Typically when you think of traveling you think of traveling the world with another person, yet sometimes this doesn't happen or you want to set off an amazing adventure by yourself. As a single gal I have had lots of experiences of traveling alone. Sometimes it has been fun, other times awkward, sometimes full of joy, and other times there have been some tears. But above all else I definitely have learned a lot about myself and grown as a person as I discovered the world in new ways. Today I want to share with you my 10 helpful tips for solo female travelers to help you on your next adventure.
(1) Practice Safety always.
One of the things that is most important is to make sure that you are always being safe. Remember that you must be your eyes and ears to ensure that you stay safe and that you keep all of your belongings with you. Sometimes this can be a source of frustration (when you need to take all of your luggage with you to the bathroom) but remember that it is important to never take chances and choose safety always.
Often with travel theft and harassment are the two biggest areas of concerns for women. Be aware that both of these things are real and take the extra precautions to avoid these very unfortunate situations. Be practical and use your brain remembering to take the extra time to be safe.
(2) Live by a Code.
Always have a code with your loved ones back home about how often you will check in, how long to leave between a missed check-in and contacting the authorities, and have code words in case you are in an emergency situation. All of these things are simple parts of safety that should never be overlooked.
(3) Research Everything Completely Before Your Trip
One of the best things you can do before you travel alone is to research everything completely before you leave. Take the time to look up important safety information, call your lodgings, know emergency numbers, find out the best taxi service to use, find out the best neighborhoods to visit and the streets to avoid, and even find out where the closest hospital is if you have an emergency. By taking the time to research before your trip you will not only be well prepared for anything that could happen, but will be able to have confidence as you have your adventure.
(4) Portray Confidence.
The absolute worst thing that you can do for yourself is to look like you are worried or fearful or you are not sure of what you are doing. Even if you get lost (it happens to all of us!) remain calm and portray confidence. Remember all of the research that you did before your trip and have confidence that you can handle any situation thrown at you. Sometimes things go wrong and sometimes it takes longer to get to a place because you are traveling alone, but by staying confident you will be able to think more calmly and enjoy your trip more fully.
(5) Know that you may get Lonely and Recognize the Gift that it is.
Traveling alone can bring out some "travel blues" if you let it- especially if you are planning a journey that will be long term. The beautiful thing is about this is that we all get lonely at different times in our lives. By facing this head on (often without the ability to "fix it", you learn more about yourself, and truly grow as a person. There is a beauty to discovering that you can not only fall in love with people, but with yourself and the life that God has given you. Solo travel brings this out in unique ways and is a gift. (Looking for some encouraging verses about traveling alone? Check out my post, The Single Journey and Travel by clicking HERE!)
(6) Guard Your Heart... and Don't Trust People Too Quickly
It can be really tempting (especially if you are struggling with feeling lonely) to want to connect with others and find a tribe immediately. The beautiful thing is that from traveling I have met and connected with some of my dearest friends. But the reality is that sometimes con artists have mastered the skills at befriending lonely travelers (especially solo female travelers) and this can cause heartache and lots of trouble. Before you start sharing all of your personal information take the time to really get to know people. Always err on the side of caution and remember that trust is built over time.
(7) Always Travel During the Day if Possible
It is just a fact that more things can go wrong at night than during the day so try to always travel in the daytime if possible. If you do have to travel during the night remember to use safety precautions and always use trusted and reliable transportation.
Before your trip try to plan this part out as much as possible. The reality is that with time changes, lack of a "work schedule" (if you are traveling for fun), distractions, etc. it can be really easy to lose track of not only the date and day of the week it is but also of the time.
(8) Dress Like a Local
Even when traveling with someone it is fun and wise to dress like a local, but especially if you are traveling alone. One of the easiest ways to attract the wrong type of attention, the type that screams "tourist" is by wearing outfits that don't blend into the culture that you are visiting. This is especially true for women who are traveling to countries where dress for women is particularly conservative. In your research make sure to find out about the local dress and try to blend in as you visit.
(9) Learn the Basics of the Local Language
Part of your research before your trip should be to learn some of the basics of the local language where you will be. Having basic words in the local language for directions, asking for help, basic needs, etc. will help you as you travel alone. There are so many free resources online for many of the world's most popular languages that it is easy to be prepared before your trip. (Don't have time or don't have an ear for languages? Pack a small phrase book to help you!)
(10) Always have a Backup Plan
Even with the best research before your trip things can not go as planned. I remember one time when I was traveling alone arriving at a hotel that I did not feel safe at at all. I had researched thoroughly the hotel had received numerous reviews (all positive) and had sounded like a perfect place to stay and it just was not. I quickly left the hotel and went to my backup hotel for the night. I later found out that the night that I was supposed to be at that original hotel there had been numerous assaults on women. It was heartbreaking. My point in this story is to trust your instincts, prepare for a backup plan, and use it when necessary. Sometimes, even with all of the research in the world you don't know somethings until you arrive.
Also have a backup plan in regards to extra money, copies of important documents, etc. All of these things are so important when you are traveling alone.
Have you traveled alone? What are your helpful hints for Solo Female Travelers?