Expert Advice

5 FAQs About Solo Travel To Inspire Independent Adventures

A fellow Hilton Grand Vacations Member shares her tips on traveling alone

Raeanne V
A Hilton Grand Vacations Member on a surfboard in Oahu, Hawaii

If you’re like me, you’ve probably dreamed of visiting a new destination, only to discover your family, friends or significant other can’t fit your vacation plans into their schedules. Why wait for others when you can venture solo?

Here are the most common questions I’ve received about my solo travels and how to navigate them so you can embark on your solo adventure with confidence.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member on a solo vacation to Bangkok 

1. “Isn’t solo travel scary?”

Safety is a significant factor deterring people from traveling alone. Most people feel safer in a group, but the key to traveling safely is to travel smart.

Prior to traveling, research neighborhoods that offer safety and convenient access to the sites you want to explore. That way, you’re not wandering unfamiliar areas late at night.

If your late-night exploration starts to feel uncomfortable, turn in early or take a ride share back to your accommodations. When I went to Bangkok, I could have explored past midnight because I loved the city. However, the streets start to get eerily quiet at a certain point. I usually decided to head back earlier and waited for a ride share at a nearby hotel since there was a doorman to keep me company.

One perk to staying at a Hilton Grand Vacations property is the 24-hour front desk. I have more peace of mind knowing someone can quickly assist if you call their service hotline. I opt to stay with Hilton Grand Vacations when I can.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member on a UTV excursion in Oahu 

2. “Is solo travel expensive if you’re not splitting expenses with others?”

Solo travelers may face higher costs, but there are always ways to manage your budget effectively.

Determine your budget for excursions, food and transportation beforehand, and remember there are always cheaper alternatives. I enjoy outdoorsy destinations because most hikes are free.

For food, try hole-in-the-wall restaurants. These are local joints that are cheaper and (in my experience) much tastier than tourist traps.

To get around, I prefer walking because I see more of my destination at my own pace. If walking isn’t your speed, try public transportation since it’s cheaper than renting a car or rideshare.

The beauty of Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare is that you can use HGV ClubPoints for your stay rather than spend an arm and a leg on accommodations. Because I’m a Member, I used my ClubPoints and HGV Bonus Points for an entire month in Oahu, Hawaii — a location that can easily cost $1,500 per week for a hotel. The savings meant I could reallocate my spending on fun activities like surfing or riding UTVs.

A Hilton Grand Vacations Member on a solo trip to Amsterdam 

3. “How do you meet others when you’re by yourself? It must get lonely.”

When traveling with friends or family, you tend to stick with who you know. But one of the most exciting things about travel is the opportunity to make new friends.

When I travel, I try to meet the locals. One way is to frequent small businesses and get to know who works there. Oahu has become a second home to me because of the new friends I made at a local surf shop. Not only do I have people to hang out with when I’m traveling there, but I’m also able to experience Oahu through the eyes of its locals. They’ve introduced me to their friends as well as shown me Hawaii’s hidden gems and pointed me to the area’s best bites.

Visit bars or pubs where you can chat with fellow travelers or chat with friendly bartenders. They can give travel recommendations or introduce you to other patrons. One time in Vienna, I got to know the bartender and owner of an open mic karaoke bar, and he introduced me to a family visiting from Connecticut. I ended up hanging out with them until closing, and we even sang a round of Lady Gaga in front of a Viennese audience.

Schedule a group tour if it’s in your solo travel budget. These tours can take up most of the day, so it’s a good way to pass the time and be around others.

A drawing of riverside homes in Copenhagen, Denmark 

4. “I’d feel like all eyes are on me if I’m by myself. Doesn’t that feel weird?”

There tends to be a perceived stigma associated with being alone, whether it’s traveling, eating at a restaurant or watching a movie by yourself.

Confidence is key. If you believe it’s comfortable to be alone, your confidence will shine through and diminish any self-consciousness.

Another thing I like to do is bring a portable activity to keep me company. Phones and tablets work, but you can only scroll through Instagram for so long. Try bringing a book or a sketchpad and pencils instead. They’re a great way to pass the time and distract you from the “all eyes on me” sensation.

5. “Why would you want to travel solo?”

My favorite part about traveling solo is that the world is my oyster. Solo travel empowers me to craft an unforgettable journey, whether I want to seize the moment, manage my budget or pursue my passions.

  • I can vacation when I want. My friend and I toured Eastern Europe a few years ago, and I wanted to visit Denmark and Sweden afterward. However, those destinations weren’t on her radar, and she didn’t have the time after two weeks of travel. I ended up going by myself — making it my first solo trip — and it was totally worth it.
  • I can budget how I want. I grew up in New York, a city with some of the best restaurants in the world. Therefore, I’m a foodie and will gladly budget for at least one nice meal on vacation. When I went to Thailand, I decided to splurge on a Michelin-star restaurant before my 11 p.m. flight, and it was nice being able to go there without worrying about my friend’s budgets.
  • I can do what I want. It’s no secret to my friends and family that I’m obsessed with surfing and could spend half the day out in the water every day of vacation. With the freedom of traveling independently, I can do so guilt-free without leaving my friends behind if they prefer to do something else. 

Read “Adding Solo Travel To Your Bucket List? Here Are 4 Things To Remember” for more tips to know before you go on your first solo vacation. 

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Hilton Grand Vacations Owner Raeanne surfing while on vacation in Hawaii

Raeanne V

Raeanne’s been an Owner since 2019. One of her highlights of ownership was using her ClubPoints to WFH (work from Hawaii) for three nonconsecutive months. Follow Raeanne to satiate your travel bug for adventurous vacations.

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