Traveling alone can be an exciting and rewarding experience for solo male travelers. But a lot depends on the person: solo travel will feel natural for some guys but give others travel anxiety. The good news is that taking the time to prepare will set you up for success and demystify some of your concerns ahead of time. There's no way to prepare for every step on a journey, but by fortifying yourself with knowledge through my 14 Expert Tips & Tricks, handling any situation will feel more like a process of deduction than an existential threat. Mindset matters.
This article covers everything from safety tips to budgeting tricks, so you can make the most of your solo male travel adventure. While this is an Ultimate Guide for men who want to travel alone, I hope it's useful to anyone undertaking solo travel. The tips and tricks here will help you prepare for (and enjoy) the best possible trip. Please LIKE and share this article if you enjoy it, and add a comment with your favourite tip or trick for travel preparation.
Before your journey
1. Why you SHOULD travel solo
Traveling alone gives you the freedom to travel on your own terms. You can do what you want, go where you want, when you want, and choose to connect with people along the way or avoid them completely. Those are the most obvious benefits of solo travel in the moment. However, there are a tonne of other benefits that can impact your whole life. Solo travel is a challenge to your personal status quo; it helps to stretch you beyond the comfort zone in which we sometimes like to operate. By encouraging personal growth and development, travel helps you to stretch and develop who you are or who you think you can be. That may even make you more interesting! It can also boost your confidence and problem-solving skills, as well as help you to better understand others and become more independent.
Tip: make sure you go on the trip you actually want. Are you looking for downtime? Schedule it. Do you want to go hiking, take in culture, enjoy local food? Make sure those are available at your destination. Building the trip you want also builds the pleasure of anticipation.
I want you to read this bit carefully. It can take time to settle into traveling alone. You might feel a bit out of it on the first day or two and start to doubt solo travel. Give yourself some time to settle into your destination. Be easy on yourself and apply some of the many tips in this article.
Related: What is solo male travel?
2. Research your destination thoroughly
Before embarking on your solo male travel adventure, it's important to research your destination thoroughly. This stretches beyond finding the place you want to stay and the excursions you want to take. The more you know about your destination, the better prepared you will be for your trip.
- Local customs: find out about local customs, laws and cultural norms.
- Safety: are there any specific risks for solo male travelers? Places to avoid, potential risks? Search for travel advisories or warnings from your government or other reputable sources.
- Visas & vaccinations: check if you need any special visas for countries on your trip or if vaccinations are necessary.
- Firsthand knowledge: find out from friends, family or a Facebook group what it's like to visit the destination you're considering. Ask on Twitter or Instagram for tips. This can be a rich resource for good advice.
- Don't overdo it: if you're a planner, like me, you may tend to over-plan. Don't. Leave gaps and time in your schedule to allow for more time at the great gallery or coffee shop you found, to allow for a sleep-in, or to have a free day to play with for an excursion.
3. Pack smart and light
When it comes to solo male travel, packing smart and light is key. You don't want to be weighed down by heavy luggage or struggle to carry everything on your own. I prefer to travel with hand luggage only. It gets you out of the airport quickly and avoids line-ups at check-in and waiting at the carousel. Stick to the essentials and pack versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched. Consider investing in a quality backpack or carry-on suitcase that is easy to maneuver and fits within airline size restrictions. Don't forget to pack any necessary medications, travel documents, and electronics. And always leave room in your luggage for extras that you need to buy while on your trip.
4. Plan your accommodation according to budget
Staying in a hostel is a great way to save money and meet people when traveling solo. However, your willingness to do so may waver with age and access to budget! If you're in that bracket, remember that many hostels offer private en suite rooms as well as dormitory-style rooms, so you can still hang out and have access to privacy. If you're intending to use a hostel, research carefully that the hostel is clean, safe and in a good location.
Co-living and Co-working for Digital Nomads
While solo travel can be expensive, for some of us there is no negotiation about where to stay. In general, I prefer not to use a hostel. However, how can you access the social aspect of being a fellow traveler while still enjoying all the comforts you want from a hotel? I've been traveling for some years as a digital nomad, and there has been huge growth in higher-end accommodations for nomads which offer privacy and comfort with some social benefits. Look for places which offer co-working arrangements and you're off to the right start.
Getting Value at 5* Hotels
If you prefer to be in a hotel room, and you're not looking for those social interactions with fellow travelers, then do ensure you're getting decent value. Nobody wants to pay over the odds, even if your budget includes 5-star hotels. Research the options carefully and consider taking public transport like a metro or tram a couple of stops away from the main tourist strip, to save $100s on 3*, 4* or 5* hotels. Plus, it may seem obvious, but it's a good idea to have a contingency plan in case of unexpected expenses.
On your journey
5. Meet locals and other travelers.
One of the best parts of solo travel is the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world. Whether it’s striking up a conversation with a local at a café or joining a group tour, there are plenty of ways to connect with others while on the road. Not only can this lead to new friendships and travel companions, but it can also provide valuable insights into the local culture and customs. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and make new connections – it’s all part of the adventure!
- Positive Energy: Keep a positive and friendly outlook and be approachable. People will respond to your energy.
- Ask Questions: don't be afraid to ask for advice on what to see, practice your language skills and be open to new ideas.
- Do Something Fun: Do something fun every day. I love good coffee and finding a cool independent cafe is part of my local discovery.
- Find other travelers: Hang out where other travelers hang out – find out which cool bar or venue is hosting a get-together. Cities like Medellin in Colombia have a weekly get-together for visitors.
- Take day trips: I love a good guided tour, whether a free walking tour or a well-structured day itinerary like this Eiffel Tower guide in Paris from Get Your Guide.
