While it drives my parents crazy, I don’t mind traveling solo. The world is a great big place to explore, and travel buddies aren’t always the most reliable or have the same travel goals as you. As a supporter of solo female travel, here are some tips to help other wanderlusting women make the most out of their adventure.
Plan, plan, and plan some more. The key way you can avoid mix-ups when you arrive in a new place is to plan it out. Granted, there might be some hiccups (Metro closed? Outdated map? Wrong address?) but if you’ve already made a plan, you can adjust and find your way quicker than if you didn’t plan at all.
The singe most important planning tip I’ve learned: always plan and book your first night’s accommodation before arrival. Exhaustion from travel, time zone changes, and cultural differences can be overwhelming, so having a place to rest and adjust is one of the most important things upon arrival.
With planning comes researching. Research the place you’re traveling to before you go. This means weather, local customs, phrases, and anything else that could be important and help you get around. If you research where you want to travel, you also can start creating a connection with the place, something that’ll add so much value to your trip.
Keep in contact, but don’t over-promise. Talk to your loved ones about your plans before you go; letting them in on the planning process could also give them, and you, some peace of mind. Before leaving, make sure you have set up an emergency contact for, well, emergencies. Be prepared for the possibility of not having service, and plan accordingly with your loved ones.
Don’t overpack. We all want to take every single cute shirt that we can, but this will slow you down and possibly cost you extra. Make a checklist of everything you think you need. Seeing it all written down can help you decide if it really belongs in your suitcase. Also, try packing tops and bottoms that you can mix and match instead of complete outfits. My personal rule: always pack two extra pairs of socks and underwear.
Make safety a priority. Arrive to your accommodation during the daylight so you can get the lay of the land, and keep your accommodation location private. Keep your cards, cash (never carry more money than you need), and other personal belongings safe and make copies of them. If you’re in a hostel, make sure to pack a padlock for the locker in the room to store your belongings. Take a self defense course if it’ll make you feel safer. If you’re lost, walk into a cafe or restaurant or any public place and ask for directions instead of wandering around hopelessly. Don’t arrive somewhere new after dark!!
Meet new people! This is a fun one. If you’re staying in a hostel, you can easily meet and interact with fellow travelers. Make plans to go out to dinner or on excursions with your new buddies if the solo travel life really weighs on you. The locals are usually also very friendly and generous and will help you if you need directions or recommendations.
Use common sense. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instinct and leave the situation.
Solo travel has the power to change you as an individual, and I strongly encourage everyone to try it just once (whether it be for a day or a few weeks, that’s up to you). When traveling solo, use common sense above everything else. Be confident and smart, friendly and curious. Happy and safe travels!
If you’re looking for a place to visit, check out these fierce female approved destinations (I recommend #3).
Also published on Medium.