Going on a solocation? Here are some tips to make it your best trip yet

Travelling alone can be liberating and empowering — if you’re prepared.


Something changes inside of you when you travel alone. A passion is lit as you get to know yourself and start seeing the world in a different light. It can be one of the most rewarding experiences you have ever undertaken.

It can also be one of the scariest, especially if you decide to start travelling but realise you have no one to travel with you. That said, it should not deter you. Travelling solo can be incredibly empowering and offers you a rare opportunity for introspection and growth — often more so than if you travel with a companion. And with a few handy tips, your next trip can be exciting, easy and safe.

It’s all in the planning

Book somewhere convenient

If you’re starting out as a solo traveller, it may be somewhat overwhelming. A good idea is to travel somewhere where you can feel safe and relaxed, enjoy meals (who wants to cook for themselves when on holiday?), and have the opportunity to explore and book activities — without much hassle.

A good option close to Joburg is Rosemary Hill, an organic farm on the outskirts of Pretoria. You can book into a number of gorgeous units — including a treehouse, stone cottage, guesthouse, the zenkaya, the cabin or a pod in the newly built Cabinville.

The units are all self-catering with complimentary breakfast but two on-site restaurants serve up delicious food for lunch and dinner as well. To explore the farm, there are Segway tours; horse riding, mountain biking, and hiking trails; a mobile spa; and even a wine bar where you can enjoy wine tastings (lockdown permitting). For more information, or to make a booking, visit rosemaryhill.co.za. 

Use Airbnb

Airbnb allows you to search for all available accommodation options in a certain area, during specific times, and according to the number of people travelling, complete with pictures and a review of the host (which offers some peace of mind). What makes Airbnb a good option if you’re travelling solo is that it charges per room or house/apartment — not according to the number of people booking a stay.

Single supplements can be prohibitively expensive, but you can circumnavigate this problem with Airbnb. If you’re unsure what to do or need help planning your trip, Airbnb Experiences also makes it easy to book a wide range of activities in the area you will be staying with reputable, reviewed hosts. Visit Airbnb.co.za to start planning your trip.

Join a group

If you feel intimidated or unsure where to start, consider an organised group trip. A good local option is Chica Travel, started by Lelo Boyana who felt inspired by the realisation there are many black women who want to travel but don’t always have people with whom to travel.

Her group trips are currently on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but keep an eye on her website to find out when things will resume. In the meantime, her podcasts offer good travel inspiration and tips. For more information, visit chicatravel.co.za.


Keep in mind: 

  • Always carry copies of your important documentation (ID, driver’s licence, passport, visa, etc.) in case this gets lost or stolen — and keep these in a different place than the originals or in the Cloud. The copies might come in handy if you need to apply for emergency documentation.
  • Keep important contact details with you at all times. This includes emergency contact details, the name and contact details of the place where you are staying, and travel or car insurance details.
  • Make sure someone knows where you are travelling to, and touch base from time to time.
  • Plan your trip so that you arrive at your destination while it’s still light. This way, you avoid navigating an unknown place — or getting lost — at night. If you can’t avoid arriving at night, make sure the reception is open and that your hosts are expecting you.
  • A GPS system such as Google Maps is a good resource. You can download maps to use offline to save data, but make sure your phone is charged — and carry a power bank for emergencies.
  • Pack light and only what you need. Make sure that you can carry your own luggage, as you won’t always have someone around to help you.
  • If mingling doesn’t come easy, sign up for a class or a guided tour. This is an easy way to meet fellow travellers and will give you something to bond over. It’s also a good way to learn a new skill or discover the place you’re travelling to.
  • Do not be too quick to tell someone you’ve just met that you are travelling alone. Suss out the situation, and decide if it’s safe. If you feel uncomfortable or need to ask for directions without drawing attention to the fact that you are travelling alone, mention that you’re meeting with a friend.
  • Be confident, trust your gut instinct, and do not feel deterred by travelling solo — it can be a wonderful experience if you open yourself to it.