Solo female travel tips – 11 top bloggers share their wisdom
There’s no doubt that travelling on your own can be daunting - whether you’re spending a weekend in Paris or heading off on a 6-month round-the-world adventure. In order to find out how to do it properly, we got in touch with a bunch of experts in this field – 11 top bloggers who travel and write about it for a living. We asked them to answer one simple question: What's the one tip you would give to a woman setting off on her first solo travel experience? Here’s what they had to say…
Amanda Williams, author of A Dangerous Business, says:
"You DO have to travel differently when you’re a woman. But my rule of thumb is this: don’t do anything abroad that you wouldn’t do at home. Simple. This means that I’m not going to go wandering in an unfamiliar place on my own at night, or take rides with complete strangers, or go off without telling someone where I went, or get drunk or do drugs or do anything else that would put me in danger no matter where I am. I also have learned to be aware of my surroundings and to trust my gut. If I find myself in a situation where I feel uncomfortable, I do what I can to remove myself from it. When you travel solo, you are your own best defence."
Christine Ka'aloa, aka the GRRRL TRAVELER, says:
"Just because you’re flying alone doesn’t mean you’ll end up alone. Once you book your flight you’ve actually just crossed your biggest hurdle of solo travel. After you touch down at your destination, the fear melts into a fast logic and action of navigating your sightseeing plans. For any beginning soloist, I highly recommend staying at hostels, where you’ll be around other travellers. I use questions to meet people and often, I find travellers open to hopping onto my itinerary and sometimes, vice versa. It’s actually much easier to meet quick travel friends when you’re travelling than it is when you’re coordinating your travel from home."
Monica Stott, founder and editor of The Travel Hack, says:
"My top piece of travel advice for solo female travellers is to pack light. It may not seem like the most obvious tip, but if you’ve packed light then everything about travelling is so much easier. You’re more mobile, it’s easier to keep your belongings safe, you never need to rely on others to help with your luggage, you look like less of a tourist and therefore less of a target and you can nip around quickly and easily with little hassle or fuss."
Victoria Philpott, the blogger behind VickyFlipFlopTravels, says:
"Don't set off with fixed preconceptions about what a place will be like, especially if you've been informed by people who haven't even been there. People will tell you a destination is dangerous, but you can't tar a whole country with the same brush – it's situations that are dangerous, not whole countries. Keep an open mind and a strong sense of self to follow your intuition, then act quickly if you sense something isn't right and have confidence in your decision."
Suzanne Jones, aka The Travel Bunny, says:
"Always book your first night's accommodation in advance and plan your travels so you arrive in each new destination early in the day. You get a better sense of a place in daylight and if you're not happy with your accommodation you'll have time to change it before nightfall. Once happy with your accommodation, get to know the town or city quickly - you'll look and feel more confident and you'll be less of a target for any trouble."
Mariellen Ward from Breathedreamgo says:
"The No1 thing female solo travellers need to pack is confidence. If you go out into the world with confidence in yourself, and in the general goodness of the world, you will greatly increase your chances of having a great time and a safe journey. It's always a good idea to research your destination and practise caution – but not fear. Fear will attract the wrong kind of energy. So go where you feel confident and see your world!"
Jaillan Yehia from Savoir There says:
"My advice is simple; to trust your instincts. While there are hundreds of tips I’d love to share - about how travel is easier than you ever imagined, or how you should resist the urge to over-plan, or even why you must strike a balance between discovering a ‘new you’ and staying true to the old one - my own first instinct was to remind you to trust yours. Your gut, your intuition, your sixth sense, call it what you will, has a more powerful processor than any computer invented, so wherever you find yourself, it can always guide you."
Kate McCulley, aka Adventurous Kate, says:
"Spend extra money on staying safe. If you’re traveling long-term on a shoestring budget, it can be hard to justify spending extra cash when it could go toward so many more fun activities. But it’s a smart idea to financially invest in your own safety. What does that mean? It means that if your flight is scheduled to land in a rough city late at night, you should spend more money on a guesthouse that will pick you up right from the airport instead of taking a bus into town and trying to find a guesthouse on foot. It means you should pay extra money to take a taxi home at night if you don’t feel comfortable walking through the neighborhood on your own. It means you should choose the dive school with the stellar safety reputation and hundreds of positive TripAdvisor reviews instead of the rough-around-the-edges one that will do it for much cheaper. Build an extra financial cushion into your trip and use it for situations like these: ones where you could be a little bit safer if you spent a little more."
Becki Enright, author of Borders of Adventure, says:
"Don’t overplan – let things take their natural course. It’s easy to be overzealous in the planning stages of your travels, mapping out each and every day and week of your solo tour to ensure that you are occupied and busy. But don’t overplan. As much as you are travelling solo, you will soon see that you’re hardly ever alone and in meeting lots of new people in every place, your plans will quickly change. Or you will wish you hadn’t booked so many things in advance. I guarantee you will end up in a spontaneously chosen destination or a country not on your original list. That's the true freedom of solo travel - not knowing."
Victoria Brewood from Pommie Travels says:
"Throw yourself into it. When I set off on my first solo travel experience to Australia I was nervous and worried I wouldn't meet anyone. As it turns out, I made friends from around the world who I still visit and talk to today. Don't be afraid to strike up conversations with other solo travellers, you never know where it may lead. Tours and hostels are environments for meeting people and if you get talking to another solo traveller, politely ask them if maybe they'd like to explore the sights together. When it comes to safety, just trust your gut and if something doesn't feel right, walk away."
Hannah Loaring of Further Bound says:
"Don't let fear hold you back. There is so much goodness and beauty out there for you to discover. Tread with caution but conviction, and keep your heart and mind open to experiencing all the world has to offer."
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Got any tips of your own that you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments section below...