Where to start- How to Plan a Solo Trip
So you’ve decided to go on a solo trip but you aren’t sure where to begin to plan a solo trip. I get it, I was there once. Today, I’m going to be walking you guys through the entire process of how I plan a solo trip, everything from choosing the destination to creating an itinerary. I began solo traveling at the beginning of 2015 and since then I’ve planned solo journeys around the world. And today, I’m going to share with you guys how I do.
How to Plan a Solo Trip
Step 1- Create a List of Destinations
So step one for me, when planning a solo trip is, to create a list of possible destinations. I like to have a few different options in mind. And I have a reason for this and I’ll touch on it in just a minute. So when I was planning my first solo trip, I was a little bit intimidated when choosing a destination. Because I wanted to go somewhere safe. So I just turned to Google and searched top destinations for solo female travelers and I started reading lists of recommendations. And as I went through all the lists and I started making my own list of places that I was seeing that interested me.
Step 2- Select the Best Time to Travel
The second thing I do when planning a solo trip is, I researched the best times of the year to visit those destinations. So usually the biggest factor here is whether I figure out when the best season to visit is or what the different seasons offer. And then within my word document where I have my list going, I make a note next to each destination. And I like to know when the best season is. But I also like to know when the shoulder season is because the best season is usually the high tourist season. This means that things are going to be more crowded and hotels are going to be more expensive.
So if I find that a destination is best to visit between June and September I will make a note that maybe mid to late May or early October could also be a good time to go. And probably cheaper, and then once I figured out which destinations are good to visit at which times. I can look at the time that I’m planning on taking the trip like if I’m planning a trip for October then I can look at what’s good to visit around October.
Step 3- Check flights and Hotel Prices
Step 3 is to check flight and hotel prices for each of those destinations at the time that I’m wanting to visit. Something to keep in mind here is sometimes flights can be really cheap. But hotels can be really expensive at the destination. Or fights can be really expensive and hotels can be really cheap at a destination. So I start looking at flights and hotel prices and I like to start watching flight prices for all of these destinations.
I’ll start watching prices and I’ll start figuring out what’s a normal price to fly to these destinations. What’s a high price, what’s a low price. And without fail if you watch three or four different destinations for even just a month at some point one of those destinations are going to have a couple of days where flight prices plummet. The next thing to do is to make sure that you don’t need a special visa to enter the country. That there isn’t something that you need to apply for and be approved for and then if you’re good, book your flights as soon as possible.
Step 4- Buy a Travel Insurance
The next thing that I do is buy travel insurance. This is something that I used to never do. I didn’t see the value in it. Now I always buy it because it just has so many benefits. If your flight is canceled or your luggage is lost or if you get really ill like a few days before your trip, you can get reimbursement for what you’ve paid for. I always make sure to buy travel insurance is for medical coverage. So that if something happens like I’m injured and I need to be flown like medically evacuated from somewhere it will cover. So now, you’ve chosen your destination, you’ve check your flights and you have your travel insurance.
Step 5- Create My Itinerary
Then I will create my itinerary as the next step of “How to Plan Solo Trip”. So you first need to consider how many days you’re going to be at your destination which will be determined by your flight dates. Now depending on the flexibility, you might want to do this backward like, create your itinerary first and then book your flights. Then create your itinerary and figure out what you want to do most things first. And then book a flight. After this, I go on Instagram and I look at geo tagged places in a destination and I look at Airbnb experiences. There are so many cool Airbnb experiences now all over the globe that are also really affordable and a lot of destinations.
I look for blog posts about the destination. I’m going to make a list of things I want to see or do. If Disneyland is on your itinerary obviously, that’s a full-day thing. But if it’s like if you’re going to New York and you want to see the Statue of Liberty. And you want to go shopping in Soho or you want to go to Central Park or Times Square. I would pick two of those things for one day like one thing for the first half of the day and one thing for the second half of the day. I find that that gives me enough time at both of those things but also enough just relaxed time in between.
Step 6- Book Hotels
So once my itinerary is complete then I start looking at hotels. I like to wait to book my hotel until after I planned my itinerary. Because I look at the things that I’m doing and if there are several things in a certain area of the city that I know that that’s going to be a really convenient area for me to stay in. And if I can’t stay in that area maybe it’s super expensive. Because it’s the most touristy area of a city. Try to find a hotel that’s somewhere you can easily access.
For example, if you are going to New York and you have a lot of things that you’re doing around the Times Square area. But Times Square is really expensive to stay in I would look for a hotel that is on a subway line that will take you right up to Times Square. Sometimes I’ll stay on Airbnb.
Sometimes I’ll stay in hostels I’ve stayed in like group bunk shared rooms and hostels. But also kind of a cool trick if you are trying to save some money but you want your own room. A lot of hostels have private rooms where you will have your own bedroom. But you’ll have to use a shared bathroom in the hall. I personally prefer to stay in busier areas of the city like near busier streets and that’s because at night I personally feel safer walking in a buzzing kind of well-lit area where there are people all over the sidewalk.
Step 7- Create a Packing List
To create my packing list, I first look at the weather for the time that I’m visiting. Then figure out what types of clothing I’ll need to pack. And if I’m going to need any special plugs or converters for my electronics I include a universal plug. The next is a really important thing. You want to figure out how you are going to have Wi-Fi. I do think when traveling by yourself, it’s a really smart idea to have a fully charged fully usable smart connection device on you.
This is so you can access mapping services like if you get lost walking around a city. You can use Google Maps to figure out where you want to go and there are a few different ways. That you can stay connected one is you can buy a local SIM card once you arrive at your destination. And another is you can buy one of those portable Wi-Fi hotspots made for traveling.
Step 8- Backup Plan
My last planning step for a solo trip is to type up a thorough itinerary and send it to someone. I usually send it to two people, my dad and my husband. I make sure to include my flight numbers and flight times and my hotel names and their addresses and phone numbers. And then have fun, you are off on your solo trip.
If it’s your first one you are in for an experience. It’s definitely a little bit daunting and it could be maybe a little bit lonely at times. But it’s going to be a learning experience and it’s gonna be something that’s entirely unique. It is so confidence-boosting and empowering. I really hope that this article has been helpful or inspiring for somebody who has been thinking about How to Plan a Solo Trip.
Here are the Best 10 tips that Solo Traveler should know. Read here, 10 Best Solo Travel Tips.