Solo female travel can be one of the most incredible experiences you give yourself.
Not only is solo travel incredibly fun, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself, feel confident in your resourcefulness, meet incredible people, have total itinerary freedom, hone your independence, and come home with great stories.
Over the past ten years, I’ve solo traveled to many countries and destinations and have had incredible experiences because of it. I’ve been a solo traveler in cities, small towns, and backcountry destinations alike.
Though no one can 100% guarantee your experience or safety when traveling solo (or at home for that matter), there are some things you can do to make your first solo trip as fun as possible.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- 👉 20 essential solo female travel tips
- 🌎 The best destinations for solo female travelers
- 💼 What to pack when traveling solo
- 🔍 And so much more!
Let’s dive in!
20 Essential Tips for Solo Traveling As a Woman
#1 – Check-In Regularly
As a solo female traveler, it’s super important that you not only let someone else know where you’ll be every step of the way but that you check in with those people regularly.
While I wouldn’t give your loved ones play-by-play updates of where you’re having breakfast and what bars you plan on hopping to (unless that’s your relationship, of course), but I would give them a general trip itinerary that they can follow.
Whether I’m alone or with friends, I give my family access to a spreadsheet that includes:
- My plane, bus, train, and ferry booking details and reference numbers
- Links to my hotel
- Activity bookings and reference numbers
- General day-to-day itinerary
Then, I text my family through a messaging app once a day to let them know I’m okay.
🔥 Hot tip: You can get access to my spreadsheet template by signing up for my newsletter in the sidebar!
#2 – Plan Your First Day
There’s nothing like showing up at your destination with no plan and then having things go awry. Sure, it sounds adventurous, but as a solo traveler, give yourself a little breathing room.
I always recommend that women traveling solo know the following before they leave home:
- Where you’ll be staying the first night (have your accommodation booked)
- How to get from the airport to the hotel
- How to get phone data (airport, an independent shop, phone company, etc.)
- How to communicate with taxi drivers where you want to go and how much the ride will cost
- How to get cash in the destination (if you don’t already have it on you)
Fun story — when I was traveling solo in Bordeaux, France I had this lesson slapped in my face.
I essentially showed up at the bus drop-off at 2 am with no accommodation booked, and then had to walk around sketchy areas in the middle of the night with no phone data or map. There’s more to that story of course, but since that snafu, I have always booked my first night’s accommodation.
#3 – Choose Your Destination Carefully
When it comes to solo female travel, not every destination is created equal.
Though you may come from a place where women’s rights and respect are generally accepted, there are varying degrees of this all around the world.
Before you book anything, make sure you read about the customs of your destination when it comes to women’s rights and safety. Read real stories of other solo female travelers who have traversed the land and, if you’re still feeling uneasy, choose a different destination.
Sometimes bad experiences are anecdotal, but sometimes they’re not.
#4 – Carry Protective Gear
As a solo female traveler, there are a few travel safety products you should bring to help keep you safe (even if it’s just for peace of mind).
In particular, I recommend purchasing the following solo travel supplies:
- A safety whistle or personal alarm
- A doorstopper
- An antitheft backpack
- A Pacsafe bag (to stash your valuables in when you’re out of your accommodations)
- First aid kit
- Combination lock (for hostel lockers)
Your solo trips don’t have to be anxiety-ridden affairs, but packing these few things could end up coming in mighty handy.
#5 – Research the Local Scams
As a solo female traveler, it’s super important to know what scams to look out for in your destination.
Scams vary from place to place, and popular scams in one destination might not be issues in the next. Overall though, pickpocketing, drink spiking, taxi scams, ATM tampering, and distraction scams are some of the most common ones to be aware of.
As a solo traveler, people will be looking at you as a target more than they would than if you were in a group. Know what to look out for and stay privy to your surroundings.
📚 Read More: My 20 Best Tips for Traveling on a Budget
#6 – Delay Your Social Media
A travel tip that I enforce for myself whether I’m traveling alone or with someone else, delaying social media posts is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself safe abroad.
