Traveling solo as a woman can seem to be an intimidating way to explore the world for many people. But, the reality is that thousands of women travel solo and are more independent and confident because of it.
It isn’t always possible to find friends or relatives who are able to travel with you and this certainly shouldn’t stop you from going where you want and exploring the parts of the world that you’ve dreamt of.
Here are ten tips that will prepare you for solo female travel!
1. Fake It Until You Make It
Nobody starts out as a wonderfully confident solo traveler. This is something that comes over time as you become more comfortable finding your way by yourself and making your own choices.
However, solo women who look lost or confused can often attract the wrong kind of attention. Try to look confident and walk as though you know where you’re going until you develop your own natural confidence.
If you ever do feel uncomfortable, use your best judgement and seek help. Confidence is not to be confused with cockiness or carelessness in a sketchy situation.
2. Travel During the Day Whenever Possible
It is a fact that more incidents happen at night than during the day so, if you are going to be embarking on long journeys, try and travel during the day.
If you do have to take very long journeys, try using trusted transportation and looking for a private cabin or couchette that can be locked. It’s always helpful to plan on arriving at a destination during the daytime.
3. Try To Blend In
One of the easiest ways to attract the wrong type of attention is to wear clothing and to carry yourself in a very different way than the local women. Avoiding outfits that scream “TOURIST!” is some pretty obvious advice.
If the country you are visiting has women that dress conservatively, do the same, as this will help you to avoid being singled out as a potentially vulnerable target.
4. Stay in Touch via Social Media
Letting people know where and when you will be traveling is a very good safety blanket.
While friends or family at home may be limited in what they can do, leaving a breadcrumb trail of your travels on Facebook or a blog is a great way to reassure everyone that you’re safe and enjoying yourself.
As you meet fellow travelers, becoming friends on Facebook is a great way to keep in touch. I’ve met so many people throughout my travels that I still talk to regularly because of it.
5. It’s Nothing Like Cast Away
One of the biggest hurdles for those who are thinking about traveling solo to overcome is that it will be lonely. I promise you won’t be painting a face on a volleyball and crying over your friends back home.
There may be times when a bump in the road makes you a bit homesick, but remember that travel is a journey.
It’s not exciting because it’s easy.
In fact, traveling solo is one of the BEST ways to meet people abroad. It’s much easier to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger when you don’t have a travel partner. You’ll be more open to meeting new people and you’ll be more approachable.
6. Be Cautious With Your Possessions
Most people these days travel with a camera, a smartphone and a tablet or laptop. These will all be very attractive items for thieves.
Try and avoid flashing these around and only take them out of your pack when necessary. It is also smart to keep these possessions in your reach at all times, along with key documents such as your passport, visa and wallet.
7. You’re NEVER Alone
I mean this both figuratively and literally.
As I mentioned before, you will meet SO many people while traveling solo that, at times, you may seek solitude. It’s weird. Sometimes I find it harder to find alone time when I’m traveling alone than when I’m with friends.
As for the “figuratively” part, never let the first words out of your mouth be that you are alone. It’s always best to use caution and to not make yourself seem vulnerable.
This isn’t to say that you should be paranoid but, if you ever feel uncomfortable, remember “you are never alone.” If you are getting strange questions or want to get out of a conversation, it’s easy to say something along the lines of, “My boyfriend just went to use the restroom and I’ve got to run to meet him. Great to meet you! Bye!” Or, “I’m meeting my parents here. They’ll be here any minute. Nice to meet you. BYE!”
8. Drink To Enjoy Yourself, Not To Get Drunk
Alcohol is, in many ways, both a friend and enemy to the solo traveler. Enjoying a drink with someone you’ve met on your travels is a great way to enjoy yourself but too much and it can quickly make you vulnerable.
If I’m traveling alone I never get drunk. Even in a party situation. It’s one of the riskiest situations you can put yourself in as a solo female traveler.
Drink in moderation and always be aware of your surroundings. If there is someone you feel is acting suspicious or making you uncomfortable, then inform someone or cautiously go somewhere you feel safe. The bartender can be a great person to get help from if you’re in a bar or nightclub. They’re used to dealing with all types of personalities and can get security involved or they may be able to escort you to safety.
9. Learn The Basics Of The Local Language
Not being able to communicate is something that puts travelers at a distinct disadvantage in many situations, so having the basic words in the local language for basic needs, directions and how to ask for help is very important.
As well as being useful for dealing with everyday activities, it can also help you to avoid being ripped off. Many locals show more respect to visitors who make the effort to learn some of their native language.
10. Research Your Destination
Understanding your destination is vital when it comes to planning what to do if something goes wrong. It is always worth checking to see if men in the area are particularly forward or have a tendency to approach female travelers. Knowing the typical tourist scams of a particular destination is also important to look into.
Most importantly, traveling solo is not scary. The world is full of amazing and wonderful people so don’t let fear keep you from experiencing the world.
Travel, for some, will play just as important a role in your life as education, family, marriage and children. Solo travel doesn’t have to be about holding off on things like establishing a career, starting a family or getting married. Many married women, mothers and older women travel solo too.
It doesn’t have a time frame and it doesn’t have an expiration date.
Give yourself the gift of independence, an opportunity to experience new cultures and the time to learn about yourself and what’s best for you.
You will be a much more confident and independent person because of it.