Traveling to South America alone: the best tips for your first trip

traveling south america alone

This post is also available in: Español

Everyone wants to live adventures but when you want to embark on it alone, people look at you like you’re crazy, especially if you want to go to South America! Is it dangerous to travel in Latin America? No way. If you prepare well, it will be the trip of a lifetime. That’s why today we bring you some tips if you plan for traveling to South America alone.

Tips before traveling to South America alone

Before starting your trip, there are several things you can do.

  • Read many books and blogs about the destinations you are going to visit. Surely you will find places that are better not to visit or places that you can’t miss if you are traveling to South America alone.
  • Scroll through YouTube from beginning to end. It seems obvious, but watching videos about the destinations that are on your roadmap can be very useful to avoid getting lost.
  • Ask everyone you know who has already visited the same places. Even if you didn’t do it alone, knowing other people’s experiences can help you a lot to get ideas for when your time comes. We leave you a series of articles with our travel experiences that may help you.

lost city trek banner howlanders

Transportation for traveling to Latin America alone

It is important to know how you are going to move around. It all depends on how you planned your time, how often you decide to move around, and the distances you plan to travel. In any case, use common sense.

Take advantage of tours that include transportation

There are many tours that include transportation, and this can help you to live the experience and get around. You can always ask to be picked up in one place and dropped off in another. When you are in Peru, you can do the Machu Picchu tour where you will be picked up from your accommodation in Cusco. If you are in Bolivia, for example, you can do the tour to Salar de Uyuni from Bolivia and finish it in Chile. It is another way to get around while at the same time seeing amazing places.


First of all, if you plan to hitchhike, be careful. If you do it right, it can give you one of the best experiences of your life and make your trip a lot more fun and interesting.

Choose a good place to hitchhike, a place where you will be visible, and where you will not be in any danger. Take the initiative and ask which way it goes. If you don’t feel comfortable during the ride, your intuition tells you something is wrong, or the driver has assured you he is going one way and he is going another, ask him to stop and get out of the vehicle. A good idea is to send your location in real-time to anyone you know. Even if they are not even in the same country as you, they will be able to locate you at all times.

Also, take a picture of the license plate and send it along with the color and model of the car and the destination you intend to reach. On the other hand, activate the GPS on your cell phone and keep track of the route; this way, you will be able to check that you are heading in that direction.

Hitchhiking in south america

In case you stop along the way to go to the toilet or have a coffee, always take your belongings with you and do not leave anything in the trunk.

Hitchhiking can be very interesting but is not recommended. Latin America is not a dangerous destination, but it is always safer to use public transportation.


In Argentina, Chile, or Peru, buses are quite luxurious, often double-deckers, with toilets and TV with Spanish movies most of the time. On long-distance routes, meals are included in the ticket price. Generally, traveling on these buses is quite comfortable and you can relax during the trip.

However, in Bolivia or Paraguay, comfort is not the strong point, but that is why the ticket prices are very low. Some buses do not have toilets and you may be unlucky if the bus you are traveling on breaks down during the trip. You will have to wait several hours to get it fixed, but well, these are also anecdotes to tell.


To move from country to country or even internally, air travel is the fastest and most comfortable way to move long distances. Look for the best deals, compare and save time. We leave you a post on how to find cheap flights that will surely help you.

Essential things you can’t forget if you are traveling to South America alone

Pack light

First and foremost, your backpack can’t be heavy. If you are away from home for a month or more, you will be constantly walking and moving around. A light backpack will make your life easier, more comfortable, and safer. Learn how to prepare a backpack for travel and the trip will be much more comfortable.

Keep your documents in a safe place

Do not keep them in an easily accessible place. Carry a fanny pack that you can carry in front of you and cover under your clothes. There you will be able to keep your most important belongings.

Remember to make photocopies of all your identity documents, and upload them, so that in case you lose them, you will have access to them. You will need them for anything.

Distribute the money

Keep money in different places in your backpack, such as in socks, shoes, or toiletry bag. If something is lost or stolen, you will always have some “just in case”. And yes, always carry some cash on you, you never know where you won’t be able to pay with a card.

coins to collect from travels

Learn about the culture of each destination

Each country is different, and something that is well regarded in your country may be considered an offense in another place. It is important that you inform yourself before you go, lest you inadvertently offend someone and cause you some kind of problem.

Learn the basic words of the language

Yes, we know that the language in South America is Spanish, but do you know how Spanish changes from one country to another?

Going with the basics learned from home can save you from more than one embarrassing moment.

Use platforms to meet people

If you are traveling to South America alone, there are certain platforms that can help you meet people to accompany you on the road. On portals like Couchsurfing or Facebook groups you can meet local people to show you around or people who are traveling alone like you.

If you are staying for a long time, you can look for accommodation together, or share food. It is not only economical but also fun because traveling alone in South America is great but there will always be times when you feel like being with someone.

Plan your budget well

Calculate how much money you can spend per day if you don’t want to spend it all in the first days, and be left with nothing for the last destinations. Bad planning can make you finish your trip much earlier than expected. Eating every day in restaurants, sleeping in hotels, and paying for private transportation is not an option for you if you want to go with the minimum. Set a daily limit and stick to it!

Bring some canned food

Canned food and instant meals can save you on more than one occasion at a very low price.

canned food for traveling to south america alone

Carry the right technology

Portable batteries, solar chargers, or memory cards are a resounding YES. However, unless you are going to write a blog, try not to bring a computer. It’s too heavy, and in the end, you won’t use it as much.

These are, in our experience, the things you should keep in mind when you decide to travel alone in South America, or in general. You will realize that this type of travel will change the way you think, as it is the perfect opportunity to connect with yourself. Leave prejudices aside and go with an open mind to discover other people, places, and destinations.

And we repeat, COMMON SENSE. Sometimes you will feel lonely, but although people in South America are generally very friendly, sociable and will give you everything, you can find everything everywhere. Be careful and above all, enjoy what is going to be the experience of a lifetime!


Lily is happy with a backpack on her back. Every year she travels through one country in Latin America and has repeated several times, especially Peru where she says she feels at home (although she says the same about Argentina, Chile and Bolivia).

She loves ceviche, hiking and Sunday picnics with her friends, although whenever you ask her, she's always planning her next destination.

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