When you post to social media, especially if you geotag it, people can see in real-time where you are, what you’ve been doing, and what you look like.
Not just a phenomenon experienced by mega-influencers, you never know who’s looking at your public posts, and delaying everything by at least one day will help ward off any creepers.
I learned this lesson in Amsterdam when I was updating my Instagram stories. After posting the story, I actually got a message on Facebook from a random dude asking if I was still in town. He legitimately took the time to look me up on a totally different platform, and I was a little spooked. Lesson learned.
#7 – Be Social
Let’s be real — unless you’re one of those extremely social travelers who attract like-minded friends wherever they go (I think they’re called extraverts) solo travel has the potential to be lonely.
And although solo female travel means you’re responsible for yourself, there’s nothing in the rulebook that says you have to spend your entire time alone.
So how exactly do you go about being social abroad? There are a few ways:
- Hostel tours and parties
- Meeting friends on Bumble (they have a whole platform devoted to friendships, don’t you know)
- Group tours and hikes
- Solo female travel meetups (there are groups and communities on Facebook for this)
- Walking up and, you know, talking to people
Making friends as a solo traveler can be one of the most spectacular aspects of your trip — spending time alone is fun, but spending time with others can be just as special.
#8 – Know the Local Emergency Numbers
Before you take off on your trip, it’s smart to research local emergency numbers in your destination.
As female solo travelers, we need to know how to contact our destination’s police, emergency response team, and our home country’s embassy. Then, keep one copy of these numbers in your phone notes, one copy in the spreadsheet itinerary you sent to your family and one copy on a written piece of paper in your wallet.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to use these numbers when you travel alone, but they could be crucial in sticky situations.
#9 – Buy Travel Insurance
One of my primary solo female travel tips, having travel insurance coverage should be a priority.
Travel insurance will not only save your butt if any leg of your trip gets canceled, but it will also cover you in case of lost or stolen luggage, you need to leave your destination early, or you have a health issue.
That said, before you rush to a travel insurance company and purchase their most robust package, check and see how you may already be covered. A lot of corporate companies offer travel insurance as incentives, and many of the major credit cards do this as well.
It’s true what they say, “If you don’t have the money for travel insurance, then you don’t have the money for travel.”
#10 – Take a Tour
Again, just because you’re a solo traveler doesn’t mean you have to be alone 24/7.
In fact, I’d say that one of the best ways to make friends and have fun abroad is by taking a local guided tour. Often, hostels will provide free walking tours around your destination, but there are also great day tours offered by reputable companies online.
Sign up for tours that interest you and see what happens!
📚 Read More: 11 Ways Solo Travel Changes You
#11 – Have Confidence
Confidence is key in solo travel, especially as a woman.
Having (or at least expressing) confidence will set you apart from the “tourist” crowd and help you blend in among the locals, leaving you less vulnerable to scams or other threats.
In expressing confidence, I recommend that you don’t look at maps in public (or do so on your phone when you can mask it), attempt to speak the local language, walk with your head up, and, if you need directions, ask a female shop owner.
#12 – Have an Intention
If you’re unsure about solo travel because you’re not sure what you’re going to “do” in your destination, then set an intention for yourself.
Setting an intention can be anything from sampling the best cafes in Paris to explore the bookstores of Seattle.
Traveling this way will give you a goal, a story, and a quantifiable outcome from your travels.
#13 – Take a Class
If taking a full-day trip isn’t your bag, then taking a class is a great thing to do while traveling solo.
Plus, classes are great ways to make friends and meet other adventurous people. Some are free, some cost money, but the adventure is calling and you must go.
#14 – Carry a Wedding Ring
I know that carrying a wedding ring is one of the oldest solo female travel tips known to civilization, but wearing a gold band could be the difference between getting a lot of street harassment and not.
