Are you looking for tips for the solo female traveler? I hope so, because this post gives you 22! I’ve done all types of travel; couples, family, and group, but my favorite by far is solo travel. As a solo female traveler, I want to share with you all of my top tips to keep you safe.
I completely understand how people hesitate when it comes to traveling alone, especially as a woman. The world can be a scary place, even more so when you’re in unfamiliar territory.
But I am living proof that solo travel can be safe, fun, rewarding, and life-changing.
Risk and danger are everywhere, even in your hometown, so don’t let fear hold your travel dreams back!
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22 Tips For The Solo Female Traveler
The first time I ever traveled alone was on my twelfth birthday. I was flying from Halifax to Ottawa after visiting a friend. I remember how fun that flight was! I was seated next to an older woman and a girl my age. We had so much fun goofing around together.
After this, I didn’t travel solo again for another 10 years, when I was off to work as an au pair in Australia.
That was my first big solo female travel adventure.
Where have I traveled solo?
I’ve traveled solo around Australia while I lived and worked in Melbourne. My first solo travel experience was a weekend in Sydney, and then I flew to Cairns for a week of adventures.
I spent one adventurous week on the North island of New Zealand, renting a car and driving from one town to the next.
After my group trip in Egypt ended, I stayed an extra 5 days on my own, and loved it!
I was also solo in England, although I would really love to go back with a friend!
But you know what? I’ve never once really felt alone whilst traveling solo.
Solo travel is such a great way to get out of your shell and discover not only a new place, but yourself as well. People often worry about being lonely while traveling, and while that worry is valid, I really do think that everybody should experience solo travel at least once in their lifetime.
But as fun as solo travel is, there are some tips that everyone needs to remember.
The Top 22 Tips For The Solo Female Traveler
Ease yourself in with easy destinations.
Start with English-speaking countries, or countries where English may not be the local language, but most people speak English. This language familiarity will help you feel more at ease with your surroundings.
Go to places like Thailand, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Iceland.
Give yourself time to adjust.
Travel is not all new friends in new destinations and your next bungee jump; solo female travel can be lonely and stressful.
There will be times when you feel like you’ve made a huge mistake and you need to book the next flight home. Don’t panic, give yourself some time to adjust.
Any new move in life is scary, but sometimes we just need to take a day or two and stick it out.
Sometimes you just need to plan a phone call to a friend back home, or maybe you should take a group tour to meet people with the same interests as you.
I use Get Your Guide for booking tours.
Make copies of your travel documents and bring extra cash.
In the case of an emergency it’s a good idea to have a backup plan.
Think physical copies of all of your documents; passport, ID’s, credit and/or debit cards, travel insurance, reservations.
You should also upload a copy of these documents to Dropbox or Google Docs.
It’s impossible to foresee all that could go wrong. Maybe you need to go to the hospital, or your purse gets stolen. Maybe you lost your credit card and are out of money.
I think you should always bring a little bit extra cash, hidden somewhere in your things. As someone who has nearly run out of money when traveling, extra cash is always a good idea.
You don’t want to get to your accommodations after a long travel day, ready for a hot shower and quiet time, just to find out your hostel is party central. Or in a bad neighbourhood.
Read reviews of where you’re looking to stay before booking. Make sure you’ll be in a safe neighbourhood, with amenities nearby.
If you’re in the mood for a few days of partying, read reviews and look for accommodations that mentions new friends and nights out, or hostel organized bar nights. If you’re feeling antisocial, maybe it’s time for your own room in the hostel, or in a hotel.
Likewise, no one wants to spend their hard earned travel money on a restaurant that will give you food poisoning. Before traveling, read restaurant reviews and have a plan of some places you would like to eat at. Sometimes a good meal can cure any bad day, and maybe even be one of the most memorable parts of your trip.
I use Booking.com for planning all of my travel accommodations, the users leave great reviews so I know what I’m getting myself into.
Connect with other solo female travelers.
One of my favorite ways to meet other solo female travelers is by booking the female only dorm rooms at hostels.
