Your Flash Pack guide to solo travel, group adventures and wanderlust inspiration
What is solo travel?
Solo travel is the act of embarking on an adventure by yourself, but there are many different ways to do it, from group tours to staying in hostels.
We’ve compiled expert advice, testimonials from other solo travellers and practical travel tips to answer any question you may have.
If you’ve ever contemplated leaving your friends at home and venturing into the world by yourself, on your own terms, you’re not alone.
You could, in fact, be about to join the one in six people who have already travelled solo. Of that figure, a staggering 84% of solo travellers are women. Wondering what it’s like to travel solo as a woman? Read Tracy’s story.
So why do people choose to travel solo? From the promise of independence and being able to set the terms of your adventure, to learning new skills and meeting new people, there are numerous reasons why you might choose to go solo.
And solo travel doesn’t necessarily mean being alone. Group tours, such as ours, specialise in bringing solo travellers together for a shared adventure. What’s different about our offering, though, is that we match you with like-minded solos of a similar age, meaning that the odds are in your favour to make fast friends.
Top 5 lifestyle benefits of solo travel
1. Complete independence
We all know what it’s like to make concessions on what we really want to do, to please friends and family and keep everyone happy. But with no one to answer to, solo travel puts you firmly in the driving seat of your own adventure.
2. Redefine your comfort zone
You’ll do things you never imagined yourself doing. You’ll meet people who broaden your horizons, taste exciting new flavours and learn about cultures you’d never previously encountered. In the process, your comfort zone will expand to encompass these new experiences, paving the way for real growth and development.
3. Meeting new people
Going solo is one of the best ways to make new friends. You’re far more approachable on your own than when you travel with friends, and far more likely to strike up spontaneous conversations with locals and fellow travellers.
4. The present moment
Solo travel immerses you in the present moment, which happens to be one of the key principles of mindfulness. It’s about reconnecting your mind and body with the sensations it experiences, be that the thrill of hiking to the peak of a mountain or tasting a new dish for the first time – just the kind of break your mind needs.
5. Gaining perspective
The immersive escapism involved in solo travel brings a shift in perspective. The time you spend travelling by yourself is the perfect opportunity to step back and reassess what’s important to you, and what you really want to be doing.
Advice for first-time solo travellers
As a solo traveller, you’ll likely need to pay a single supplement in many hotels. If you travel with a group tour like ours, we’ll take care of the single supplement for you by matching you with a roommate.
Do your research
Contrary to popular opinion, most places in the world are relatively safe for solo travellers. Common scams can be avoided by doing a little bit of research on your destination ahead of time.
Use common sense
Keep your valuables out of sight while travelling, and don’t wear flashy jewellery or expensive items. Unfamiliar with your surroundings? Avoid walking alone or getting drunk by yourself at night.
Dress appropriately for the culture of each destination. Avoid school or orphanage visits that perpetuate unethical tourist industries, and ask permission before photographing people.
Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what you’re looking for in an adventure, and if that is the case - you’ve landed in exactly the right place.
What to expect from your solo adventure
Common fears about solo travel
“I’ll be really lonely.”
A common anxiety, but one that’s easily resolved by a shift in mindset. You don’t need to pressure yourself into striking up a conversation with everyone, but try to be open and approachable, and take an interest in your fellow travellers. People love to talk about themselves, so sometimes a simple “where have you been so far?” can lead to some fascinating conversations.
“I’ll get bored on my own.”
It’s enough to strike fear into the heart of any busy full-time professional, but trust us – solo travel gives you the space and freedom to spend your time productively. There are plenty of books to be read, new friends to make, cities to be explored. It’s a question of mindset: once you make the shift from being overloaded with deadlines to savouring the quiet moments, you’ll find the solo lifestyle incredibly refreshing.
“What if I don’t get along with the people I meet?”
Don’t expect to become firm friends with every single person you meet. But, remember that many solo travellers share common interests and are all looking to embrace new experiences and make friends. More often than not, you’re likely to have something in common with the people you meet, granted you keep an open mind and take an interest in others.
5 fears of solo travel, and how I face them
Nervous about solo travel? Read how our CEO Radha faces up to her fears
What it’s like to share a room
Sharing a room might be a nerve-racking prospect, but time and again, our Flashpackers agree that it’s a great way to make new friends.
Seasoned solo travellers among you will be familiar with the single supplement, an extra fee that hotels can charge you to make up for a room being occupied by one person. The way we get around it here at Flash Pack is by matching you with a like-minded roommate. Naturally, the thought of sharing a room with a stranger can be daunting for many first-time solo travellers; but the vast majority of our Flashpackers have found it a rewarding experience, and come away from it with new friends.
Responsible travel tips
From reducing your plastic consumption to social awareness, here's what you can do
Reducing plastic waste
Travel with a refillable water bottle, bring a tote bag or backpack for shopping, avoid packaged toiletries and buy fresh produce from local markets rather than supermarkets.
Lowering carbon levels
Wherever possible, make journeys by foot or bike. Turn off AC when it’s not needed. Opt for overland transport rather than domestic flights, and take direct flights to your end destination.
Wildlife and nature
Take all your waste with you, and keep to the paths when hiking to avoid damaging local habitats. Don’t use soaps in rivers or lakes, and never buy souvenirs made from wild animals.
Always opt to travel with a local guide over international operators, to ensure that your money goes to the right place. Support local trade by shopping at markets, and avoid unethical souvenirs.
Solo travel tips from our community
“Pack emergency snacks in your handbag, for yourself and to share on long journeys.”
“Listen to some podcasts if you’re homesick.”
“Pack half of what you think you should. Remember you have to carry everything yourself.”
“Don’t be afraid to be alone sometimes. Don’t feel like you always have to be making friends to have a good time.”
“Keep an open mind, plan in advance but be prepared for last minute changes.”
“Don’t be afraid to experience anything. Be open minded and have fun.”
“Give the people in your group a hug when you first meet them. REALLY HELPS.”
“Be open minded when meeting new people – you never know what they can teach you. And pack light.”
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