Whether or not we think it’s fair, not wearing a wedding ring in traditionally conservative countries could signal to onlookers that you’re traveling solo or that you are fair-game for hitting on.
It’s definitely not something you have to be cognizant of in every country around the world, but look into the customs of your destination and make the right decision for you.
#15 – Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
As women solo travelers, honing our intuition and not being afraid to say no when the situation calls for it could go a very long way in keeping us safe on the road.
Women traveling solo don’t need to say yes to street vendors, other travelers, or even service people. Trust your gut on when to leave a situation and always keep your spidey senses sharp.
Not to mention, safety aside, this is your trip! You get to call the shots on who you hang out with, how you travel, where you go, what bucket-list adventures you check off, and how you spend your time.
#16 – Pack Light
As a solo traveler, you’ll be the only person responsible for your things. All the time.
You’ll be the only person lugging your suitcase up flights of stairs, maneuvering it onto trains, and keeping it safe through it all.
One of my top travel tips in general, traveling light is not only cheaper (you won’t have to pay for it on planes), but it’ll also save you so much grief and struggle.
I once hefted a 50lb suitcase, a backpack, a purse, and a camera bag around Europe for 5 months. Never again.
#17 – Stay in Hostels
I mentioned this before, but staying in hostels is not only one of the best things you can do for your social life while traveling, but it’s also great for travel safety as well.
Look, I know that staying in a dorm with a bunch of other strangers doesn’t exactly scream “safe” at the onset, but once you remember that these people are travelers just like you, have the same level of openness, and want to meet people to travel with, the experience makes a lot more sense.
Especially if this is your first solo trip, staying in a hostel can be a great way to break the ice.
For those of you not into the communal sleeping experience, then I should mention that many hostels have private rooms. I primarily stay in private hostel rooms these days and love that they’re cheaper than hotels yet still have the social quality we love about hostels.
#18 – Stay Aware
Much like the point I made earlier about staying aware of your belongings, staying aware of yourself and your surroundings is super important as a solo traveler.
Basically, have your own back.
Scan rooms when you walk into them, don’t leave your valuables in plain sight, and leave uncomfortable situations without second-guessing yourself.
#19 – Understand the Culture
Before you leave on your solo trip, research the crap out of the culture of your destination.
Know how to handle yourself, what to stay away from, how to dress, and what to say.
Especially as women travelers, knowing how the culture responds to us can be huge when it comes to both safety and respect from the locals.
As a feminist, I totally understand that adapting your personality to suit someone else is a bummer. But your safety abroad is your priority and, as a foreigner, showing your respect for another culture could open beautiful doors you couldn’t even dream of.
#20 – Use a Tripod
This is the 21st century, people — take a ton of photos on your solo trips with gusto.
Bring a camera and tripod, stand fearlessly in front of the lens, and take the damn photo of yourself solo traveling.
Who cares if someone sees you? Anyone judging you only wishes they had the cajones to do what you’re doing. Plus, setting up your tripod means that you’ll have amazing photo memories that you can look back on for the rest of your life.
Just uh, keep an eye on your camera.
Solo Travel FAQ
Where should a single woman travel alone?
Some amazing countries and regions for a single woman traveling alone are Mexico, the United States (New York in particular), New Zealand, Canada, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Among many others.
What is the best vacation for a single woman?
The best vacation for a single woman is the one she wants to take. Options include group trips, cruises, and independent travel.
Is it weird to travel alone?
It is not weird to travel alone. In fact, according to CondorFerries, 25% of travelers are considering solo travel in the near future, and 84% of all solo travelers are women.
Does solo travel get lonely?
Solo travel can get lonely depending on your personality and degree of comfort approaching strangers. Putting yourself in social settings is the easiest way to fight loneliness on your trip.
That’s it for my 20 essential travel tips for female solo travelers!
I hope this gave you a ton of inspiration and gumption for your first solo trip, and that you have an amazing time on your travels.
Let me know your tips for women traveling alone in the comments!