While solo travel can be a great opportunity to learn about yourself and the world around you, it can also be challenging. Loneliness and homesickness are common, but there are ways to overcome them. Consider staying in places like a hostel or B&B where people are encouraged to talk to one another, joining a local activity (especially if you're staying a while), and using social media to connect with other travelers.
6. How to Eat Out Alone
The world feels divided into people who like to eat alone and those for whom dinner represents the hardest part of a solo trip. There are some strategies to take the awkwardness out of it and, hopefully, to develop some comfort with the process.
- Start with lunch: if you're not used to eating out for dinner, get comfortable with a breakfast or lunch restaurant.
- Eat a little earlier: if you're concerned about taking up space at a busy place, be among the first there. I do this ALL the time (especially as I prefer to eat earlier) and find I have more attention from servers and have time to enjoy my meal.
- Staff want you to feel comfortable: mostly, restaurant staff see solo diners ALL the time and want you to feel comfortable. Some of the language can be a little pointed: “just you?”, but pass no remarks, feel confident in your “yes, a table for one” and get settled in at your table.
- Use bar or communal seating: sitting alone at a table for two or four at a busy restaurant makes some people feel uneasy. If that's you, research local eateries that have bar seating or a communal table. You might get chatting to others and there's always the bar manager to answer questions!
- Budget for lunch: if I want to eat somewhere fancy, I go there for lunch. In Europe (in particular), there is usually a ‘prix fixe' (fixed price) menu and it's the same chef, staff and location as a more expensive evening meal. If you're managing to a set budget, this is a great way to keep food costs down, and grab a boxed salad, sandwich or snack to enjoy in the evening.
- Phone, Kindle or Book: if you like to feel busy when out alone, take a book, newspaper or local guide to keep you active. Personally, I love to write up my journal from the day and start any research for upcoming flights or hotels.
7. Stay safe and aware of your surroundings.
While solo travel can be an incredible experience, it’s important to prioritize your safety. Before you go, research the destination and any potential safety concerns. Once you arrive, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Avoid walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas, and keep your valuables secure. It’s also a good idea to let someone back home know your itinerary and check in with them regularly. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy your solo adventure with peace of mind.
One of the primary concerns for solo male travelers is safety. It's important to research your destination thoroughly and be aware of any potential dangers. You should know the areas to avoid, how to stay safe in crowded places, and how to react in case of an emergency. It's also a good idea to carry a personal safety alarm and a copy of your travel documents with you at all times.
Related: 6 Issues for Solo Male Travel
8. Immerse yourself in the local culture.
One of the greatest benefits of solo travel is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. Take the time to explore beyond the tourist hotspots and try to engage with the local community. Visit local markets, dine at neighborhood eateries, and participate in cultural activities. Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can also go a long way in building connections and showing respect. By embracing the local culture, you'll have a more authentic and enriching travel experience.
9. Embrace spontaneity and be flexible.
While it's important to plan and prepare for your solo trip, don't forget to leave room for spontaneity and flexibility. Unexpected opportunities and serendipitous moments often arise when we least expect them. Allow yourself to deviate from your itinerary and be open to new experiences. Whether it's joining a group of fellow travelers on a day trip or stumbling upon a hidden gem off the beaten path, embracing spontaneity can lead to some of the most memorable and rewarding experiences of your journey.
10. Take care of your physical and mental well-being.
Traveling solo can be a transformative experience, but it's crucial to take care of your physical and mental well-being throughout your journey. Make sure to prioritize self-care by getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and eating well-balanced meals. Incorporate regular exercise or physical activities into your travel routine to stay energized and maintain a positive mindset. Take breaks when needed and don't hesitate to indulge in some relaxation or downtime. It's also beneficial to practice mindfulness or meditation to keep yourself grounded and centered during your solo adventure.
11. Be open-minded and respectful.
Traveling solo as a male provides an opportunity to engage with diverse cultures and perspectives. Approach your travel experience with an open mind, embracing the differences you encounter. Show respect for the local customs, traditions, and beliefs. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities, dress appropriately, and adhere to local etiquette. By demonstrating respect and open-mindedness, you'll foster positive interactions, build connections, and leave a positive impression as you explore new destinations.
12. Trust your instincts and embrace independence.
Solo travel requires a certain level of independence and self-reliance. Trust your instincts and intuition when making decisions about your safety, activities, and interactions. Embrace the freedom to explore at your own pace, follow your interests, and take detours along the way. Solo travel offers a unique opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth, allowing you to step out of your comfort zone and embrace new challenges. Embracing your independence will not only enhance your travel experience but also build your confidence and resilience.
After your journey
13. Document your journey.
Capturing the memories of your solo male travel is an excellent way to preserve the experiences and share them with others. Consider keeping a travel journal where you can jot down your thoughts, reflections, and memorable moments. Take plenty of photographs or even start a travel blog or vlog to document your journey and inspire fellow travelers. Not only will this help you cherish your memories for years to come, but it can also serve as a valuable resource for other solo male travelers seeking inspiration and advice.
14. Contribute to social networks and online communities.
In today's digital age, connecting with social networks and online communities can greatly enhance your solo male travel experience. Join travel forums, Facebook groups, or online platforms where you can interact with fellow travelers, seek advice, and share your experiences. These communities offer a wealth of information, insider tips, and recommendations from like-minded individuals who have embarked on their own solo journeys. It's an excellent way to gather insights, find travel companions, and gain valuable support as you navigate your adventures.
In conclusion, solo male travel can be an incredibly enriching and unforgettable experience. With preparation and keeping your mindset positive, most anything that crops up can be resolved. Remember to savor every moment, stay open to new experiences, and embrace the freedom that solo travel provides. Safe travels!