The Solo Travel Society weighs in on solo female travel safety and what to do when asked the question, “Are you by yourself?”
Solo Female Travel Tips: Advice from Women Who Know
Hi, We're Janice (I'm on the left and writing this post) and Tracey (on the right), and we are solo female travelers.
Many, many women travel alone and they love it.
However, solo female travel can be a bit of a challenge if you've not done it before.
That's why we've put together this category on Solo Traveler specifically for women who want to travel alone. It's designed to point you to the most relevant information for female solo travelers.
But first, let's talk about solo female travel. Here's what one of our readers and a solo travel newbie, Wendelyn, has to say.
"This month I booked my first solo trip to Paris. ... I just wanted to share this with you because you inspired me to let go of 2017 and forge ahead into 2018 with the knowledge that it does not require “someone else” to make my own way. I will be in Paris on my 57th birthday and I am very excited! Thank you so much. I have more to check out on your site and on Facebook but your message is an important one. Not just for the resources but for the spirit in which you support and encourage!!!
I have been telling my friends, “I am woman, hear me roar!” :)" Wendelyn
Table of Contents
Inspiring Solo Female Travelers for Over a Decade
Solo Traveler was launched in 2009 to fill an online void. There was very little information for female solo travelers at that time. As someone who, after years of family travel found herself traveling solo once again, I was determined to offer a personal voice and solid advice to women wanting to travel solo.
Since then, the community of women traveling solo has grown. At one point, women found Solo Traveler by googling, "is it weird to travel alone". Now, that question just doesn't come up. It is common for women to travel solo. Yet, it is not easy for everyone to begin.
Every week we receive emails from women taking their first solo trip. It is such a pleasure to receive them and learn how Solo Traveler has helped them on their journey. I hope this site, the many posts specifically for women and those for everyone, the Deals page, our newsletter and the Wits & Wonder Travel Course will be equally valuable for you.
Why Women Travel Solo
The Solo Travel Society on Facebook has over 230,000 fans and 63% of them are women. A Booking.com survey found that 65% of US women are taking vacations without their partner. This is consistent with my experience. I see women traveling solo far more often than men. In one case I was on a train in India and, randomly, there were four female solo travelers in one row. A Brit, a Canadian and two Americans.
We asked the female members of the Solo Travel Society why they travel solo:
- 46% said freedom, independence and the chance to do what they want when they want
- 22% said they weren't willing to wait around for others
- 15% said to challenge themselves and gain confidence. Solo Travel let's you go travel your way
You can hear the joy of solo travel in the voices of these travelers.
I was a late bloomer as far as travel goes. I took my first solo trip to Nassau, Bahamas when I was 34. I was nervous at first. But I got there and made so many travel friends. I had a glorious time. I haven’t stopped travelling yet and I’ll be 64 soon. Planning another big trip around the world. Retired now and will live on the “road” until I decide to come back." Deborah
Think you can’t or think you can- you are right! I’m 55 and I started with traveling solo within my own country. Then to Bali. Then the UK, Ireland, Europe, Thailand, and Hawaii: all solo. Why? I trusted myself enough to know I could and I did! Solo travel? I love it! Only way to go! Safe travels!" Diane
Top 10 Tips for Solo Female Travelers
We are sometimes asked to narrow down our top tips for women traveling solo. Taking some from how to travel solo as a women, others from our safety advise and still more from our lifestyle pieces for women, here they are.
- Choose your destination with Intent. You can travel better simply by understanding why you want to go where you want to go. Dig down. The initial inspiration may come from a book you read or a movie you watched, but surely there’s more to the story. Understand your intent, what’s drawing you to the destination, and you’ll have a more enriching travel experience. You may want to read Best Budget Destinations for Solo Travelers: the 2019 Shortlist.
- Plan your first night well. At minimum, have a place to rest your head on the first night of every destination on your trip and plan to arrive by mid afternoon. It’s important to have the time to find your hotel or hostel in daylight and time to change your accommodation if you determine that this is not the place for you. Read Solo Travel Safety: 50+ Tips for Those Who Travel Alone.
- Visualize the necessities but no more. Traveling solo does require attention to details. Visualizing how the practical aspects of your trip fit together, from departure to transfers to accommodation, help you travel with less stress. But stop imagining what the trip will be like at that point. Be open to opportunities as they arise. It’s impossible to travel without any expectations of a destination, however, the less you are driven by specific expectations the freer you will be to travel in the moment. Read Solo Travel. Mindful Travel.
