Essential Travel Hacks for Solo Trips in the U.S.

Traveling alone is exhilarating and rewarding for anyone looking to explore life at their own pace, immerse themselves in new environments, and most importantly gain more knowledge and self-confidence along the journey. The U.S.—one of the best places for solo trips—has over 50% of travelers looking to take one this year, with life transitions such as retirement being the main driver.

Despite the thrill that comes with such adventures, many still find them intimidating. So, in this guide, we’ll show you how to embrace traveling solo wholeheartedly and hassle-free. Besides, what better way to do so than in a country that has it all: stunning landscapes, white-water rafting, century-old craft breweries, wildlife photography, Broadway shows, and some good old-fashioned hotdogs and burgers?

Essential Travel Hacks for Solo Trips in the U.S

1. Plan, but Don’t Overplan

It’s important to have a general itinerary, no doubt. However, leave room for spontaneity as some of the best travel experiences come from unplanned moments, plus situations you have little to no control over like weather and closures are bound to happen, alter your plans, and throw you off balance. What’s more, a packed itinerary can be overwhelming.

To keep your trip seamless, plan quite alright but stay flexible. Hotel reservations, accommodation, and flights are non-negotiable, but everything else should be subject to change. This will help you adapt to last-minute changes without panicking or feeling stressed. And who knows? You may get to explore hidden gems, local events, and off-the-beaten-path attractions unknown to you beforehand.

2. Pack Light and Smart

Traveling solo means you’re the only one carrying your bags, and since you have limited capacity, it’s best to stick to a carry-on and a small backpack or one full-size suitcase at most. It’s easier to keep track of such luggage, especially when moving between cities. Also, opt for versatile clothing that can be layered and keep a separate set of clothes in your carry-on, including socks and underwear for a quick change.

Lastly, remember your essentials. Besides the usual toiletries and medication, take along a portable charger, a flashlight, a reusable water bottle, and a first-aid kit. Throw in a couple of good books as well for company. If you have trouble arranging these items in your travel bag, get some packing cubes, and ensure the luggage is within the airline’s size limits to avoid unnecessary costs.

3. Stay Connected

Even if your travel goal is to unplug, always make room for communication. For one, safety comes first, especially if your journey leads to an unfamiliar or potentially unsafe city where you may most likely need help with an emergency or trouble. So, always share your itinerary with a friend or family member and check in regularly.

This way, they know when to alert the authorities if they don’t hear from you. Also, consider apps like Find My Friends or Life360, which are great tools for finding anyone.

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage

We now live in a world where it’s easy to streamline your trips with travel applications. Apps like Roadtrippers and TripIt are great for planning, while Google Maps and Citymapper offer easy navigation. For last-minute accommodation options? Airbnb and HotelTonight are a couple of good recommendations. What about dining? Consider Yelp and TripAdvisor to find the best local spots in town. In essence, everything you need to enjoy a well-rounded trip is in your palm.

5. Budget Wisely

Many solo travelers have trouble keeping track of their spending. Since they travel alone, there’s hardly anyone to share their expenses with or hold them accountable, which is why they run out of money in no time (even long before their trip ends).

To avoid such, use budgeting apps like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB). They help you monitor your expenses and stay within budget. Manage your savings even better through cost-friendly activities like hiking trails, museums with free entry days, local events, and grocery shopping in place of eating out.

6. Stay Safe

Safety is paramount, especially when you’re traveling alone. So, choose accommodations in safe neighborhoods and read reviews before booking. Avoid isolated areas after dark and be aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts. If something feels off, it probably is. For added safety, carry a whistle or personal alarm on you always and familiarize yourself with self-defense techniques.

7. Engage With Locals

Traveling alone opens you up to meeting new people whose ideas and tips can provide insights into what a place has to offer. So, whenever you are on one of those solo trips, endeavor to strike up a conversation with locals. Visit local hot spots, interact with them, ask questions, and make new friends.

If the city or state has an “ambassador” program, take advantage of it. Such programs allow tourists to connect with locals who are interested in giving them personal tours of the city or showing them around as a form of hospitality. But be sure to run a people search on your new acquaintance on a trusted public records site before you make a deal.

8. Capture Memories

Your journey doesn’t have to be mundane. There are interesting events and activities you’ll come across now and then. Do well to document them with photos, videos, or a travel journal. This will help create lasting memories you can share with friends and family. Remember, avoid spending all your time behind the camera and live in the moment.

9. Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company

Solo travel is as much about self-discovery and self-sufficiency as it’s about exploring new places. This is why those who love to travel in pairs or groups may struggle to make the most out of it. In that case, consider engaging in healthy activities that will boost your self-esteem and be comfortable doing things alone. Listen to music, practice mindfulness, go for runs, set personal goals, and meditate. See solitude as a chance to grow and learn more about yourself.


When it comes to traveling solo in the U.S., the possibilities are endless. You just need adequate research, planning, and flexibility to turn one trip into a memorable experience, which is what this guide offers. So, take advantage of the travel hacks provided above and embark on the next adventure with a newfound confidence.

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