Tips: Taking Pictures While Traveling Solo

Hello again, dear readers!

Today I want to talk about something I have struggled with while on solo adventures, and that is documenting your time in destination – as in getting some part of you in your travel photos.

I know there are great and otherwise awesome devices out there nowadays that allow you to get the pictures of your dreams. Selfie sticks, drones, tripods, other humans around you, etc. But I’m not about the selfie stick life, drones are pricey and take up precious space, tripods are clumsy and other humans are unreliable and (sometimes) untrustworthy. I wanted a way to be a part of my travel photos without having to purchase special equipment or risk interactions with other humans.

I searched high and low before my first solo trip for tips on how to take pictures when you’re traveling on your own. I scrolled through Pinterest, blew up Google, stocked all the people on Instagram… and felt like I could not find good advice or examples of pictures that did not require a stick, tripod, or other person for the life of me.

So, I have compiled a few options I enjoy that don’t require any specialty equipment – just your camera!

1. The “Half Face” Selfie

On my solo trip to Ireland, I quickly realized I was taking lots and lots and LOTS of pictures of the architecture, and not whole lot with me in them. There’s nothing at all wrong with soaking in the beauty of a new place and documenting it accordingly, but I wanted a way to show that I was actually there, and didn’t just download pictures from Google. My arms are not very long, and subsiquently, my face looks super huge when I attempt a full face selfie in front of something interesting. Thus, the Half Face Selfie was born!

Obviously, not all pictures taken like this work out the way you plan, but part of traveling in general is rolling with the punches sometimes. Have a good laugh at the less than savory ones.

For example, the picture below is from my trip to see the Rock of Cashel in Ireland. I was super tired, it was misting, and I could not for the life of me get my eyes to open all the way without looking like either a deranged killer or a 5 year old who just got the most amazing snacks right before bed. Behold:

Did I let those factors stop me from posting this on social media? Nope! I just added the caption “Ermergerd!” and tagged the Rock of Cashel. Mission accomplished.

2. The “high foot” (or high five)

This one is for the days when you just aren’t feeling the best in the whole face department. Maybe you have a cold, don’t have on makeup (when you normally do), had an unfortunate run-in with a door, or just really love your shoes or fingernail polish. Whatever the reason, feel free to throw whichever limb tickles your fancy! (I obviously prefer my feet)

3. Reflections

This is a bit more obvious, and I’ve seen a ton of awesome pictures with the reflections off of sunglasses (get it girls), but finding a reflective surface is sometimes the best and/or only option. Here’s one of my favorites at the Irish Whiskey Museum.

4. Bring a little friend

I know what you’re thinking.

“Chelsey, the WHOLE point is to not rely on people. Come on, woman, pull yourself together!”

But hear me out here.

I began traveling with my little buddy Alois (if anyone has been to the Hofbräu in München, you should know a little about Aloisius, which is Alois’ full name. You can read his story here). He makes for some super fun and creative pictures while traveling, and I don’t have to look good AT ALL when he’s with me #winning. I would encourage anyone to pick something that is small, lightweight, and makes you happy to be the “star” of a few travel photos. This will keep it personal to you or your family, while still avoiding the necessity of another person or piece of equipment.

5. Take advantage of photo opportunities.

Another great option that a few touristy places have are booths that will put your face in a picture or photoshop you in front of something. My personal favorite is at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. They have several options to choose from, and you can have it emailed to you for easy access.


Now, I don’t like handing people my phone for so many reasons. Let me regale you with a few:

  • I am clumsy, and I will drop it while handing it to you.
  • Some people are on the forever naughty list and will run off with it.
  • Sometimes people forget that it isn’t their phone and look at things they should not
  • I will forget I gave it to you and leave without retrieving it

But, on seldom few occasions, I will get over my issues and let people take a photo of me. Those occasions consist only for photo opportunities like this one:

Who wouldn’t want their picture taken with a leprechaun?! But in all seriousness, if there is someone there who is getting paid to stand there and take pictures with your phone, cease the opportunity.

I hope this has helped all those who were struggling the same way I was not too terribly long ago.

Til next time!

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