Solo Travel - Any Insight?

I've heard of people doing solo trips, but don't know anyone personally who has done it. I'm thinking of winging a trip to South America in a couple days, possibly to Colombia (Cartagena) or Panama City. Just a 2-3 day trip

Does anyone have any tips? Do you structure out every hour of your day to stay busy? Would just like to hear any positive / negative experiences you may have had on this front.

Last person to post about this was Brady4MVP so it makes me feel like a bit of a loser hence the throwaway account.

Comments (62)

Aug 27, 2019

Put a bunch of shit you'd like to do in a list, prioritize into Must do and Would be cool. Book the Must Dos if possible. Stay at a hostel and meet people who have been there for a bit or know the area to get tips on what to do, where to avoid. A lot changes from online buzzfeed articles.

Next, meet other people there that are new, drop some of the protip knowledge on them, see who is interested in doing what you want to do, make plans for them to join or join them on whatever they're doing.

That was what became my basic plan of success for having a good time. 2-3 days isn't really enough to find a pattern of what you really like to do, but just trust the vibe of the people you're talking to- it can become day drinking to clubbing all night, museum trips, meeting friends of friends (always try to hang out with people who are visiting local friends) and ending up on a yacht or in a dive bar, or if you ignore people and stay in a hotel you can go take a bunch of pictures you could have found on the internet and experience the same thing some blogger wrote about. Depends on what you're into.

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Aug 27, 2019

Remember, you have no obligation to the people you hang with- if you get a weird feeling or start getting bored just tell them and leave. If you're close, regroup back at the hostel and find better people or just venture out on your own. Try not to look like an easy tourist target.

Hostel choice does matter, they will try to advertise their vibe online but it's mostly chance as to who actually shows. Ones with their own bar are usually best for meeting people if you're a newbie.

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Aug 27, 2019

Agree with this

Aug 27, 2019

You seem to be very pro-hostel and anti-hotel. I don't know how I'd handle the hostel, because it seems like a lot is riding on who you meet there. What if none of the patrons are fun or interested in meeting people?

I was honestly planning on doing a nice hotel but I see your point

Where did you do this before?

Aug 29, 2019

If I may add, before going it's still quite often worth having 1/2 things you really don't want to miss, this will worse case senario make you happy as you made the 1/2 things you wanted to do.

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Aug 27, 2019

I just took a trip to Mexico by myself for my birthday as a single woman (30). Best decision. I stayed at lux resorts and made new girlfriends. I decided on a Friday and left with no agenda, just hotels and flights booked on Saturday. Came back to work feeling amazing.

Sep 2, 2019

I like your style.

Aug 28, 2019

I went on a trip to Korea by myself for a few days, and then met up with my friend after a few days. I think the key is just to be open to meeting new people, and remember that there aren't social repercussions so you don't have to worry about seeming like a fool.

I booked an AirBnB. During the daytime, I already knew roughly what I wanted to do. I went to some museums, visited the tower, some cultural stuff and shopping during the daytime.. I don't really mind doing this kind of thing by myself, but I could have also probably found someone off Tinder. Then I went out to clubs until 5 or 6 AM. I was a bit worried about going to the club alone, but I just struck up conversations with people who looked like they were also on vacation. Ended up making friends pretty quickly, met a ton of interesting people to go out with.

Aug 28, 2019

It depends on what you want from a vacation. Do you want to simply rest and relax? Take a hotel with a nice pool and visit some culture stuff when you reach peak boredom. Or do you want to experience stuff? Then take a hostel focused on solo travelers and small groups.

I did it once. Went a few days early on a trip and friends came after. Spent time in the most hippie hostel ever, met some really interesting and kind people there. Shared a dorm with 7 other people and never regretted a thing. For a short time, the lack of comfort or anything really didn't bother me. I felt like I did a whole extra holiday before the rest of my friends arrived. For me, it was truly liberating, especially since I'm always surrounded by stuck up snobs at home.

Aug 28, 2019
UnrelatedQuestions:

I've heard of people doing solo trips, but don't know anyone personally who has done it.

I've heard of people doing mushrooms...

Jokes aside, I do solo trips all the time (I'm a woman). It's great fun to explore new places and meet new people. It also teaches you how to handle unexpected situations. Like being stuck at a train station at 10pm with 15% battery left, no internet and all the signs are in a language you can't read.

For a 2-3 day vacation I wouldn't plan too much in advance. There are probably lots of things to do spontaneously. The only things I always try to book beforehand are group tours and tickets for special events because they tend to get sold out quickly. As someone mentioned, tinder is a great way to quickly meet new (local) people. I relocated to another country recently and most of my new girlfriends I met through tinder and bumble.

