To some, travelling alone as a woman might seem a desperate cry for help or attention. Honestly, I’ve heard them all, and after some years, I’ve decided not to care anymore.
I’ve started travelling more after turning 25, and most of my solo travels have been around Europe. After travelling to more cities than I can count, I want to share the knowledge and give you all my best tips to help you start travelling alone as a woman.
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7 Tips to Help You Start Travelling Alone As A Woman
Solo travel still has a dark light over it. Whenever I was telling people that I was on my own, they would throw me a pitiful look. As if something terrible has happened to me, and I was incapable of living and travelling alone as a woman.
Luckily, one of the huge advantages of travelling alone is a huge boost of self-confidence. That’s helped me focus on what I wanted to do and experience and focus less on what others thought about my life choices.
What made me start travelling alone was the understanding that we each have a different pace at which we want to travel and experience the world. Getting out of my comfort zone was scary but also extremely rewarding.
I’ve started travelling alone in 2015. Since then, I have occasionally travelled with friends and in smaller groups. Even after I met my boyfriend, I went on some solo trips. How do I do it?
Here are my top tips to help you start travelling alone as a woman, too. These are all from my personal experience, and I am certain it will help other women travel solo as well.
1 Research your destination
When you plan a solo trip, especially as a woman, you need to do your research.
It’s important to understand a bit of the local culture before you get to your destination. This will also help you decide if that’s a destination you will love, or perhaps you need to search for a different location.
Here are a few aspects I research before choosing my destination for a female solo trip:
- Local climate and weather. I want to make sure I can blend in and bring the right clothes.
- Average prices for hotels and restaurants. This helps in planning your budget.
- Expats and travellers’ meetups. It’s easier to become friends with other travellers.
- Research if there are any safety issues. Most locations are safe, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Local attractions. What to do and see in and around that destination.
If you’re short on ideas, then check out this travel bucket list.
Planning a solo trip requires you to pay extra attention to how you plan your budget. While travelling alone as a woman gives you immense freedom to do whatever you want, it also gives you less budget for that trip.
It’s not that you can’t afford it. It’s that you need to plan a little bit ahead, to make sure you have the budget for it. Travelling alone means there won’t be anyone else to share accommodation and transport costs with. If you travel on a budget, you have to know what you will have to pay for all of these before getting to your destinations. That’s why I encourage you to do your research before you get to your destination.
In Europe, train and bus tickets are often cheaper when you purchase them online a week before you travel. Also, some tourist attractions and museums might have a day a week when they are free to visit.
If you’re travelling to Europe, here’s a guide to travelling solo in Europe.
All in all, doing this research will help you better manage your budget and plan your trip better.
I recommended checking out these tips on how to plan a budget trip to Europe.
3 Don’t pack too much stuff
Overpacking is a mistake I see way too often in airports. But this madness needs to stop right now.
My personal rule of thumb is only to have a backpack or other piece of luggage that I can comfortably carry by myself.
When travelling alone, you will probably not find a lot of people to help you carry your stuff, and it will become a burden.
Even if you’re only taking a plane by yourself (by the way, here’re my tips for flying alone for the first time), you can carry your stuff into the plane, out, throughout the airport. You need to use the bathroom at some point, and who’s going to watch out for your stuff? Nobody, you will need to take it with you.
Trust me on this one, take with you only what you can carry.
Another thing is that women tend to buy stuff from their destination. So if your backpack or luggage is already stuffed, where is that souvenir going to fit?! That’s why I suggest leaving some extra space for future stuff you’ll buy.
Even when I worked as a volunteer, I still had some extra cash to buy myself something every now and then. That’s how I got to appreciate the extra space in my backpack.
4 Keep your passport, cards and cash safe
When travelling alone, the last thing you want is to start looking through all your stuff to find your passport at customs or for change when you want to take a bus and everyone is waiting behind you.
Or to keep your cards or passport in your jacket’s pocket and lose it.
Perhaps this is the most important aspect to pay attention to when travelling alone as a woman. You might forget a T-shirt in a hostel door room or forget your charger at home, but as long as you have your passport and money, the show will go on. Lose one of those two things, and the party is over.
