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Solo trips: Our guide to travelling solo

According to our new research, we Brits are growing bolder when it comes to our travel habits: more than one in five (21%) of us now want to embark on solo trips.

Independence seems to be the key factor for the growing enthusiasm around solo travel: almost 1 in 5 (18%) of us want to see the world without having to wait for someone to join us, 17% of us want full control over our itinerary, and 17% want to have the flexibility to change plans on a whim.

Too right! We love travelling with friends, family, and partners, but we also know that solo trips can be so rewarding. Travelling solo gives you more flexibility to do what you want, when you want to do it.

This is where our Solo Travel selection comes in. Whether you're an avid solo traveller or just looking to dip your toe in the solo holiday lifestyle, we've compiled some of the best-value deals, tips and recommendations so you can get the most out of your trip.

Why you should travel solo in 2024

Going solo can be one of the most enriching and empowering travelling experiences there is. Yes, it's daunting, yes it can take a little bit more effort when it comes to planning, but oh boy, is it worth it.

Just imagine, the freedom of choosing exactly where you want to go, and when... You get to set the pace of your own adventure. Fancy staying another week in Koh Lanta in Thailand, to finish reading your book on the beach? No problem...

Plus, without sounding too cliché, it can provide an excellent opportunity for personal growth. Stepping out of your comfort zone and relying solely on yourself to navigate sometimes challenging situations can be a major esteem boost, and can help you get to know yourself better as a person.

But it's not all about soul-searching and reflection. In fact, one of the best parts of solo travel is the other people you'll encounter on the road. It's the perfect chance to meet new and interesting people who will make your journey even more unforgettable. You may be travelling solo, but you'll never be travelling alone.

Some tips and tricks for solo travel that you might not have heard before

Travelling alone. Whether it’s because your friends can’t make up their minds on your next destination or you just fancy a solo adventure, it can lead to some of the most incredible and liberating experiences of your life. However, it can seem like a daunting prospect at first if you have never ventured out solo before.

No matter where you search for tips on how to solo travel, a lot of the same answers will always come up: 1. Trust your gut 2. Stay in hostels etc. and while they are absolutely right, we thought we'd give you some expert tricks we wish we knew before going on our own solo adventure.

Check out the handy tips below from HolidayPirates' solo travel expert Grace Mellor if you’re considering a solo holiday!

1. Get yourself an eSim!

Stay connected as soon as you land in a new destination by pre-ordering your eSim. There are various providers, but I've mostly used Airalo! They do various packages depending on how much data you're likely to get through and the duration of your stay in the country.

Unlike a physical sim card, which you can buy on arrival in your destination, most eSIMs don't allow you to make phone calls or send texts as they only provide data. However, I've found this all I've needed 99% of the time. I find that outside of the UK, most individuals (and companies!) actually use Whatsapp to communicate anyway.

The other plus about getting an eSim is you can activate it before you get to your destination (as long as you have an internet connection) so it works as soon as you arrive! Plus, you don't have to faff around with taking your regular sim card out of your phone and can use them both at the same time (so you'll still receive things like verification codes sent to your regular number).

Once the eSim is activated, make sure you have both of them switched on, you turn your mobile data onto your "secondary line" (eSim) but you keep your "default voice line" (normal sim) on your "primary line"!

2. Stay smart (even offline)

There are destinations where data and Wi-Fi are sketchy at best, and sometimes we're a bit too addicted to our phones, and can eat through our data.

But there are ways to stay smart, even offline.

Download the offline map app,, which allows you to download areas and save places while you're online so that you can view them offline. You can also use Google Maps in a similar way by clicking the three dots at the top right and pressing "download offline map" once you've searched for a location.

"Currency" is a great app, which automatically updates the exchange rate of all currencies around the world in real time whenever you're connected to Wi-Fi. So, you can use it to accurately convert currencies whenever you want, offline.

Google Translate is an essential when you're travelling to places that are less likely to speak English (like South America). Most people don't realise, though, that you can download languages so you can use the app offline! Select the language you want and simply tap the download button (if it's not there, the language can't be downloaded).

