Female Solo Travel Tips

by Female Abroad

While I was just on a trip that wasn't fully solo, there were a few parts of it where I was off on my own and after taking solo trips in the past I can honestly say that these following tips are the same no matter what trip I've taken by myself.

Research the culture, female friendly? Unfortunately the world is not one large, friendly family. There are some places that are not advisable to travel as a single female (usually due to religious beliefs) so instead of just pointing a finger at a map and going, do your research first. Travelling is about experiencing different cultures but also respecting them as well.

Also, check to see what females usually wear. Do you need to cover your shoulders or head? Should you be wearing a bikini or one piece? Stylish or jogging pants?

Things will go wrong; go with the flow and be prepared-ish.

A transfer not picking you up, not being able to speak in the local language, food poisoning, getting lost, the list just goes on and on for what could happen and it can get extremely overwhelming. For me, before I go into freak out mode, I'll take a deep breath, inspect the surroundings, and then figure out my next step to solve the issue. While this sounds very basic, our natural reaction is to jump to stress / anxiety or anger which only makes the situation worse.

Got a cell phone? Make sure to have the local phone number of the transfer company to get a hold of them. In a rush and can't reach them? Is there a cab near by or an uber type app you can use?

Trying to communicate in a local language? Make sure to have a good translator app, a city / linguistical guide book, drawings (you can buy or create travel cards that have photos of the main things you may need) that you can point to, or at least the address of where you are going written in the local language on a card.

Lost? Have a map or download an offline map on your phone. Head to a hotel or local police station for directions.

Food Poisoning? Pack pills for that. Didn't do that? Ask the front desk if they have any or call your emergency medical insurance so you can see what clinic / hospital you can head to.

You never know when you won't remember; take lots of photos and keep a travel journal

Advice that my grandmother gave me and I've stuck with it for every trip. While some days I'm too tired to write everything down, I will normally jot a few notes and keep ticket stubs / receipts so I can go back at a later date and fill in the journal.

When it comes to photos, it is so easy to snap a bunch and then you won't remember where you were so I try to grab a photo of a sign or brochure just to document my location as well as separate photo's when I'm scrolling through them. Also remember though, don't live for your photos, you are there in real life so enjoy it!

Download a map

On my most recent trip I made the mistake to not download a map. Don't forget to download an offline map, they are a lifesaver! If you can get one where you can pop in locations and get directions, that helps a lot.

Support the locals, shop

The majority of places these days sell things usually made in China so I try to hunt out local businesses that make handicrafts or are from businesses that support marginalized people. The prices are usually higher but at least you know that the funds are going to people that actually need it and not some large faceless chain.

Be friendly but not too friendly

Chatting with locals is a great way to learn of things happening in the city or at least what to do while you are there. If you are staying in a hostel or a hotel, chat with other travellers or even the staff as they will also be a great wealth of knowledge. The easiest way to start a chat with someone is to smile. I usually have some photos on my phone from home too that I can use to progress the conversation / share different cultural points. However there is a thin line between friendly chatting and oversharing so be careful as to what you share so then you don't open yourself to danger. Some people suggest using Tinder with the clear notion that you are there to meet a local. I haven't done this and I'm not sure if I'm ballsy enough to it but to each their own.

Speaking of oversharing; social media

There are all sorts of stories in the media about people who post their travel dates online and people then know when to break into their homes. Be careful about what it is you post about when you will be away. Another side of the coin is checking in to places or stating where you are specifically on your social media as you may have some unwanted people show up at random times. For me, I'll post things after I've done them and if there are people that I want to see or maybe new people that I want to meet then I'll let them know the city I'll be in and the dates (in a private message) to see if they want to hang. I've had stalkers before, they are not fun!

Don't oversleep

Sure you might be jet lagged or it might be boiling hot outside but you are here to experience a location. How boring (and a waste of money) would it be if you flew multiple hours just to sleep in an accommodation? Get up and get going. Usually the best time to explore is in the morning when people have yet to roll out of bed so even if you are not a morning person, get food and then get out as you can sleep on a plane.

Keep the purse small and don't look lost

For me, I never want to look like a target so I keep a plain gunmetal wedding band on and small hoop earrings as well as my nose ring. Every other piece of jewelry goes. My purse is always either a cut proof, cross body messenger bag or a small purse with a cut proof strap that is also cross body. I find cross body is harder to grab so that is my go to. Confidence is also important. If I look lost or like I'm not supposed to be there then people will pick up on this and that will invite unwanted attention. Also, if you can't confidently say no then those cabbies, tuk tuk drivers, or pushy vendors won't leave you alone.

Don't second guess; just do it

For me, every time I book a solo trip I always imagine the worst and it starts to freak me out a bit to the point where I'm not sleeping for a few days leading up yet every time I am over the moon once I am at my first accommodation. Don't let nerves bother you (unless of course there is a military coup or something that you should worry about) as the trip will make you grow as a person and you never really know what you can do until you have to lean on just yourself. If you don't feel confident going by yourself but want to check out a certain country then take an organized tour (or cruise) where you can travel with like minded people. have time to do your own thing, but have the comfortability of knowing someone is looking out for you. If a fully organized tour isn't your thing then you could always look at joining group tours (ie. via Viator) to locations that you want to go to save money.

Another thing to not second guess, your gut instinct. If something doesn't feel right, run!

Pay a bit more for safety

Depending on where you go, hostels are a great way to travel and in some countries you can even find dirt cheap accommodation. For me personally I like to spend a bit more to be in a safer area and in a room by myself so if I do get food poisoning or covered in poison ivy I can do what I need to do without being bothered or even more uncomfortable.

Any travel tips that you would add? Drop us a line and let us know!