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Aug 28, 2019

Everyone here has good suggestions, i'd also recommend staying in a hostel at least one day to meet people. Hostels have social events that can feel a bit forced, but are a decent way to find drinking buddies on short notice.

Aug 28, 2019

I've traveled by myself, its actually kind of fun. I wouldn't go the hostel route, but that's just me. I'm not really interested in meeting new people, and have fun exploring stuff by myself.

The good thing about a solo trip is you can do what you want, when you want to do it. The only semi-awkward time is dinner, so find a place with a bar and eat at the bar, no big deal.

Aug 28, 2019

You'll have a ton of fun in either Panama or Cartagena, excellent cities for young singles to have fun in and also pretty walkable. I'm with some of the above posters - forget the list, book what you need and then figure it out on the spot. Walk out of your hotel, pick a direction and go. Feel free to PM for Panama/Cartagena recommendations

Aug 28, 2019

Did a solo 6 week trip to NZ, Australia and several Asian countries. Stay at hostels, do the stuff you want during the day, but at night do the hostel bar crawl or whatever event they're hosting and socialize. Can't go wrong.

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Aug 28, 2019

Stay in hostels. If you're looking to be social, small talk people and take genuine interest in their story. Compare itineraries to see if you want to go explore the same stuff, or hop on something they might be doing that day. The key in hostel interactions is that you're self-sustaining and the other individual isn't going to have to entertain you the entire time.

Alcohol is your friend. Seek out crazy experiences. Don't be a square.

Aug 28, 2019

I backpacked through Europe for two months after college, staying mostly in hostels and armed with a Eurail pass. Was the best trip of my life full-stop. I met the weirdest and most interesting people, including a Turkish political target (or so he claimed), got my credit card stolen and charged to, jumped out of a moving train after spending the night drinking with Germans, hiked across the Ukrainian land border under armed escort, and hooked up with a rocker looking bartender in London.

Honestly there were so many stories from that trip that I still dip into and people are always interested in hearing more. Blew all the money I had knowing I had a signing bonus and FT consulting job for when I got back. No ragrets.

Aug 28, 2019

I've had multi solo trips around the world.

Definitely stay at a hostel if you're looking to meet people - in many places you can even get your own room if that's a concern of yours. Will be significantly harder to meet young people in a nice hotel. If you are just looking to chill in a nice spot and meeting people is secondary then opt for the hotel but odds are harder to make friends.

For 2-3 days, I'd probably hit Panama City over Cartegna. If you increase the day count, then do Cartegna because you can tag in Parque Tayrona as well.

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Aug 28, 2019

Find someone to share all of that with dude. I assume you're in your 20's. I'm 24 (got married when I was 22). During our engagement period, every time we told people that we were going to get married, there would always be this awkward silence ... where we would proceed to say "she's not pregnant", as if the ONLY reason 2 young people would marry is because they had a kid out of wedlock.

Our generation is obsessed with "ME", but it's amazing to be in a relationship and, as Joey Tribiani says, "give and receive" and in this "giving and receiving" you become a better person. Seriosuly though, it's the best decision I made, and truth be told, I wish I could have gotten married earlier. I understand that it's not only sunshine and roses, and even though your "lows" in life can be lower, your "highs" will be equally higher! It's so awesome being able to travel to Colombia (where my wife's from), Thailand, Cancun, and so many other places with my best friend. Hope you find the one!

Good luck bro.

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Aug 28, 2019

Glad you found your wife, but that's not really the question here

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Funniest
Aug 28, 2019

Sounds like you regret getting married lmao

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  • Prospect in Other
Aug 28, 2019

?

  • Prospect in Other
Aug 28, 2019

How did you even get married that early? Seems like you met the girl had a first date and the second date was getting engaged....

Aug 28, 2019

I'm assuming you're single and ready to mingle haha? Check out the travel section of the Roosh V forum for field trip reports of cities before you go any where. Colombia is full of sexy women but also has some dangerous parts so you want to know what you are doing. If you want company, set your tinder location to that city a week before you go and start pipelining matches so you have a few girls lined up. You can also use ColombianCupid too. As for hostels, if you are only going for a few nights I would get a nice airbnb or a hotel as no quality chicks will want to bang in a hostel. I'm divorced so I do all my trips solo now (have been all over Eastern Europe and Latin America). I generally party all night, have a late breakfast, do any tourist stuff after lunch, siesta, have dinner at a nice restaurant, and hit the bars/clubs again at night. Rinse and repeat as many nights as necessary.

