Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse writes our regular column on solo female travel. It’s an important topic I can’t adequately cover, so I brought in an expert to share her advice for other women travelers to help cover the topics important and specific to them! In this month’s article, she shows you how she researches and plans her trips!
What’s the best way to go about researching your next trip when all of the decisions will fall to you as a solo traveler? Where should you go, what should you do, how will you navigate in your new surroundings? Where do you even begin to get answers to these questions?
Over the past six years, I’ve been mostly nomadic, traveling solo for the bulk of that time. Since I’ve been chief decision-maker for all of those trips, there are tricks I’ve learned along the way to help me save time in the long run, avoid spending too much and getting scammed, and make sure I know my way around before I even touch down.
The following is a step-by-step system to help you research your travel destinations. Most of these tips only take a few minutes but could save you big-time in terms of money, headaches, and confusion.
Ready to plan the solo trip of a lifetime? Let’s jump in!
After six years of solo traveling, I’ve learned that the following criteria are almost guaranteed to produce a more social experience for solo travelers:
- A well-known activity/draw: Is there a reason why people come to this place? Is it famous for surfing, rock climbing, scuba diving, or something else? When this is the case, you are much more likely to find other solo travelers participating in that experience.
- A festival: If there’s some kind of cultural event or festival at the time you’re visiting, you can bet that a lot of other travelers will be coming through as well, so you are unlikely to be lonely.
- Popularity: While I love off-the-beaten-path travel, I also know that the farther away from tourist centers I head, the more likely it is that I will spend more time alone. If I know I want to have a more social trip, I will head to places that are popular, like Thailand or Iceland. If you’re not sure where to start, this list has the most visited places in 2018.
Next, I try to mitigate the possibility of being the only solo traveler there by researching whether I’m about to head to a honeymoon destination or hotel. That said, I had fantastic experiences in Maui and Bali, which are usually thought of as couples’ destinations. I believe that as long as you pick a social activity that attracts other solo travelers, like surfing or scuba diving, you won’t feel like the odd one out.
So if you want to go somewhere beachy, don’t rule it out automatically just because you’re afraid you’ll be the only single person there. Unless you’re going to a truly tiny place, chances are there are parts of whatever country or island you’re looking at that will be less “romantic” and more social.
The only place I can think of off the top of my head that might truly be primarily couples-only is the Maldives, and even then you can still head to other islands, or to surf resorts, or do a live-aboard dive experience, so that your trip will be less lounging on the beach and more about meeting people.