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Safe Solo Travel for Women: Top 10 Essential Tips

How to Wisely Enjoy Your Freedom in Body and Mind While Traveling Alone

Woman traveling solo watching a sunset.
Traveling solo as a woman you want to ensure that you enjoy a sunset overlooking the sea from the beach.

Traveling solo as a woman, you want to ensure that you enjoy a sunset overlooking the sea from the beach. Are you heading out on a round-the-world trip? For savvy, sassy women traveling for more than the usual two weeks per year, here are ten credos to help keep you safe and sane.

1. Only bring what you can carry. That means spreading everything you want to take out on your bed a few days before you go and putting half of it back. You can buy things you need in other countries. That’s what those outdoor markets are for! Wouldn’t you rather have some photos of yourself in cool new t-shirts and unique skirts than in that outfit you’ve been wearing for the past three years at home? And as you’re packing, roll your clothes instead of piling them up. Rolling saves space and helps prevent wrinkles.

2. Although you’ll be gone for several months (or years), only pack travel-sized toiletries. Dragging around a regular-sized shampoo bottle and a gallon of suntan lotion will not be fun. You can refill your small bottles as your trip goes on, and you run out of the soaps and creams you brought from home. A big plus of traveling is shopping in a new environment. You must buy toiletries at some point, so explore what the local culture offers. You might discover the perfect remedy that nothing at home could cure for your skin.

3. If you want to be the brunt of hostel jokes, drag out your hair dryer, makeup bag, stilettos, and miniskirt while moaning about how horrific your latest plane ride, train ride, bus ride, or taxi ride was. . Traveling solo on a budget doesn't mean you have to look like crap all the time. In fact, more pictures will be taken of you on your trip than yearly at home, not to mention selfies or Instagram photos. Keep your look, but tone it down. Leave the appliances at home and get an easy haircut. Use minimal makeup. Outdoor apparel for women gets better by the season, so invest in some Ripstop pants, fleece, hiking shoes, and sandals. You might have to trade the club-hopping for nights in the hostel kitchen, but swapping travel tips and stories with your hostel mates will be more memorable.

4. Ensure your online bank accounts are glitch-free before leaving the country. Transfer a chunk of money ($2,000 or as much as you can, depending on your budget and location) about once a month from your savings to your checking account. When you use ATMs worldwide, the cash will come from your checking account without giving you a choice of checking or savings. Also, check the fee for international ATM withdrawals, so you know what to expect, and don't be surprised if the local bank charges you a fee as well. Each time you withdraw, take out the maximum amount your bank allows and keep it safe in your money belt. Use your smartphone calculator to convert the dollar amount you're withdrawing to local currency. Better yet, figure out how much you will withdraw before heading to the bank so you're not fumbling at the ATM (a bad idea in any country!).

5. Although it feels bulky, wear your money belt under your shirt like a second skin. It's your baby. It's your life. If someone wants your cash, passport, and/or credit cards, that's where those things are. Please bring it with you in the hostel shower and hang it on the hook. Keep it locked in the hostel locker or hotel safe. If nothing lockable is available, keep it under your pillow while you sleep. The last thing you need to ruin your travels is an unexpected wait in a town you've already explored, biding time until your new passport and credit cards appear. Some scan their documents and load them to the "cloud" so they can be retrieved, in the worst case, at an Internet cafe or secure WiFi hotspot, allowing for quicker replacement.

6. Pay attention to dates in guidebooks, websites, and even ask (but verify) on some social media for "when to go/when not to go" to your destinations. It may seem exciting and adventurous to travel on a whim without any planning. Still, you might get stuck wandering around a city amid a city-wide festival, practically begging for an available room when there are truly none to be had. The Gods of Travel didn't conspire against you; you should have arrived before or after the big event. Head to a nearby town to find a room, and I hope all is manageable there, too. In some parts of the world, like Europe, booking a hostel bed a few days in advance is necessary and is always easy to do online. Like much of Asia, it's usually unnecessary in other parts, but it can still be done online if you have decided to devise and follow an itinerary. Your guidebook and fellow travelers will help you if you need help figuring out how much to plan and leave to chance.

7. Pack a page or two of inspirational quotes or poems when you need them. Please keep them in your journal and read them when you are wondering why you are where you are. When you are lonely or annoyed with everything foreign around you, return to your room and breathe. Read over your inspiring quotes. Write in your journal, not on your blog! Vent all your frustrations about how hard it can be to travel alone in a foreign place when you don't know what to expect from moment to moment. Then, put your journal away and let it soak up your negative feelings. Treat yourself to a tea or a dessert at a women-friendly restaurant. Even in areas where the caf├ęs are dominated by men, you can usually find a restaurant with couples and families where you'll feel comfortable sitting and people-watching.

8. Don't beat yourself up if you forgo recording every detail of your trip in your journal or blog for a few days. It's okay to hang out with new friends, read a book, and recharge. Writing down the places you visit daily in a day planner or pocket calendar is an easy way to keep up with what you've been doing. Refer to the planner when you have time to update your journal. Fill in all the juicy details before too much time has passed. You've forgotten the name of the bar where you spent New Year's Eve in Vietnam or that incredible museum in Madrid you want to return to someday, not to mention the names of all the fascinating people, both locals and travelers, you met along the way.

9. While it may not be fair, it's crucial for women to prioritize their safety when traveling solo. If you have companions, feel free to explore the nightlife of a new city, but it's best to avoid venturing out to bars or wandering the streets of a foreign city after dark alone. It may sound like a grandmother's advice, but the most rewarding part of exploring the world is returning home unharmed, with yourself and your belongings intact. During my travels in equatorial countries, the sun would rise at 6 and set at 6, giving me a generous twelve hours of daylight to explore, even more if I was with friends. If I was alone, I made it a point to be back at my hostel or hotel by sunset. Remember, you are a stranger in a foreign country. Accept that you may not have the same freedom as men when you travel and try to resist resenting local cultures for long-term inequities, as challenging as it may be at times.

10. Give yourself a break if you fall in love with only some places you visit. Concentrate on getting an impression, a feeling, and a taste while maintaining a positive attitude towards the people and the culture. You are a visitor, after all. You don't have to move there, and you also don't have to disparage the place in front of people who love it. Ask yourself if you would rather be home instead. If you are genuinely having a horrible time and can't wait for your trip to end, I suggest you end it before you sour other people's trips. But if you are stuck for a few days in a less spectacular spot than you had expected, then wait it out. Change your situation. Get a few people together to play cards or board games, or tell yourself you are on a culinary tour and taste every local specialty you can find. Read your guidebook and plan the next leg of your trip. Don't wallow. You may never return to this place, so try to enjoy it while you find yourself there!

Related Topics
Women Travel
Independent and Solo Travel

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