Last Updated on April 26, 2021 by queenie mak
Travelling solo is so much fun! I know because I’ve been addicted to it for more than 15 years!
People always ask me what is it that I actually do when I am on my solo trips. Well, each trip is different. I love exploring a new city, and I love being in nature. But fundamentally I do the same type of activities. I’m going to share with you the best activities that you can do while travelling solo.
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1. Be a tourist
Visit a museum. Walk around a neighbourhood. Browse through shops. Hang out at a bookstore. Tour the city. Whatever it is that you decide to do, go for it! One of my favourite things is to experience a new city on my own. I love being free and wandering solo at my own pace. There’s just something about the freedom. Sometimes I would start off with a general plan or an idea of where to go, but I may end up somewhere entirely different. That’s the beauty of travelling solo – just going with the flow!
So whether you are a solo traveller or travelling with friends, you’ve got to go out and be a tourist. Do everything you can and absorb all the sites and sounds. After all, you left your home to travel for a reason, right?
2. Join a walking tour
One of the best ways to quickly learn about a new place is through a walking tour. Most cities have (free) walking tours where tour guides will happily show you their town and give a brief history as well. You don’t need any specialized equipment or anything. It is the perfect activity for a solo traveller!
And if you don’t like any of the organized walking tours, you can create your own. I often do this on my own because I love the flexibility of where I can go, and also I like to walk a lot! There are days where I can walk up to 30,000 steps a day!
Moreover, walking is one of the best exercises you can do, and you can do this almost anywhere. Staying healthy is essential especially when you are travelling on your own. So why not put on your walking shoes and see a new place at the same time?
3. Join an organized tour
I don’t always wander a new city on my own. Sometimes it’s nice to join an organized tour and let someone else do the planning. And sometimes it is the only way to experience a new place.
During my last trip to Vietnam, I was looking for a tour that would take me to various places in Northern Vietnam. I booked a 7-day tour package, and they organized all the accommodation, transportation and activities. Even though it is quite easy to coordinate all the logistics on my own in Vietnam, I rather pay a little more and have someone else do that for me. It was worth every penny (and it wasn’t expensive at all). Sometimes spending more on an organized tour has its perks.
One of the best tours I ever joined was an SUV tour through Solar de Uyuni in Bolivia. The driver took four other travellers and me through the salt flats in Bolivia and dropped us off in Chile. It was terrific to have a reliable driver who was also the chef, and a tour guide for this trip as it was difficult to navigate in the salt flats. And also, it wasn’t possible for anyone to do this independently.
4. Hang out at a coffee shop
I love a good coffee in a cozy coffee shop. Perhaps it is my love (or addiction) of caffeine that fuels my passion for hanging out at coffee shops, but I love every minute of it.
As a solo traveller and someone who works remotely, working in coffee shops have become part of my routine. I can literally spend hours at a coffee shop working away on my laptop. And if you don’t work remotely, coffee shops are great spots to meet other travellers. Chances are, they are travelling solo too.
RELATED POST – Hong Kong’s best coffee shops
5. Go bike riding
If you want to see a new place from another perspective, rent a bike and see a new city on two wheels.
Major cities in Japan, Taiwan, Netherlands and Denmark have extensive bike paths, and people are encouraged to travel with bikes rather than cars. And if you have limited time in a new city, you can cruise through it quicker than on foot.
Not only biking is an excellent alternative to transportation, but it is also a great form of exercise. But remember to be careful – wear a helmet and stay in bike lanes (when possible)!
6. Spend the day at the beach
Who doesn’t love a beach day? Sometimes I plan a trip around the idea of spending a lot of time at the beach. I always bring a book with me and ample water because you don’t want to be dehydrated. And sunscreen, of course. It is one of the best places to people watch, participate in water sports and enjoy the sunset.
7. Dine solo at a restaurant
I know this might not seem like a fun thing to do, but it is really not that bad.
Many years ago when I started to travel for work, I was by myself a lot. Eating alone felt uncomfortable at the time. But I have to eat! And I didn’t want to order room service at the hotel all the time! So the easiest way to start is to find a restaurant that has a bar option. Once you graduate from eating at the bar, try sitting at the table by yourself. You can read a book or use your phone if it makes you feel more comfortable about the whole experience.
But these days I really enjoy eating on my own without a book and my phone. I like being present while I am eating. And I wouldn’t let the fear of dining alone prevent me from trying a new food or trying a new restaurant. After all, eating is part of travelling! So even if you are travelling solo, don’t miss out on a potentially fantastic eating experience!
8. Try something adventurous
Whether it is hiking, skydiving, bungee jumping, or anything you can imagine! If you can dream it, go for it!
I’m not a dare-devil when it comes to adventure, but I like to experience nature through hiking. Day hikes are one of my favourite activities because it is easy and does not require too much planning. And multi-day hikes are so challenging and yet exciting.
The photo above was taken in El Chalten, Argentina. I loved hiking through the mountainous terrain in Argentina. The region has a lot of marked trails and gorgeous scenery. It is pretty easy to get addicted to being in nature. Some of my favourite hiking spots include Patagonia, Cuzco, Peru and Sapa, Vietnam.
Staying safe is a top priority when it comes to solo hiking. Make sure to take all the precautions to stay safe.
9. Pamper yourself
Who doesn’t like to pamper themselves? For me, it is all about the spa! I’ve tried many different types of massages, and my favourite has to be the Balinese massage. And the best spas are in Canggu, Bali!
Setting aside some time to enjoy “me” time, and allow yourself to be pampered is so important. So no matter if you are getting a massage, sitting in a sauna, getting a facial or getting your manicure and pedicures done, self-care should always be on the top of your list!
10. Try doing something you have never done before
I always try to push myself to try something new on each trip. It can be anything. Trying new food. Trying a new activity. Exploring a new neighbourhood (if it is a place you’ve already been to). It makes the solo journey that much more interesting if you try something new.
I didn’t always like to hike. But after travelling to Cuzco, Peru and hiked Machu Picchu, I was immediately addicted to hiking. Soon after that trip, I planned another adventure that took me into the jungles of Colombia. For four days, I trekked through Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City). It was one of the most amazing (and scary) experiences I’ve ever had. There were many times I thought I would slip an fall and potentially die (only because I am really clumsy). And being in wet clothes all the time wasn’t particularly fun. But it was the adrenaline and adventure that I just loved! The photo was taken when the crew pulled me over to the other side of the river on a human dolly system. This was something I’ve never done and would remember it forever.
Sometimes when you will be pleasantly surprised when you push yourself to do something you’ve never done before and didn’t think you are capable of doing.
Do you have any favourite activities for your solo trip? Let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to share the article!