“You’re doing what”?
“Are you crazy”?
“Girl!! that’s no safe, with all the crazy sh*t going on in the world”
“Do you want to get killed”?
These and much more are reactions and statements I get when I tell people I am a solo traveler.
You’re reading this either because you love to travel, and/or you want to travel but there’s just no one to go with. Your friends either don’t have the funds, time, or even the passion to explore the world and you’re left contemplating on whether or not to say f**k it and go alone. I started my solo travel adventure for the reasons I mentioned. I had put off trips in the past because I had no one to travel with. The idea of doing it alone was something that took a lot courage but I did it and will continue to because it honestly has become my favorite way of exploring the world. You are in charge of your decisions, you decide or not to do something, change itineraries as you wish and a host of other privileges. Since returning from my six weeks Euro-trip, I have gotten a little less crazy reactions and statements and more people seeking advice, tips and hacks on traveling alone which is why I wrote this post to hopefully encourage you to get up and solo travel:)
How to Solo Travel as a Woman
My very first solo travel trip was to Los Angeles in summer of 2015. I remember being super excited and uneasy at the same time. I booked my flight, accommodation and researched everything I would do while in LA. Small but mighty steps like going out to dinner, the movies, museums etc alone helped me get use to spending time by myself in a place or scene I haven’t before which slowly built up the courage to take the big(ger) step.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, AND RESEARCH AGAIN
The saying “knowledge is power” is vital when traveling. Researching a place should be the very first thing you should and must do before booking a plane ticket, it gives you insight on the place, what to expect, places to avoid, cultural differences(this is a huge one), finding hidden gems, staying safe especially as you solo travel, and many more which in return helps ease your fears and those unsettling feelings. In shorts, research is a solo traveler’s best friend.
HOSTEL instead of HOTEL
Please debunk all the negative myths you have heard about hostels because staying at hostels instead of hotels is great for solo travel. You get to meet other like-minded travelers who are more than likely traveling solo as well. Check out the blog abroad’s post on “hosteling” for some inspirations on why hostels can be awesome.
4. LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS. ALWAYS.
Your travel instincts (read: voice) becomes louder and clearer when you solo travel. This voice is your survival instincts, listen to it. Always! If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t. If you wouldn’t do it in your home Country, you probably shouldn’t abroad.
5. SIGN UP FOR STEP (SMART TRAVEL ENROLLMENT PROGRAM)
STEP is a free service for U.S Citizens and Nationals that you can sign up for prior to your trip. This allows the U.S embassy to contact you in the case of an emergency and they will help you make informed decisions. You can sign up here.
6. KEEP IN TOUCH/EMAIL ITINERARY TO LOVED ONES
To ease the fears of your friends and family back home, you should stay connected to them as much as possible, and let them know of your plans when and if it changes. This is also a great way for you to leave a trail in the case of an emergency, they will know your whereabouts. In addition, email/text your itineraries to your best friend or a close family; this could be emergency contacts of the hostel/hotel you’re staying, the address of where you will be staying, flight itineraries etc. This is also beneficial for you, in case you lose anything, they could always email it back a copy to you.
7. LEARN SOME TYPE OF SELF-DEFENSE
Look, I’m not trying to scare ya, and you probably won’t need to use your self-defense skill (knock on wood) but I am sure you know crime can happen anywhere to just about anyone, and as a woman especially one solo traveling we are more susceptible to it and knowing one or two-way to save yourself or give yourself more time before help is on its way is a good idea.
Tip 1: if someone is bothering you, and won’t leave you the f**k alone. Scream!!!!
Tip 2: get you a pocket knife or pepper spray but be sure to check the laws on possessing either weapon in the country you are visiting.
8. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN!!
This is why you decided to travel in the first place right? Or one of the reasons? Let go of the worries, the fear, let loose, eat that extra croissant, stuff yo face with ice cream, do whatever is fun for you, and have a great trip!!
Are you a solo female traveler? Do you have any tips not mentioned that could help new solo travelers? Please comment below;-)
Bonus: Need a suggestion on a solo friendly destination? Check out my 2- weeks itinerary in Spain to help you plan a trip around the country:)
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