Solo travel has many perks but it also brings some difficulties. What to do at night when travelling alone is probably the second most common concern, right after dining solo.
Especially if this will be your first solo trip you may be worried about what to do in the evening, once the sun goes down. It can be challenging to go out on the town alone and not everyone wants to just curl up with a book when travelling.
No worries though – the evenings as a solo traveller can be just as good (or even better) than when travelling as a couple/with family or friends.
First of all, let’s be clear: Of course you as a single traveller can do exactly the same things everyone else ist. There is no reason why you should not enjoy going out in a bar, dancing at a club, or strolling through town.
However, while everything is possible, it is also true that not everyone will enjoy the same things on their own as they would in company and let’s be real – sometimes it may be just too daunting.
The most important thing is to really think about what it is you want to get out of your evenings when on a solo vacation and what you feel comfortable with. Going out of one’s comfort zone can be good but the goal is to have fun.
So don’t feel you have to force yourself to brave the nightlife if you would much rather have a quiet night in or if you would feel stressed out the entire time. Do what will give you the most pleasure.
Read on to hear my best ideas for what to do at night when travelling solo – starting with the least daunting to more ambitious efforts.
Not only do organized tours often include nighttime-activities but on most of them you will also get to know your travel companions quite quickly.
So even though you are essentially travelling solo, you won’t be really alone. It should be quite easy to find others in your group that want to share an evening activity if nothing is included with the tour.
Do make sure when choosing your tour though that the other guests consist not only of couples or families. Nothing is worse than being the only solo person in a group of couples!
Just as with dining alone, cruises are a great mix of alone time and organized activities. In my opinion, cruises are some of the best “gateway” trips for solo adventures. If this is your first time travelling alone, a cruise may be just right for you to get your toes wet.
An additional benefit of cruises is that they usually include a variety of evening entertainment: production shows, live music, night clubs, bars, casino… pretty much anything you can imagine.
And there are few places that will feel safer and less daunting than the nighttime-entertainment on a ship. It is easy to meet people and even if not you won’t feel out of place. My transatlantic cruise on Norwegian Getaway in 2023 was a perfect example – I am not very outgoing but even I got to meet many people and had lots of fun in the evenings!
All-inclusive Resorts with evening activities
All-inclusive resorts function quite similar to cruise ships and pretty much offer the same benefits. The nighttime entertainment is likely a bit less varied and not quite as professional but depending on the club it may be even easier to meet other guests and make new friends.
Really, whether all-inclusive resorts or cruises are a better option for a first solo trip depends on personal preferences – would you rather explore a different place every day or are a nice pool and land-based activities more important to you?
Just as with organized tours, it is very important though to choose the right kind of all-inclusive resort. Avoid anything heavily centered on couples or families and you should be good.
If you are not the cruise/all-inclusive type, consider an organized trip centered on an activity you enjoy.
There are many such possibilities – I have taken part in language classes, spent time at a dude ranch, and had a great time at a UK hiking holiday. Some people enjoy retreats focusing on crafts, games like Bridge or other hobbies.
The evening activities will often be influenced by the chosen theme. If not, it should be easy to meet new people and find someone to do something independent, similarly to a tour.
Group Trips are not your Thing? No worries!
If all the above are not to your liking, consider one of the following:
Evenings at Walt Disney World
Just like cruises, Walt Disney World is an excellent choice for solo travellers, especially if you are still a bit nervous about going on a vacation alone.
At Walt Disney World you feel very safe (and let’s face it – that is one of the main concerns), and there will be plenty of other solo travellers and so much to see and do that you won’t get bored.
Not only can you enjoy the same rides, shows, restaurants, and attractions as during the day, but often there will be a nighttime spectacular or fireworks. And of course there is also Disney Springs, an entertainment complex that should offer something for everyone.
Depending on the time of year, the parks are usually open until at least 9 pm and often significantly later. So even night owls should find enough to do (though I am usually completely exhausted by 9 pm after a long day in the Florida heat).
Food Tours, Cooking Classes, Evening Tours
These (or similar) activities are a great solution if you enjoy spending your days alone, but don’t quite feel the same way at night.
You won’t lose any of your autonomy during the day (and in contrast to tours and maybe all-inclusive resorts won’t get roped into spending lots of time with people you would rather not) but still have someone to share the experience with.
