Traveling solo is amazing, just you, the open road, and a world of possibilities. But when nighttime comes, you might find yourself wondering, ‘What to do at night when traveling alone.’
I get it, I’ve been there, staring out of my hotel window into the bustling city lights, feeling a tad bit overwhelmed.
The truth is nighttime solo adventures can be some of the most exhilarating experiences of your life!
Forget about those cookie-cutter evening plans. Whether you’re a night owl craving a unique adventure or just looking for a serene way to end your day, I’ve got you covered.
I remember my first solo night out in Tokyo, quite an adventure, let me tell ya! (That’s a story for another time, though).
And I’ve taken my experiences, a few misadventures (you wouldn’t believe half of them), and a whole lot of late-night shenanigans to put together this guide.
What to do at night when traveling alone (Guide for Solo Travelers)
As a solo traveler, you have the freedom to do whatever you want when night falls. But if you’re not sure what that is yet, don’t worry. I’ve got some ideas for you.
1. Explore the Nightlife
One of the best things about traveling alone at night is that you can go wherever the wind takes you (literally).
Want to check out the club scene in Barcelona? Done. Feel like dancing until dawn in Rio de Janeiro? Why not!
But it doesn’t have to be all about partying. You can also visit a cozy pub, try some local brews, and strike up a conversation with fellow travelers or locals.
2. Explore Local Night Markets
If you’ve never strolled through bustling night markets abroad, honestly, it’s an experience you don’t want to miss!
I absolutely love how night markets showcase local culture and crafts.
Plus, the street food is always mouth-wateringly delicious. Try some exotic dishes, or grab a plate of your favorite comfort food and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
But wandering around alone, you might want to stay connected. That’s where a portable charger comes in handy. It’ll keep your phone alive for all those Instagram-worthy moments!
3. Try Night Photography Tour
Now, I’m no Ansel Adams, but let me tell you, nighttime photography can be hella fun, especially in a new city.
Imagine capturing all those twinkling city lights and starry skies.
Seriously, isn’t it incredibly cool how you can combine your love for photography with exploring the city at night? And here’s the best part – even if you’re a beginner, there’s no need to worry!
Many cities offer fantastic guided photography tours specifically designed for beginners.
These tours provide a unique opportunity to learn new photography skills while immersing yourself in the vibrant ambiance of the city after dark.
It’s an unforgettable experience that allows you to capture stunning night-time shots while creating lasting memories.
So why not seize this chance to enhance your photography skills and discover the hidden beauty of the city?
Plus, it’s a great way to explore the city and stumble upon some hidden gems.
4. Immerse Yourself in a Local Concert or Cultural Event
Ever heard local music performed live under a sky full of stars?
It’s like a shot of pure happiness straight to your soul.
A few options are a rock band in a buzzing pub, a classical music concert in a park, or a traditional dance in a local theater, it’s truly an experience you won’t forget.
And as a solo traveler, it can be a great way to meet new people and make some friends!
You might not understand the lyrics (unless your language skills are better than mine, which, let’s face it, wouldn’t be hard), but the rhythm and the energy…it’s infectious!
5. Attend a Cultural Performance
One of my favorite things to do when traveling alone is to catch a cultural performance, be it traditional dance, theatre, or live music.
Locally, you’ll find all sorts of talent that’s just waiting to be discovered.
Don’t let language barriers or unfamiliarity hold you back, grab our travel guide for your destination so you can thoroughly enjoy the local scene (trust me, you won’t regret it!).
6. Meet New Friends at a Hostel Bar
Who says solo travel has to be lonely? Not this girl!
Hostel bars are the ultimate location for meeting fellow solo travelers.
You’ll find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals who are looking for adventure and new friendships, just like you!
Plus, hostel bars often offer fun activities and events like game nights or pub crawls.
I always find it fascinating to learn about different cultures by chatting with the people I meet.
So grab a drink, strike up a conversation, and see where the night takes you!
7. Take a Guided Night Tour
Sometimes, cities reveal their true beauty in the twilight hours.
I’ve had some unforgettable experiences joining guided night tours, from ghost walks to historic excursions.
Not only do they offer unique insight into the city’s history and culture, but they also provide a safe way to explore at night.
So if you’re not feeling up for solo exploring or want some company, why not join a tour group?
8. Attend a Local Event or Festival
I’m a huge fan of immersing myself in a new culture when I travel.
So when I found out about the quaint little street food festival happening in the city I was visiting, I couldn’t resist checking it out and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!
