A lot of women like traveling, yes, but the idea of going on a solo trip can be so daunting that sometimes they don’t do it at all.
I agree that traveling by yourself can be scary. There are a lot of issues to consider. For those who have decided to go once and for all, they are again faced with another challenge: how to plan for a solo trip?
If you’re going on your first solo trip soon (or even your 100th!), check out the following tips from other solo female travelers . You will definitely find them helpful!
How to Begin Planning Your Solo Travel
What’s the first thing to do when planning your solo trip? Learn more about the place you’re going to, of course. Get out your world map and look at where exactly it is in relation to your own location.
Most solo travelers also check out travel blogs when planning their trip. Blogs are narratives of people who have experienced the place you’re going to, so you will definitely get impressions and advice that’s timely and personal. For some travelers, however, nothing can replace travel guides (check out the latest guides here via Amazon).
Whatever method you’re going to use to learn more about your destination, make sure to take note of:
What are the experiences of other solo female travelers there? Do they find it easy to go around by themselves? What does the culture dictate regarding appropriate clothing and behavior? (Read: 5 Safety Tips for Women Traveling Solo)
What’s the weather going to be like when you arrive? Will it be sunny? rainy? or snowing? It has major implications when it comes to packing the appropriate clothes. You wouldn’t want to pack shorts when you’ll be arriving at -10 deg Celsius weather!
Summer is always the favorite of travelers. Who wouldn’t love strolling around in the sun? Unfortunately, it can also be the most expensive, too.
Because of my focus on budget, I prefer to be a contrarian traveler (getting more out of your travel experiences for less). Try going to places at a time when it’s usually not popular, and you’ll see. I went to Santorini months before tourists were expected, and I had the best time of my life!
Challenges in Solo Travel
When traveling solo, you will certainly face a lot of issues, so better consider them already while in the planning stage. Budget, for example, is my biggest concern. When you’re alone, you won’t have anyone to share that room with, no one to split the transportation costs, no one to share that delicious dish for two.
Solution: For accommodation, check out Couchsurfing (CS) or other hospitality networking sites. I have had a lot of friends from all over the world because of CS, not to mention huge savings, too, especially during my 70-day solo backpacking trip in Europe. You can also stay in hostels, where aside from cheap beds, you will also meet a lot of solo travelers who may be looking for travel buddies to split expenses with.
This is one of the major concerns of solo female travelers, and with good reason, too. Women traveling by themselves are sometimes seen as “fair game,” depending on the country they’re visiting.
Solution: Read up A LOT on the experiences of solo female travelers on the place you’re visiting. What are the best practices that travelers follow there? As much as possible as well, connect with others when you arrive, either in the hostel or through CS. Practice common sense as well; don’t drink too much. (Read: Of Eve Teasing and Solo Travel in India)
Yes, traveling by yourself can be lonely sometimes. You don’t have someone to share those special moments with, like how breathtaking Angkor Wat looked at sunrise, or how the sight of Taj Mahal almost took your breath away.
Solution: Again, stay in hostels. Strike up a conversation with other solo travelers, and you can then go around with them. You may have left home alone, but you will definitely meet a lot of people along the way! You can also use homestays, if you want to see how locals go about their daily life. Another alternative is to book a group tour for every city you go to. There may be a free walking tour in the area, so do some research beforehand.
No time for extended travel due to work
Most people have 9-5 jobs with limited number of vacation leaves a year.
Solution: Be a weekend warrior! It’s not necessary to be on the road for weeks and months to whet your appetite for traveling. Even a weekend can be satisfying enough if you plan well.
Being overwhelmed by too many things to do in too little time
A lot of solo female travelers expressed this challenge as well; there are so many things to do in so little time!
Solution: Have a list of places to see or things to do before you get there, and prioritize them so that you don’t get overwhelmed. However, remember to have a little flexibility in your itinerary. After all, one of the best things about being a solo traveler is that you can change your schedule on a whim.
Tips for First-Time Solo Travelers
When you have experienced going on a trip on your own, without waiting for others to dictate where you go and what you want to do, you will realize how heady solo travel can be!
Here are some tips:
Since you are SOLO make sure you are doing things that YOU want to do! There is no one else you have to please! –@RTWkatiedays[Solo travel is] not as hard as it seems. Scary to book, but easy to plan and travel. Conquer the hard part and chase your dreams! [Also] Don’t fall into the must-do trap. I’m trying not to waste time on attractions I know I won’t care about even if popular. –@newgirlintheair
Do what you want, and plan as much as you want to, don’t care what others say. Jump straight in and enjoy every minute [of it.] –@gallivantgirl
Be smart, but also be open. Strangers are not all dangerous, and new experiences can change your life. And have FUN! –@DangerousBiz
Don’t be afraid, you will meet people, and you will be changed forever. Trust your gut and enjoy the ride! [Also], prepare to have an open mind and be willing to adapt. Be aware…but don’t let things intimidate you. –@kbwanderlust
Don’t let solo travel intimidate you! Might be overwhelming at first, but pros outweigh cons and it’s so rewarding! –@WLTravelerJen
Baby steps. If traveling alone is scary, just take it slowly. Also, no need to spread yourself thin to see it all. –@packmeto
Trust your instincts and you’re going to be fine. The world is far friendlier than you could ever imagine. –@bitesizedtravel
Trust your instincts. It’s okay and normal to be/feel overwhelmed, but if a situation/place scares you, get somewhere safe! –@JoannaTravels
Instinct is great. but purely emotional – not so much. Smart solo travelers use [both] intellect and instinct. [Remember as well to] arrive with a list things to do at each destination so you don’t feel “lost” or overwhelmed. –@4Luxury_Travel
Make sure [your] trips are about genuine experiences and not just things to cross off [your] bucket list. –@wanderingiphone
Do not over pack! –@TeaForTeri
Many thanks to those who participated in the Twitter chat about solo travel planning: kbwanderlust, gallivantgirl, newgirlintheair, mellyboo, RTWkatiedays, apwong, zorica_l, packmeto, turnipseeds, travelgogirl, global_goebel, bitesizedtravel, TeaForTeri, wanderingiphone, DangerousBiz, girlatplay, cilkroad, Uh_Oh_Janellio, JoannaTravels, wtfmorringhan, ihavethewanders, WLTravelerJen, 4Luxury_Travel, DawnCorleone, chelbycat, Travel2HongKong, the_W_ilocana, and cynicdesign. Safe travels, all of you!
Do you find these tips helpful? Anything you can add to help other solo female travelers plan their own trips?