10 Important Tips Every Solo Female Traveler Should Know
From Atlanta to Zimbabwe, some of my most powerful and enjoyable travel experiences have been the ones I’ve tackled alone. Sure, I love a romantic getaway, a BFF weekend or a family vacay. But, I am my own best travel companion. Traveling alone gives you the freedom to discover the world, and yourself, on your own terms. Before you start buying plane tickets and packing your carry-on, consider these ten tips for solo female travel.
1. Keep Someone Informed
Traveling solo does not mean doing it all alone. The most important safety tip for solo female travel is having a point person at home. Be sure at least one person has your itinerary, complete with hotel contact information and flight numbers and stay in frequent contact with them. Social media is also a good way to leave a trail of your whereabouts, especially if you deviate from the plan. Use the check-in post option to tag your location, along with an upbeat-sounding note or photo, for a breadcrumb that will also make your friends super jealous of your adventure.
2. Don’t Overindulge In Alcohol
Downing a pisco sour to celebrate my last night alone in Peru is one of my all-time favorite travel memories, and sipping a glass of Bordeaux in… Bordeaux ranks pretty high on my bucket list. You’ll never hear me say that alcohol is a no-go while traveling alone. But, for safeties’ sake, it’s important to know your limits and stay well within them. Limiting yourself to one drink per night lets you savor the experience without leaving you at risk.
3. Look Like A Local
Nothing distinguishes you as a tourist, and an easy target, like a camera around your neck and the wrong wardrobe. Blending in with the locals will not only help you stay safe, it can also help you score better service. Keep your camera or selfie-stick tucked into your bag, and follow local custom and trends for dressing.
4. Embrace Spontaneity
I love packing lists, dinner reservations and detailed itineraries. But, the beauty of travel lives in exploration and discovery. Moving, or lingering, at your own pace is the best part of solo travel. Start with a plan, but be willing to let it go in favor of hidden gems and embracing the moment.
5. Carry the Right Handbag
Bucket bags and oversized totes are cute and seem perfect for tossing daily essentials into. But, they leave you open, literally, to pickpockets. Opt for a cross body bag that zips fully closed. RFID blocking pockets will also prevent tech-savvy scammers from grabbing your digital details. Look for handbags that fold flat for tossing into your luggage and making the most of your carryon capacity.
6. Start Small
Travel does not need to be far-flung or exotic to be meaningful. Backpacking across South America might not be the best option for a first-time solo traveler. Start with small steps with a weekend trip to a nearby city. Areas with a well-established travel industry, all-inclusive resorts and branded hotels also make some of the best places to travel alone as a woman. As you build up experience, you’ll be able to jump into more intense solo trips.
7. Showcase Confidence
Traveling involves problem-solving and figuring things out on the fly. But, looking lost, confused or overwhelmed can make you a target. Adopt a “fake it until you make it” attitude and paste on a mask of confidence until you feel the real thing.
8. Get Comfortable Eating Alone
It’s natural for sitting alone in a restaurant to feel a little awkward, but sampling the local cuisine is a big part of the experience. Sitting on outdoor patios helps me feel more comfortable. Sitting at the bar, striking up a conversation with the wait staff or bringing along a book are all good strategies. Best of all, dining alone means there’s no one to judge if you want to sample two desserts!
9. Trust Your Gut
My last, and potentially most life-saving, piece of safety advice for travelling alone is to listen to the voice in the back of your head. Whether it’s a sketchy-looking cab or the most highly-rated restaurant, if your instinct tells you something isn’t right or you feel unsafe, walk away, right away.
10. Have Fun
While you absolutely want to stay safe while traveling alone, the most important part of traveling alone is soaking up the moment and creating memories. Overall, the world is a good place and, as a strong, independent woman, you should never let hear hold you back. Now get our there! The world is waiting for you!