You know those cheesy sayings about how not traveling the world is like only reading one page of a book or how we should all be adventures and get lost somewhere beautiful? Well, they might be cheesy, but they are also true. Which is why more and more people decide to get up and get out – maybe even on their own.
In this day and age, traveling solo has been made easier by the Internet. There are countless forums, websites, platforms and even social networks to peruse and consult – from Tripwolf over Mosey to Roadtrippers. But apart from these, there are also websites that cater specifically to those traveling alone. Here’s a collection of the most important resources for the solo traveler.
“Where should I sleep?”
When Couchsurfing started its hospitality exchange service in 2004, people were skeptical: Why would you want to stay with a stranger in an unknown city? Soon, though, people started to spread their positive stories about how staying with a local was both more interesting and insightful than staying in a hotel. This, coupled with the website’s detailed and thorough methods to increase trust and security within the community led to more and more Couchsurfers. The great thing about Couchsurfing is that most hosts do not only let you stay with them, they also give you advice on what to see, eat and buy as well as maybe even serve as your tour guide for a day or two. Especially when you’re on the road by yourself, Couchsurfing is a great way to meet people and mingle with the locals. Today, the website has over 6 million members in more than 100,000 cities all over the world – that’s a lot of potential new friends.
“What should I eat?”
Trying out local food and delicacies is definitely one of the best ways to get to know a country. And who knows better about what to eat than the people living there? That’s why, after enjoying an exceptionally great meal in Greece hosted by a local family by chance, Guy Michlin decided to launch EatWith which lets you truly break bread with the locals in their own home. Not only will you be served a home-cooked traditional meal, you will also get an inside perspective on what it is like to live in that country by discussing politics, the economy or cultural differences with your host. So far, EatWith is offering its services mainly in Europe and other select countries such as Israel and Argentina – however, they promise that new locations are going to be added soon. If you have been on the road for a long time and are maybe feeling a little homesick, spending the evening at someone’s home enjoying local cuisine might be just the right thing.
“What should I see?”
You found a place to stay, you had a bite. Now it’s time to explore! If you had enough of being a solo tourist it’s time for one of Sandeman’s New Europe Tours. Started in 2004, these guys offer walking tours in more than 15 cities in Europe, the Middle East and the US, giving you a great view of a city on foot. Most of their tours are offered several times daily and even though a tip is always appreciated, the tours are completely free of charge. Over 5 million people have taken on of their tours in the past 10 years, showing that the tour guide’s approach of mixing entertaining stories with interesting historical facts are a hit – and a great opportunity to meet fellow travelers.
If you are now inclined to get up and leave, you should definitely do so. In case you’re looking for a little more information on being on the road by yourself, check out Solo Traveler, the Solo Travel Society, Adventurous Kate or Backpacking Matt. Go west, south, north or east – lose yourself only to find yourself again, explore, discover, dream – and don’t forget to bring a towel!