Solo Female Travel Tips
I got my first job a little over a year ago, and the very first thing I always said I would do was travel. I don’t have any close friends, and I didn’t always want to travel with my family. I honestly just wanted to travel on my own. The number one question i’ve gotten is “how do you do it on your own?” In the last year after traveling to a few states and one country by myself, I’ve picked up a couple tips and tricks that might make it a little less scary of an idea for a woman that may want to venture out on her own.
If there’s somewhere you want to go, book your trip. You will spend your whole life waiting on other people. It’s easier said than done, but if you know other people are not readily available to travel with you, don’t go back and forth about it. Like Nike says, just do it.
Be very deliberate about your movement when you arrive at your final destination. I make an itinerary and 9 times out of 10, I stick to it. I make sure that my family has a copy of it, so that even if they can’t get to me, if they were to suspect something was wrong, they would be able to let authorities know where I might possibly be. I also try to limit my movement at night time. If I do go out at night, I do not ever walk, I catch an Uber. Because you’re alone, you have to pay extra attention to detail, because you don’t have anyone else to fall back on. You want to plan as much as possible, without taking the fun and spontaneity out of traveling solo.
Speaking of Uber, it’s important that you are absolutely sure that the car you are getting in is your Uber. There are multiple ways to check like making sure they ask your name first; don’t tell them your name. Some Uber drivers have a light that should light up the same color in the app as on their windshield. Of course, you should check the app to make sure that you are getting in the right make, model and color car as well.
Make sure that you have enough money for your entire trip, especially if you’re in a foreign country. Depending on where you are, it can be hard to find currency exchange places or get more money if you need it. I don’t always do this, but it’s also good practice not to carry ALL of your money everyday. Try to only take as much as you think you’ll need for that day if you’re in a place where you can’t use your card.
As a rule of thumb, I always check Airbnb before I check for hotels. In fact, hotels are a literal last resort for me now. More often than not, you can find well-kept living spaces with quite a few more amenities than you would find at a hotel and likely for cheaper as well. I’ve stayed in some lovely homes, where the host is extremely accommodating, offering information about the area that you wouldn’t necessarily find anywhere online, and many of them are even flexible about check-in/check-out times.
Try to fit everything into a small suitcase and personal item that you can carry onto most flights. This is a hard one for me, because I like to have outfit options; I don’t know anyone that doesn’t. It’s much easier, though, to transfer between connecting flights and quicker to get where you need to go when you make it to your final destination. I try to pack shoes that I can rewear, and usually I think of one-piece outfits like dresses and rompers rather than outfits that have two pieces.
You have to be open to what could happen. I have met people everywhere that I’ve been just by taking classes, workshops and tours. People are generally friendly and don’t mind taking pictures with you and of you. Every Uber driver i’ve had has been good about recommending local food spots and things to do. I’ve never gotten any unwanted attention, because unless you’re excessively showy and tourist-y, people will mind their business.
You also have to be willing to immerse yourself in new spaces and cultures, especially if you’ll be there for any longer than a couple days. It’s never a bad thing to try to learn basic language (if you’re out of the country) or try local foods. You can learn to shop, order food, and do a number of different things like the local people that live wherever you are.
Don’t focus on the fact that you’re alone. Again, that can be easier said than done, and sometimes it gets to me, because I’m always alone. It comes down to centering yourself and realizing that you and only you made the opportunity happen for you to be where you are, so you may as well try your best to make the most of it.
One thing that has made it easier for me as a solo female traveler is that i’ve never been afraid of anything. Some people have to work their way up to that mindset, and that’s perfectly fine. The more you do things alone, the less reservation you’ll have about getting out there and going where you want to go. Slowly building up that confidence could mean going to dinner or a movie by yourself. Then you might work your way up to concerts or something along those lines. It can be awkward at first, but you just have to find your rhythm.
You’re only as independent and strong as you think you are, and the only way to measure is to plan a trip and test the waters. I have to admit that I am never disappointed by a travel experience, because it’s what I make of it. I’m always glad that I made the choice to go, and before I leave my destination, I’m already tossing new locations back and forth in my head to keep my travel momentum going.