Hello, fellow travelers and adventurers! I’m Emily — a writer, all-around water lover and
adventure nut from the United States. Following two weeks of solo travel in Europe, I’ve got
seven tips to share that you may find helpful as you embark on your own solo adventures — in
Europe and beyond. Ready? Let’s go!
Plan a little before you go, but don’t plan it all.
Make a list of the cities you want to visit, an outline of how you’ll get from A to B to C and a
slight idea for how long you’ll spend in each place. If there’s anything you’ve read about,
watched a vlog about or researched and feel you can’t miss, jot that down, too.
Keep that rough plan in your back pocket, but don’t feel you have to stick to it.
Many places will surprise you and leave you craving more. By not planning your trip entirely,
you free yourself up to extend your stay in the places you fall in love with and want to
On the flip side, if you move through a place faster than you thought you would or aren’t
completely set on staying there for the time you allotted, you can always skip ahead to the
next location — or even add another one, maybe one recommended by a local or fellow
traveler, to your itinerary.
The best part? Since you’re traveling solo, you won’t need to check in with anyone else on your
change of plans. You get to be a bit selfish, do what you want and go at your own pace.
Allow yourself to get a little lost.
On my way to my hostel in Manarola, Italy, I accidentally walked the wrong way. Instead of
taking the smooth, paved — albeit winding — road, I found myself climbing up flights of very
steep stairs in between colorful houses. I stopped often to take in the clean, narrow pathways
and laundry hanging from windows and also to catch my breath. In the end, getting a little lost
wasn’t half bad.
I eventually found my hostel and, in the process, passed a quaint restaurant nestled into the
hillside. It was removed from the town below, which meant it had a beautiful view overlooking
Manarola, the vineyards and the water. Feeling as though I’d stumbled upon a gem, I retraced
my steps for dinner later that evening.
The restaurant was peaceful and quiet, and the people working there were super friendly. The
host seated me at a small candlelit table overlooking Manarola and the Ligurian Sea. I ordered
some white wine and enjoyed it with bread and my book while I listened to the chefs and the
sounds of the kitchen. My dinner — fresh sea bass with roasted potatoes, tomatoes and olives
— was so simple and so delicious. Coupled with the people and the atmosphere, it made for
an unforgettable experience, by far my favorite meal of my solo adventure.
Sometimes when you get lost or find yourself off the beaten path, you find the best way.
Listen to the locals.
When looking for places to eat, sights to see or activities to do, listen to the locals. More often
than not, their recommendations won’t let you down. This proved true on my last night in
After dinner that evening, I went to a creperie in Montmartre that Onno, my tour guide the
night before, had recommended. The creperie was what can best be described as a booth —
maybe 5-feet-deep by 3-feet-wide — squished between two Parisian restaurants. I ordered a
Nutella and banana crepe and watched the cook work his magic.
He poured and smoothed some batter out on the round griddle, cooked one side of the crepe
and then flipped it. He peeled a banana and sliced it right on top of the crepe on the griddle;
spread Nutella on half the crepe; then folded the whole thing to a quarter of its original size,
stuffed it into a paper pocket and handed it to me. It really doesn’t get much better than that!
I paid him, thanked him and, with my warm crepe in hand, found a bench nearby.
On my last evening in Paris, the final evening of my solo adventure, I sat on a quiet street in
Montmartre and enjoyed the best crepe I’ve ever had. It’s a tiny moment I’ll never forget, and
had it not been for Onno’s recommendation — and me following through on that
recommendation — I never would have known to visit that creperie.
Listening to the locals can tip you off to spots that are often overlooked by tourists and other
Befriend fellow travelers — whether they’re traveling solo like you or in a group.
I love connecting with people, listening to and learning about their lives and travels. There’s
something beautiful and magical in sharing moments and stories, in sharing pieces of
During my two weeks exploring Europe, I met travelers from Canada, the United States,
France, New Zealand, Mexico and India. Hostels are a great place to meet other travelers. I
also met people at restaurants, train stations and on tours.
tour one morning and then took another tour together later that evening in Montmartre.
Following the Montmartre tour, Isha and I got dinner together. We talked about our travels,
our hometowns, our childhoods, our families, our studies and our career aspirations. After
dinner and a late-night visit to the Eiffel Tower, Isha and I exchanged email addresses and
hugged each other goodbye. By befriending a fellow traveler, I gained a friend from India —
and she gained one from the United States.
While I enjoy the solitude and freedom solo travel allows, it’s also fun to share moments and
stories with others.
Rent a bike.
When you bike, you experience a place in a different way. You’re able to feel a place, breathe
it in and see things you wouldn’t otherwise see. You tend to notice the details. Plus, you can
typically cover more ground on a bike than you would on foot.
by far the best decision I made during my time in Vienna. I saw many of the main historical
buildings; took in bold, vibrant murals and graffiti along the Danube; spent some time
photographing the funky Hundertwasserhaus and cruised through some of the many local
Undoubtedly, my favorite part of the day was my final adventure in and through the Prater, a
Viennese amusement park. There’s a road lined with trees that runs alongside the Prater. I
cruised down that road, taking in the Prater on one side and a series of local parks on the
other. The fall colors were marvelous, and I savored the freedom of riding on smooth
pavement on an endless road — seriously, it looked as though the road would never end —
alongside other people who were walking, running and riding bikes.
I was so glad I spent the €14 on a bike that day. My bikeride allowed me to reach places in
Vienna I wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Plus, I think riding a bike alone feels a little less lonely
than walking alone.
Take a book.
I packed one book, carried it just about everywhere with me, read it sparingly — you don’t
want to spend your entire trip reading — and finished it just as my trip was coming to a close. I
relished every moment I sat down somewhere, ordered food or a drink and dove into my
What’s more, this particular book started to feel like a part of me and a part of my trip as I
ventured on. A book is a good companion, a good way to have “someone” to turn to when
you’re on your own, so I highly recommend packing a book that’s not too thick or heavy — you
do have to carry it with you!
Take pride in traveling alone.
Be strong, be confident, be safe and savor the freedom! There’s nothing quite like solo travel.