This hands-on experience gave me a chance to taste some incredibly delicious dishes, learn more about local customs, and even make some new friends.
TIP: Look for local events or festivals through websites and apps like Eventbrite and Meetup to find events that suit your interests and schedule.
9. Cozy Up with a Good Book at a Local Café
This may sound simple, but I can’t overstate how enjoyable it is to discover a charming little café, order a warm cup of artisanal hot chocolate, and just read the night away.
I love using my Kindle Paperwhite to bring my library with me wherever I go.
It’s perfect for those quieter nights when all you want to do is relax in a cozy corner.
You might even get some insider tips from the locals. I once had the most amazing conversation with a barista who gave me some fantastic recommendations for hidden gems in the city!
10. Discover Local Art Galleries and Museums
Several amazing cultural institutions open their doors after hours to offer a unique and intimate experience for visitors.
Imagine wandering through a beautiful art gallery at night, surrounded by incredible art pieces and with no crowds. That sounds dreamy, right?
Plus, many venues have special nighttime events and exhibits to make your visit even more memorable.
Look for “Museum Nights” or “Evening Gallery Hours” to find cultural venues with extended opening hours in the destination you’re visiting.
11. Catch a Live Performance or Show
There’s nothing like watching a live performance to appreciate the culture and energy of a city fully.
From theatre productions, to musicals, comedy shows, and more, you’re guaranteed an entertaining evening!
So why not step out of your comfort zone and try something new? You might just discover a new passion or interest.
Many popular performances can sell out quickly, so be sure to book in advance. And if you’re on a budget, check for discounted tickets on websites like Lastminute.com or TodayTix.
12. Try a Cooking Class
“Cooking? While traveling?” And my answer is a resounding YES!
Heading for a local cooking class is one of my absolute favorite things to do when I’m on the road. Not only do you get to eat (who’s gonna say no to that?), but you also learn how to whip up a local dish.
Plus, it’s a great way to meet fellow travelers! I still remember the time I nailed the art of making sushi rolls in Tokyo.
I mean, talk about a souvenir!
13. Sample Local Beverages at a Brewery or Winery
Now, I’m no sommelier, but who can resist a glass of good wine or a pint of craft beer?
Many cities have local breweries or wineries that offer tours and tastings.
It’s a great way to learn about the local drink scene and, well, enjoy a good drink!
Plus, you might pick up a few fun facts to impress your buddies back home.
Remember to enjoy responsibly, because stumbling back to your accommodation… not so fun!
14. Explore Iconic Landmarks at Night
You’d be surprised how different and often more magical landmarks can look at night.
The Eiffel Tower?
They take on a whole new level of beauty after dark. And the best part? Less crowds!
Just don’t forget to pack your camera, trust me, these are moments you’ll want to capture.
Remember, solo travel doesn’t mean you’re alone, it means you’re free to enjoy your own company, to set your own pace, and to have experiences you might not have had otherwise.
Just remember to be cautious, respect the local customs, and – above all – have fun!
Safety Tips When Traveling Alone
Your Essential Guide to Solo Travel Safety
Now that we’ve had our share of fun talking about what to do at night when traveling alone, let’s switch gears a bit and talk about something equally important: safety.
Yes, as much as we love the thrill of exploring new places and indulging in unique experiences, it’s crucial to keep our safety at the forefront.
After all, we want our travel stories to be filled with joy and adventure, not mishaps, right?
So, here are some safety tips I’ve picked up from my own solo trips that I hope will be useful to you too.
1. Research Thoroughly
Can’t stress this one enough, guys. Always, and I mean always, do your homework about the place you’re visiting. You should know about the safe and not-so-safe areas, local customs, and any travel advisories in place. Remember, knowledge is your best defense!
2. Share Your Itinerary
Keep someone you trust in the loop about your travel plans. It could be your best friend, your mom, or even your neighbor with the cute dog. This way, someone always knows where you are and can check in on you if needed.
3. Stay Connected
Thanks to technology, we’re never really alone, are we? Make sure you have a working international phone plan or Wi-Fi access to stay connected with your loved ones. Bonus: you can also post all those drool-worthy food pics in real-time!
4. Trust Your Gut
Your gut feeling is more than just butterflies in your stomach when you see a cute dog (or is it just me?), it’s an instinctual signal for danger. If something or someone makes you uncomfortable, don’t ignore it. Trust your gut.
5. Blend In
One of the most exciting parts of traveling is immersing yourself in a new culture. So why not dress like a local, eat like a local, and even navigate like a local? This way, you’re less likely to stand out as a tourist and become a target for scams.
