38 Practical Tips for Solo Female Travellers
Our Best Solo Female Travel Tips
Let’s talk about solo female travel.
For starters, where should women travel? Everywhere.
Women live in every single country in the world. They make up about 50% of the population in each country. Contrary to popular opinion, women aren’t fragile beings too delicate to travel to the far-flung corners of the world. Women can & should travel anywhere that sparks their interest.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s as simple for women to travel the world solo as it is for men.
Women face a greater risk of violence or sexual assault and are typically perceived as easier targets for mugging. You have to travel smarter as a woman.
But fear not, women travel solo every day from Pakistan to Peru and rarely encounter dangerous situations. The small potential risk shouldn’t dissuade you from exploring the world (especially armed with our tips for solo female travel)!
Advantages of Solo Female Travel
Let’s start with why you should solo travel as a female in the first place.
You might just be unwilling to wait for a travel partner or have grown tired of friends bailing last minute. Or you may be looking to spend some time with yourself and experience the freedom of being the sole curator of your trip.
Either way, your confidence will soar as you realise your full potential & become 100% self-reliant. You’ll be able to cater your trip exclusively to yourself. No compromise necessary and you’ll likely make lots of friends along the way.
It’s rarely discussed that a woman traveling alone also has some major advantages over her male counterparts.
Women naturally are more aware of their surroundings. Your senses will be heightened while you’re in a state of alert in busy areas. Taking in more of your surroundings for your safety, while also noticing cultural nuances a more relaxed traveler might have otherwise missed.
Women are often more observant – because they have to be.
(Read Also: Discovering Solo Female Travel In My 30s)
You’re also more likely to get help easily from locals. This is where the stereotype of a woman in distress works to your advantage.
Women are also more likely than men to travel solo. This means more opportunities to make friends with fellow solo female travellers and you won’t be going out into the world completely alone.
What if you’re still thinking…
“What if I get sick & need help? I don’t even speak the language.”
“Am I going to be lonely?”
“What if I get lost & can’t ever get home?”
“What if the worst happens??”
Most female travellers are at least a little apprehensive before their first trip. But follow our solo female travel tips and you’ll soon be able to quiet that anxious little voice inside your head & brush off the well-meaning concerns of your less-travelled friends and family.
Solo Female Travel Tips
Women are often given ridiculous ‘safety’ rules like don’t drink alcohol, don’t go out at night, or don’t talk to strangers, but those things are often major parts of the travel experience. Therefore our tips will help to ensure your safety with minimal sacrifice of your freedoms.
(Read Also: Solo Travel to South America)
Before You Go
1. Research. Research. Research
Know as much as you possibly can before you visit. Learning about a destination will help you to avoid major cultural faux pas and feel more comfortable when you first step off the plane.
2. Google popular scams before heading to a city
Scammers are predictable. They run the same tricks on every naive new traveller who arrives in the city. You can save yourself a lot of hassle with a quick Google search on common scams in the area so you can spot them from a mile away.
3. Have someone back home that you check in with semi-regularly
Designate a friend or parent that you text every few days. If the worst does happen and you can’t be contacted it helps to alert authorities ASAP. But don’t panic! This is mostly just to comfort your family.
4. Know the emergency numbers
You’ll want to know them before you need them.
5. Get travel insurance
Always. You never know when your appendix might rupture or you might clumsily break an arm. Insurance puts your mind (& wallet) at ease.
6. Have an emergency fund
Set aside a chunk of money for when things go wrong. This way you’ll never become stranded without a way to get home.
7. Brush up on the local language
If you’re traveling in South America, you’ll find that English isn’t widely spoken. Brush up on your Spanish and learn at least a few phrases to make your life easier.
8. Download a translation app
Even if you learn the basics of a language it’s unlikely you’ll be fluent. It’s a good idea to download a real-time translation app like Google Translate.
Things to Pack
9. Bring a power bank
Having a charged phone means you can easily navigate confusing cities, request a ride, and translate phrases from locals.
10. Dress appropriately
This doesn’t mean conservatively. Just in line with the local customs. If you’re visiting temples be sure to cover your shoulders and knees, for Carnival in Brazil however, appropriate might mean something else entirely. Be sure to pack your wardrobe accordingly.
11. Carry the food poisoning essentials
The biggest safety risk of any traveler is a bout of food poisoning. Bring some Pepto Bismol, Ibuprofen, Imodium & Tums to soothe all types of tummy troubles.
12. Always bring back-up credit cards
ATM’s malfunction, cards get lost or stolen, and sometimes banks freeze your account. Bring a few credit cards so you’re not left hanging without any access to money.
(Read Also: Swapping Solo Travel for a Group Tour)
13. Book a place to stay your first night in a city
When you first arrive alone and jet-lagged in a new country the last thing you’ll want to do is scramble to find accommodation. Book at least your first night in advance and have a predetermined way to get there.
14. Write down your accommodation name & address
Before you set out to explore, be sure to snag a hotel business card or jot down the name and location of your accommodation so you can easily navigate back to it later.
15. Stay in hostels. You can even choose an all-female dorm
Hostels are made for solo travelers. Besides being an amazing way to meet fellow travelers they often offer female-only dorm rooms. You’ll bunk with 4-8 other solo women and feel more secure sleeping here than in the mixed dorms.
16. Choose the right hostel
Hostels have a reputation for being the center of the party. Sometimes that creates sticky situations with sloppy drunk guests. Not exactly ideal for a woman traveling alone. If that’s not your scene, be sure to read the reviews before you book.
