Independent Explorer: A Beginner’s Guide To Solo Travel


Holiday, Travel

We’ve all been here: you’re planning a trip overseas, the perfect itinerary has been mapped out, you have plenty of annual leave and you’re ready to jump on a plane and set off as soon as possible. But there’s one problem — you have no one to travel with. While this may seem like a barrier to all your holiday dreams coming true, we’re here to tell you the contrary. You may actually find that solo travel suits you better than travelling with others. To help you reach that conclusion, we’ve put together this guide to travelling the globe independently and confidently.

Why Solo Travel?

In the last few years, the popularity of solo travel for Australians has grown significantly. A survey from 1Cover Insurance found that 65% of Australian women reported interest in or plans to travel solo. Another report by Skyscanner found that 45% of Australians were also looking to adventure alone. If you’ve considered companionless globetrotting then, ironically, you are not alone! Let’s explore some of the main reasons that solo travelling may be just right for you. 


Solo Travel

Freedom and Flexibility  

Without a doubt, freedom and flexibility are two of the most desirable qualities of solo travel. Not only do you get to decide where you go, and when you want to, but you’re also more likely to enjoy spontaneous adventures based on your interests.  

Personal Growth and Self-Discovery 

While it may sound cheesy, independent travel is a wonderful opportunity for personal development. Solo travel pushes you out of your comfort zone, challenges you, and encourages introspection. This can lead to tremendous personal growth, increased self-confidence, as well as increased clarity and perspective on who you are and who you want to be. 

Cultural Immersion and Authentic Experiences

The list goes on, but another reason many choose to travel alone is to experience deeper cultural immersion in their destination country. If you’re working everything out yourself, you’re more likely to engage with locals, participate in cultural activities, and gain insights into everyday life in the places you visit.

Best Holiday Destinations for Solo Travellers

Let’s face it, although exploring beautiful sights and having life-changing experiences is wonderful, not every destination is designed for solo travellers to enjoy without some safety concerns. We recommend always checking how suitable a country is for your travel plans before booking. In the meantime, here are five countries that we think are ideal for solo travel. 

  1. Japan: Known for its safety, efficient public transportation, and rich culture, Japan is a fantastic destination for solo adventurers. 
  2. Iceland: Ideal for nature lovers, Iceland offers breathtaking scenery including waterfalls, geysers, and glaciers. It is also ranked the safest country in the world according to the Global Peace Index!
  3. Costa Rica: For solo travellers seeking adventure and wildlife encounters, Costa Rica is a top choice. The country is known for its eco-friendly practices and friendly locals.
  4. Canada: Canadian cities like Vancouver and Montreal are vibrant, beautiful and easy to navigate alone.
  5. Portugal: With its charming cities, beautiful coastline, and delicious cuisine, Portugal is a welcoming destination to enjoy on your own. 

How to Plan a Solo Adventure

Planning a solo adventure can be exciting and empowering, however, there are a few things you should be mindful of. Firstly, ensure you set an overall budget for your trip and have an emergency fund if needed. Travelling alone can be fun, but it can also be costly, especially if you tend to be more self-indulgent. Being strict on a budget can help you stay in control and appreciate your trip stress-free the whole way through. Secondly, research your accommodation and ensure you book somewhere you’ll feel safe. Hostels are a great, budget-friendly option and usually have same-sex dorms available if you’d prefer. Finally, be mindful of what you pack. Remember that you’ll be hauling your luggage around without help from anyone else. Try to pack light and make sure you’re carrying copies of important travel documents such as your passport in case they get lost — there’s nothing worse than not having backups available while travelling alone!

Staying Safe While Travelling Solo

Undoubtedly, safety concerns are one of the main reasons people, particularly women, tend to be deterred by solo travel. Fortunately, there are several ways to look after yourself and put your mind at ease: 


  • Research: As mentioned briefly above, research the safety of your destination beforehand and be sure to understand local customs, laws, and any areas to avoid. 
  • Learn the language: Try to learn common words and phrases in the local language to communicate and connect with others.
  • Stay connected: Share your itinerary with family or friends, check in regularly and keep them updated on your whereabouts. Ensure your phone has a local SIM card or roaming plan for emergency calls and internet access. 
  • Buy travel insurance: Invest in comprehensive travel insurance covering medical emergencies and trip cancellations.
  • Blend in: Avoid drawing unnecessary attention. Dress appropriately for the local culture to respect norms and enhance safety.
  • Secure valuables: Use a money belt or secure NFC pouch for passports, cash, and cards. Avoid flashing valuables in public.
  • Watch your drinks: Limit alcohol consumption, especially in unfamiliar settings. Stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay informed: Keep a list of local emergency contacts, including embassy details, with you at all times. Be aware of any political or natural developments in your destination.
  • Listen to your gut feelings: Most importantly, trust your instincts. If a situation feels uncomfortable, walk away.

Embrace the Experience

solo traveller

Now for the fun part — embracing the experience! There’s a lot to love about travelling solo. You’ll meet locals and like-minded, fellow explorers, you’ll have plenty of time to explore in a way that suits you, and you’re guaranteed to make memories and have numerous stories to share when you get back home. If you’re still apprehensive about solo travel, consider joining group activities or tours. They’re great for meeting new people and sampling the highlights of your destination. Booking at hostels is also ideal, as you’ll get to meet other independent explorers just like you. Many hostels also organise free tours and other events to familiarise you with the area. Eating out, exploring and taking photos alone will likely feel a little daunting at first, but you’ll quickly discover that you’re capable of so much more than you thought. 


First things first. Before you begin booking everything for your dream solo trip, make sure you’ve got your Sydney airport parking sorted with Park on King. Park on King offers a year-round affordable alternative to Sydney International Airport Parking, with 24-hour security and on-demand shuttle services for International and Domestic flights available to and from the airport — it’s the perfect choice for solo travellers wanting to enjoy a stress-free adventure. Book now for reliable airport parking and start your journey off right.

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