It’s time for a Japanese adventure; party of one…
…until you meet the rest of the sushi-seeking, anime-loving and shrine-appreciating travellers on your small group tour. From shopping ‘till you drop along Tokyo’s neon-lit streets and eating your heart out in Osaka with newly made friends to wandering through Hiroshima’s Memorial Peace Park while your local guide tells you the story of its past, our solo tours in Japan mean shared experiences and memories made between people just as ready to explore this captivating country as much as you are.
Our Japan solo tours
The perks of solo travel in Japan with Intrepid
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
It’s completely up to you. On our trips rooming is organised on a twin-share basis and we pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per the gender marker on each of their passports. But if you'd like your own room, an individual room is available on the majority of our trips (it’s just a small extra charge). Just mention this to our customer service team when booking your trip and they'll arrange it for you.
As a responsible tour operator, we strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. In the case that your gender identity differs from what is indicated on your passport, please contact us so that we can discuss rooming options with you.
On a small selection of itineraries some accommodations are booked on an open gender, multi-share basis (for example on a felucca in Egypt or an overnight train in Vietnam). In those instances it will clearly be stated in our Essential Trip Information prior to booking and travelling.
Whether you’re travelling solo or with a partner, our trips have a set itinerary. But within that there’s time set aside for your own exploration (if you want to – no pressure). The amount of free time depends on the travel style - you can ask your guide for a few tips then head out alone, or hang out with the group and see where the day takes you.
You sure do. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their tour. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
Mobile phone coverage is excellent in Japan but be aware that talking loudly on your phone in public places (like in train carriages) is frowned upon. You will be expected to hide your mouth behind your hand if you must take a call in public. If you want to use your mobile phone, ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive (but be aware of the fees this may incur).
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
Our solo travel safety guide
Good advice for us all, but particularly for people travelling solo. Make copies of your itinerary, contact details, passport and travel insurance, then email them to yourself and to one or two friends/family at home. Check-in on social media when you can so people can keep track of where you are.
If you’re arriving late in a city by yourself, book a hotel with a front desk or concierge service (many hotels also offer private transfers that don’t cost the earth from the airport or train station). If you're travelling with us, we can help you organise an arrival transfer. Read your maps before you head out for a walk (you can use a map app on your smartphone – or take screenshots of where you’re going if you don’t want to use up your precious data). If you need to check your map when you’re out and about, duck into a shop or café to do it. Leave the blingy jewellery, wedding rings and designer clothes at home, and aim to dress like the locals do – hit up the local markets if you haven’t packed the right outfits. Aim to keep track of travel times, so you’re not caught out after dark.
Most mobile/cell providers now offer travel passes to help manage your international roaming costs (which, let’s face it, are expensive!). For a few dollars a day, you’ll have access to data, which means you can log into your apps (like Skype, email and WhatsApp) when you’re out of WiFi zones and quickly get in touch with someone – a friend at home, someone in your group, or the police – if you need to. It might also be worth checking out the local cell/mobile providers as these can be quite cost effective.
Solo travellers are way more likely to be ‘taken for a ride’ at the airport by unscrupulous taxi drivers, so do your research before you arrive. Make sure you get a cab from the airport/station taxi rank – if you’re not sure where to go, just head to the information desk for help. Touts tend to hang out in the arrivals area and promise cheaper rates, but can often be dodgy. When you get to the cab rank, ask the driver to use the meter or request a cost estimate before you hop in the car – if it’s way higher than it should be, pick another vehicle. A lot of airports have train stations attached as well, so consider public transport if you want to save a dollar or two.
It’s one of the advantages of travelling solo on a group tour: safety in numbers. The big, 50-person bus groups stand out on the road, but a small Intrepid group of eight or nine people, with a local leader showing the way – including areas to avoid and getting around safely – won’t draw much attention. Plus, it’s a great way to see parts of the world you may feel uncomfortable exploring on your own. If you want to do things on your own, consider a day tour to familiarise yourself with a city and get to know the local way of life.
Solo travel is all about confidence. If you’re relaxed and self-assured on the street, you’re more likely to blend in. When you meet new people, don’t assume they’re all out to get you, but be sensible too and trust your gut. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Remember: the popular tourist areas are often the most well-lit and secure, but they’re often a juicier target for pickpockets and scammers. Just use your common sense; half of travel safety is simply being aware of your surroundings.