Solo travel is one of the most underrated pleasures out there. Think about it for a moment – you get to choose exactly where you go, eat where and when you want, and plan an itinerary around your own interests and passions. Get up when you want, go to bed when you want – it sounds pretty sweet doesn’t it?

If you want to really make solo travel work for you though then it takes a little bit of planning to make sure you stay safe, have fun, and get the most out of your time away. In this comprehensive guide to solo city breaks we’re going to look at everything from booking flights to finding the perfect vegan brunch, so you can make your next solo trip a memory that will last a lifetime.

Plan your travel

First things first, you’ll want to get your travel in place for your solo city break. Depending on how far you’re travelling, you’ll have a few options.

This is the most popular way to travel for city breaks is by plane as it’s quick, simple, and safe. The potential risks for solo travellers are mainly in the transfers, especially when you arrive at your destination. If possible, try to arrive in the daylight rather than very late at night or early in the morning as there will be more people around and more transport options. If you’re going to look for flights to New York for instance, you really don’t want to find yourself arriving at JFK at 3 am, so choose a flight that has an arrival time of no later than mid to late afternoon ideally. This gives you a little bit of leeway for potential delays too. 

The safest way to get from the airport to your destination is by pre-arranged taxi, but we appreciate that this isn’t always the most cost-effective option, so as long as you are arriving during the day and feel confident about where you’re going, public transport should be fine. Always check before you go what transport options are available so you don’t arrive looking lost and vulnerable – a confident stride, head held high, can do wonders!

Other transport options for solo travellers include the train, coach, bus, or car if you’re embarking on a road trip. Again, try to travel during the daytime, plan your route first, and use a reputable rental company if you decide to rent a car. Let a friend or family member have a copy of your itinerary in advance and check in with them at agreed intervals so that they know you’re safe.

woman holding pink luggage

Arts and Culture

If you like a bit of culture on a city break then hopefully you’ll have picked your destination because it has plenty of galleries, museums, and other cultural opportunities. Don’t just stick to the big tourist destinations though, or you could end up missing the smaller, quirkier attractions. Reading city guides from travel bloggers is a great way to get a behind-the-scenes feel for what a city has to offer, and sites like Atlas Obscura have extensive listings of more unusual places to visit in a huge selection of cities throughout the world.

Depending on where you are, consider taking in a show or planning a trip to a local theatre. Seeing a play can give you a great insight into local culture, and it’s a great way to spend an evening as a solo traveller if you don’t like the idea of dining alone or wandering the streets too much after dark.

a large white building with a clock on it's side

Unusual entertainment ideas

Wherever you end up on your city break, you’ll want to make sure you cram in as many activities as possible. It’s not like a beach holiday, where the object is to see how many pina coladas you can manage from the comfort of your sun lounger – city breaks are all about taking in the sights, sounds, and experiences that a city has to offer.

If you’re still not sure where you want to go, we’ve picked out a few of the more unusual entertainment options available in some of our favourite cities. These might not be the sort of things you’d normally think of, but they might be just enough to make you consider somewhere as next on your travel wishlist.


Away from the Red Light District there are some very female friendly areas of Amsterdam to explore. We would suggest that no one visit Amsterdam without visiting the Anne Frank Museum, it’s incredibly moving and likely to reduce you to tears, but if you want something to bring you back from that sombre mood, Amsterdam is also home to the world’s highest swing! It’s at the top of the A’DAM Tower and swings you out over the edge of the building, leaving you suspended over 100 metres above the ground.


Many people come to Poland to visit Auschwitz, and it is certainly something worth seeing from a historical perspective, but if you want to have a bit of fun on your trip to Poland, what about visiting the Krakow Pinball Museum? It’s full of vintage pinball machines, all set to freeplay mode so you can play as much as you like for no charge. It’s a little bit tucked away, but it’s worth the effort of finding it, we promise.

New York

If you’re taking a city break to New York then you’ll probably want to visit the Guggenheim and the Empire State Building, and no trip to the Big Apple would be complete without a stroll around Central Park. How about adding something more unusual to your itinerary too though, like the original wooden escalators in Macy’s, dating back from when the store opened in 1902?


Tucked away in the heart of central London is the Barbican Centre, an incredible complex of apartments and houses with a theatre at its heart. The entire complex was built as social housing project after World War II, and is in a stunning brutalist style. You can book two-hour architecture tours of the estate from the Barbican Centre – it’s an incredible sight.

What to eat

One of the most interesting parts of any city break is getting to try new restaurants and cuisines. Research is your friend here – fail to plan and you’ll either end up roaming the streets not sure where to pick or ducking into the nearest McDonalds. First-hand recommendations are always valuable, so start by asking friends or social media for suggestions. Tripadvisor is great for finding reviews and you can visit restaurant websites for more specific information if you have particular dietary requirements.

If you’re going to a city where you don’t speak the language and nervous about eating locally, you could sign up for a group food tour. Istanbul, for example, has an amazing array of places to eat, and plenty of locals offering walking food tours. A group walking food tour of Istanbul would be a great way to sample really authentic local food, as your guide will know all the hidden gems, and you also get the safety of being part of a group and having someone able to translate for you.

food on plate

Solo travel bonus tips

Before we finish, we’ve pulled together a few extra tips for solo travel. We hope that you won’t run into any trouble on your city break, but it never hurts to be prepared.

  • Don’t flash the cash. Only take out what you need each day, and ideally use a card rather than cash – if this gets lost or stolen then it’s much easier to put a block on. Check before you go whether or not your card provider charges fees for international payments. These can add up quickly if you’re making a lot of small transactions so it might be worth switching to a fee-free card.
  • Trust your instincts. If a person or situation feels not quite right, trust that feeling and get yourself somewhere safe to regroup. It’s great to be confident about exploring a new city on your own, but that doesn’t mean throwing caution completely to the wind.
  • Don’t tell people you’re travelling alone. You never know who could be fishing for information so there’s no reason to make yourself more vulnerable than necessary. 
  • Take photocopies or scans of key documents like your passport and driver’s license, keep copies on your phone, and email them to yourself and a friend. If you lose anything important you’ll be very glad to have a backup.
  • If you’re going somewhere where they don’t speak English, try to learn a little of the language before you go. Not only is this a respectful thing to do generally, but it can help you to stay safe and feel less vulnerable. 

And our final tip? Have fun! Travelling alone is an adventure, and while it’s great to be prepared and do what you can to keep yourself safe, there’s no point in doing it if you’re not going to enjoy it. Take the time to enjoy your own company, learn about somewhere new, and have a brilliant break!

Published by HOLR Magazine.