Solo travel seems to only be getting more popular with every passing year. Both men and women are choosing to travel alone for various reasons, whether it’s for a bit of personal independence, self-discovery, some adventure, or as a way to reinvent themselves after a recent breakup or loss of a job.
Solo travel used to be a rather daunting endeavor, but thanks to advancements in technology and the growth of online travel resources and communities like Solo Female Travelers which empowers solo women from all around the world to get out and travel, things have become far easier for solo travelers to plan their trips and connect with others while on the road.
A wide range of handy travel apps have also made solo exploration easier, safer, and more convenient/efficient. A smartphone loaded with travel-related apps now acts as a sort of “Swiss Army Knife” to navigate you through the many challenges or aspects of travel.
Let’s explore five must-have resources that every solo traveler should consider and some providers who can offer them to you.
Five Must-Have Resources for Solo Travelers
Travel Tickets, Bookings, and Documents
Before embarking on any solo adventure, it’s crucial to have a reliable platform for booking flights, accommodations, and other travel essentials. Some of the solutions below are one-stop travel portals that can truly be your best friend throughout your entire journey.
Platforms like eDreams allow you to book flights, hotels, car hire, transfers, and package deals all in one place. Not only does using a website like this often save a great deal of money, but also saves you precious time since you need not search many different sites looking for good deals and constantly reading reviews to make sure you are booking with trustworthy companies each time.
For international travel, understanding visa requirements and ensuring your passport is up to date is equally as important. Online visa and passport services simplify the application process these days. They provide guidance on visa requirements, processing times, and necessary documents which will save you time and stress.
VisaHQ has a full team of experts who can assist you in obtaining the necessary visas, ensuring your travel plans go smoothly. Better yet, if your passport is expiring soon, visa services can help you take the necessary steps to renew it, eliminating potential travel disruptions.
Talking Money: Currency and Insurance
With online currency converters apps, you’ve got a very reliable tool for checking exchange rates and converting currencies on the go so you don’t end up getting ripped off in other countries by vendors or taxis. With currency conversion apps, you can make informed financial decisions and ensure you’re getting a fair deal when exchanging money.
Managing your finances while travelling solo can feel like a chore, especially if you dislike math, but running out of money while you’re in some far-flung place is no joke. Plus, the sheepish call home to ask for extra money doesn’t exactly show your friends and family you are a successfully self-sufficient solo traveler.
The best way to keep your foreign currency under control, and change what you haven’t used into what you need in your next location, can be an ideal way of saving money. Access to real-time, up-to-date exchange rates means you’ll always know the value of your money in the local currency. Finally, currency converter apps often work offline, making it easy to calculate expenses even when you’re not connected to the internet.
Safety should be a top priority while travelling solo since you don’t have anyone else to get you out of a jam or offer support should travel plans go sideways. Avoiding travel problems is always the best option but because we cannot always avoid everything despite our best efforts, purchasing travel insurance should be a non-negotiable task you make a top priority immediately after booking a trip.
Travel insurance can help provide financial coverage for flight delays, lost baggage, trip cancellation, and most importantly overseas medical treatment. A range of injuries and illnesses can end up proving very costly without insurance. The cost of things like emergency medical evacuation or needing to be transported back to your home country can be frankly nightmarish.
Travel safety apps source a range of travel insurance plans aimed at digital nomads, freelancers, and solo travelers. With comprehensive coverage, you can explore the world with peace of mind that even when things don’t go to plan, you at least won’t have to come home to a large bill that needs paying off. For example, an app like SafetyWing’s offers travel insurance plans that can provide cover for continuous multi-trip travel to numerous countries, making it ideal for long-term travelers.
And government websites and apps can offer helpful advice when it comes to travel warnings such as when travel may not be safe to certain countries because of natural disasters or things like political unrest. They can also offer advice on what the recommended or essential immunizations are for various destinations.
Navigating unfamiliar destinations is both exciting and intimidating. Getting lost in some ways can be exciting and a challenge, but there are limits. When it comes down to it, you need to know where you’re going, sometimes where to avoid, and how to get places in the fastest time or shortest routes possible.
Mapping apps allows you to download detailed maps of your destination before your trip. With GPS functionality, you can navigate streets, find nearby attractions, and even discover hidden gems without internet connection in some cases. You don’t even need to worry about data roaming or Wi-Fi access if navigation apps work offline.
In addition to not getting yourself lost, you also want to ensure all your important travel docs or bookings remain together safely in one place. Staying organized isn’t the most fun part of travel, but it’s going to help keep you stress-free, especially when as a solo traveler you are forced into a position where you are reliant on yourself to get around.
