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5 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday While Solo Traveling

You may be traveling alone, but you don’t have to spend your birthday alone!

We’ve all read about the countless perks of solo traveling: you don’t have to run on anyone else’s schedule, you get to think about your own needs, and you get more in touch with your thoughts and emotions. But whether you’re new to this rodeo or are a veteran solo traveler, celebrating important events like your birthday don’t necessarily get any easier when you’re alone, no matter how much you’ve learned to value some much-needed “me time.” If you’re feeling lost or confused as to how to make the day special on your own, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to make your birthday abroad one you won’t forget.

1. Take yourself out

Ever taken yourself out to a nice meal? Before my first birthday solo traveling, I hadn’t. Look up a delicious restaurant on Google or Trip Advisor and go out for a nice dinner, maybe paired with a glass of wine or a beer. Asking for a table for one is a strange but empowering experience! Even treating yourself to a nice cup of coffee can feel special, and will remind yourself that you are strong and independent.

cafe macchiato coffee albania tirana study abroad intern birthday image

I like to relax with a nice cup of typical Albanian espresso in the afternoon.

2. Post on Couch Surfing to meet up with and celebrate with locals and fellow travelers

When I was feeling lonely and didn’t know how to celebrate my birthday while traveling independently, I read about others who had met up on I had my doubts, but I joined the site the day before my birthday and posted that I was in the area solo traveling and would love to get together with others to celebrate. To my surprise, countless people messaged me wanting to get together, and I ended up on a pub crawl with an Irishman, some Albanians, a few Americans, and a Canadian! I was touched by the generosity of strangers who wanted to make my day special, despite meeting me just hours before.

3. Go on a pub crawl

Almost every metropolitan city in the world has pub crawls. Try to find one online, on Facebook, or ask around at hostels. Treat yourself for a night out on the town with others to celebrate – you might be surprised by who you end up meeting!

5 ways celebrate your birthday solo traveling pub crawl study abroad intern image

You can meet the best of friends in unexpected places – I met these two Americans on a pub crawl in Tirana, Albania on my birthday (notice the American flag behind us)!

4. Try cooking a traditional dish for yourself

If you’re a foodie or you love to cook but you’d rather spend your birthday night in, why not try your hand at a traditional dish from the place you’re visiting? Look up recipes online, head to the grocery store, and get your cook on!

5. Go on a weekend trip

As we get older, we inevitably learn that we can’t always celebrate our special day on the actual day we were born. Especially if you’ve been itching to get away from wherever you’ve been staying, book a ticket on a weekend tour to a nearby destination you’ve been dreaming about. If your birthday is actually on the weekend, that’s a bonus!

5 ways celebrate your birthday solo traveling mountains theth albania field solo travel intern image

One of my favorite getaways while traveling in Albania was Theth in the northern mountains.

5 ways celebrate birthday solo traveling

Claire Johnson

University of Michigan | 9 stories

Claire Johnson is an undergraduate student at The University of Michigan studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience. She has studied abroad in Austria and interned abroad in Albania. She also runs her own travel site for college students, The Wayfaring Collegiate. You can find these articles and more at

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