1. Take Care of Your Health and Fitness
You don’t need to be a marathon runner or have a black belt in karate to safely travel alone as a female. But being in shape and taking care of your health before going on your solo trip will always be beneficial for a successful outcome.
If you are caught in a dangerous situation, knowing how to defend yourself will help you travel confidently through the world. Consider buying self-defense tools such as a personal safety alarm, a rape whistle, or bug spray (in place of Mace). If you are being robbed by a perpetrator with a weapon, it is best to avoid fighting back. Give them your belongings and be grateful you were prepared with travel insurance.
2. Avoid Overpacking and Stick to Essentials
The ultimate advice is to pack as lightly as possible. Remember that as a solo traveler, it will be your responsibility to haul your baggage from place to place. If you need to hop aboard a train, it is much easier with a small rolling bag and backpack instead of two big suitcases.
Here are a few handy tips on smart packing for women’s solo travel:
- Make a packing list: One of the best ways to prevent overpacking is to make a list of what you should bring and cross out anything you think you can do without on your trip. Lay out the outfits to assess whether you have everything you need or have too many items.
- Packing cubes: Using packing cubes to compartmentalize and organize your clothing is a great way to keep your packing tight.
- Limit shoes: Shoes take up so much space in a suitcase. When trying to be an efficient packer, limit the pairs of shoes you bring.
- Pack only essentials: Bring practical essentials you can wear more than once or mix and match. A couple of pairs of pants, a few blouses, T-shirts, sundresses, and a versatile sweater should suffice.
- Bring a first aid kit: Traveling always brings the unexpected, and you must be ready for anything when traveling alone. Bring a health kit filled with Band-Aids, ointments, antibiotics, Neosporin, and pain relievers.
3. Setting Boundaries and Dealing With Unwanted Attention
One of the first ways to build boundaries against unwanted attention is to show confidence in how you walk and talk. If someone will not leave you alone, use an assertive voice and confident body language. Do not be afraid to be extra firm in your responses.
In some countries, saying “no” to unwanted attention is a game. For example, if you are being hit on in Buenos Aires, saying “no” is an invitation for the person making an advance to keep trying. If you are faced with unwanted attention, don’t be afraid to be assertive and even harsh with your response if you feel uncomfortable. Instead of no, you could say, “Please leave me alone” or “I’m not interested in you.”
If you are a solo female traveler and get the question, “Are you traveling alone?” there is no reason to disclose whether you're single, married, or traveling solo. If you feel uncomfortable, it’s OK to say that you are traveling with a friend or partner, and they are waiting for you at a nearby cafe.
4. Choose Your Destination With Intent
One of the most important tips for traveling alone as a woman is to choose your destination carefully. Unfortunately, not all areas offer women the same freedoms as you might find in the United States or across Europe. This means women traveling to other areas across the globe who are accustomed to the freedoms granted in their home country should research on the customs and laws of the area to which they’re traveling.
No matter where you decide to travel, it’s always important to follow the customs and rules of your destination, not only as a sign of respect but to be safe, too. Choosing your destination with intent also allows you to learn more about the area you’re traveling to and find attractions and places you want to visit and explore.
5. Plan Your First Night Well
One of the top tips on how to travel alone as a woman is to plan your first night well. Whether your travel day only takes a few hours or an entire day, you will most likely be exhausted from the journey to your destination. With a plan in place, you can have peace of mind knowing you can have a relaxing night to rejuvenate you for the days ahead.
To plan your night well, keep a few key tricks in mind. These tips include:
- Transportation: Getting around a new city can be challenging. Plan your transportation ahead of time rather than waiting the day of your trip to find out how you’re getting from the airport or train station to your rental house or hotel, plan your transportation ahead of time. Whether it’s taking the local bus system, metro, or rideshare, having your transportation plan will greatly relieve stress.
- Lodging: Another solo female travel trip is having a full plan in place for your lodging. Before embarking on your journey, make sure your lodging is planned and confirmed, including the check-in date and the number of nights you’re staying.
- Food: Traveling can be exhausting, and after a long day, it’s essential to have a basic idea of where and what you’re going to eat. If you have any dietary restrictions, look for local areas to meet your needs, so you have enough fuel to power you through the rest of your trip.
6. Take a Break From Technology
Traveling alone as a woman can be an incredibly liberating and exciting experience. However, using technology as a crutch can be easy, when you can’t confide in a travel partner. While turning to your smartphone in times of boredom might be tempting, one of the key tips for women traveling alone is taking a break from technology.
Distancing yourself from technology, whether it’s staying in late in the morning watching TV or relying on your cell phone when out in public, can be a great way to discover new things. Instead of turning to technology, put yourself out there and interact with locals to learn more about local traditions and customs. You can also explore new areas, such as a historical attraction or a museum. You can make more meaningful memories when exploring a new place without spending time using technology.
7. Protect Your Documents, Cards, and Cash
One of the top solo female travel tips is protecting your documents, cards, and money. In many metropolitan cities, pickpockets are prevalent and can steal important and expensive items like your smartphone or cash. Additionally, some staff or patrons at hotels, motels, or hostels may comb through your items when you’re out exploring and steal your stuff.
With that said, it’s essential to protect all personal belongings when traveling solo as a woman. Some tips for protecting your personal items include:
- Investing in a suitcase with a built-in lock
- Placing items in the safe provided by your hotel
- Traveling with a theft-proof bag Being aware of your surroundings
- Purchasing travel insurance
With these tips for women traveling alone, you can have peace of mind knowing your personal belongings are safe and secure when discovering the world around you.
8. Meet Other Women Travelers
Our final tip in our solo female travel guide is meeting other women travelers. Just because you’re traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone. Along the way, you can meet a wide range of fellow solo female travelers from diverse backgrounds who you can spend time with, whether sharing a meal or exploring a local destination. You can meet other women travelers by participating in a travel group, at local areas like a store, or through social media. However, it’s always important to be safe and meet with new people in public places.
How Solo Female Travel Builds Confidence
Now that you know how to travel alone as a woman, it’s time to take the plunge and embark on your next adventure. Solo female travel can build confidence in several ways, making solo travel a worthwhile experience. Some of the ways traveling alone as a woman builds confidence include:
- Speaking up: When traveling alone, you don’t have someone to speak for you. This means it’s up to you to ask for directions, help, or something simple like a cup of coffee.
- Problem-solving: Because you’re traveling alone, you don’t have another person to rely on in certain scenarios that require problem-solving, such as navigating public transportation or speaking in another language.
- Learning: Solo travel is also a great learning experience. Not only do you learn more about the world around you, but you also learn more about yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses.