8 Top Tips for Solo Travel
Across the globe travel has been on the backburner. But now hope fills the air as would-be travelers are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the roll-out of vaccines and the development of other break-through medical advances in the battle against COVID-19. In fact, Our research shows that two thirds of global travelers (66%)* feel more hopeful about traveling in 2021. And that means many are keen to start planning for when it’s safe to travel again.
That first trip will see many stepping out alone – with research revealing that the solo travel trend is gathering momentum. Our data pre-pandemic saw only 17%** of travelers were planning a trip on their own, whilst nearly double (30%***) now say they will be planning a solo trip in the future.
So for those intrepid adventurers, we have gathered insights and tips to help travelers to make the most of that solo escape, sharing destination inspiration based on our travelers endorsement for solo travel essentials, from friendly faces to convenient public transport.
Eat like the locals
To really get a taste of a destination, it's all about experiencing it like a local. And that’s definitely true of local delicacies and immersing yourself by way of what you eat! For 77%**** of global travelers local food/cuisine is a top decision factor when picking a destination. For solo-foodies those not wanting to be too adventurous while dining alone in a restaurant, street food is a great option to sample a number of local specialties in a relaxed setting. Take Bangkok in Thailand, its streets are bustling with food vendors and markets, perfect for all foodie travelers. It’s no surprise Bangkok features as one of the top endorsed destinations globally for local food by our travelers. Visitors can try local specialties including spicy papaya salad or famous pad Thai noodles.
Top Tip: Wherever the destination, be sure to look up its local delicacy before you set off to start planning your foodie schedule and get an idea of which places (whether a street food stall or fine-dining restaurant) really are a must-eat!
Get off the beaten track
Going solo means there’s no debate or compromise necessary when it comes to where to go and what to do. So when it’s safe to travel and plan your trip, why not think about roads less-travelled? Over half of global travelers (56%***) will seek out more rural, off the beaten path experiences. These less-travelled destinations offer the chance to meet fellow minded travelers searching for similar travel experience and when traveling off-piste, friendly faces will be welcomed. For that reason, Chajari, Argentina should be top of your list. This hidden gem of a destination in the north east of Entre Ríos is highly endorsed by Booking.com travelers for its friendly locals – who better to show you around. Visitors here can experience rural Argentina, and perhaps even organize a farm stay.
Top Tip: Ask your accommodation owner or host for tips on the must-see things to do or places to visit. It might sound obvious, but friendly local intel can ensure you don’t miss the hidden gem your chosen destination has to offer!
Seek out solo options for city seekers
Not all solo trips need to be about finding yourself on a mountain top – a short city escape can be just as rewarding and reenergizing! Enjoy the hustle and bustle of a new destination, when it’s safe to do so, and explore a new metropolis. Porto, Portugal might be the perfect getaway for those stepping out solo. The country’s second city offers a hub of culture and entertainment located on the coast and famous for its Port wine production. It’s also highly endorsed by our travelers for its friendly people, so lots of welcoming faces and new friends to be made as you stroll along the Douro River or explore the old town.
Top Tip: Explore the city on foot to better get your bearings and experience what a new city has to offer. At many destinations you could join a guided walking tour to see all sides of the city too while also learning about the local history and culture.
Picking a shoppers’ paradise
A solo getaway is the perfect opportunity to indulge in your favorite pastimes and hobbies. Over half (54%****) of global travelers are keen to pick out a destination based on its shopping credentials, so for fashion fans and shopaholics, a solo shopping trip might be just the ticket. Leisurely browsing with no interruptions! As one of the fashion capitals of the world, and a top destination endorsed by Booking.com travelers for its shopping, New York City is a no-brainer. Visitors can live out their Manhattan dreams, exploring the iconic stores and uncovering new brands and trends by searching out pop-up stores and sample sales.
Top Tip: Timing is key - whether you want to hit the sale season or avoid it, make sure you know when it starts at your destination before booking
Enjoy some TLC time
Solo travel is the perfect opportunity to put yourself first and take some ‘me time’ to relax and unwind. If you want to spend the whole day on the beach with your head stuck in a book or taking leisurely coastal walks solo to breathe in that fresh sea air, so be it! Sydney, Australia really dazzles when it comes to relaxing beach days with its idyllic white sandy beaches and trendy beach-side eateries - the perfect place to people watch. It is unsurprising that Sydney is one of Booking.com’s top rated destinations endorsed for its beaches by global travelers. As for accommodation, solo travelers looking for some TLC time should also seek out one of Sydney’s uber-luxurious spa hotels.
