We’ve all been there before…that magical moment when the stars align and you suddenly find yourself with the time and money to take that backpacking trip you’ve always dreamt of. Unfortunately, none of your friends can join you and the thought of going it alone seems too scary to even consider. But fear not fellow lady traveller! You CAN do it.
The biggest misconception about travelling alone as a female is that it’s not safe to do so. As with anything you might do alone, you just have to remember to be alert. Bad things can happen to us anywhere, anytime but we still leave our house in the morning so why should we hesitate to book a flight to Thailand?
Travelling solo as a woman: Top tips you need to know
1. Share your itinerary with friends & family back home
Even if you don’t have it all figured out by your departure date, bring the means to update your inner circle while you’re on the go.
2. When planning accommodation in advance, pick places with positive reviews
Check multiple websites as well to ensure you’re booking the safest, most trusted option.
See Also: The Hardest Countries to Travel Solo
3. Consider choosing a hostel that hosts social activities. If they hold pub crawls you’ll have people to walk back to your hostel with at night!
You don’t want to be afraid to go out at night just because you’re on your own. Picking a hotel or hostel that coordinates social gatherings is an ideal choice when you’re a girl alone on the go.
4. Research the neighbourhoods surrounding your accommodations in advance
A great hotel in a sketchy neighbourhood will only stress you out once you arrive. It’s important to feel safe while exploring the streets.
5. Tell your government you’ll be travelling abroad
Many governments offer a free service that allows you to register your trip and be notified in case of emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home. The service also enables you to receive important information before or during a natural disaster or civil unrest.
6. Make virtual copies of your passport and other travel documents
Scan your documents and email them to yourself or upload them to a cloud database like Dropbox.
7. Pack lightly and consider investing in a quality travel backpack
Travel backpacks tend to be easier to manoeuvre, nearly impossible to tear off you and allow for quicker movements when needing to get in or out of somewhere fast.
8. Check your phone for directions out of plain sight
Better yet, write down your directions on a piece of paper you can check discreetly.
9. Dress less like a tourist and more like a local
Try your best not to stand out in a crowd by wearing a big camera around your neck or maps stuffed in your back pocket. As always, respect the local dress code.
10. Invest in a selfie stick
You’re not going to win any awards for being cool but hey, the selfie stick is the ideal way to take a picture without the risk of handing your smart phone over to a total stranger.
11. Avoid mentioning you’re travelling alone, even to hostel staff
This one may seem a little over the top but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Nobody needs to know your business!
12. Spend time in and around crowds and public spaces
Just like at home, don’t take the shortcut through the isolated alleyway.
13. Aggressive flirting getting you down? Wear a fake wedding ring
Depending on where you’re travelling to this is an extremely handy tip to avoid unwanted attention.
14. Nothing is free!
If it sounds too good to be true, it is! If a stranger suddenly wants to personally accompany you to their recommended sights, they’ll expect payment, even if they don’t say so. When you’re alone, getting away from a smooth talker might be harder so be polite, but don’t hesitate to be firm.
15. Trust your gut!
Our guts have a way of trying to keep us out of danger. They tend to know something’s fishy even before our brains do so trust that feeling. Don’t do or agree to anything that feels even remotely “off.”
Where should you go?
With a world so big it can be hard to know which places will suit your needs and limit your apprehensions as a single female traveller. We’ve done some scouring and feel confident that these destinations are perfect for you:
- Dubrovnik, Croatia: The country of Croatia has a low crime rating and activities that are great for solo travellers, everything from boating to kayaking to snorkelling and of course, lounging on beaches. The medieval vibes of the walled city of Dubrovnik coupled with the oceanfront views and cobblestone streets make this a great place for solo travellers looking for a safe location to relax and party. Read more on Croatia here.
- Taipei, Taiwan: The capital city of Taiwan is the perfect combination of modern and old with high-tech malls, ancient temples and bustling night markets. Crime rates are low and you don’t have to be a native speaker to get around with ease — street signs are written in English as well. The subway system also has a “Safe Waiting Zone” for women that is monitored by CCTV cameras.
- Stockholm, Sweden: Stockholm is a very stylish city that’s growing ever more popular with single female travellers. The cobblestoned streets are littered with coffee shops, stores and restaurants as well as subway stations that double as art exhibits. Many female travellers have said that the people of Sweden are especially keen to help out solo women looking for recommendations or assistance.
- Oslo, Norway: Norway is highly regarded as being one of the best places to be a woman. Not only is the entire country beautiful, the capital city of Oslo is full of art, bars, restaurants that can keep an independent adventurer occupied for days. Read more on Oslo here.
- Reykjavik, Iceland: Iceland is perfect for the adventurous and active single female traveller. The city of Reykjavik is a great place to start as it’s small in size and therefore not at all intimidating. Also regarded for its stylish bars, shops and restaurants the nightlife in Reykjavik can’t be beat. Of course you can always venture off the beaten track to cycle along the coast to take in breathtaking mountain views and geysers — you’ll encounter a lot of other women doing the same thing!
Ladies, share your best solo tips below to help each other out!