3. Essential hostel items

I used to say "all you need is your wallet, passport and boarding card and everything else is a luxury", but I can assure you that these things are NECESSARY for a decent stay in a hostel: A decent pair of earplugs, a sleeping mask, flip-flops or slides, a combination padlock (that fits most lockers) and a quick-drying micro-fibre towel.

Now for some things you might not have thought about...

  • A global adapter with multiple USB/USB-C ports too as well as a multi-charging cable (some hostels have very few sockets considering there can be 18 beds in one dorm room!)

  • A power-bank (if all else fails, charge your power bank, and you can charge all your other things on the move)

  • A head lamp (hostel etiquette suggests you DON'T turn the light on at 4.30am, even if you need to get up early for a flight, and didn't have the foresight to pack up the day before!)

When you're packing, especially if you're planning on taking a rucksack on your trip, consider using sturdy packing cubes (no, don't just buy the cheapest on the market... If you buy cheap, you tend to buy twice. I learned that the hard way).

Lastly, If you're feeling boujie, get a couple of airtags, so you can always locate your passport, phone, wallet, luggage etc! That is useful whether you're in a hostel or not. If you're an apple user, you can already find all your apple products using the "Find My" feature.

4. Make friends abroad

Hostels are a great way to do this... as you probably already know. But there are a lot of other options out there if you want to make some friends on your travels (because remember, solo travel doesn't mean you'll be alone!)

Social media platforms offer a wide range of groups where you can join to ask fellow travellers or locals for advice on your destination. It's a great way of also asking people if they'd like to meet up for a drink or meal!

Try apps like meetup and locals and if you book your accommodation on HostelWorld, make sure you join the chat to speak to fellow travellers before you arrive.

Also, always search Facebook for the name of destination plus expats/digital nomads/travellers, because a specific group is bound to come up. The beauty of expat/digital nomad groups, is they usually stay in one place for a while, so know all the best places to go and the best tips for a specific place.

I also love the Facebook group The Travel Squad and the girls-only groups of Gals Who Travel, Girls Love Travel and Host A Sister to find like-minded travellers!

5. Safety in private rooms in hostels and hotels

Realistically, you're going to be safe 99.9% of the time. But people do still get nervous when travelling solo, and especially if you choose to sleep alone, whether it's in a private room in a hostel or hotel. If you want to max out the security, even if it's just so you can sleep more soundly, I'd recommend getting a portable door lock. They're super cheap on Amazon and if it gives you peace of mind, I think it's worth it!

Just search "Portable Door Lock for travelling/hotel room" on Amazon and I'd recommend this one with a chain.

6. When taking a taxi

Apps like Uber allow you to share your journey with friends, giving you another level of security with your ride. Only ever get into registered cabs, or ones you've ordered (always check that the registration number is correct and ask THEM to say your name).

If someone who you haven’t booked in advance approaches you or offers you a cheaper, private cab or tour, use your gut to assess the situation. If you feel uncomfortable, politely decline and move on.

Message your hostel or hotel ahead of time to ask them for the best local taxi numbers or how to book a local registered taxi. In some places, like Bali, Uber is illegal, but they have their own versions like Grab. Similary, they use Bolt in Thailand.

7. Eat the street food

It seems like a bit of a controversial one, since most people say the opposite, but I think as long as you pick the right places, eating street food is one of the best ways to sample a country.

Go to a food stall with a long line (especially locals), so you know it's a good place, try watch your food being handled and make sure your food is piping hot when it's served. If possible, try to avoid meals that are heavy with water like Indian pani puri (unless it's been boiled), ice and raw fruits (unless they can be peeled).

8. Let those at home know your plans

Share your current whereabouts (and your future plans, if there are any!) with those at home, either through private social media updates or by sharing your itinerary before leaving. Apps like ‘Find My Friends’ are also useful.

However, be careful about sharing your current location in real time if your accounts aren't private! Especially if you geo-tag your location... you can never be too safe.