The Afar Guide to
Solo Travel

Solo travel is having a moment. No longer relegated to the land of the single supplement, solo travelers are finding that more outfitters, hotels, and even restaurants are catering to their specific needs. The world is coming around the idea that traveling sans spouse, friend, or family member is one of the best ways to get to know a place and its inhabitants. Plus, traveling alone means you can explore a destination in exactly the way that suits you, and it never fails to teach you a thing or two about how you navigate the world. Here are our top tips and trips, whether you’re an extrovert looking for a new circle of friends, an introvert looking for a quiet sojourn, or somewhere in between.

The Solo Urbanite
Looking for a metropolitan getaway? These five cities are playgrounds for solo travelers.
The Big Solo Trek
Safe, welcoming, and easy to navigate: Three regions that are ideal for a longer solitary trip.
10 Ways to Prepare for a Solo Trip
With a little advance planning, you can calm your nerves and easily prepare for the trip of a lifetime. Read on, book your flight—and don’t look back.
Do Your Research
Choose your travel dates based on high/low seasons. Prices drop significantly in low season due to poor weather conditions, which can lead to business closures, sporadic transport, and increased costs for solo travelers. Shoulder seasons are often best. Americans should check the State Department’s website for visa requirements and safety concerns. Some visas must be obtained prior to departure.
Share, share, share
The moment you start to talk about your solo adventure, it becomes real and instantly boosts your courage. Plus, it’s a great way to get your friends involved—and even to make plans to meet up for a portion of your trip.
Get a Little Obsessed
Read books and watch every movie and documentary you can find about your destination. The background and context will make your solo travels more meaningful. I recommend the solo adventure film 180° South, which will likely inspire you—and make you want to quit your job.
Start Out Strong
Before you go, make sure to hit the gym and try to cut down on coffee. Even if you are in good shape, traveling can be physically exhausting. Solo travel can be especially exhausting, and even more so if you’re backpacking or taking on an ambitious itinerary. Don’t let your caffeine addiction or weak abs take away from the journey.
Learn the Language
It’s an obvious one, but prepare for your trip by learning at least the basics of the local language. As a solo traveler, you’re responsible for all navigation, transport, and logistics, so the more you know, the more empowered you’ll feel. And I’ve always found that, no matter where I go, locals appreciate the effort.
Pack Light
Pack enough clothing for one week and do laundry often. Your back will thank you. You might not think you need them, but if you’ll be traveling for a long time or leaving urban zones behind, be sure to pack quality rain gear, a headlamp, a stainless steel water bottle, and a chemical-free water filter.
Before you leave, make a list of your top three goals for the trip in the front page of a journal and review them often. Write daily or weekly about the places you visit, the people you meet, and the challenges you face.
Be Budget Conscious
Spend time in advance to make sure you have a good handle on the cost of your top three travel expenses: transport, accommodation, and food. Activities, whether it’s a white-water rafting trip in Chile or a museum-crawl in Copenhagen, will be a major chunk of your budget, so plan accordingly.
Leave Room for Serendipity
Don’t over-plan. When you travel solo, you are more approachable. You never know who will meet or what opportunities will appear on a whim. Leave your options open.
Travel Safe
Every solo traveler’s priority should be their health and safety. Invest in travel insurance that covers adventure activities and emergency medical evacuation to your home country.