For someone who doesn’t need that much alone time at home, I somehow really love travelling alone. I love travelling with Matt or my friends and family, but when I’m alone I really seem to soak in more of the experience because I’m not caught up chatting with whoever I’m with, plus there’s more of an obligation to build out plans that suit all parties when you’re travelling together so you’re kind of always future-minded even if you don’t intend to be. While I’m more of an extraverted type and don’t find I need extended alone periods, travelling alone means I also chat with a lot more people than I would if I was with someone else too, and I always like making new friends on the road! If you haven’t done it before, I highly recommend taking at least a leg of one of your next trips to explore somewhere new with just me, myself and I (but, you know…you). Better yet, do a whole trip alone if you ever get the chance!
Really the only hurdle I’ve experienced is that as a travel blogger, I gotta take pics that have me in at least some of them! And even if I wasn’t doing this as my livelihood, I’d want pictures of myself anyway—having the scenic shots is all well and fine and the odd quick snap taken by another tourist can sometimes work out (like a 20% chance for me usually) but it really brings a memory alive to see yourself planted right in the destination. So fresh off of my most recent trip to the Netherlands and Czech Republic where I had lots of solo time, I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for getting solid solo shots!
Research quieter locales
Look up viewpoints that are maybe slightly off the grid, side streets in quieter neighbourhoods, etc—while safety/theft is a minor concern and that’s part of the reason I aim for less populated places to set up my camera, but it’s more so that you don’t have the hassle of waiting for a moment between the crowds, of someone just randomly stepping out in front of your camera and on the other hand, inconveniencing people who see you’ve set up a shot and have to wait till you’re done! That doesn’t stop me from shooting in busier spots (more on that in a second) but this way I get to take my time! While I’m not the most self-conscious about posing after years of doing blogging, I do still not feel totally comfortable whipping my hair around or whatever when a ton of people are around.
Invest in a great tripod
Depending on the kind of camera you have, you could use a Gorilla Pod or invest in a more traditional one that you can set up at different heights. I have the Element Traveller Tripod Small by Manfrotto and it was amazing for this trip—it fit easily into my carry-on luggage and while it is a bit of added weight to take with you during the day, it made all the difference for me as far as getting the shots I was hoping for!
Bring a remote or nail focus first
Unfortunately, for my Canon 6D my remote has to be within closer range but depending on your camera, you might get away with having a remote! Because my remotes don’t work for the distances I like to shoot at and the Canon 6D doesn’t have the best auto focus (it has lots of redeeming qualities which is why I still use it but auto focus is not one of them!), I put my camera on manual focus and focus it on the exact spot I want to stand at (and remember exactly where that is so that I know right where I need to run to!). Not sure how to focus it on that spot? Put a bottle or something there and get your focus set up first! I then put it on self-timer and in the 10 seconds scoot on over! I then just run back and forth to get a few different poses, angles etc.
Use other tourists to your advantage
In busier spots, I set up my tripod, lock in my camera and then get my frame and everything focused—I then wait for a friendly looking tourist and make sure my shooting setting is on continuous mode and ask them to just take a bunch of pictures! I tell them I might move around a bit but if they can just keep pressing the shutter button, that would be sooooo appreciated. This way, you don’t get a blurry focus, weird composition, etc! It also means I cut way down on time because I’m not running back and forth, and therefore not bothering everyone else by darting all over the place!
When all else fails, smart phone!
Even our grandparents use iPhones now, so if I’m really striking out with my tripod shots in busier zones, I just as someone to take a shot for me and show them exactly what I’m thinking of by taking a picture first. Everyone can shoot on a smart phone so while the quality’s not the same, you know you’ll at least get the shot! And with some post-editing, even phone snaps can look seriously amazing. To get people on board with taking a bunch of shots of you, always make sure to either offer first to snap them if you see someone trying to take pics, or offer right away once you’re done!
What about you guys? Do you love travelling alone? Also, I’m curious—if you could go somewhere alone right now for a dreamy solo trip, where would it be?
Finally, make sure you pin the image below so that you can save this post for your next adventure!