Traveling alone is one of the best experiences that a female traveler can have. I took my first solo trip to Europe two years ago and had an amazing time but I remember I was a bit anxious and doubtful before leaving. If you’re feeling the same, here are 10 tips for women traveling alone for the first time.
It is normal to be afraid before your trip. Traveling alone is a big challenge because it forces you to get out of your comfort zone. You have to solve problems on your own, make your own decisions and open yourself to hundreds of opportunities.
10 Tips for women traveling alone for the first time
1. Traveling alone doesn’t mean being lonely
Traveling alone doesn’t mean you’re going to be 24 hours a day by yourself without talking to a human being. One of the greatest things about solo travel is the people you will meet.
You will hardly feel lonely when traveling alone. On the contrary, solo traveling allows you to meet more people than traveling with someone. Interact, meet local people, start a conversation with your hostel roommates.
Traveling alone is the opportunity to make friends from all over the world.
2. Book your accommodation in advance
As it is your first solo trip, the best thing will be that you book the accommodation in advance so you avoid stressful situations. Believe me you don’t want to be wandering around a city that you don’t know looking for a place to sleep. While it is not necessary to do it, I recommend to book at least the first nights and avoid any inconvenience.
When looking for accommodation, always choose places that are central and well-connected to public transportation. Choose the ones with the best reviews.
When traveling alone I love staying in hostels, as they are full of people like you who travel alone and want to make friends. You will always feel accompanied and will have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
3. Stay in contact with family and friends
Before leaving, let your family know your estimated itinerary, the names of the hostels where you are going to stay, and information on your flights. If you change any plans during the trip, let them know where you are.
Nowadays it is very easy to keep in touch. You can buy an international data SIM card and talk to family and friends everyday during the trip. Your family will feel calm if they know where you are and you will feel accompanied. If you’re going to have no internet for a few days, let them know.
TIP: Always carry a portable charger. You never know when you may need to use your cell phone. If you get lost, or need to report an emergency or whatever, make sure your cell phone is charged.
4. Meet new people but know when to say “NO”
It is great to be friendly and meet new people but is also okay to say “NO”. If a situation makes you uncomfortable or if something just doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Trust in your intuition.
For example: During my trip to Brussels, a local helped me find my hostel. After 5 minutes of entering my room someone knocked the door: the local man. He invited me for a coffee and I politely declined the invitation. The situation made me feel uncomfortable because the man had entered the hostel without staying there and even knew which room I was staying in. After this I went to the front desk of the hostel and let them know I didn’t know this man so they didn’t let them in again in case he came back.
5. Stay organized with your documents and money
When traveling alone you will not have anyone helping you check that you don’t leave things under the bed of the hotel or you don’t lose your passport. Keep your belongings organized, especially important documents and money.
- Keep the passport and any important documents in a safe place. I recommend making a copy of this kind of documents. Keep the originals locked up in your room and carry the photocopies while you explore the city.
- Divide money in different places. For example: Keep some money in your wallet, some money in your backpack and leave another part in your hostel (locked inside your luggage, of course).
- Print your accommodation reservation. Depending on where you’re traveling, you may be asked for proof of accommodation.
- Bring padlocks to store your luggage in the hostel locker.
6. Enjoy the time with yourself
Traveling alone doesn’t only allow you to meet new people, but to know yourself. Learn to listen to yourself, to love you, and to know what you like and don’t.
Getting along with yourself is the best thing. If you’re not comfortable with yourself, who’s going to be? You don’t need to spend all day with other people, spend time with yourself and enjoy it.
7. Start with a short trip
You don’t need to travel far away from home on the first solo trip. You can start with a short trip inside your country or close to your city. On this short trip you can find out how you felt and if you’re ready to travel alone for a longer time and to a further place.
The first time I traveled alone, I went from Puerto Madryn to Bariloche where I spent 3 days waiting for my friends. Both cities are located in my country (Argentina). The next year I went on my first solo trip to Europe for three weeks.
8. Research the travel destination before you travel
Don’t travel to a place without being informed. Read about the traditions, the religion, the laws,the dress code, etc. Besides respecting the local culture, you will avoid any kind of offense. Travel blogs can be a great way to learn about a destination. Read posts by women who have traveled alone to that destination.
Example: If you are travelling to Thailand, you need to know the dress code to visit the temples.
9. Be aware and stay safe
Listen to all the advice your mother once gave you. Wear the proper clothes for the destination and weather. Don’t take unnecessary risks.
- Buy travel insurance. And if you feel bad at any time, tell someone.
- If you’re going out to a bar don’t drink as much as you may drink back home. Always get your own drinks at a bar.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your belongings in your sight when you’re in a public place and always carry the valuable stuff with you (ex: don’t put the camera under the bus) Here are some tips on how to keep your camera safe while traveling.
- Avoid unsafe areas or dark streets.
- Don’t dress like a tourist, it avoids becoming a target for scammers.
10. Just do it!
It is perfectly normal to be afraid and hesitant before traveling alone for the first time. The important thing is to trust yourself and just do it. Don’t wait for anyone or anything. Travel, explore the world, take the chance. This is the best tip I can give you.
Traveling alone is a unique experience you’ll never forget. Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy it.
I hope this post has helped if you’re a women traveling alone for the first time. Do you recommend any other tips? Please share them in comments!
Need more tips for your travel? Check out these posts:
- Travel resources and discounts to plan your trip
- Tips for traveling to Europe for the first time
- Tips for keeping your camera safe while traveling
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