17. Choose accommodation near the city center
There’s safety in numbers. Staying in the bustling city center will likely mean more guests and shorter walks or drives to the main attractions. If you’re returning to your accommodation at night you’ll be thankful it’s not in the middle of nowhere.
18. Have a plan B
Whether your couch-surfing host is ‘overly friendly’ or the hotel is not up to the standards it portrays online…there’s no point risking your safety over the cost of a single night. Have another lodging option in mind just in case.
(Read Also: Debunking 9 Myths About Small Group Tours)
19. Use Uber
Uber tracks you and your driver. It’s the safest way to catch a ride late at night.
20. Avoid arriving in new cities after dark
Taking the night bus might seem like the most economical option but it often drops you at your destination at odd hours of the night. Navigating a new city is difficult enough without adding the additional challenges of darkness to the mix.
21. Choose women-only cars on public transit at night
Many countries (like Mexico) have women-only carriages on public transport. During the day you might want to mingle on a fully packed train but at night it’s a safer and more secure option.
22. Choose a crowded route to walk home
Don’t go walking down any long dark alleyways. If you’re worried about a certain neighbourhood or feel like you’re being followed you should always take the busiest streets home.
23. Need help or directions? Approach local women
If you end up needing help or just want to appear that you’re not alone, approach other women.
24. Keep your valuables on you while in transit
If you’re someone who travels with a camera or laptop you might want to consider keeping them on your person during transit. Even if you just throw them in a separate small bag you can hold, it’s always safer to have them in view.
25. Splurge on the taxi if you feel unsafe
If it’s getting late and the neighborhood you’re in seems a little seedier than originally thought, call a cab. Or an Uber. The extra cost is nothing compared to peace of mind and your well-being.
General Solo Female Safety Tips
26. Don’t flaunt your expensive jewelry or gadgets
You might wear jewelry or sling your camera around your neck without thought back home but that’s just tempting a thief abroad. Keep your valuables concealed and they won’t have any reason to make you a target. As a rule, try not to travel with anything of great value anyway.
27. Blend in
You can’t always look like a local. But you can always look like an expat. Dressing in similar attire as the locals goes a long way in helping you look as though you belong in the city. You’ll draw less attention this way.
28. Be confident and alert while exploring cities
This doesn’t mean you can’t meander. But try to exude inner confidence. Try to look like you’ve been here before and you know what you’re doing. Just fake it till you make it.
29. Get a SIM card or download offline Google maps
Access to a map is vital for exploring with confidence. A good first step in a country (if you’re apprehensive about solo female travel) is to pick up a SIM card. Your phone will then function just as it would back home and you’ll never find yourself lost.
30. Don’t post on social media in real-time
If you’re an avid social media user consider posting only from destinations you have already left. You might think Instagram is a good way to keep family up to date on your every move but it informs everyone exactly where you are and that you’re alone. Women are much more likely to be assaulted by someone they know (even abroad) than a passing stranger on the street.
31. Hide a small amount of cash
Worst case scenario – you do get mugged. Now you’re all out of cash with no way to get home. Unless you were smart and tucked some away into a different hiding pocket. Some women use a hidden pocket in their purse, a tampon applicator, or even in their shoe or sock.
32. Don’t walk around holding a guidebook or map
Nothing says “I’m not from here” & “I don’t know where I’m going” like these two items. A phone map is more discreet since everyone is on their phone all the time anyway.
33. Take advantage of free walking tours
This is a great way to get the lay of the land. It’s a lot easier to walk with confidence around an area you’ve already partially explored.
(Read Also: Solo Travel vs Group Travel)
34. Join a group tour or class
This can be a great way to make friends and also explore something you’re passionate about. It’s a win-win.
35. Join a pub crawl or meet up with hostel-mates for a night out
Drinking heavily ‘alone’ as a woman is always tricky business. It helps to gather a small group to look after one another. Plan your big nights out with your fellow hostel mates instead of hoping to make friends at the bar.
36. Be kind
Treat others as you would want to be treated. Look people in the eye while talking to them. It will help you to make friends and also make you seem more confident and at ease. You’ll attract the right kind of people this way.
37. Trust your gut. Sometimes that means not being polite
This is the single most important rule any solo female traveler can follow. If something doesn’t feel quite right, don’t do it. Don’t push aside your inner compass out of ‘politeness’.
38. Remember white lies don’t hurt anyone
If you’re getting warning bells inside your head don’t be afraid to tell a little fib. You’re meeting a friend in 30 minutes. You’re traveling with your family. You’ve been here before. Throw in a fake significant other if it helps.
Solo travel is one of the most empowering and rewarding experiences for women (& men). Following these solo female travel tips, you can safely travel anywhere in the world. So, why wait for friends or a significant other when you can plan your dream trip today?
Travel With Other Solo Female Travellers Aged 25-45 !
We’re Other Way Round Travel and we bring together groups of solo travellers aged 25-45 for immersive & authentic trips to the most exotic places in the world. Here’s some of our popular trips.
11 Days in Mexico. Breathe in the pulsating Mexico city, roam the charming streets of traditional Oaxaca, and hit the beach in sun-drenched Tulum. See Itinerary
12 Days in Brazil. Admire street art in São Paulo, trek rainforests in colonial Paraty and marvel at the madness of Rio de Janeiro. See Itinerary
12 Days in Peru. Cook ceviche in Lima, sail the Amazon, hike to Machu Picchu and become awestruck by the Sacred Valley. See Itinerary
15 Days in Colombia. Dance salsa. Meet coffee farmers. Sail tropical islands. Hike lush jungles. Taste the finest Caribbean rum. See Itinerary