Thankfully, apps can help you organize all your travel plans and bookings in one place. By forwarding all your flight, hotel, rentals, and tour confirmations to TripIt, it will create a single itinerary that includes all your various bookings. Once you’ve secured bookings, this is a great way to keep them somewhere centralized and secure. You can receive alerts for flight delays, gate changes, and other updates from the app as well.
Communicating in a foreign language can be one of the biggest challenges a solo traveler can face, as language barriers often become more pronounced when you’re travelling alone. We recommend using something like Google Translate for your translation needs. You can access real-time translation for text, speech, and even text within images, signs, or handwritten notes.
By typing or speaking words and phrases, apps like Google Translate bridge the language barrier. You can also download language packs in advance to use a language app offline, for when you’ve only got limited connectivity.
Apps for learning simple phrases and basic conversational language can be a lifesaver. With daily challenges, and a comprehensive selection of courses, users can build a working knowledge of phrases to get around. Locate things like bathrooms, learn how to ask for directions, or be able to express that you have certain allergies when dining at foreign restaurants. Apps won’t necessarily help you become fluent in another language and you don’t really need to. It’s simply about being able to communicate enough to get by, stay safe, engage with locals, and make travel more enjoyable.
Understanding the culture and customs of your destination is another essential for a meaningful travel experience. Spend time looking for valuable resources that could provide in-depth cultural insights, history, local etiquette, local traditions and holidays, etc.
Whether you want to learn about local religious beliefs, cuisine, or special annual festivals, Culture Trip can give you a deeper understanding of the destinations you visit, allowing you to engage with locals respectfully and gain a better understanding of why cultures are the way they are. It also features practical advice on staying safe, budgeting, and making the most of a solo journey.
Travel apps can be very useful for solo travelers when it comes to booking accommodation. Travel apps of course allow you to browse and book accommodation from the comfort of your smartphone which makes it easy to plan your trips on the go.
These apps typically offer a wide range of accommodation options, from hotels and hostels to vacation rentals and boutique guesthouses, giving you plenty of options to choose from. Travel apps often include user-generated reviews and ratings, helping you make informed decisions about the quality of the accommodation before you book.
You can often compare prices for the same accommodation on different booking platforms, ensuring you get the best deal and many apps provide exclusive discounts and promotions which can result in further cost savings.
Be sure to read the fine print, understand cancellation policies, and review the terms and conditions. Also, make sure that the app you use is reputable and has good customer service to address any issues that may arise during your stay.
A Few More Tools
We’ve already shown you some useful travel tools, but there’s plenty more out there making solo travel safer, easier, quicker, and cheaper.
For managing money, digital wallets offer low-commission exchanges, instant deposits and withdrawals, and come with a contactless card and mobile app. For those on a tight budget, TrailWallet allows you to monitor your spending and stay within your financial limits.
Google has a range of tools under their umbrella service, including Maps Offline, where you can download maps of specific areas in advance, ensuring you have access to navigation even when you don’t have an internet connection.
Google Lens lets users access instant translations, identify objects, or learn about landmarks, within Augmented Reality. Finally, Google Drive is a place to store important documents, such as scanned copies of your passport and visas, travel insurance details, and itineraries, all securely in the cloud where they can be accessed from anywhere. You can also upload travel photos while travelling as a backup in case you were to lose your SD cards or phone.
These additional resources all speak to areas of travel which everyone has to deal with, and they can really enhance or simplify the processes for you at little extra cost. In many cases, travel apps and websites like the ones mentioned are totally free of charge to use. Your solo travel should be a chance to lose yourself in new cultures, practice true self-reliance, and discover the world on your own terms. Travel apps allow you a greater chance of being successful doing this.
What these tools do more broadly is liberate you from worrying about all the little stressful aspects of travel. While it’s important to disconnect from tech while travelling so you can step outside today’s digital bubble most people find themselves in, there is still a place for using technology in the form of apps to simplify solo travel.
Solo travel offers a unique opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, interact with different cultures, face new challenges, learn new things about yourself, and help you build confidence in yourself.
When you navigate unfamiliar territory independently, you gain a profound sense of self-reliance and self-awareness. Moreover, solo travel provides the solitude necessary for introspection which will allow you to connect with your inner thoughts and truly “find yourself” in many cases.
A lot of us never have a chance to shed societal expectations and explore our true passions while also confronting our values for an extended period of time. Ultimately, solo travel not only reveals another side of the world to you but can also expose your most authentic self. We hope you find these digital tools useful in making your solo travels easier, safer, and more enjoyable.