Are you ready to head out to travel solo but are nervous about your safety? That is totally normal and is something that you should take into account before you set out. Today, I will share my top seven smart solo female traveler safety tips with you so that you can get prepared and kick your fears to the curb!
Research in Advance
Each and every place in the world is unique with its own history, culture, cuisine, customs, and so much more. It is what makes traveling incredibly enticing and memorable because every location is a new adventure. Before you embark on your trip, be sure to research the location in advance.
Of course, you should learn about all the fantastic parts of the destination, but you should also inquire as to the darker sides as a smart solo female traveler. Investigate what you should/shouldn’t wear, locations to avoid, common methods for thievery, attitudes toward women, statistics on crime, and anything else that could affect your safety as you travel.
Being aware of these facts could help you to avoid conflict, not offend the locals, and keep yourself safe no matter where you go.
Book the First Night
I know that it can be fun to embrace the spur of the moment attitude that comes with solo female travel, yet no one wants to be wandering around a foreign city in the middle of the night because they arrived later than they planned. No matter where you go, you should always book the first night’s accommodation. This way, you can arrive safe and sound, even if you have travel complications.
Know Where You Are Going
Walking around with your head buried in a map, your face pressed against your phone, or with a lost look paints a “victim” sign on your back. Looking lost makes you an easy target, and we certainly don’t want that! You should always know where you are going. Make sure to research a destination before you leave. Have a mental image of where you need to go or easy to follow notes.
If you do end up getting lost, try not to show it. Walk confidently, as though you were just another local knowing exactly where you are going. Then, I recommend popping into a local shop or café to gather your bearings and look at your map. Shopkeepers won’t mind, and it will keep you out of public view.
P.S. If you are taking a taxi/Uber/etc. anywhere at night, make sure to order the ride while you are still inside, and only exit the building once they have arrived. This will prevent you from standing on a street corner for 10 minutes with nowhere to go.
Have a Back-Up Plan
Any experienced traveler will be the first to admit that something will always go wrong on a trip; it is just the severity of the issue that differs. When that happens, we don’t want to panic! Whether we missed a flight, our backpack got stolen, or we ended up completely lost, it is crucial to have a back-up plan.
Take a moment (actually, take a few) to think of ALL the things that could go wrong on your trip. For whatever pops into your head, make a back-up plan. That way, if it happens, you know exactly what to do. It is better to be over-prepared than underprepared when being a smart solo female traveler.
Keep Your Private Info Private
As we travel, we meet a variety of new people, which is fantastic! While most people are kind and honest, you will eventually encounter a bad apple. Sadly, those bad apples don’t come with a warning label. As a smart solo female traveler, you need to be cautious at all times, especially when it comes to your private information.
Think of the creepiest person you ever met. What wouldn’t you want to tell them about yourself? Your full name, hometown, hotel address, weekend plans, and more are probably all on that list! The same should apply to new people. You don’t know their intentions, so don’t give a possible “bad guy” an invitation to take advantage of your personal information.
Understand Your Limits
As a smart solo female traveler, it is vital to understand your limits. Understanding your limitations can be both physical and emotional. Physically, it would be best if you understood how far you can walk in a day or what level of exertion your body can withstand so that you don’t physically strain yourself during activities. If you participate in alcohol or drug use, you should understand your tolerance levels and when it is time to stop. Overindulging in any kind of substance can lead to disastrous consequences that are nightmare fuel for any woman.
Emotionally, it would help if you understood your travel limits. How frequently can you switch destinations or interact with others before you feel drained? You need to make sure to schedule “me time” or rest days so that you don’t become stressed or overwhelmed.
Find a Buddy
Finding a buddy is an excellent choice for keeping yourself safe, especially if they are other smart solo female travelers. It is a known fact that people who travel in pairs or groups are safer from attackers. Plus, when someone is watching your back, they can point out things you have yet to notice or advise you against a reckless action. Not only will finding a buddy keep you safer, but it could also lead to you making a lifelong friend and creating valuable memories.
I first met one of my favorite travel buddies on a sailing trip in Mallorca, and since then we have spent 3 days in Porto and traveled through Bali on a budget, among other trips.
Do you have other concerns about being a solo female traveler? Hit me up in the comments or shoot me a message, and I will be happy to chat with you about your concerns. You deserve to be safe wherever you are, and I want to help you do that.
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So, you want to explore Tulum on a budget? Tulum, Mexico is one of those cities that has been flooding everyone’s Instagram and Pinterest feeds these past few years. When most people think of Tulum they envision beachfront private villas, sandy white beaches, and lavish restaurants. While it does absolutely have all of those things and more, this hip town in Riviera Maya also has hostels, public transportation, and 50 cent tacos!