Top Tip: Don’t forget to research the beach type, such as avoiding pebble beach destinations if you prefer the feeling of sand between your toes.
Do something you’ll never forget
Solo travel is also a great opportunity to be adventurous and do something you wouldn’t normally do. Make me-time memories you will cherish forever. Reykjavik, Iceland, attracts travelers from all over the world to embark on an unforgettable experience, whether it is to see the Northern lights or to go whale watching. It is easy to see why Reykjavik features as one of our top destinations recommended by travelers for adventure. Solo travelers are spoiled for choice on their adventure itinerary here!
Top Tip: Even if it is just a photo of the tiny details you notice about a place, get snap happy so you can look back and remember your perspective of a destination. Bring a selfie stick to help get some angles where you can be in the photos.
Travel about with ease
Truly experiencing a destination is about more than the places you visit and the foods you try. It’s the little things like getting to know the public transportation – especially in Tokyo, Japan, where you can experience some of the world’s most advanced public transport options. In fact, Booking.com’s insights show that Tokyo is one of the top endorsed destinations by global travelers for Convenient Public Transport. Not only is it a great chance to see more of a destination but it is also a cost-effective solution for solo travelers.
Top Tip: Always remember to save down maps that will work offline so you can explore a destination knowing that even if your phone has no Wi-Fi or service, the saved maps will help get you from A to B.
Choose the right accommodation
Comfort is key when traveling solo so it’s important to pick the right property as your temporary home away from home. Consider the amenities needed to ensure you feel connected to those at home; such as free Wi-Fi, which is the most important amenity for two thirds (64%) of travelers****. Or consider seeking out the stays with hosts that will help make your stay unforgettable – look for those properties that have won Traveller Review Awards from Booking.com.
Top Tip: Booking.com has more than 207 million verified reviews from real guests, so make sure to read the previous reviews to find the stay that’s right for you. Solo travelers can also maximize various search filters to find an accommodation to suit their preferences
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who are planning to travel in the next 12 months. In total 28,042 respondents across 28 countries and territories were polled (including 1003 from Argentina, 1002 from Australia, 1000 from Brazil, 1001 from Canada, 1000 from China, 1002 from Colombia, 1001 from Croatia, 1003 from Denmark, 1002 from France, 1005 from Germany, 1004 from Hong Kong, 1000 from India, 1002 from Israel, 1000 from Italy, 1000 from Japan, 1002 from Mexico, 1000 from Netherlands, 1000 from New Zealand, 1003 from Russia, 1000 from Singapore, 1003 from South Korea, 1005 from Spain, 1001 from Sweden, 1000 from Taiwan, 1003 from Thailand, 1000 from UK, 1000 from USA and 1000 from Vietnam). Respondents completed an online survey in January 2021.
**Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 22,000 respondents were polled (including 1,000 each from Australia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, China, Brazil, India, US, UK, Russia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Korea; and 500 each from New Zealand, Thailand, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Taiwan, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Singapore and Israel). Respondents completed an online survey between 9th August to 28th August 2019.
***Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who have traveled for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and must be planning to travel in the next 12 months (if/once travel restrictions are lifted). In total 20,934 respondents across 28 countries and territories were polled (including from 999 USA, 496 from Canada, 497 from Mexico, 997 from Colombia, 999 from Brazil, 499 from Argentina, 995 from Australia, 499 from New Zealand, 999 from Spain, 996 from Italy, 996 from France, 999 from UK, 996 from Germany, 498 from Netherlands, 499 from Denmark, 499 from Sweden, 498 from Croatia, 1001 from Russia, 498 from Israel, 997 from India, 994 from China, 499 from Hong Kong, 497 from Thailand, 496 from Singapore, 499 from Taiwan, 997 from South Korea, 500 from Vietnam and 995 from Japan). Respondents completed an online survey in July 2020.
****Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 47,728 respondents across 28 markets (1,997 from USA, 1,987 from Canada, 1,999 from Mexico, 2,003 from Colombia, 1,996 from Brazil, 2,002 from Argentina, 1,994 from Australia, 985 from New Zealand, 1,993 from Spain, 1,993 from Italy, 1,993 from France, 1,984 from UK, 1,989 from Germany, 1,977 from Netherlands, 983 from Denmark, 986 from Sweden, 998 from Croatia, 1,997 from Russia, 999 from Israel, 1,997 from India, 1,992 from China, 991 from Hong Kong, 1,991 from Thailand, 1,977 from Singapore, 998 from Taiwan, 953 from Vietnam, 1,990 from South Korea, 1,987 from Japan). In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have traveled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place in November 2020.