- Pack light. You’re going to save money and be more mobile if you pack light. It requires a bit more planning to have a wardrobe that stretches from hiking boots to high heels but it can be done. Choose a base color (black, brown, beige, navy), a contrast color (white, beige…) and a color or two to accessorize and pull it all together. Read Bare Minimum Packing: Here’s Your Packing List.
- Keep your accommodation to yourself. Your accommodation is your safe haven. Don’t tell people where you’re staying. If they ask, it’s easy to be vague. Read: Solo Travel Safety: Safe Answers to Common Questions.
- You do not have to eat alone. From cooking classes to day tours to themed dinners, there are so many ways to have company over dinner if that's what you want. Read Solo Travel: You Don’t Have to Eat Alone
- Protect your documents, cards and cash. Keep your passport and other important documents secure. Have backup copies on you and at home with your trusted contact. Read Protect Yourself from Pickpockets: Keep Cards & Cash Safe.
- Meet other women travelers. You can build friendships with women around the world. My favorite way is by staying at hostels. Read Sleeping with Strangers: The Hostel Experience and Women Welcoming Women: A Gateway to International Friendships
- Take a break from technology. Women lead busy lives. To really relax you may want to back off social media for a while. A break from screens and technology, both of which can be incredibly addictive, will help you discover yourself more fully. Read Transformed on The Ghan
- Stay local, buy local, meet locals. By planning well you will have a better understanding of how to be supportive of the local economy. Buy local crafts, eat local food, stay in locally-owned accommodation so that the profits don’t leave the country. And as you do all of this, connect with locals. This will give you much on which to reflect. Read Travel Deeper: How to Connect with Locals and 7 Ways to Find a Free Tour Guide When You Travel.
How Solo Female Travel Builds Confidence
While gaining confidence ranked third in our poll it is a big reason that women travel solo.
I was 58 when I took my first solo trip to Mexico a year ago. I never thought I could or would enjoy traveling alone, but I ended up loving it. ... My self confidence skyrocketed and I finally understood why so many people tout solo travel. I went back to the same Airbnb this year with a friend and I must say that my solo visit was ten times more fun. Just do it!" Nancy
The nature of confidence is that it only comes after you take the risk." Joanne
Your Specialist for Women who Travel Alone
To say experts may be a bit much but, as women, Tracey and I have a lot of experience traveling solo. We've been doing so for many years.
I went on my first solo trip in my twenties. I spent two weeks in Europe and, to tell you the truth, I was flying by the seat of my pants. I could have used some of the advice in the articles below. Since then I've enjoyed many years of solo travel. And, as a woman traveling alone, I've experienced the good and, on occasion, the bad. All of which has prepared me to write and publish Solo Traveler.
How'd we come to publish Solo Traveler? Well, for me, a love of travel, personal loss and an empty nest all conspired for me to travel solo more and begin Solo Traveler in 2009. As for Tracey, on her very first trip abroad, which was with a friend, she learned that solo travel was for her. As friends, it was natural for us to work together on Solo Traveler.
So we write. We write for male and female solo travelers in general. We write about travel and saving money, safety, destinations, packing and general solo travel tips. There's also our Best Solo Travel Destinations: All Solo Traveler Tested and our annual best budget destinations posts to check out. There's so much on the site. Below are links to posts specifically for women who travel alone but first, here's our shortlist of tips for women.
Solo Traveler is usually for men and women. This post is different. Here’s inspiration for independent and organized solo trips for women specifically.
Why do women travel solo more than men? I’ve been asked the question so many times. So I dug into some research and formed a few theories.
When it comes to senior solo travel, age should not prevent you from fulfilling your travel dreams. The Solo Travel Society offers advice and encouragement.
When I travel solo I travel with more intent, more awareness. Solo travel is good for mindful travel.
Solo female travel has become very popular. Here are my tips for safe solo travel for women – and men.
On her grand solo adventure, a solo traveler discovers an organization of women welcoming women and building friendships around the world.
When a reader wanting to embark on her first solo trip reached out for help in moving from planning to action, the Solo Travel Society jumped right in!
We share lots of great travel stories. I think it’s also important to share my solo travel safety mistake. Please don’t make the same one.
Finding life-work balance is no easy task — even for a travel blogger. On my most recent trip to Goderich I discovered new creative ways of finding it.
From high adventure to profound learning, Solo Traveler reader, Elizabeth, shares her experience in Cape Town, South Africa.
Dining alone can be a bit intimidating for some solo travelers. But if you push yourself, there is much to enjoy!
Connecting with travelers of different generations is more about attitude than practical tips.
A quick-reference, solo female travel guide designed specifically for and by women who travel alone. Everything a woman needs to take on the world solo.
When traveling alone it takes time to settle into each new trip and each new city. Following safety principles helps get that safe and settled feeling.