When I booked my first spontaneous solo trip down to Tulum in 2018 the main questions that I got were, “Isn’t Tulum expensive?,” “How much did you spend?,” or even the more upfront statement of, “You must have spent a shit ton of money!”. Well let me just say it now, my trip to Tulum was not expensive by the average vacation standard. I’ve returned to Tulum twice more since then, in 2019 and most recently in 2021. While prices do continue to go up, it is absolutely still possible to visit Tulum on a budget. Keep reading to find out just how to explore Tulum on a budget!
How to Visit Tulum on a Budget
The great thing about Tulum is that it is not super expensive to get to from most parts of the US! You can often find direct flights from New York, Los Angeles, and Miami in the $200 range and flights from Washington D.C. and San Francisco in the $300 range. Please note that many of these flights are fly and return on weekdays as roundtrip weekend flights tend to be more expensive due to a higher demand.
Once you arrive at Cancun International Airport you will need to make the journey to Tulum. Luckily, it’s super easy to get to Tulum from Cancun Airport. As I was traveling in Tulum on a budget I chose to travel by ADO bus. A ticket to Tulum costs just $14 USD and takes approximately 2 hours. A private van or taxi service will be more expensive, however perhaps more convenient for those traveling in a group of two or more people.
Where to Stay in Tulum on a Budget
The first thing to understand about Tulum is that it is broken up into two main parts: Tulum Beach and Tulum Town. More recently there has been development in Aldea Zama as well, a third area to stay in Tulum. Staying in Tulum Beach usually means staying at a beachfront property. While this is obviously the ideal for many, these properties are significantly more expensive. For this reason, I have personally always stayed in Tulum Town, otherwise known as Tulum Pueblo.
In Tulum Beach the hotels are typically priced at $200+/night, but there are plenty that are easily $1000+/night. These rates seem to just be going up and up over the years. That said, it is still possible to snag a good deal during the off-season.
I have stayed in a number of places in Tulum Town that range from super budget to mid-range and more luxury. I will highlight these below, as well as a few of other budget-friendly Tulum hotels that come highly recommended by travel friends.
Amorcito Corazon Hotel y Hostel
I absolutely loved this hostel! The rooms were clean, the staff was super friendly, and the common areas were perfect. The property has both a downstairs common area and a rooftop with a small pool. While I did meet some awesome people while staying here, this is most definitely not a party hostel. It a great option for anyone visiting Tulum on a budget.
Dorm beds start at $16/night. There are private rooms available as well starting at $50/night. Breakfast is included in the price of the room or bed. Additionally, there are discounted bikes for rent on the property.
Find out more about Amorcito Corazon Hotel y Hostel.
Mama’s Home Hostel
Mama’s Home hostel is a great option if you’re traveling to Tulum on a budget and are looking for a more social atmosphere. The night that I stayed here I was welcomed with an evening of free pina coladas! While this hostel is more social than Amorcito, it still enforces an 11pm quiet policy to ensure that those who need it can get a good night’s sleep! Rooms are basic but sufficient.
Dorm beds start at $16 per night and private rooms start around $65/night.
On my most recent trip to Tulum in 2021 I spent 5 nights at Turquoise Petit. I was working remote, so I wanted to make sure that I had a spot that was comfortable, quiet, and cute. For this reason, and for current safety reasons, I was looking for a place with a private room versus a dorm room for this trip.
I absolutely loved my time at Turquoise Petit. With rooms starting at $70 USD per night it is a great mid-range hotel option for visiting Tulum on a budget. There are two pools, complimentary breakfast, filtered water, and bike rentals, and the best jungle vibes. It is located in La Valeta, so you’ll be close to tons of restaurants and bars.
Find out more about booking a night at Turquoise Petit.
Not sure what to pack for your trip to Mexico? Fellow travel blogger, Lesley, shares her comprehensive packing list!
Getting around Tulum on a Budget
There are a few different options for getting around Tulum on a budget. These typically include biking, taking taxis, or riding on the local collectivo.
Exploring Tulum by Bike
Biking around Tulum is probably my favorite way to get around and a great option if you are visiting Tulum on a budget. Staying in the city center means biking 30-45 minutes to reach the beach resorts and restaurants in the hotel zone. There is a bike path along the main road (109) which allowed me to feel relatively safe while getting around. Once you hit the beach road the traffic is much slower.
