Tips For The Solo Female Traveler
Tips for the Solo Female Traveler
Will one of your resolutions be to travel more this year? Are you tired of waiting for friends and family to agree on a destination, or to save up for traveling the world? More women than ever are traveling solo. Everyone from Baby Boomers to Millennials are embarking upon solo travel. Whether you’re just thinking about taking the solo travel plunge, or a seasoned travel pro, I’m sharing my top tips for solo female travelers.
Be Smart, Not Scared
When you first start to travel alone, well-meaning friends and family will overwhelm you with their own fears, citing random stories of solo travelers encountering troubles around the world. Sure, there are some destinations safer than others (stay tuned for the best solo female travel destinations!) Even in “safe” cities, there are certain areas to avoid. However, the majority of women traveling alone do so without issue, and you can too! Don’t let others’ fears scare you from traveling alone. You’re already reading this post, which means you’re doing your research. It’s a great start to traveling smart!
If you’ve never traveled solo before, you might want to start with a short weekend getaway. See how you like eating alone, sleeping in a hotel alone and wandering in an unknown place all on your own. Solo travel isn’t for everyone, but there’s really only one way to find out and that’s to give it a shot. If you love alone time, and enjoy doing things like going to the movies or eating out on your own, then maybe you don’t need a test run. Go ahead and book that Southeast Asia trip! However, if you’ve not spent much time with yourself, then a quick getaway will be the perfect prelude to your solo travel adventures.
Find Inspiration in Fearless Females
To counter all of the stories people are going to try and scare you with, find some fellow fearless female travelers to follow online. Read about their adventures, and mishaps, and you’ll start to see how really common it actually is to travel solo. Some of my favorite female travelers are Gloria Atnamo, Kiersten Rich and Alexandra Baackes. The more stories you read, and exotic photos you view, you’ll start to be excited at the idea of solo travel, and the freedom that comes with it. And remember, sometimes the small mishaps make the best stories!
Find Travel Groups
Traveling alone doesn’t have to mean traveling alone. If you want to travel solo simply because you are lacking suitable travel partners, then there are many groups that organize tours, and even some specifically for women traveling solo. These tours are also great for travelers who don’t love the planning part of travel. Some travel tour companies will book everything start to finish, including your airfare. Do your research, though, as many groups skew very young or very mature. Another option is to book day tours at your destination. This leaves you the flexibility of planning your own itinerary, while at the same time meeting up with other travelers for fun activities like food tours, snorkeling trips or sightseeing. This is a great option for introverts travelers, as you can still retreat to the quiet of your hotel room at the end of the day, as well as build in a few quiet days to just enjoy your destination.
Bump Your Budget
One of the bigger downsides to solo travel is the increased cost. Rather than splitting a hotel or rental car with friends or family, you’re paying the whole bill yourself. If you choose to travel with an organized group, or take a cruise, you can usually expect to pay a single supplement. As more travelers go solo, it’s getting easier to find trips without a single supplement, but it usually requires some digging, and advance planning. Cruise ships are starting to introduce single cabins, but limited quantities means they book up quickly. Other tour companies will pair you with a roommate if that’s something that interests you.
Cover Your Bases
Traveling solo means you won’t have someone to lean on if anything does go wrong. Follow the usual travel safety precautions, such as having copies of all important documents, knowing your PIN for all debit and credit cards, and having cash stashed in a few places on your person and in your luggage. Make sure your bank knows where you are traveling to, so you won’t have any unexpected issues withdrawing cash upon arrival. Chances are, you won’t have any trouble, but the peace of mind knowing that you’ve covered your bases in the event of a lost credit card or passport can be an incredible relief. You can also register with the State Department to receive notifications of any issues in the countries you are visiting. In the event of any kind of emergency during your trip (earthquakes, protests, etc) the State Department will know you are there and can help you if needed.
This is especially important if you are used to traveling with a husband or boyfriend who does the heavy lifting for you. Traveling light just makes life easier, especially if you are moving a lot during your travels. If you are taking any public transportation, including trains or buses, having a small suitcase will help you move quickly and effortlessly throughout your trip. The cobblestone streets of Europe are no place to be dragging your wardrobe trunk!
Stay In Touch
Having a way to stay in touch with friends and family back home will also give you peace of mind. Make sure someone at home has your itinerary, and plan to check in with them every once in a while. If you are traveling to escape and have some quiet time, then doing a quick Facebook check-in every once in a while is a good way to let family know that you are OK. If you think you might be lonely when traveling solo, then plan to have a FaceTime, Hangout or Skype session with someone back home. Even Instagram and Facebook offer video chat features. Decide if you want to have a cell phone plan and coverage, or if you will rely on free WiFi throughout your trip.