Travelling solo as a female can be a daunting concept. If you’re preparing to head out on a solo adventure and you’re feeling a little nervous, I just want you to know it’s completely normal. You’re stepping out on a big adventure and it’s more unusual to not be nervous. Let those nerves turn to excitement and don’t let them stop you getting out there and seeing the world.
Travelling solo as a female is absolutely possible to do in a safe, carefree and incredibly adventurous way but I would definitely say a ‘successful’ trip, or one that you feel confident heading out on, has got a lot to do with the quality of your planning.
There are important things to be aware of, important things to take with you and important things to note when travelling alone as a woman.
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my top tips and things that I think you should know and prepare before heading out on your solo trip. Hopefully these will help you gain confidence and shape a safe adventure for yourself.
It’s so important that, at all times, from arriving at the airport to grabbing a taxi to your next hotel, you feel happy and comfortable. So I’m going to do my part in helping you prepare as I’ve been on quite a few solo travel adventures myself now.
Even if you’re planning to have the most spontaneous of adventures, I’d highly recommend at least booking your first night of accommodation on your solo trip. Navigating your way around the world solo can get exhausting (you have to do all the thinking), combine that with jet lag too (if you’re going further afield) and you’re going to be very ready to rest when you arrive.
Save yourself the stress and time of having to find somewhere on the spot and have it already prepared. Recharge those batteries and give yourself the best possible start to your trip.
The extent of this part totally depends on where you’re heading on your solo adventure. What we want to avoid here is landing into a foreign country where you’re facing a foreign language, with no working sim card/data, no copy of the address of your accommodation and… getting yourself into a pickle.
Make sure you have applied for the right visa (if you need one) and are aware of what documents you need upon arrival. Do you need proof of a flight out of the country? How long is your visa for? Do you need money to pay on arrival? It’s better to be a little extra prepared as a solo female traveller so that you feel confident in whatever is coming your way. Here are some ideas of things you could write in a little notepad:
I know travel is all about getting out there and learning how to fend for yourself but when I was solo travelling it was really reassuring to know that I had my phone and it had battery just in case I needed to contact anyone. You can get them really cheap and pop it in your day bag so that even if you’re out all day, you won’t have to worry about being out of charge and without help if you need it.
Leading on from the last point, this comes down to personal reassurance and a sense of safety. I remember travelling on a local bus for 7 hours in the Philippines, unable to communicate clearly with the other passengers and I was so worried about missing my bus stop. Having data meant I could look on Google Maps and relax, knowing that I was on the right track.
There’s definitely a balance to work out here. You don’t want your phone to come in between beautiful interactions with locals and there’s something so very beautiful about having to ask for directions. However, as a female travelling solo, if you’re nervous, having a phone with data can be a great reassurance.
Particularly if this is your first solo adventure as a female, don’t chuck yourself right in at the deep end straight away. Or if you do, prepare yourself to encounter some uncomfortable moments and challenges amongst different cultures, languages, etiquettes and social norms. If you’re feeling a little nervous about going it alone, consider doing a little solo weekend close to home to test it out. Ease yourself in.
Then, when you’re planning a bigger trip, consider how you’re feeling and how much you want to step out of your comfort zone. For example, as a first-time backpacker, heading to South East Asia or Australia is a pretty common choice and as a solo traveller, you’ll be inundated with people in the same position as you. However, there are indeed some locations where you’d be a little more ‘alone’ and out of your comfort zone. So do your research and choose wisely!
Sometimes it’s not even the traveller that’s feeling nervous… it’s the family and friends at home! There’s likely to be someone in the party that’s feeling a little out of control and worried for the solo traveller so it’s nice to check in regularly for everyone’s peace of mind. For the solo traveller (you) it’s nice to touch base with your loved ones, there will always be points on your solo travels where you need a little reminder of the love and comfort waiting at home.
I’ve been recommended Life360 and Polarsteps as apps that allow your loved ones to track, or see, your movements.
Travel is all about stepping out of your comfort zone and embarking on the journey of a lifetime. These are the journeys that shape us and that define us. My 5 months solo travelling was absolutely incredible but that’s not to say there weren’t times that I was lonely, exhausted, done and ready to come home. It’s your ability to dig deep when things get tough that ultimately define your growth as a female solo traveller and as a human. YOU GOT THIS.
Travelling requires you to take on and persevere through an emotional rollercoaster. As long as you’re prepared for it, you’ll be totally fine.
There’s no doubt about it. When you’re doing all the planning, navigating, cooking, learning and adapting by yourself… it can leave you feeling exhausted. You’re more than likely going to burn out a few times on your trip so just be prepared. Have a little ‘day off’ ritual planned to fill yourself up with self-care and love (this is a great life practice in itself).
Things to consider:
There’s nothing worse than losing your card / having it stolen and being without a way of getting cash / making payments. I’d suggest getting a travel card (I have a Revolut card and Monzo) and keeping them separate so that if you lose one, you aren’t stuck and have a way to make do until you order a new one / can sort it out.
This leads on from the last point. In some destinations, pickpocketing and theft are common and so you’ll want to reduce your risk as much as possible. One way to do that is to wear a bag on the front of you as opposed to out of sight and on your back. This could be as simple as your day backpack on your front or you could get yourself a little bumbag to keep things like your card, passport and phone in.
When I went on my solo adventure, I was building my travel business and so I carried with me my DSLR, my drone, my laptop and my GoPro. I decided that I wanted to take that risk and luckily I was completely fine. Rule of thumb though is, don’t take anything that it would break your heart to lose. If it’s not essential, leave it at home. This will reduce your responsibility on the road and give you a little less to worry about.
Though I had decided to take my camera with me, I made sure that when I was out and about, they were hidden. Basically you want to avoid yourself being a target (not that it should be that way, but part of travelling solo as a female is making things easier for yourself). You want to avoid drawing attention to yourself with items, clothing, comments etc. Respect local dress codes, language, mannerisms and make sure you don’t give people a reason to target you.
Honestly, in life and on your travels, your smile is your biggest asset and chance of opening doors. It’s a welcoming sign for conversation, opportunity, company and more. It’s free and it feels bloody good! Get your smile going. It will lift your mood and attract like energy into your solo trip.
When in doubt, smile it out.
Hostels are the home away from home for solo travellers. The moment you step into a hostel, you step into a family. They are designed to welcome strangers together and their daily events are held to bring all you travellers together to mingle. Think pub crawls, family BBQs, free walking tours!
In hostels you don’t have to feel awkward about walking up to someone, you don’t have to feel weird about sitting next to someone at dinner. Hostels are THE place to meet people so if you’re feeling a little in need of some company, book a night at a hostel (you can get private rooms too if you don’t fancy the dorm experience).
Group tours can sometimes be overpriced, inauthentic and a little unnecessary… but not all of them! *cough* Global Travellers adventures *cough*
Group tours are also incredibly social and provide the perfect way to properly bond and connect with other travellers. After all, you’ll be visiting the same places, staying at the same accommodation and eating at the same restaurants.
If you’re feeling a little in need of some extra ‘people time’, book onto a little tour or day activity!
What are your top tips? I’d love to know!
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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