Tulum by Taxi
Fortunately, taxis are also readily available if you aren’t looking to get a bit of extra cardio in! Taxis from the center to the beach road typically cost 300 MXN ($15 USD), depending on the exact destinations. If you are traveling in a couple or group then this may even be a cheaper option for your Tulum budget.
Tulum by Collectivo
These are the cheapest option for anyone traveling to Tulum on a budget. You can get from the city center to the beach for as cheap as 50 cents! These are also a good option for getting to some of the nearby cenotes. However, you will need to flag down a van on one of the designated routes. You can get more specific information at your accommodation. One thing to note is that if the van is full then you’ll have to wait until the next available, which could definitely add to your travel time!
Best things to do in Tulum on a Budget
Most likely you only have a few days in Tulum, in which case you’ll want to maximize seeing exactly what Tulum itself has to offer. If you have some more time then I recommend heading to some of the neighboring areas as well, such as Mahahual and Valladolid, where you’ll find my favorite cenote, Cenote Oxman.
Visit Gran Cenote
I chose to visit Gran Cenote while in Tulum because it is the most famous of the cenotes in the area (aka the one that I was seeing all over Instagram). If I had more time I would have liked to spend some time exploring some of the other cenotes such as Dos Ojos and Carwash.
Cost of Entry Ticket: $15 USD
Explore the Tulum Mayan Ruins
So I am going to just go ahead and say it, I was not all that impressed by the Mayan ruins in Tulum! Perhaps if I had gone right when they opened I would have found the experience more enjoyable. However, after a hot bike ride over I was rewarded with what felt like a Disney World experience.. in a bad way. The ruins were filled with hundreds of tourists, especially families with young kids. Overall, I’m glad that I went but I don’t feel that it is a must-see while in town! If you have more time then I’d recommend heading to Coba. A trip to Coba will allow you to visit Cenote Choo and the nearby Azulik Uh May exhibit, which is one of best Instagram spots in Tulum.
Take a Yoga Class
While the yoga classes in Tulum aren’t the most budget friendly, my yoga class was definitely a highlight of my trip. Class prices typically start at $10, depending on the studio. I took an 8am morning group class at the Azulik Resort and loved it! The studio was by far one of the most beautiful that I’ve ever practiced in.
Enjoy the Beaches
While in Tulum you have a few different beach options. There are both public and private beaches, however you’ll figure out quickly that the private beaches are better maintained from the “seaweed issue”.
If you are looking for a no-frills public beach then I recommend checking out the beach just to the right of Azulik. Here you’ll be able to layout your towel and enjoy a beautiful sandy beach.
Another option is to enjoy one of the private beaches. Every hotel is going to be different. Some will allow you to use their facilities after making any sort of purchase (drink, meal, etc), while others have a minimum. For example, the facilities at Habitas are available to non-guests who spend a minimum of $50 each at the restaurant or bar. In this case, the facilities include a beachfront pool, hammocks, and a gorgeous private beach.
I found the policies to differ a bit from day to day. For example, one day we were allowed to spend the afternoon on the day beds after purchasing a meal at one restaurant, whereas the next day they claimed the beds to be for hotel guests only. Maybe you just need to look like you belong, haha!
Dining in Tulum on a Budget
The food in Tulum was an absolute highlight for me! I feel like the majority of my time (and money) is spent moving from one restaurant to the next! For the most part I found that the food in Tulum city center was budget-friendly, whereas the food on Tulum Beach was moderately priced to very expensive. I recently completed a guide to 28 restaurants in Tulum, where you’ll find tons of budget-friendly options.
Antojitos la Chiapaneca
Looking for a no-frills taco spot? Antojitos la Chiapaneca is your spot! This restaurant offers a variety of tacos, tortas, quesadillas, and empanadas! The tacos are less than 50 cents a piece so it’s hard to run up too high of a tab here! Conveniently located just two blocks from Amorcito Hotel y Hostel on the main trip. I’ve eaten at this spot at least 10 times over the years.
Located in Tulum city center, this restaurant is known for its excellent steaks! I, however, went to El Asadero for the tacos! This cozy restaurant had all the elements of an upscale eatery, without the high prices. With a selection of $1 tacos and $2 quesadillas I was very content! This is an excellent option for dining in Tulum on a budget!
Okay, so this restaurant isn’t exactly budget friendly but it was my absolute favorite! Dishes here are typically in the $10-15 range, so coming from New York you shouldn’t be too overwhelmed. The decor at Macondo, Nomade’s vegetarian restaurant, is just amazing! Not to mention, it is a great place to shoot some photos!