Making friends while traveling is one of the best parts of travel! This is how we find out places we never would have on our own. For example, when I was in Taupo New Zealand I made friends with a few of my hostel mates who brought me to the Honey Hive, a place I never would have heard of on my own.
Talk to locals.
Locals know the country you’re in. They are the ones who make your travel destination what it is, and can give you the best tips on what to do and where to stay while in the country.
Some of my favorite travel moments have come from deep conversations with the locals or the suggestions they’ve given me.
I know, this can be a hard one.
Trust me, I talk to everyone. My stepdad loves to tell of how when I was a child, he couldn’t take me anywhere without my telling everyone I met my whole life story. He couldn’t even take me into a shop without me telling the cashier as much as I could, as quickly as I could.
And I still love to talk to people.
While I think talking to people and forming new relationships is why I was put on this Earth, it is so very important when you are traveling solo not to overshare.
Those guys you met at a bar don’t need to know that you’re traveling by yourself, or where you’re staying. Even if a person can seem trusting, sometimes they aren’t. It’s important to keep the important information to yourself sometimes.
Listen to your gut.
The previous point leads into this one. As humans, our guts are pretty good at telling us what we need to know. Whether it’s a feeling that something is off, or that this person is someone we can trust.
When you travel you depend on strangers to help you out. While most people are good, there will always be the odd bad one.
It’s a good idea to pay attention to what your gut is telling you.
In some countries, wear a wedding ring.
Harassment goes back ages, and is very common in some countries. There is nothing wrong with lying sometimes, especially to strangers in a foreign place.
In some countries it’s just a good idea to wear a wedding ring. This helps avoid harassment if people won’t leave you alone. Sometimes men can be quite aggressive towards solo female travelers, but will often back off if they think you’re married.
Be aware of your surroundings.
I think it’s a smart idea to remember that you are the only person looking out for you, so be aware of your surroundings.
If you’re walking around at night holding a map looking confused, or just staring at your phone, you’re an easy target for predators.
Don’t wear headphones while walking around at night, keep your head up and look people in the eye. When walking, I continuously look at what’s going on around me. This is good to do even in your hometown, but especially when you’re in a new area. Being aware of your surroundings
Do your research before travel.
Research research research! Know the location you’ll be staying in, what restaurants or convenience stores will be near you.
Did you check to make sure the neighbourhood is safe. Make sure you can get a quick meal or medication for a pharmacy nearby if you need to.
What do the women wear there? Read about the typical weather. Any political unrest?
You can’t be overprepared!
You’ll feel more comfortable if you can blend in with what the locals are wearing. The more you stand out, the more you suggest that you’re unfamiliar with the area.
If you’re traveling to the Middle East, for example, you wouldn’t blend in by wearing shorts and a crop top. You would stand out and draw the eyes of everyone around you, making you an easy target as a tourist to rip off.
Not only that, but you could be showing disrespect by dressing in a conservative country, offending everyone who sees you. You want to honour the locals whose home country you’re visiting, and not cause any offense.
If you’re wearing an American College Sweatshirt in some European countries, you’re likely drawing the attention of a pickpocket.
A good idea is to research before hand, and when you’re in the country observe how the local women dress.
Leave expensive jewelry at home.
You want to wear and show off your gorgeous jewelry, I get it! But this is an unwise idea. Thieves and pickpockets lurk everywhere, and if they know you are a solo female traveler with expensive jewelry, then you could become their next target.
Be smart, you don’t need to bring that necklace.
Prioritize safe hotel/hostel locations over cost.
It is so tempting to book the cheapest hotel room you can find. I’ve been there and done it.
But sometimes this could be putting you in an unsafe environment. Why is the room that cheap? Is the neighbourhood safe? Do the locks work properly? I stayed in a private hostel room in Auckland where my room door didn’t fully close and wouldn’t lock. All night I listened to a couple having a loud and rough fight. All night I was worried if one of them would try to come into my room. I would have gladly paid more to be able to sleep good.
Get Travel Insurance.
I will never travel without first getting travel insurance. You just never know what could go wrong, and often times, things do go wrong.