6. Keep Valuables Safe
Last but definitely not least, keep your valuables safe. I usually travel with a money belt that keeps my passport, cash, and cards safely tucked away. And let’s not forget about our most prized possession: our smartphones!
Pre-Trip Planning Tips
- Research your destination: It’s crucial to know about the culture, customs, local laws, and etiquette of the place you’re visiting. For reliable information, I use these guidebooks , which cover everything from local phrases to public transportation options.
- Invest in a quality travel insurance policy: An appropriate travel insurance policy will cover medical expenses, lost luggage, and other unexpected issues. One popular option among solo travelers is World Nomads their insurance is affordable, comprehensive, and designed for adventurous travelers.
- Collect emergency contact information: Make a list of emergency phone numbers, such as the local police, your embassy, and a trusted contact back home. Save this information on your phone and carry a hard copy with you as well.
Packing Essentials for Solo Travel Safety
- Hidden money belt: A money belt helps keep your passport, cash, and cards safe from pickpockets. My go-to pick is the Eagle Creek Undercover Money Belt because it’s comfortable and discreet.
- Personal safety alarm: A compact personal alarm, like the Mace Brand Personal Alarm Keychain, can alert those nearby if you need assistance.
- TSA-approved luggage lock: Secure your belongings with a TSA-approved luggage lock, like the Tarriss TSA Lock. Not only does it keep your stuff safe, it allows luggage inspectors to open and relock your bag without breaking the lock.
- Portable door lock: For added security in your accommodations, I recommend the Addalock, a portable door lock that easily fits in your backpack or purse.
Navigating Unfamiliar Cities
- Blend in with the locals: Dressing like a local and respecting their customs will help you avoid drawing unwanted attention.
- Stay aware of your surroundings: Use map apps, like Maps.me, that work offline to help you navigate confidently.
- Trust your instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t hesitate to remove yourself from a situation that makes you uncomfortable.
- Choose accommodations wisely: Opt for a reputable hotel or hostel, and if booking through Airbnb, make sure to read reviews from past guests.
- Don’t reveal personal information: Be cautious about sharing personal details with strangers, especially in conversations over social media or dating apps.
What to Pack for Night Outings
Here are my must-have items for a fantastic night out:
- A small, versatile bag: You’ll need a bag that can comfortably hold your essentials while being stylish. I’ve been using the Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag]), and I’ll never go back to any other bag again! It’s compact, chic, and has multiple safety features that give me peace of mind while exploring new cities.
- Comfortable yet stylish shoes: Walking long distances or dancing the night away can take a toll on your feet, so I highly recommend investing in a pair of comfortable and stylish shoes like the TOMS Women’s Espadrilles. These have been my go-to shoes for every trip, and I’m so glad I switched to them.
- A light jacket: Evenings can get chilly, so don’t forget to pack a lightweight, versatile jacket. My personal favorite is the Columbia Women’s Switchback III Jacket because it’s waterproof, stylish, and can be folded into a pocket-sized pouch.
- Safety tools: As a solo traveler, it’s crucial to take your safety into your own hands. I always carry a personal alarm and pepper spray with me, just in case. Better safe than sorry, right?
Navigating Language Barriers
When traveling to a country where the local language is unfamiliar, facing language barriers can be intimidating. Here are some solutions I’ve found that have worked wonders for me:
- Learn basic phrases: Before embarking on your solo adventure, take the time to learn some basic phrases in the local language. Phrases like “hello,” “thank you,” and “where is the bathroom?” can go a long way in making your trip smoother. Incredibly helpful in my travels.
- Use translation apps: Smartphone translation apps like Google Translate are a lifesaver when trying to communicate in a foreign language. Having a translation tool at your fingertips can make all the difference.
- Learn non-verbal communication: One thing I learned during my solo travels is that non-verbal communication is universal. Smiling, pointing, and gesturing can help you get your message across even when you don’t speak the same language.
I hope my comprehensive guide to what to do at night when traveling alone has inspired you to wholeheartedly embrace the thrills and adventures of solo travel.
Whether it’s immersing yourself in the local nightlife, exploring hidden gems off the beaten path, or simply taking a moonlit stroll through unfamiliar streets, the possibilities are endless.
As always, prioritize your safety by being aware of your surroundings and following common-sense precautions.
Remember to savor every moment and make the most of your solo trip, for it is a unique opportunity to discover yourself and the world around you.
Happy travels, and may you create countless unforgettable memories on your solo trips