I would especially recommend something like this if you are travelling in a bigger city and don’t feel comfortable being out and about on your own. Of course, most places are not dangerous at all but especially in a different country going out alone in the dark can feel uncomfortable.
I definitely didn’t feel comfortable last summer when I was out on my own on the Vegas Strip after dark. Sure, it probably wasn’t dangerous at all but it just wasn’t pleasant to be constantly hassled when walking down the street.
So consider signing up for a nighttime tour or event if you want to explore an area but don’t feel comfortable doing so alone.
On my trip to Southern California this summer I had a great time on the Paranormal Ship Tour of the Queen Mary. Slightly spooky but not scary!
Go see a Movie as a solo traveller
I have never understood why so many people think going to the movies is necessarily a group activity. After all, once the film starts you are not really supposed to interact with you companions and as soon as the movie is finished you leave anyway.
So do consider going to a movie theater – there is just something fun about seeing a movie on the big screen with a huge bucket of popcorn to snack on. You can find a movie theater in most places so this is something that will work for almost any trip.
And one big plus of going to the movies alone – you won’t have to compromise on which movie to see!
See a play/concert/opera/ballet
For me, going to see a play (or similar) is part of the experience when travelling to a large city. What would a trip to London be without spending at least one evening seeing a show?
Check local event listings for additional ideas for solo evening activities
Especially in larger cities, there are often special events at night. For example many museums have special evening hours for adults – a great chance to see the exhibits with less of a crush!
Just go out solo like a local
As stated at the beginning, you can of course take part in any evening entertainment offered. Pretty much any larger city will have plenty of clubs and bars and even small towns generally have a pub (or two or three).
There are some things though that you may want to consider if you are a solo traveller planning to go out at night:
Think ahead when planning your trip
As a solo traveller, you may be a bit more concerned about your safety than if you were in a group. One way to make going out easier is by thinking ahead when booking your accomodation.
Pay special attention to location and possible transportation modes. This is especially true if you will be reliant on public transportation (either because you do not want to rent a car or because you want to have a drink or two).
I highly recommend you choose a hotel in a safe, popular part of town. Ideally, either centrally located or with good, reliable transportation even late at night.
Of course, a hotel right near the entertainment district would be ideal but staying at or near the airport can be a decent alternative if cost is a consideration.
Generally, airport hotels have some of the best transportation connections – but make sure the hotel is really at the airport or at least close to the train leading to the airport. Some “airport hotels” are actually out in nowhere, only connected to the airport by an infrequent shuttle.
Do some research prior to your trip
As a solo traveller, it makes sense to spend a little time before your trip looking up reviews of any nighttime destinations you may want to visit.
Make sure the location is easy to get to, in a safe area, and the reviews indicate that it is the kind of place you are looking for!
Have a cozy Night in
Maybe you are not a night owl or even if you do love going out at night, doing so after a full day of travelling and touring may be too much.
Don’t feel you have to! Yes, experiencing the local night life should be part of a trip and you should optimize your time. But only as long as it is still fun.
If going out is turning into a chore and you are too exhausted to enjoy it – don’t do it. You are on vacation not working through an agenda. Instead stay in, enjoy the amenities of your hotel, and have a cozy night to recharge.
Here are some things I like to do in the evenings when travelling:
Enjoy the Hotel Amenities
Sitting out on your hotel balcony in the balmy evening air or soaking up the atmosphere in the lobby of a busy city hotel can be quite memorable.
Take a Bubble Bath
When travelling I often take some sort of bath/shower bombs with me (or even better buy local ones). What could be nicer than a relaxing soak at the end of the day? Just make sure that your hotel room comes with a tub and not just a shower if this is something you enjoy.
Read a book or watch a show
Make sure to take your favorite books with you. I love my Kindle – it makes life so much easier. Instead of having to fill half my suitcase with books, I now only take a small device. Even better, if I read more than expected I can easily download a new book and keep on reading. Priceless!
And if you would rather watch a movie you can always use Netflix – no longer are we reliant on which channels an hotel offers (especially if travelling in a country with a different language). If you anticipate watching Netflix (or similar) in a differnt country it may make sense to invest in a VPN so you can still access your local shows.
Play a game
I love games and nowadays there are so many options for solo play. Not only can you play online (either alone or with others), but there are plenty of great single player games.
Either take one along (even if only a pack of cards) or pick one up at your holiday destination.
How about you? What do you enjoy in the evenings during your solo travels? Is there something I missed? I am always looking for new ideas so don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!