“Best Tacos in Tulum” Stand $
Now I didn’t give this place it’s name, but when I saw it come up on Google Maps, I knew that I had to try. I was staying just two blocks down the road at Petit Turquoise hotel, so it was an easy dinner choice. I got the impression that it is just about always busy. Even on a Monday night there was a constant flow of customers.
The owner of the stand was super friendly and served up two large tacos, some grilled veggies on the plate, and a fresh watermelon juice for 60 MXN ($3 USD). The tacos themselves are flavorful, but they’ve also got an array of sauces from mild to spicy to add on top. There are a few tables, but many people take it to go. I don’t usually eat a ton of chicken in Tulum, as it is a less popular meat. However, with the popularity of this spot it felt like a safe choice.
If you’re visiting Mexico, here are some other posts that might be helpful:
- Best Tulum Restaurants
- Best Tulum Instagram Photo Spots
- How to get to Tulum from Cancun Airport
- Guanajuato City Guide
- Mexico City Guide
- Best Restaurants in San Miguel de Allende
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Looking for the best hostel in Chiang Mai? Keep reading!
Located right in the heart of one of Thailand’s best cities you’ll find a cozy spot that makes you feel right at home at one of the best hostel in Chiang Mai. Tucked away on a quiet side street, Haus Hostel is the perfect option for anyone traveling to Chiang Mai on a budget, not to mention one of the best hostels in Chiang Mai. Rooms are affordable without skimping on comfort and decor. During my stay I felt right at home on their comfy common room couches (eating their delicious free breakfasts)!
Over the past few months I have been lucky enough to stay at Haus Hostel on multiple occasions! During my latest visit to Chiang Mai I received a free stay in exchange for an honest review of the property. Having already stayed at the property on past trips, I was more than happy to review this incredible hostel!
Located just South of the Chiang Mai Old Town walls, Haus Hostel is the perfect base for visiting all that Chiang Mai has to offer! In just a few minutes walking you can reach a number of restaurants, street food markets, and local attractions. A few nearby highlights include:
– Chiang Mai Old Town (main tourist center for restaurants, temples, bars, massage parlors, etc)
– Wualai Saturday Night Market (Saturday nights from 5pm; souvenirs, street food, local goods)
– Chiang Mai Gate Food Market (open daily – farmer’s market by day, food stalls at night)
The hostel currently offers 4, 6, and 8 bed dorm rooms, with both mixed and female-only options available. Each bed is equipped with a personal reading light, charging outlet, privacy curtain, and large storage locker. I loved that the lockers were large enough for my big backpack, as it added an extra layer of security. The privacy curtains are a must for me as well, as they offer a sense of privacy in a shared space – something that is extremely important for many long term backpackers. Some of the rooms even include a personal window which is a great touch! The rooms were extremely clean and actually smell great (a big change from many of the hostels that I’ve stayed in in South East Asia)! Each room is equipped with an A/C that can be adjusted as you please.
Dorm bed prices range from $10-13 (price subject to change) depending on number of beds and type of room. While there are cheaper options available in the area, in my opinion the amenities at Haus Hostel are well worth the price!
Haus Hostel’s light decor is both cozy and aesthetically pleasing with ample natural light due to the all glass front.
Many hostels offer “free breakfast,” when really you are offered only toast and coffee/tea, leaving a bit to be desired. The free breakfast at Haus Hostel is a bit more substantial, with options of cornflakes and eggs in addition to the standard toast with jam. Coffee, tea, and drinking water are also available free of charge at all hours.
While Haus Hostel is definitely not a party hostel, it offers a social atmosphere, a serious qualification for best hostel in Chiang Mai. The comfy common area is a great place to meet fellow travelers, especially for those individuals who are traveling solo! Not to mention, the rooftop area is an added bonus! While I definitely found it easy to meet other travelers, I would have appreciated a bit more effort on the hostel’s part to create activities or events to encourage mingling.
It may seem like a silly perk but as a traveler who can’t be bothered to carry around my own towel, free towels at hostels is a major plus! The staff is super accommodating and happy to lend out travelers who are hoping to shower either before checking in or after checking out.
One of things that make Haus Hostel the best hostel in Chiang Mai is the wonderful staff! The staff at Haus Hostel is beyond friendly and willing to help you out with tips, advice, or bookings. When our cooking class pickup was running late they were happy to call and get everything sorted for us!
The rooftop closes at 10pm and the social scene is moved to the local bars, which means that Haus Hostel is a great place to stay if you are looking for a solid night of sleep! As there are so many early morning activities in Chiang Mai, a good night of sleep in a quiet hostel is sometimes in order!
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