How to keep your important stuff safe when travelling alone?
I usually designate a place for my passport and another one for my wallet. It’s a place harder to reach, but it excludes any accidental loss of my most important items when travelling alone.
As for cash, if you carry cash, and you should, don’t carry too much. There’s always a risk to lose it, and when you lose cash, it’s not coming back. A card can be blocked, but cash is gone forever. I recommend having only a small amount of cash in your wallet and the rest in a hidden plan in your luggage.
5 Meet up with other travellers
Unless you are travelling alone as a personal retreat, in which you want to relax and meditate, you will greatly benefit from meeting new people.
I used to use Couchsurfing to find out about travellers’ meetings in foreign cities.
Actually, meeting new people is one of the great benefits of travelling solo.
While travelling alone as a woman might make it even harder to go to a random bar and start socializing, joining a travellers’ meetup is much easier to meet new people. First off, all those people want the same thing as you do. That is to meet new people. You all share the same mindset of travelling, and it will be much easier to get into a conversation when you can talk about a thing you both love: Travelling!
How do you start a conversation with a complete stranger in a travellers’ meetup?
Repeat after me: “Hi! How are you? Where are you from?”
It should be enough to start you chatting.
6 Keep an open mind
Travelling to a new place is all about the experience. It’s less about sightseeing and more about the people, the food and the local culture. You travel to get a different understanding of this thing we all call life.
The more you travel, the more you understand. I see a physical journey also to have a more spiritual side. For me, travelling still is a tool for personal development.
Depending on the society you grew up in, you might have some preconceptions over life and lifestyle in general. The thing is that most of the time, we aren’t even aware of them. We go through life thinking our way is the only way.
When you start travelling alone as a woman, try to be aware of this. And stop any judgemental thoughts that might come to mind. Use that energy to observe what’s happening around you. Try to understand. Ask whenever is appropriate.
7 Live in the moment
After you consider all the details, plan your trip and finally start your trip, don’t forget to live in the moment.
The whole point of travelling alone as a woman is to face your fears and gain self-confidence.
I said it before, and I am not afraid to admit that travelling alone was scary at first. But soon enough, I realized that most of that was in my head and were the voices of all the people who told me not to do it.
But living the adventure of travelling alone as a woman was the best thing I could have done for my self-confidence. And this great achievement only comes when you truly live that moment.
I consider myself lucky to have lived these adventures when Instagram Stories didn’t exist, and Instagram wasn’t such a thing.
You can read more about my experience of travelling alone for the first time. You’ll find there the good, the bad and the ugly. But mostly good.
Remember: Be there to live your adventure. Put your phone and camera down. Observe. Live.
Travelling for getting Intagrammable shots is so overrated.
Is it safe to travel alone as a woman?
It’s safe to travel alone as a woman. Over the past few years, the number of women travelling alone has increased to 32 million Americans. The number of woman-oriented travel agencies has also increased dramatically.
Overall, the world is a safe place, and common-sense safety measures will keep you safe.
It’s always a good idea to research your exact destination to make sure you know about local customs and safety issues if there are any.
What are the best places for solo women to travel?
Personally, I don’t believe in perfect destinations and must-see places. We are all unique, and we all experience a destination differently.
You’ll find many blogs stating the top 100 places for solo women travel. I never read those.
What’s perfect for me might not work for you and vice-versa.
I think it’s important to ask yourself what you are looking for for this new solo travel. What do you want to experience when you are travelling alone as a woman? What sparks your interest and makes your eyes smile?
It might be a certain custom that you might want to know more about. Or you might love diving, and you would prefer a place with beautiful diving spots. Others might be afraid to dive and might hate that same destination.
I, for instance, don’t like the cold very much, and we get lots of it in Europe. Unfortunately for me. But others love it and go skiing all around the continent.
That’s because there are no best places for solo female travel. Travelling is a very personal journey, and choosing the right destinations can make or break your holiday.
To find your best place for solo travel, ask yourself first what you need and what you want to experience. Then start planning from there.
For the record, I’d love to go on a tour of wineries. I love wine.
I hope these tips will help you start travelling alone as a woman and keep you safe. And most importantly, enjoy it!