Traveling solo as a woman is one of the most liberating things you can do. You’re jumping way out of your comfort zone and will be pushed to learn and grow, all while having the best time of your life discovering new places. However, it can also be a time where you’re vulnerable while navigating unfamiliar territory. Not to mention, the media and societal norms often highlight the safety issues of traveling alone as a female. Those fears do exist, but I promise it’s way less scary than it sounds to be. The best way to stay safe while still having fun is to be prepared – that’s why we’re covering the solo female travel tips that will help you get ready for your adventure!
And adventurous, it will be. The kind of spontaneity, self-confidence, and trust in your instinct that you develop as a solo female traveler will stay with you for the rest of your life!
A lot of what I mention in my solo female travel tips is based on experience. I’ve been able to make friends while traveling solo, and you will too! But these tips will mostly apply when you’re completely alone. As I said, the world is much less scary a place once you’re traveling it, but it’s still incredibly important to always think about your safety first when traveling alone.
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Specific Steps to Take in Preparing for Solo Female Travel
Before I dive into the general ideas, strategies, and tips, I wanted to highlight some extra solo female travel tips that are more specific to do in order to prepare for an upcoming solo trip.
- Sort out your phone situation. Will you have access to WiFi? Are you paying for an international plan? Are you buying a local SIM card? These are often things we don’t think about as much (we’re too busy packing our cute outfits!)
- If you’re a US traveler, register your trip with the STEP program. It’s free to enroll. Simply enter the information about your trip and you will be put in communication with the local US embassy or consulate. You can get alerts of safety concerns in the area (like demonstrations or protests) and it helps the US embassy to get in contact with you for an emergency.
- Share your location with a family member or friend at home. Keep them informed on your travels so they know where you are and how to get in touch with you. Share the phone number of your hotel, the address, and your itinerary.
Now let’s dive into more solo female travel tips!
Choose Your Destination Wisely
The world is much less scary a place once you take the leap out into it. That being said, there are some safer destinations than others for beginner solo female travelers. Tons of articles exist on this topic, so it’s not hard to decipher which destination you will feel most comfortable in alone.
When I say choose your destination wisely, I not only mean choose a place that people say is “safe,” but where can you make yourself the safest. Think of phone and internet service, language and cultural barriers, and proximity to helpful resources. You may want to stay in larger cities rather than middle-of-nowhere villages. Going off-the-grid isn’t impossible, but it’s about making the safest choice that you feel comfortable with.
Find a Travel Buddy
I know we’re talking solo female travel tips but so much of what makes travel amazing is the people you meet on your journey! There are girls just like you itching to get out in the world wanting to ease the burden and uneasiness of solo female travel. I have an entire post dedicated to how to make friends while traveling solo if you’re nervous to put yourself out there!
Phone apps like Tourlina make finding a female travel buddy easy and accessible. You can also research Facebook groups of solo female travelers or ex-pats living in the destination you’re traveling to. I’ve rounded up tons of other apps out there that are helpful to solo female travelers.
If you can’t find a travel buddy or don’t want to, you may still find it difficult to get through some of the undiscussed points about solo travel. While exploring places on your own and building your confidence are incredibly empowering factors of solo female travel, it can still get a little lonely. Combat loneliness as a solo female traveler with some of my best tips!
Pack Safety Essentials With You
We’ve all heard it – pepper spray, self-defense classes, etc. It’s sad that we have to think about this stuff, but it’s always better to be prepared. You shouldn’t explore the world with fear, but you should explore with self-awareness.
There are tons of amazing products that are assets to solo female travelers. For example, you can purchase a portable door lock that adds extra protection on your door, whether in a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb.
I always pack my money belt with me even if I’m not traveling alone. If I’m in a place known for pickpocketing or a crowded area in general, this money belt can discreetly wrap around my waist and ease my mind about carrying cash.
Walk With Confidence
No matter where you are in the world, being a confident traveler is key. People may know you’re a tourist by outward appearance, but they will be much less likely to take advantage of you if you carry yourself with confidence. Showing you’re nervous or afraid can make you an easy target for beggars or scammers.
Always walk with your head held high. Don’t cower your shoulders up and show any fear in your eyes. It also definitely helps to dress the part. You’re not only showing respect to the culture, but you’re keeping yourself protected by not sticking out as a tourist.
Be Rude If You Feel Uncomfortable
Girls are often taught to be courteous and polite, submissive and demure. When you’re traveling alone, you have to put yourself first. You may be in situations where someone’s haggling you or a weird guy’s trying to approach you at a bar or restaurant. Always think of your safety first.
