Don’t fear the idea of solo travel! Taking a trip alone can be a one-of-a-kind experience definitely worth having. These solo travel tips will make “what if?” become “when do I leave?” in no time.
We’ve all said, “I need some time alone,” but research has proven that women are more likely to travel by themselves than men.
Why is this? Some of us need a healthy break from a life dominated by the needs and demands of life. Others can’t find a companion who wants to do the same things we want to do on the same schedule. Whatever your reasons, a solo trip lets you cater exclusively to your own interests, and helps you get in touch with your true self.
It is one thing to say you want some time alone and another to fill your days with family reunions because that’s what you usually do on vacation. That’s why I designed an interactive quiz at to help you determine your Traveler Type. Use it to plan the perfect itinerary (whether traveling with a group or solo).
Easing the fears of those you love
Many of us prioritize relationships above all else. A solo road trip might be cause to question your values, especially if you get pushback from those you love.
Explain to your significant other what’s behind your desire to hit the road. Otherwise, you might spend your whole trip worrying about your relationship—a surefire way to suck the joy out of the experience.
I travel solo on my motorcycle at least ten days each year. My husband, Matt, doesn’t ride a motorcycle and doesn’t necessarily “like” that I ride one; what overrides his cautious nature is that he loves me and loves what solo touring means to me.
Travel alone without being lonely
Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you can’t make friends along the way. Taking a solo trip leaves you with a million opportunities to interact with people.
The easiest way to connect is to offer to take a picture for a fellow traveler. You’ll get a feel-good moment, and most people will offer to reciprocate.
Walking tours and park ranger talks are great for meeting people. You’re in the safety of a group on common ground. Engage with those who interest you most, and perhaps grab a meal at the end of the day.
Campgrounds are fantastic places to meet people who share your interests, and KOA’s campgrounds have ice cream socials and other activities that solo travelers will enjoy just as much as couples and families. Sometimes you’ll meet delightful people playing guitar around their campsites. Smile and compliment their talents!
Overcome fear of eating alone
One of the top reasons women don’t want to travel solo is the prospect of eating alone in public.
Take heart: no one is judging you for eating alone, and if they do, why do you care what they think? You’ll never see those people again.
Some of the most memorable meals of my travels have been in the company of strangers—often locals, including restaurant waitstaff. Bonus: you can learn a great deal about the people and local history of the place you’re visiting if you keep an open mind and practice small talk.
You can kick off a conversation by simply saying, “Hey, I’m just passing through. What do you recommend on the menu?” While this advice obviously appeals to “Social Travelers,” every Traveler Type has something to gain from talking to the locals, including the possibility of a travel tip or two on where to visit next.
Check out prospective restaurants on a site/app like Yelp, a service that aggregates reviews and comments. Some entries include whether the restaurant offers special seating for solo diners. Google also includes reviews and comments as part of its search results. Several other competitors pop up all the time, so take your best shot as the field evolves.
Sharing every detail of your trip in real time allows little time for you to engage with real people and no time to reconnect to yourself as you wait for the responses to trickle in and respond in turn. If you have “Fear Of Missing Out” (FOMO) solo travel is a fantastic antidote. If you’re genuinely torn about staying on- or offline, your answers to these questions will help:
- Does your work require you to be plugged in? All the time? Or can you pop in on occasion or just wait to post after you’re back home? It’s easy to convince yourself to stay on the grid if that’s what you want to do.
- What would happen if you didn’t check in for two days? Five days? A week? Be sincere when answering and don’t go to great lengths to justify staying online.
- Can you police your time? Adhere to your own limits? It might be easier to unplug altogether than to tame the beast!
- Be honest with yourself: do you want social media trophies? How many is enough in a day?
Go somewhere new
We all have habits, including where we go for recreation and reflection. Going to a new destination sharpens your senses and helps break up mental clutter. If you can’t go somewhere new, go to a well-loved destination by a different route.
If you are a “Flexible Traveler” on the Traveler Type quiz, you might even venture out without an ultimate destination in mind.
If you score as a “Structured Traveler” on the Traveler Type quiz resist the temptation to plan down to the last minute of every day. When you break free of the gravity of your everyday life, things will call to you that you hadn’t anticipated. It might be a roadside stand with local produce and handicrafts, a historical site, a festival or the county cemetery.
Listen to your intuition and enjoy the experience!
Please be sure to tweet it to us at @KOAKampgrounds with pictures from your solo vacation. Happy travels!
“American Road Trip Expert” Tamela Rich is an award-winning author, television travel expert, storyteller and adventurer. She began her love affair with the open road as a child, traveling with her family in the Vista Cruiser station wagon from Ohio to California every other summer.
Tamela founded and runs the Mountain & Music Motorcyle Tour Series. Her new book, “Hit the Road: A Woman’s Guide to Solo Motorcycle Touring” is availalbe in print and digital formats now.