Traveling solo, especially as a woman, can be a bit of an intimidating prospect. But if you decide to go for it, which you totally should, it will very likely be one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences of your life.
I’ve solo traveled to multiple countries across Asia, Europe, and North America all starting at the age of 16 and I’m here to tell you that you can do it too!
And I know, of course that is easier said than done. I’ve made some mistakes along the way and have had to learn some things the hard way. But with these tips, I’m hoping you will feel more prepared and confident to take a solo trip for yourself!
So without further ado here are my top 7 tips on how to travel solo as a woman:
Tip 1: Traveling Solo Doesn’t Equal Loneliness
On a list of pros and cons for solo traveling, I’m sure many potential solo travelers would list “fear of getting lonely” as one of their cons.
But speaking from experience, I’ve met SO many people while traveling in the last several years that I still keep in touch with. In fact, solo traveling can push you to meet more people than you would ever meet when traveling with someone else.
So if you are nervous about being lonely while solo traveling, here are some of the top ways to combat loneliness while solo traveling:
Stay in a Hostel
Staying in hostels is an amazing way to meet other adventurers just like you. Strike up a conversation with one of your roommates, sit at a table with some strangers in one of the hostel’s common areas, or you could even join a group tour that the hostel has put together.
If you find someone with similar interests as you in the hostel, you might even find a buddy for a day or two to explore the city with. I’ve met so many cool people in hostels.
Meet People While You’re Traveling
Outside of meeting people at hostels, I would highly encourage you to initiative conversations with people you meet along your journey. I’ve exchanged contact information and have become friends with people I’ve sat next to on planes, people I’ve shared a room with in a hostel or on a group tour, and more.
Initiating conversations can be a little scary to do at first, but trust me when I say that it gets easier the more you do it because the payoff of having interesting conversations with random people is so fun.
I’ve found that I’ve been able to create especially cool bonds with other solo female travelers that I’ve met when traveling. For example, I’m still in contact with several of the women that I taught English in China for a year with, who also came to China by themselves to teach.
We might lead drastically different lives back home, but because we had this shared experience traveling as solo women together we have this deep understanding and respect for one another that lasts a lifetime!
Join an Organized Group or Activity
Instead of exploring by yourself, try joining an organized tour. Besides being a way to meet more people, tours can also offer you a much deeper understanding of a location than just trying to figure it out yourself. I recommend looking for the many free walking tours that are offered in cities around the world.
Walking tours are often filled with travelers just like you, so strike up a conversation with someone as your walking from location to location in the city. You can even make a plan to come back and check something out later with some of the other travelers in your group!
Tip 2: Embrace Being Alone
In the end, you’ve chosen to travel alone, so embrace it! You can make the most of your alone time by:
- Bringing a good book
- Have a meal by yourself
- Going on a solo hike on a beautiful trail
- Bring a journal to document your feelings while you experience your adventure
Traveling can be an incredible time for personal growth. So rather than filling your time with activities, make sure you set aside time while traveling for some introspection. You might just come away learning more about yourself than you thought.
Tip 3: Pack Smart
When you are paking, make sure you bring what you can actually carry. You need to make sure you can carry your travel backpack for long periods of time, carry your suitcase up the stairs, put your luggage into the storage compartment about your seat on a plane or bus comfortably without help.
This is something I learned the hard way. Once I had to carry my heavy suitcase up about 12 flights of stairs in London, and trust me, it was just embarrassing and drew the wrong type of attention so just avoid it if you can. Knowing how to pack a travel backpack can be a real skill, but it’s one that can save you a lot of annoyance and pain when you are out and about.
Make sure to also pack backups of your important documents and even leave copies with your parents or a good friend back home just in case they need to email them to you in an emergency.
What I do is I have this little bra safety pouch that I wear all the time when I’m traveling alone. In it I put a backup credit card, a copy of my passport, some cash, and a list of emergency numbers I might need. The bra safety pouch is great because I honestly just forget it’s there sometimes. It gives me the peace of mind to not have to worry about my stuff and just get on with my adventure for the day.
