Solo travel can be pretty intimidating, and realistically, solo female travel can be even more daunting. But that doesn't mean it's not doable, and women can safely travel alone as long as they prepare well and move diligently. So whether you're going international to Italy, Ireland, Turkey, New Zealand, Thailand, or South Africa, or staying on the homeland by taking on Zion National Park or New York, we've collected some of the top travel tips for women that you should heed, especially if its your first time going alone.
Women travel alone for different reasons, but the empowering factor behind each reason is the common denominator that ties them all together. In fact, according to a Solo Travel report, 72% of American women enjoy taking solo trips and are actually most likely to take three or more throughout a given year. Female members of the Solo Travel Society explained that they enjoy solo travel because it emphasizes their freedom and independence, they no longer wanted to wait for others, and they wanted to challenge themselves to gain confidence. Making your own choices in what you want to do during your trip is just as powerful and important as taking on an entirely new place on your own.
Although some of the advice may be common sense, it's extremely beneficial to have a checklist of what you should always be aware of. So here are 10 travel tips for solo female travelers that will make taking their first solo trip less unnerving.
10 Safety Travel Tips for Women Traveling Alone
No matter where you're headed, planning is going to be one of the most critical parts of your entire trip. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to adjust to any situation you might find yourself in. The great thing about traveling by yourself means you're making all the choices -- Intentionally choose your destination, digging deep on why you're headed there. Your trip will be more enriching that way. The next few tips will help elaborate on how you can optimize your travel plans.
Pack light, taking only your necessities. Traveling alone requires particular attention to detail, so do your best to visualize how your trip will go, even if you aren't trying to have a strict itinerary. By picturing what you'll need for different parts of the trip to stay comfortable, you'll pack just what you need. Choose shoes that you can use for different occasions, such as a stylish sneaker for both daytime exploring and enjoying the nightlife.
Keep the colors of your clothes neutral so that your outfits can be appropriate for almost any situation, and avoid wearing expensive garments and jewelry. If you absolutely need your wedding ring with you, then try to make sure you're not wearing anything else that could be flashy or expensive.
This cannot be stressed enough for tourists, especially women travelers: where you stay is your safe haven and your comfort zone. Don't tell people you meet where you're staying. If they ask, keep it general and vague. You don't have to specify if you're couch surfing, or staying in a hostel, hotel room, or Airbnb.
4. Protecting Your Important Documents
You have options here in protecting your most important belongings, such as your documents, credit cards, and cash. If you're staying in a hostel and you can't lock your valuables in a safe, make sure to not place your them in pockets on your bag that are easily accessible to pickpockets. Ideally, you want to have a travel purse that doesn't have zippers or pockets on the outside of the bag, and you want to make sure any of you bag's openings remain closed by zippers. You can also opt for a satchel or money belt that you can keep towards the front of your body to reduce the risk of walking around in public places without realizing your stuff is missing.
Make sure you have copies of all your important documents with you and at home with someone you trust. And spread your cash out between on your person as you explore around and home base where you have some locked away for emergencies.
5. Meet People: Especially Other Women Travelers!
We solo women travelers have to stick together! If you're a woman traveling alone, there's a pretty huge chance that you'll meet other world nomads who could become your life-long friends. One of the easiest ways to meet new female travel friends is by staying at hostels. If you're looking to check in to a safe hostel, scope out hostelworld.com for great options.
6. Take a Break from Technology
To really maximize your travel experience (also another great way to be aware of your surroundings!), stay off of your gadgets and social media as much as you can. Embrace the new places around you by staying off of screens and technology. You'll need to save your phone battery anyways for important things such as helping you translate the local language, finding hidden gems on Google Maps, or calling an Uber to your next destination. And if you don't want to use your phone for any reasons at all, don't underestimate the power of guidebooks to help you navigate the area.
7. Taxi Drivers
Regardless if you need to use taxis instead of ride-share apps, make sure your luggages have tags that state your name and an address they can be sent to if lost. Your luggages should also be closed with combination padlocks to keep them secure. Don't use your home address on your tags, instead using an office address or somewhere general where you can pick up packages. And while in a taxi, make sure you don't exit until you know for sure you're in the right location. Pay while you're still in the car to make sure you get the proper change back.
8. Get a Phone Number
If you're traveling outside the US, it's pretty easy to purchase a phone number or a sim card and buy minutes. Have the local police on speed dial and make sure your loved ones know how to contact you through this number, just in case you need someone's help for anything.
9. Travel Insurance
Although a highly debatable topic, you can't go wrong with purchasing travel insurance if you've shuffled out a ton of money for a nonrefundable vacation. Travel insurance covers plenty of travel-related risks, including flight cancellations, lost bags, medical emergencies, and more. You might want to do plenty of research before you purchase any, because at some point, it might not be worth it depending on what kind of policy you're looking for. Some of the best-known companies are Allianz and Travel Guard.
10. Stay Local
One of the best ways to experience a new place is by submersing yourself in the local culture. Buy local foods, stay in local accommodations, buy local crafts, and even meet the local women so that you can support that specific place, as opposed to the for-profit tourist businesses that have capitalized in the area.
And if you need some extra inspiration to take that step towards your first solo trip, check out these travel bloggers who are all solo female travelers!
Have any extra travel tips for solo female travelers to make their adventures safer? Share with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!
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