9 Biggest Mistakes Solo Travelers Make

The biggest mistakes solo travelers make are often really simple, preventable little things that can make the difference between an amazing journey of self discovery to a trip from hell. Below is a compiled list of mistakes solo travelers make, try to avoid repeating them

Not sharing your travel plans: Imagine being on the other side of the world on your own, things start going terribly wrong, and your family back home have absolutely no way of tracing your last steps to know where you could have been beyond what continent you’d be on. Further to this it is not uncommon to lose track of news and current events while traveling, so if your friends and family know your whereabouts, they can reach out with any warnings or updates on current events.

Not copying your passport: One of the mistakes you can make is to get overly confident and think you don’t need to keep carrying around a copy of your passport in case of emergency. I know many friends who have lost their passport and tried to convey through hand signals to foreigners their need to find the embassy, which would have been made easier with a simple photocopy and pointing system. It is always best to have a couple of photocopies to resort to and I also keep a photo of my passport details on my phone as a backup of the backup.

Not updating your friends + family as you go: Similar to the above, it is also important to keep your loved ones back home updated, as more often than not plans change! Social media is a good way of keeping them updated and you don’t have to be “that guy” who updates 50 photos a day… just a quick status update to say you’re on your way to a new country or city is enough.

biggest mistakes solo travelers makeNot sorting out your finances adequately: The best idea is to always keep a little cash on you, separated in two different places in case of loss or theft. The same is true in foreign cities. Even though it is easier to use a card and travel cashless, it is much wiser to have a little cash in the local currency to fall back on in case of loss or theft.

Letting people know you’re traveling solo: One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was to proudly state to everyone and anyone that I was traveling solo – which of course (for obvious reasons) was a really big mistake. This is of course different for different people you encounter, but if you ever get the vibe that someone is too interested in your travel itinerary and knows you’re traveling solo, then you’re in for trouble (or just a really clingy new friend).

Not sticking to your budget: This is a point I do and don’t want to make, because I’m kind of guilty about it, but hear me out… Having a budget is entirely necessary to keep yourself on the road. However some days you are going to overspend. Some days you will have the urge to splurge and some days you won’t feel like doing much at all. If you go over budget for 1 day in 7 days, don’t sweat the small stuff. If you do however go over budget every day for a week, you’re going to run into problems if you want to stay on the road.I suppose the important point to make is to be realistic as to how much you will likely spend each day, times that by how many days you’re traveling, and add a little “fun kitty” to the end of your total for those days.

Not faking a marriage or boyfriend: Don’t have a ring on your finger? Time to get one! Over the years I have found one thing to be effortlessly successful: a fake engagement or wedding ring to fend off the not-quite-eligible-suitors.

Not lying: Don’t feel bad for lying when you are traveling solo as not everyone you encounter will be a good person (!!!) Speaking from experience, there have been more occasions than I can count for which I should have lied. If you don’t trust someone or just don’t get good vibes from them, be sure to make up a little white lie to get yourself out of there, pronto! Saying something along the lines of “Well I better go, I’ve gotta meet my boyfriend in a few minutes” when said boyfriend does not exist is entirely okay if it gets you out of a sticky situation. Better to be safe than sorry!

Not looking behind you and using your periphery when walking alone at night: As a general rule you should avoid walking alone at night anywhere in the world, but if you do happen to find yourself running late one evening or walking home from an evening meal, be sure to keep your wits about you by looking around you and never put your headphones in when walking home solo at night (better to hear what is going on around you).

Be sure not to make these mistakes… safe trip



  1. Chris Green 26 October, 2016 at 20:05 Reply

    These are great tips. One I would add is being extremely cautious with what you eat and drink. In a foreign town or city, there will be all sorts of bugs that the locals are immune to but will give you an upset stomach or fever – and there’s nothing worse than being ill while travelling alone. When travelling in Africa, for example, I avoid street food as much as possible and only drink bottled water (carrying it with me if I have hired my own car).

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