It’s important to be prepared for anything because you are responsible for you, but also not to constantly worry about having your stuff stolen or bad things happening.
Just put some safety measures for yourself in place that you can feel comfortable and confident in case something happens and then get on with traveling!
Tip 4: Research your destination ahead of time
It’s important to do some research on the country’s culture ahead of time to get a sense of what is and isn’t acceptable in their society.
You might find that there are some differences in what is acceptable to wear in public, or find some places where it is less safe for women to be out at night.
Those differences don’t have to scare you off from traveling, but it’s important to be aware of them so that you can blend in as much as you can when you are there and to take care of yourself.
For example, I travelled from the US to Sri Lanka by myself when I was 21. I traveled from the US to Paris to India to Sri Lanka. The best option price-wise was to take a red eye flight from India to Sri Lanka by myself. Without thinking about it I booked it.
When I boarded that plan I ended up being the only woman on a full flight and I arrived in Sri Lanka at 5am that morning. It was fine in the end but I was keenly aware of how sketchy this situation felt. I later learned that women should not be out during dusk or night time alone there.
So keep this story in mind when booking your travels. Sometimes a cheap deal is not worth the situation you could put yourself in.
Moral of the story: Don’t be naive when you go to another country. Having an understanding of their cultural norms can help you avoid any unneeded attention while traveling
Tip 5: Use Common Sense to Keep Yourself out of Bad Situations
As a woman traveling alone, use common sense and don’t put yourself in high-risk situations. Basically If you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it back home, then don’t do it when you’re traveling.
So don’t go walking around a city at night or have one too many drinks at a bar by yourself. I actually tend to avoid drinking when I’m traveling solo, but it’s up to you and your comfort level with that. Maybe you can bring a bottle of wine back to the hotel room. Party for 1! Woo!
If you have the opportunity, meet other solo travelers along the way that can have your back. There are plenty of other solo travelers out there just like you who can be your safety buddy in certain situations.
Try not to draw too much attention to yourself when traveling either. So that includes:
- Not wearing expensive jewelry
- Being careful when flashing around expensive things – with my camera gear I take it out when I want to use it, and then put it back in bag safely when going from place to place
- Not wearing political things
- If it’s a more conservative country, it’s best not to show a lot of skin
- If you are traveling to the French riviera or Australia and you wanna wear that bikini or crop top, go for it! But if you are going to a place that’s a bit more traditional and modest be prepared to pack a one piece swimsuit, shirts that cover my shoulders, and a scarf to cover your head when necessary.
Basically just do your best to blend in with the locals, or at least don’t make yourself look like an easy target.
Tip 6: Make sure to document your trips as much as possible
Solo traveling is one of the most powerful experiences of your life, so don’t forget to preserve that time so you can look back on it later! How you preserve your solo travel experience is really up to you, but some of the top ways to document trips are through taking pictures, blogging, vlogging, or journaling. I personally love photography, which is my way of remembering places.
For example, I used my time solo traveling in Sri Lanka to capture all of the amazing people I met there, which included the locals and the other women I met along the way.
Portraits were my way of capturing the beauty of culture, place, and people along the way and I feel really proud of it. I didn’t do it for IG or for likes or for follow. I did it as a way to capture a special moment in time and I love looking back on those images to this day.
Tip 7: Be Confident and have fun!
The point of this video is, just because you are a woman, doesn’t mean you can’t travel by yourself! Go for it, inspire yourself and other women, and have a blast!
If you are confident you can do anything! And don’t worry if you’re a little anxious – that’s completely normal, and actually pretty healthy. Once you get there a lot of that anxiety will turn into adrenaline and you’ll be ready to take on the world all by yourself! I believe in you!
So that wraps up my tips for how to solo travel as a woman! If you have any questions, please feel free to comment down below. I love to meet other travel enthusiasts, especially women, and would love to help in any way possible!
One thought on “Top Tips to Travel Solo as a Woman”
I love your portrait photos! They look like treasures. I definitely struggle with properly documenting my travels as well and it is something I hope to work on. Thanks for the reminder.
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