8 Inspiration Ideas That Will Have You Booking Your Solo Trip Today
Solo travel may sound like a crazy concept to some people. They wrinkle up their noses as they spit out the words; a bitter taste in their mouth that they disagree with.
Just like your preferences in food, solo travel is not going to be to everyone’s taste.
Ask you father, your grandmother, your colleague or your best friend. I bet more than one of them has something negative to say about solo travel.
And that’s fine. I didn’t mean to start this article off in such a way as to completely put you off the idea. It was more to emphasise the point that your choice to travel solo may set you apart from the other’s in your life, because they do not share your vision.
Which, in case you are now panicking, let me reassure you is totally ok.
Where does travel inspiration come from?
What makes this process most difficult for you is knowing where to look for solo travel inspiration. Where will that spark of wanderlust come from that fuels you to organise and embark on your trip?
Luckily for you, solo travel inspiration is all around.
Even if you struggle to connect with likeminded people in your inner circle, there are swathes of bad-ass females out there all smashing their personal travel goals.
Travel research can sound incredibly unsexy and is something that I can be notoriously haphazard about. However, I can’t deny the power of research to motivate me into making a decision to travel. So, however I phrase it, it’s the research stage where you can gain the most inspiration and get you fired up to travel solo.
Ready to feel inspired? Here are my eight favourite ways to inspire solo travel.
Join female travel groups
The chances are high that you have access to some kind of social media. If so, it’s time to set your Facebook to work! Instead of aimlessly scrolling through pictures of other people’s kids and videos of cats falling off chairs, harness the power of what Facebook really is: a social network.
Jump into that search bar and start looking for female friendly groups that encourage travel. Join a few and you’ll realise you have just tapped into a network of likeminded women from all over the globe. See where they have been, engage on threads, share a little about yourself. Ask questions and give feedback in return.
You will be exposed to a whole host of travel information through these kinds of groups, but also think about liking pages for the countries you’d like to visit. Most countries have an official tourism page where they share great content about the destinations to visit within their country.
Read a tot of travel blogs
Build up a core of go-to travel bloggers to check out when you need inspiration.
Who are the women travelling in the countries you’d like to visit? What are they doing there, what experiences are they having?
Search for blogs about the specific areas you are interested in and you’ll find that there are sensational girls out there producing stellar content to inspire wanderlusters such as yourself.
If you’re struggling to find people to follow, turn to social media again. As much as we love to hate the ever-so-sneaky algorithms that power sites like Facebook and Instagram, their ‘recommended for you’ section isn’t always such a bad thing. Ever noticed that when you follow or like something another five pages or groups pop up? Inspirational gold can sometimes rise to the surface of the swirling social media soup.
I know I’ve been banging on about social media already, but I feel like Pinterest deserves a separate category. Pinterest isn’t actually a social media per se (more of a search engine), but it is the place to head for inspo on just about everything you can think of: from smoothie recipes to how to plan an epic road trip.
Plug in a few keywords into the search bar and you’ll be treated to a never ending stream of ideas. Build yourself an array of mood boards categorised around your travel dreams: safari in Africa? You’ve got it. Hiking in Patagonia? Yep, you can do it.
So, put Pinterest to work. Remember that it’s not just useful for getting novelty decoration ideas for your sister’s hen party.
I’m a huge podcast fan. I love to listen to them when I’m out walking. I’d never even touched the podcast app on my phone until recently. I had no idea that I was missing out on loads of free content that was jam-packed full of incredible travel stories.
Whether you use iOS or Android, you should be able to access thousands of podcasts on your device. Simply click onto the search bar and type in the topics you’d like to listen to. Alternatively, you can access a heap of podcasts through the Spotify app.
One of my favourites at the moment has to be Zero To Travel, a show about creating a life of travel on your terms. The host, Jason Moore, runs a website called Location Indie and it’s a great resource for anyone who needs a bit of encouragement to travel solo.
Read a lot of books
Let’s get away from the online space for the moment and rejoice in the ol’ fashioned book. I love to read and nothing makes me happier than a well-stocked book shelf. I usually have at least four books on my bedside table at any one time.
Reading books about other people’s solo travel, and their experiences of travelling in particular countries, is incredibly motivational. Especially when the authors of these books overcame personal challenges to carry out their journeys or even get started in the first place.
Whether you choose to peruse your local library or charity shop’s bookshelf, or scroll through websites to purchase a book online, there are literally thousands of titles to choose from.
Pick a destination that interests you, a period of history, autobiography or fiction: it doesn’t matter. What matters is that reading is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the language, culture and essence of a place without actually being there.
Watch documentaries or movies
Who has never watched a brilliant movie set in a particular place and not wanted to see it for yourself? Whether it is Ryan Gosling in La-La Land that gets you dreaming about Los Angeles, or the sun-drenched backdrop of Mama Mia that has you wishing you were sunbathing on a Greek island – movies have the power to transport us places.
It’s not just Hollywood that can get us fantasizing about foreign climes. Documentaries are an invaluable resource to teach us more about the world beyond our garden gate. There are hundreds of excellent travel documentaries aired each year on channels such as the BBC. Travel inspiration may strike as you listen to David Attenborough’s calming tones whilst watching a programme about capuchin monkeys.
Costa Rica, here we come!
Talk to other solo female travellers
I know I started off this article somewhat dismissively by suggesting that you may know no one who approves of your solo travel desires. I didn’t mean to sound so negative, because I’m sure you will know a good handful of people in your circle – or extended circle – who has travelled solo before.
I wanted to add in the bit about the extended circle, because you may be reading this and firmly shaking your head thinking, “No. I know no one who has travelled before”.
This could very well be true.
But your extended circle can cover colleagues, your non-immediate family, someone from your church or your sports club. You may be part of a pub quiz team with an ex-globetrotter. Or someone may bring their partner to some after work drinks who used to live abroad.
Hopefully, you see that there will be several solo female travellers out there with whom you can connect. Tell them you’d love to hear about their experiences. Swap email addresses or ask them to join you for a coffee. If you express an interest in someone else’s travels you will almost always be greeted by willingness to share.
Once a traveller, always a traveller. Even if these people are no longer frequently travelling, they will love to share their story and feel like they are an inspiration.
Have a mini-break as a practice run
I’m going to pop this one in last as a little bit of a wild card. But, as it’s tip number eight I feel like you’re ready to hear this, my friend.
Going on a mini break may sound like a nerve-wracking step to a wannabe solo wanderer. How do you know where to go? What on earth will you do there? What happens if you suck at this whole solo travel thing and hate it?
That’s exactly where I am going with this.
Hop on the train and go somewhere for the weekend by yourself. Be comforted that it’s in your own country: you can speak the language, you understand the currency, and you’re not too far away from home.
It’s not until you’re on your own, walking through the streets of somewhere (slightly) unfamiliar to you, that you’re going to truly feel the buzz of solo travel.
As you take in the sights and sounds of a local market, or feel the wind in your hair as you gaze upon lakes or mountains, you will suddenly feel the biggest rush of inspiration of all.
Where do you look for travel inspiration?
Having spent the last six years living out of a backpack in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, Meg loves to champion solo travel. She blogs over at http://www.meanderwithmeg.com about fearless solo travel and when she is not travelling Meg can be found dreaming about her next road trip whilst enjoying a cup of rooibos tea.