Aug 29, 2019

Can't recommend the tinder strategy enough. Change your bio that you'll be staying in their city from X to Y and are looking for people to show you around. I backpacked Western Europe solo for 3 weeks using this strategy and only had a couple days where I didn't have plans with any locals.

If this strategy doesn't work for you and you want to do things with other people, try to book hostels that have complimentary breakfast. At breakfast just try to talk to as many people as possible until you find someone doing something that sounds fun to you and ask to tag along.

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Aug 28, 2019

There's a lot of good advice on here. If you're looking to meet other travelers and expats find out where the local Irish Pub is located.

Aug 28, 2019

Not sure what these panzies are talking about.

I got laid off and just booked a flight to SEA for 2 weeks by myself. I didn't even book my hotel until I landed.

Totally worth it.

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Aug 28, 2019

I've stayed at quite a few hostels and have had mostly good experiences. I will say one thing - to bring a lock and don't leave valuables out as there is a lot of theft in some places.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Prospect in Other
Aug 28, 2019

Hostel = hotel ?

Aug 28, 2019

no... google it

Aug 28, 2019

Just send it man it's a blast.

I had like 7 days between jobs a couple of years ago and booked a flight to Norway. Left the next day and traveled around the country for 4 days. It was incredible.

I've done other semi-solo trips where I visit my friends who live in other parts of the country and just explore for the day while they're at work.

Most Helpful
Aug 28, 2019

Done the solo travel thing since college and much of my professional career has also had solo travel (often not by choice). Like all things, it has its positives and negatives and your mileage may vary.

The biggest thing is that you will learn who you are and that is constantly evolving. 2-3 days is short. But if you are going to someplace new, why not schedule the heck out of one day and see how you like it. Then maybe leave one day completely open and on the fly. Then maybe the last day (assuming 3 days) a bit of both?

My evolution was getting a Lonely Planet (now wikitravel or whatever random stuff I see online) and getting an idea of what I wanted to do/must dos. Then I would stay at the hostel/hotel/airbnb etc as a base and figure it out from there when I woke up in the morning or the night before. Other days, I would think "there is some cool stuff in this area let's just wander and see how it goes" or I would be at some site and just end up doubling my time there if it blew me away or if the area seemed cool, rather than sticking to some schedule. One day I scheduled everything to the minute and I hated it. I had to rush my meals, hurry through places and couldn't see everything I wanted. Some places will demand that if there is limited time and I understand that, but I try not to make that my vacation.

One trip a few years back I woke up exhausted one day in the middle of the trip (note - not hungover) and was afraid I'd regret "wasting the day" by lying around, reading a paper/book, watching tv and chilling by the pool rather than experience the place and culture. WRONG. I got rested up and it made me enjoy the rest of the trip much more since I could be fully present for the rest of the days rather than dragging it out.

In short, try a few different things and see what works for you. This will take a few trips. That's totally cool. That's the best way to figure it out. If you are short on vacation days, then do weekend trips. One weekend plan everything. The next weekend plan nothing. The next weekend plan a mix. As with so many things I have said, all of this is on YOU. Neither I nor others can tell you what's best for you or what will work for you. Only YOU can figure out what's best for you.

You will do great. Go get 'em.

Good Luck

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Aug 29, 2019

All good advice, I feel like they generally bucket into a few categories

  1. Go the hostel route, make friends, do activities with people you meet
  2. Go a hotel/private living route, do stuff on your own
  3. Some combo of in between whether that's finding a friend to see for a day or two, staying 1/2 time in in a hostel and the other nights somewhere else

You can't really go wrong with any of them. Kind of depends on the type of person you are. Back when I was living in Europe I'd spend a weekend somewhere and might not really talk to anyone for a few days, just walking the city, tours, planning out an agenda and going at my own pace. Other times it's fun to hang around a hostel, signup for things on the activities board and meet other people. Everyone is in the same boat in a hostel, so it's pretty easy to make friends.

Try one route out and see how it goes. Once you trust yourself to have fun solo traveling, it's honestly makes travel way easier.

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Aug 29, 2019

take 3x the money that you think you'll need, and 1/3 the stuff you think you'll need

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Aug 29, 2019

I've never traveled alone but I have two friends who are in love with solo-trips. The first friend has gone around South America, Scandinavia, and Europe by himself, without friends or guides. They both are happy they have done it. And as far as I know, he is planning another trip soon. So, don't be afraid to try it. You're always able to come back any time you want :)

Aug 29, 2019

I just came back from 1 month solo, my advice is leave everything open, find people you like being with and stick to them for a while (as long as they're doing places you want to see).
Good travels!

