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Traveling solo is one of my favorite experiences! Nerves are absolutely normal if you have not traveled alone before, but with the right tools and proper research, you can have a safe and incredible time! There are many aspects of a solo journey to consider such as the destination, time of year, and overall solo female traveler safety. I could go on forever with tips for solo female travel, as I have traveled solo all over the world, and have learned so many things. I truly believe that everyone should experience solo backpacking at least once in their life. In this article I’ve gathered some of the most important information to make a list of my top tips for solo traveling as a female.
Research is key
Upon deciding your destination, discover as much information as you can from others. Whether its verbal advice from a friend’s first-hand experience or a blog article about your destination, take it all into consideration. Important categories to consider are recent COVID travel regulations for your destination, weather, and the time of year. This includes any national holidays, which may impact the hours of local attractions.
It is also important to research the currency of the country that you are visiting. When possible, it is always best to arrive with at least a bit of local cash. You can usually get this from your local bank, or if you are traveling long term you can exchange with other travelers who have leftover cash in a particular currency. If you are unable to arrive with local currency, be sure to at least carry $100 USD. I always keep this cash separate from the rest of my cards/money.
Maintain an alert and confident presence
Avoid wearing headphones in public and stay alert to your surroundings. Especially if this is a completely new destination for you, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. The one thing that screams ‘tourist’, besides maybe clothing, is a look of confusion. Appear confident in your demeanor and posture, even if you don’t know where you’re going. If you need assistance, pop into a café, and ask for directions or information about what you are looking for. Confidence is key and staying alert can help you stay safe throughout your entire trip.
Download offline maps
Offline maps are every solo traveler’s best friend. They are a great tool to help to navigate around your new destination solo. When downloading maps and routes, you won’t need internet connection to find your way. The maps are already downloaded onto your phone for easy access. You can also have voice guidance produced in your native language. Before your trip, make sure to mark down the best lodging, attractions, food, and entertainment in your new destination. Some popular offline map apps to consider are Maps.me, OsmAnd, and CityMaps2Go.
Sign up for a group tour/trip with others while there
Traveling by yourself does not mean you have to be alone the entire time. Solo traveling allows you to do what you want on your own time, which can lead to meeting other interesting and friendly travelers! Many times, you will meet other travelers who are also going it solo for the adventure. Sign up for group activities that interest you. Whether it’s a tour of ancient ruins, snorkeling, or hiking, you’re guaranteed to meet other like-minded travelers. Staying at a social backpackers hostel is an awesome way to meet other travelers as well. Connect with other people you encounter, and you may have just made some lifelong friends!
Here are a few of my favorite hostels around the world:
- The Farm Hostel in Canggu, Bali
- Kos One Hostel in Canggu Bali
- Once Again Hostel in Bangkok, Thailand
- Haus Hostel in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Journeys Hostel in Hualien, Taiwan
- Good Morning Lisbon in Lisbon, Portugal
- Hostel 7 Santi in Florence, Italy
- The Wallaby House Hostel in Zagreb, Croatia
- Ostello Bello in Bagan, Myanmar
- Greg & Tom Hostel in Krakow, Poland
- Hostel Old Town Kotor in Kotor, Montenegro
Be open to new things but know your limits
Being by yourself in a new place is genuinely exciting. You are on your own schedule and can do exactly what you want. It’s important to be open to new cultures and new activities, but it is also important to know your boundaries. Don’t feel bad for saying no when street vendors try to sell you local products. If you feel in any way uncomfortable, say no, walk away, and simply get on with your day. This applies to new friends as well! This is your trip, and you make all the calls!
Pin your main locations
Your hostel or Airbnb? Pin it to your map. Main attraction you want to visit? Pin those to your map as well. Easily keep track of important and frequently visited places, restaurants, attractions during your trip so you’re less likely to get turned around. The offline maps have this extremely easy, even when you don’t have service.
Go out with people you feel comfortable with
Experiencing the nightlife culture is another solo travel essential. If you are planning on staying out late, it is important to find others that you trust to go with you. Make sure you understand where you are going and how to safely get back.
Meet some nice people at a restaurant or on a group tour earlier? Connect with them and see what they are up to for the rest of their time. Enjoy a night out with drinks, but it is best to avoid getting too drunk when solo traveling. Drinking and partying are a fun part of the solo travel experience but avoid doing it excessively.
Wear appropriate apparel
Check the weather at the destination you will be headed to before you start packing. You do not want to head to a destination with the wrong clothes! It is super important to keep in mind local culture and customs as well. Some countries are more conservative than others when it comes to apparel. Be mindful and respectful of where you are in the world and prepare to bring pants, shawls, or long sleeves when visiting a more conservative country. Whenever in doubt, cover up.
Share your location
Share your location on your phone for friends and family to keep up with your whereabouts. Find My Friends and Life 360 are reliable and user-friendly apps that always allows you to create a group/family and share your location when solo traveling. You can also set it to receive travel notifications from family or friends when they arrive at a new destination and vice versa. Another quick tip is to send family or friends your itinerary of where you are staying during your trip. Doing both can give you and your family peace of mind.
Download the native language and learn a few basics
Google Translate is a fantastic tool that connects us with languages and people we are unfamiliar with. When shopping or wandering around you can simply search for helpful phrases to assist you in day-to-day activities. Learning some basics of the language if it is not your native one is also highly appreciated. Google translate is without a doubt a great tool, but a simple smile accompanied with a hello, thank you, and questions when you’re in need of something in the native tongue can go a long way.
Can you think of other solo female travel tips that are essential? Don’t hesitate to send me a message! I’d love to chat more about it with you.
Interested in solo traveling? Here are some other articles you should check out:
- 7 Smart Solo Female Traveler Safety Tips
- Backpackers Hostel: How to Choose the Best Hostel
- Solo Hiking: 9 Hiking Tips for Female Travelers
- How to Make Friends When Traveling Solo
- Why Everyone Should Experience Solo Travel