You have the power to ignore someone who’s trying to talk to you and making you uncomfortable. Don’t feel the need to be courteous to these strangers if the situation doesn’t feel right.
Stay in a public setting and let a worker know if someone’s making you uncomfortable and you don’t feel safe.
Download a translator app on your phone in case you need it in an emergency to communicate with someone.
Be Smart About Going Out Alone Certain Times of Day
All that being said, it’s well-known going out at night can put you in sticky situations. If you’re ina public area and lots of people are still around, going out at night doesn’t have to be a scary thing.
But if the streets are empty and you’re stumbling back from a bar, it’s not the best situation for you to be in. To an onlooker, you’re vulnerable. Always read the situation and make good judgment calls.
Speaking of stumbling back from a bar, just don’t do it! It’s fun to go out and enjoy yourself, but as a solo female traveler you have to think of your safety! If you’re going to go out, make sure it is with travel buddies that you trust.
If you can avoid alcohol completely, that’s even better. Having a clear head to make judgment calls as a solo female traveler is essential.
Be safe while going out by bringing a drink cover, like NightCap. It’s a scrunchie that converts to a cover for your drink so no one can tamper with it. Always keep your drink with you and never leave and return to the same cup.
Still want to have fun with a drink? Try this.
Instead of going out at night to a bar, think about grabbing a drink at what would be called an “aperitivo” hour. Not every country has this tradition of a before-dinner drink and snacks, but it’s a safer way to have a bit of alcohol when traveling alone. It’s similar to a happy hour, so you’re going out during the day and still able to have fun without putting yourself in a vulnerable position by having a drink or walking alone at night.
Don’t Walk Around With Both Headphones In
Listening to music is actually one of my favorite things to do while I travel solo. It’s like a theme song to my own little movie I’m living in. You can be walking down city streets and strutting your stuff.
But if you can avoid it, only use one earbud at a time. This again is about staying attentive. You always need to be aware of your surroundings and you already lose one sense to help you with that by having headphones in both ears.
Especially if you’re walking in a city, you should only use one earbud. Pay attention to traffic!
Use Purses and Backpacks With Secure Zippers or Anti-Theft Features
I typically carry a lot with me while I’m traveling and some of it is expensive, like my photography equipment. I’ve learned the hard way to take better care of my things while traveling.
Firstly, leave valuable stuff in your accommodation either in safe or, if you don’t have access to one, a suitcase with a lock.
Secondly, don’t go out and put your valuable items on display for the world to see, i.e. keep your camera stored when you’re not using it.
Thirdly, make sure you have closures on all of your bags and backpacks. For travel, I love my WANDRD PRVKE Series Backpack for its hidden pockets, durable enclosures, and the fact that it opens from behind, not in front. XD Design also makes a great anti-theft backpack for travelers that has no accessible areas from the front of the backpack.
Lastly, carry the bag in front of you if you are in a crowded, touristy area. Even if you have all the closures and tough zippers in the world, you can never be fully protected unless the bag is in front of your eyes at all time.
Stay in a Private Room
One thing I didn’t know before I started traveling was how safe hostels were. I am a budget traveler at heart and as a college student at the time, I was trying to save any money I could while traveling with friends.
All I had known about hostels (or thought I knew) was that you slept in a room with 15 other people. Well, I was wrong, which is why this is making it onto my list of solo female travel tips.
Lots of hostels nowadays actually offer the option to book a private room. It is more expensive, but your safety is priceless, right? You can filter your search for private rooms on search engines like Hostelworld.com. My personal favorite is Generator Hostel (it’s a chain.)
You can still be a budget solo female traveler and not sacrifice privacy and safety. This not only ensures you’re kept safe but your things as well.
Hostels are wonderful atmospheres to meet fellow travelers, so don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and make friends in the common areas! Staying in a private room is just a way to lessen your anxiety about staying in a hostel alone.
Each of the solo female travel tips in this post is designed to help you be prepared, which is the ultimate way to stay safe and still have fun! By being prepared, you can eliminate what would be constant worry and fear of something happening during your travels.
If you make the right choices like the confident solo traveler you are, you’ll have nothing to worry about and be able to enjoy your travels!
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Wherever you go, go with confidence! Before you know it, your worries will be gone because you’ve done the research and you’re prepared! Enjoy the journey and know that the preparation was worth it!