Wander the World Solo (and LOVE it!)

tips for traveling solo

Have you ever made travel plans but then your travel partner bailed at the last minute? What if you couldn't find another traveling buddy - would it sway your decision to go on your adventure?

We think everyone should feel empowered to travel solo and our friend Lynsey of Lynsey Lue Photography agrees! Lynsey is here to share her first solo traveling experience with us plus 8 things she learned along the way. Read on to meet Lynsey and learn how you can best plan your next solo travel adventure! 

Wander the World Solo (and LOVE it!)Say Hello to Lynsey! I came from a traveling family. Blessed with family vacations every year and a mother who always had to find a new place to explore. I was a quiet and naive kid who never ventured far from home. That changed as I pushed myself outside my comfort zones as I grew up. I’m a photographer who loves to learn and travel. I love things that are quirky and unique (my dinosaur cookie jar that I use as a coin bank!). I don’t jump on bandwagons until the bandwagon is so far into the distance that you can barely see it! I have two cats that rule my life. I love shows that make me laugh (Parks and Recreation, Psych, and the Office). I’m a sucker for good love stories (Lorelei and Luke, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, Leslie and Ben). I’m a dreamer. A wanderer. An old soul. I will never stop believing that there is more in this life for me to see!  

www.lynseyluephotography.com | @lynseyluephoto 





From Lynsey:

Before I graduated college, I had the dream of backpacking Europe. I feared that my busy life post graduation would keep me from traveling to the continent that I desperately wanted to explore. I started planning to make my dream come true. After months and months of dreaming and planning, it was all starting to come together. The only problem was, I was having a hard time finding a traveling buddy. For a while there was an interested party but I was realizing that our ideas for this trip were completely different. I wanted to live the romantic backpacking dream, meet all the people, see all the things, and do it on a budget within a month’s timespan. In the end I decided to do the trip solo and I have not regretted it to this day. This was my first solo trip but it was not my last solo trip. This trip in particular would have been completely different had someone joined me. This trip shaped me and I learned so much about myself. In my opinion, everyone should travel by themselves at least once in their lives!

Here are my tips for traveling solo based on what worked for me or what I wish I would have known or changed!

Plan your trip but know that things will change. I planned. Oh did I plan. But the universe tends to have different plans for your trip. In case your first plan changes, have a few backup plans. Choose to not get disappointed. Roll with the punches. It may not go as originally planned but it will still be a story. It’s up to you how you want the story to go! And sometimes your backup plans end up being the best experiences.

Wander the World Solo (and LOVE it!)

Consider other places to sleep than hotels. Hotels can be pricey and very closed off. You’re already traveling alone, you don’t necessarily need to come back to a lonely place. I Couchsurfed while I did my solo trip and it was AMAZING!! I had such good experiences. I searched all the cities that I would be staying in, looked for female hosts (until Rome… I just needed a place to stay!), read their profiles, and contacted them. It’s free, sometimes they feed you, sometimes they show you around, and sometimes they become friends that you keep in contact with over the years! Hostels are also convenient and a great way to meet people. I met and had fun with so many travelers from so many different countries. That memory of sitting around the table, introducing ourselves, and having a Guinness is one that I will never forget! Airbnb is also a great option. Renting out a room is a great way to still not be alone while making friends along the way.

  • Wander the World Solo (and LOVE it!)
    Just because you’re traveling alone, doesn’t actually mean you’re alone. There are so many ways to meet people along the way that if you’re worried about always feeling alone, have no fear! Most major cities have free walking tours. This is how I learned about London and then was able to share my experiences when I visited again with my family. Join a museum tour. Join a traveling group through Couchsurfing and plan meet ups along the way. Couchsurfing is more than a format to find a place to stay. A lot of hosts are more than willing to meet up, show you around, or guide you to the best place to eat. Some are even willing to give you a ride from the airport to your destination. There’s a lot of great people out there that love traveling and want to help out other travelers.  

    Spend within your budget. This is simple, don’t overspend. Don’t buy gifts for all the people you know. If you’re on a set budget, treat yourself to one good meal in every city and then eat as simply as possible from there on out. Grocery stores have pre-made/packaged food that will get you through the day. Minimize buying a lot of extras. Go for the cheapest form of transportation (as long as it gets you there, what difference does it make?!).
    Wander the World Solo (and LOVE it!)
    Learn or be open to learning cultures. I never felt more ignorant as I did when my hosts were doing their best to speak English to me and I knew nothing of their language. Or their politics, traditions, tipping policy, and so much more. Knowing these little things will make your life easier! There’s so much you can take out of the place that you’re visiting. Learn something. Be respectful. You are visiting their homeland. You shouldn’t assume that everyone will speak English!

    Look for non-touristy attractions. Some of the best places I ate were just off the main road. You never know what’s just around the corner until you look. Do some research and see what the locals love about their city. 
    Wander the World Solo (and LOVE it!)
    Bring a journal. You never know what you will remember or forget. Journal everything that happens. You can do it on train or metro rides. Before you go to bed. As you’re eating. Anytime! It’s such a great memory to have. Everytime I read mine, there’s things in there that I don’t remember, and things that I do remember that I forgot to write down. Plus you can treat it like a scrapbook and keep all of your ticket stubs, brochures, etc. So many options!!

    Breathe it all in. This is your trip! You decided this! Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy it! You’ve put a lot of work into this. Try things you never thought that you would. Take notice of the style, culture, interactions, and everyday life. It’s amazing how much you can enjoy a place more without seeing every aspect of it because you let yourself enjoy it! Don’t push yourself to see everything in three days. Sit back and relax every now and again. Look up instead of forward. Find the river, lake, or ocean that’s nearby and just sit by the water for 10 minutes. Take it all in!!!
    Wander the World Solo (and LOVE it!)


    As I said before, my European backpacking trip was my first solo trip but not my last. I’ve used all of these tips for every trip that I’ve taken by myself. Sometimes traveling alone is therapeutic and relaxing. If you’re on the fence about visiting a place because you don’t have a traveling buddy, let me tell you this - you won’t regret going alone.  

    Tell us, do you travel solo? If so, what other tips would you share?

    PaperFinch Travel TIP: Planning your next trip? Start by planning your home away from home here.