Aug 29, 2019

Countless times, I live in the Middle East and try to travel once every two months, often alone. My advice is to just choose 1-2 things you want to do per day, and get a list of bars/restaurants you want to go to. It's not hard to stay busy if you're in a dense, walkable city. Go to a museum, explore a neighborhood, go to a cafe with a good book, etc.

Aug 29, 2019

stay at youth hostels in the center of town. You'll have way more fun and meet more people.
Bring something to give to others so as to win friends - like bring a guitar and play for others and try to get others to play along, or bring people booze or something. Find ways of winning friends and influencing people and so on...

Aug 29, 2019

other advice.... if you travel to Thailand ALWAYS check the adam's apple

  • Associate 2 in CorpDev
Aug 29, 2019

solid advice bud

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Aug 29, 2019

Hi,
It's actually good to take solo trips. Don't preplan or keep your mind occupied with so many destinations or things to do. Get to know local people and start exploring the places. That's the nicest way to make your solo trip amazing and adventurous. Happy traveling!

  • Analyst 2 in CorpFin
Aug 29, 2019

dont try solo. you'll look likke a moron

Aug 30, 2019

Insecurity at its finest.

Aug 29, 2019

I haven't traveled (except for work and a wedding 3 hours away) since graduating from college 4 years ago. Very sad. At this point I don't even know why anyone bothers, especially doing it alone. Why should I pay 3 grand to go to a different city or sit on the beach for a week? A longer term trip would interest me more.

Aug 30, 2019

Pack light (one backpack and a book). Have no plans, bring lots of cash (hidden well), find a good hostel, get drunk and explore - that is all. Also, go for at least a week, 2-3 days to fly all the way to South America is a complete waste of time.

Aug 30, 2019

2-3 days to fly all the way to South America is a complete waste of time.

bruh - NYC to Buenos Aires has a direct flight, less than 11hrs. NYC to Rio is 13hrs.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Aug 31, 2019

Just went to Tanzania for a safari / mountain / zanzibar beach tour.
Was within a group, everyone was cool, 4 solo girl travelers, 1 other guy, 2 couples and a mum with her daughter & son.
Was one of the best trips of my life.
Complete freedom, no expectation from anyone and ability to have fun and meet people with completely different perspectives about pretty much anything.
I am a trader in london the persons i got along with the most were a 30y old girl working in a steal factory in australia, a 28y old primary teacher from germany and a retired American guy that use to have a building company in his 60s. Everyone was just having fun and bonding over the love of nature / animals / adventure. No bullshit, no drama.

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Aug 31, 2019

Best travel location IMO: Italy.
The challenge is there's too much to do and see in one lifetime there. From the seaside/hillside towns of Positano and Amalfi to the architecture of Firenze and Siena (plus Palio), taking in the towns around Lake Como, seeing the majesty of Venice, hiking the hills of Cinque Terre, or just hanging out and doing nothing in any of thousand piazzas across the country.

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Oct 3, 2019

I just returned from a 2 month solo backpacking trip across Europe. Call it a quarter life crisis. 3 tips

  1. Hostels. Stay in the 8-10 coed dorms. Say hello to every person you meet. Invite them to explore town with you. Sometimes they may already have made an itinerary. Tons of kick ass solo travelers out there. Some broke as can be. Some quite sucsessful folk traveling. Go along for the ride either way.
  2. Invite friends from home to meet you for specific weekends. I had a birthday party in Ibizia that my best friends came to, then some for running of the bulls in Pamplona. Then some in Amsterdam for a music festival. And a few others
  3. Create a rough budget spreadsheet. Then double it. Unsure where you are career wise, but this is a trip where you should maximize the experience. Travel frugally, but double down $ when fun opportunities present themselves.

also- make friends with Hostel staff. They'll give you solid recommendations. AND help ya upgrade to a private room at 3am after you met a cute chick because of step 1

cheers man have fun

Oct 3, 2019

Oh and say yes to everything under the sun that isn't smack

Oct 11, 2019

As for me, solo travel is rather interesting from any point of view. But is it 100% safe? Surely, any company can not guarantee that everything will be great. But the variant with this reliable company was the best for me. So I tried and was happy to do so.

Oct 11, 2019

I will better ask anybody's help. As I am rather cautious person.

Oct 11, 2019
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Oct 11, 2019