to Japan by myself next year so I can’t wait to hear the comments… I always feel like asking whether I’m just supposed to sit and home and do nothing because I’m single or because nobody else wants to see and do the same things as me. You only live once πŸ™‚

        Oh geez, the cinema thing is a new one! Good for you for going out there and doing it anyway though, Sarah!

        Sarah I feel so the same! Just because I dont have a partner or friends who want to see the world like I do shouldn;t mean I’m resigned to sitting at home waiting around for someone else.

    Great and honest post Amanda! I’m bookmarking this for the next time someone asks me one of those questions.

      Haha. I figured I get asked some of these so often – why not just put everything in one place? Thanks for checking it out!

    This is a really useful post, especially the part about getting the parents/family/friends onside or to try and make them understand!

    Loved it! I should show this to my dad when he over-worry about my trips !

    Great post ! I do have a question about travel insurance. I think it’s a must have especially on long term travels, but do you think it can replace your home country basic health insurance (talking as a Swiss resident for who basic health insurance is mandatory and crazy expensive) ? I’m wondering as I see Worldnomads for example have quite a good coverage for medical expenses and everything else.

      Do you mean like… taking out travel insurance instead of getting insurance at home? I’m not sure it would work that way – I don’t think it can replace your regular insurance when you’re at home since travel insurance is meant just to cover you when traveling.

        Ah no, sorry I meant when you are travelling long term, and have travel insurance, is it worth keeping your health insurance or the travel insurance on its own is enough ?

          I guess it depends on your country. In the US, I don’t think that would work, since you need to be covered at all times and there are weird enrollment periods – meaning it would be easy for you to come home from a trip and not have insurance. But I don’t know how it would work in other countries, so you would need to talk to your home insurance provider about that!

    Great post. Will be saving this one for reference late. Ill be travelling solo for the first time next year. Think it really helps having experience of travelling already. I really looking forward to seeing how difference it will be.

      I hope you love it, Leonie! It’s definitely different than traveling with someone – but I really love it 99% of the time!

    Love solo travel! I really do hope these questions appeal to people and inspire. Travel alone is no more dangerous then traveling with someone I have always found.

      Thanks, Rebecca! I hope this inspires people, too!

    Hi Amanda! Your blog has not only inspired me to travel, but has also given me an idea as to what to look forward to/anticipate as a solo-traveler. My biggest fear (aside from getting murdered or something stupid) is going into the whole traveling thing alone and not being able to make any valuable friendships out of it. I guess what I’m trying to ask is, did you overcome your shyness? If so, when did you start to notice its absence?
    I ask because of the “Weenie” post you made back in 2010. From your writing then compared to now, you give off a different vibe (I mean that in the upmost positive way) and I’m just curious if you still feel the same way!
    Thanks for your time, hope to hear from you! πŸ™‚

      Hey Jordan! I think part of me will always be that shy, introverted girl that I was when I started traveling. But it’s definitely much easier for me to talk to people now! I’d say it got easier after my first 2-month solo trip. I stayed in a lot of hostels and did some group tours, which helped me meet a lot of people.

      You’ll never know if you can overcome it unless you try though! πŸ˜‰

        That’s really comforting! Thank you πŸ™‚ I’ve never been in a hostel, but because they are cheaper I will most likely need to stay in a few. Was it awkward sleeping in the same room with strangers? Haha. I’m quite the introvert too, and knowing what to expect makes it a little easier. It’s funny how traveling solo across the globe doesn’t frighten me nearly as much as human interactions do…

          Hahaha I totally understand where you’re coming from! Sometimes it *can* be a little awkward to share a room with strangers, but you get used to it. I also discovered that some hostels offer female-only rooms, which made it a little easier in some cases.

    Before I say anything that unintentionally insults someone, I just want to say this is a truly helpful, great post. That being said, it really irritates me that in this day and age women still ask questions like this. I get asked these things a lot too and it kind of makes me want to bang my head against a wall. I’m not irritated at the women who ask me so much as I am at the way they were raised to be so insecure. I’m sure a lot may have to do with age, I’ve always been a fighter but I was less so in my early 20’s when I started going out on my own. My point is this, Ladies start looking at the reasons you ask these questions! You are capable of great things. If you’re scared, take a self defense class and get yourself out of a victim mindset. Find yourself some lady heroes and let them inspire you to go conquer the world.

      It definitely says a lot about the gender stereotypes that still exist in just about every culture, doesn’t it? I don’t really mind answering the questions, though – if I can convince one more woman to go out and see the world (or break down those stereotypes), then I’m happy!

    Where are you snorkeling in the last picture? It looks like nice clear water.

      That was at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida! (And yes, super clear water!)

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