Solo travel is often one that comes with many questions, especially when traveling solo as a woman! My first trip solo I had no idea what to expect or where to start looking for the answers. I took huge leap of faith and it was a moment that changed my life. Forty countries later and I have learned a lot about how to have a successful solo trip.
I truly believe that every woman should go on one solo trip alone! It teaches you how to be confident and rely on yourself.
You may be thinking I’m ready to take my first solo trip but will I be lonely, how dangerous is it and so many other questions. I have taken all the guess work out and included all my go to tips to have a successful trip that will have you ready to book your next solo trip!
Alright buckle up and get ready!
The number one question I get asked is how safe is to travel alone. Let me start by saying that anything can happen BUT there are things you can do to make yourself safer.
First and foremost you need to let people know where you are going to be. Any trip I take I make a packet of all the accommodations I will be staying at, any activities I am going on, travel days and numbers for all the locations I am staying at. I check in with family every day and that has always been a non-negotiable for me.
By having people check in with you if something was to happen they will know right away.
This goes along with the safety piece but I don’t do airbnbs when abroad unless its been very vetted. Now you are probably thinking why would I not want to stay at airbnbs or other non hotel accommodations? It’s a very simple answer and that’s the onsite team.
When you are at a hotel there are people around constantly, from the front desk to the room attendants and other guest. It’s a lot less unlikely that someone will try something when you are staying in a hotel vs an Airbnb or other vacation rental.
With rentals there are no other people around typically and you are all alone. There is safety in numbers and some destinations its wise to stay in a public area. For some reference when I went to Romania they have very high sex trafficking and I was cautioned by many locals to stay in hotels because some rentals are “trap” houses. Now I always say to not live in fear but be cautious. Vacation rentals add an unnecessary layer of possible danger, so I opt for hotels and bonus they usually always include wifi!
Now to my point above Romania was a country that I would not go back to solo because of the issues I now am more aware of. When choosing your first solo destination spend time researching locations that are more friendly towards women alone. Some countries and regions such as the Middle East are not friendly towards women traveling alone. Some are more common for sex trafficking.
I’m not saying you can’t visit these places but that you should probably do so in a group. Other destinations solo women travel is very common and normal such as Bali, England, Ireland, etc. While no destination is 100% safe some are better than others.
Recommend Read: 10 Tips for Solo Travel through Europe
One of the unsexy parts of travel is the research that goes into it. While some solo female travelers are go with the flow that has never been my style. I like to have a plan especially when alone it helps eliminate as many unexpected bumps in the road.
Really know your destination, take the time to understand their visa process, religious beliefs, and safety ratings. One tool I use is Travel Safe Abroad it’s a great site that includes up to date safety ratings on each country. It looks into transportation, pickpockets, natural disasters, muggings, scams, terrorism threats and more.
This is a great place to start when looking into your solo destinations. Also network ahead of time and utilize facebook groups. When I lived in Bali before I went, I connected with other solo female travelers. I was able to meet up with them and felt like I had a friend nearby and this made the trip so much more enjoyable.
When alone you need to be prepared for all types of situations. One being say you are a target of a pickpocket and they take your wallet, what then? I always keep an emergency credit card and cash in my hotel room in the safe along with my passport. That way if I am robbed I may loose some money but I have my ID and some money left.
Never and I repeat NEVER keep everything on you when out exploring. It can’t be helped when moving locations but you don’t want to end up stranded in another country with no money, no ID and possibly no phone. This is another reason I love a hotel, if something like that happens you can have the front desk help you opposed to a rental where you may not be able to get in touch with anyone.
Always learn where your countries embassy is in the country you are visiting. This goes back to the above tip. If something happens and you lose your ID or passport you need to know where the embassy is. They will be the ones to help you get back home or if you feel unsafe for some reason.
This also applies to local police stations and hospitals. Anywhere I go I write down where the closest embassy is, hospital and police station. While I have never (thankfully) had to use one of these resources I always am aware where they are just in case.
I am super guilty of this one, so I understand how easy it is to overpack. I did a three-month solo trip through Europe and took THREE suitcases! Yeah, dumb decision and in hindsight I don’t know what I was thinking but learn from my mistakes. I ended up having the hardest time moving locations and just rolling my luggage.
Remember some destinations infrastructure may not be what you are used to. When I was trying to haul all three bags down a cobblestone street in Ireland I remember thinking I need to adapt a more minimalist mindset! I even had a taxi driver comment in Scotland, he said “Lassie I think you forgot the kitchen sink.” That now lives rent free in my mind so theres that, pack light kids!
At the end of the day the most important thing is to remember to have fun and enjoy this once in a lifetime privilege. Travel is one of the most special things you can do. It will help you become a global citizen and experience this beautiful world.
While you need to be cautious and aware don’t let fear stop you. Be as prepared as you can and watch your surrounding but don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
Up Next: Preparing for Solo Travel