You could lose your luggage, get injured on the road, end up in a natural disaster, or political one.
I would much rather pay for travel insurance I don’t need, than not have travel insurance and need it. If you can’t afford travel insurance than you can’t afford to travel.
I personally use World Nomads, but with so many travel insurance companies out there, you have plenty of options.
Book accommodation in advance.
There are some countries where it’s easy to rock up to a hostel and get a room. But as a solo female traveler I think it just makes more sense to book in advance when you’re going to a new destination, at least for the first few nights. This puts your mind at rest and gives you a specific place to go relax when you arrive.
Also, having some accommodations booked makes your trip feel real! And exciting! And gives you something to look forward to!
Give someone at home a copy of your itinerary.
Always make sure someone at home knows where you’ll be at any given time. While they aren’t physically there with you, it will make you feel safer to know that someone knows where you are.
This can be useful in the event that something goes wrong while you’re out, someone at home can alert the authorities if they haven’t heard from you.
Only bring with you what you need, leave the rest locked up at the hostel.
When you’re out for a hike or a walk around the market, you don’t need to bring all of your cash, your passport, or your reservations. That is how we end up losing these important documents or money, and being stranded.
Most hotels have safes, and most reputable hostels have storage lockers. Use them! Most thieves will grab what they can see, so if they see you with a huge purse, they are much more likely to try to take that than to try to rob someone with a small hang bag.
While it’s true that even safes and hostel lockers can be broken into, using them does help eliminate the risk of you bringing everything with you.
There are even portable safes that you can buy and travel with, or pickpocket proof backpacks.
Know your limits.
One of the fun things about traveling solo is all the friends you will make. Oftentimes this leads to nights out, where the drinks are flowing.
Go ahead and have a drink or two! But make sure you know your limits. You do not want to get black out drunk in a place you’ve never been before, leaving people who hardly know you to, hopefully, take care of you properly.
I understand how when we’re drunk everyone seems to be our best friend. But this isn’t always the case, and it’s important to keep your wits about you.
Map out your journey home before you go out, so that way you have an idea of how you’ll be getting back to your room.
Ask hostel staff if the area is safe at night, they would know best.
Don’t keep all your money in one place.
If you keep all of your money in your purse but then your purse gets stolen, now what?
It’s a good idea to keep your money spread out. Keep a bit in your purse, some hidden in a sock in your suitcase, and some in the hotel safe if it has one.
Spreading it out could save you.
Add taxi fare into your budget.
This is where I always falter. I’m so determined to use my money wisely and act like a local by taking public transit, that I often don’t take into account the cost of taxis or Ubers. (I used Uber in Egypt and felt much safer than using a taxi, as the ride is tracked and there wasn’t any negotiating the price or getting ripped off.)
So often we think that everything will go according to plan, that we will be happy to take the public bus or walk everywhere. And maybe you will. But sometimes you are just plain exhausted from walking all day. Maybe you don’t feel as safe on the bus at night as you thought you would.
Take into account that there will be times that you just want the convenience of a quick taxi ride to where you need to go.
Taxi’s add up, so make sure to plan for this in your travel budget.
Learn a few key phrases in the local language.
Whenever I have a trip planned I always try to learn a few key phrases of the local language. Not only is this helpful for you personally, but it shows locals that you’ve made the effort to learn about their language and culture, rather than just assuming everyone around you will speak English.
In Egypt, a simple “Shukran” to say thank you went a long way. The locals were delighted and very much appreciated it.
In Mexico, great people by saying “Hola, como estas?” to ask how they are doing.
The locals will see the effort you made and it will encourage them to be a bit kinder to you.
Packing List For The Solo Female Traveler
- Travel Scarf – you can keep things hidden in it!
- Universal Charger
- Power Bank
- Headscarf to cover up
- Medical kit
I will forever be thankful that my fears and hesitations never held me back from traveling solo. I’ve learned more about myself through solo travel than I have any other way. I firmly believe that every woman should travel solo once in their lifetimes.
If you are a solo female traveler, what additional tips do you have?