How to Travel Alone as A Woman For The First Time
Although travelling alone has been on the rise for the past ten years, still many women feel afraid of going it solo. Many reasons may hold you back: from fear of feeling lonely, not having fun by yourself or for safety issues. Or merely the lack of confidence for travelling on your own.
To tell you the truth, all these feelings are natural. I still get a bit anxious about travelling alone, even after 30 years of solo travels. There is nothing to worry about.
The only important thing is to feel motivated and have the willingness to travel alone. All the rest comes by itself. Going solo is a skill that, like everything else, requires a learning curve. You cannot learn everything on one trip, and the more you travel by yourself, the more you are likely to do it over and over again.
Is there an ABC for Solo Female Travel?
There is no ABC for solo female travel. No. I believe that going solo, by definition, is the highest form of freedom in travel; it wouldn’t be natural to have someone dictate or teach you how to travel alone. Travelling alone means doing it your way. While there are many reasons to travel alone, you are the only one who can shape it.
I have put together this guide to help you travel alone as a woman, by sharing my best tips on what works and what does not work for me. From getting inspired and organised to how to face safety situations.
Stay motivated – the 80/20 rule for boosting your motivation
Speaking by experience, without motivation, no inspiration can help get you out and start to travel alone. What I mean with this; if you are not motivated in taking solo trips, it’s unlikely to get inspired by solo travel stories. Nonetheless, inspirational adventures from fellow solo women travellers are key when your motivation is consolidating. It will give you the final boost to kick off. That’s why solo travellers forums are so popular for tips.
Choose a safe destination
I cannot stop emphasising on this point. Solo travel can get overwhelming, especially at the beginning, if you are not familiar with it. The best way to have fun and have a relaxed trip is to choose a destination that is safe and easy for a woman travelling alone for the first time. Starting with a place that a little bit out of your comfort zone will be fine, but don’t overdo, just at the beginning.
Pick a safe place to travel alone that is fun and accessible from different points of view: culture, outdoor, nature, food, entertainment. And pick something that you really would love to visit and has been your list and you have been raving to see.
Take advantage of the many Solo Travel Benefits
One of the many benefits of travelling alone is to grow and learn new things and meet up with new people. While solo travel is a great way to step out of your comfort zone, it’s good to take little steps and start with easy challenges; this is the best way to gradually grow into a higher level of confidence and prepare for bigger challenges. Also, science has proved that solo travel is beneficial.
Be open and social – Get to know the locals
Travelling solo means socialising and getting to know friendly people on your journey. It will happen even if you are not intentionally looking for it. I recommend staying in hostels or with a local host in a private home rather than booking a hotel room. It will allow you not only to meet up with fellow solo travellers but also will be able to travel alone without being lonely.
You don’t have to share dorms if you don’t fancy. Staying in a hostel or shared community will empower you to get to know your environment and making new friends.
- Hostels are the best fit for first-time solo travellers – I have spent months in them and loved my time. Nowadays I don’t use hostels much. I prefer staying in private homes or small guest-houses. Another way of staying with the locals is genuinely beneficial for the solo traveller.
- Use Couchsurfing and more community-based platform are useful if you want to meet up with locals.
Be prepared to be Alone and Explore Places On your own
While meeting people on your travels is undoubtedly one of the best parts, remember that solo travel means exploring a place by yourself.
- Make a plan and a back-up plan of things you can do by yourself.
- Mix it up with guided walking tours, but don’t resort to groups all the time.
- Try to spend at least 80% of the time alone.
- Don’t end up spending all your time with other people.
Dining solo – Do it even if you don’t like the idea
Dining alone is probably the most hated thing among female solo travellers, but the reality is that it is not as bad as you can imagine. Of course, it’s unlikely for you to walk into a romantic restaurant and to sit alone at candlelight. But there are many more dining combinations and options that will make dining alone as a woman less boring.
These are my tips to avoid feeling lonely when dining solo:
- Choose a suitable dining venue that offers an entertainment area and a round-bar area.
- Eat early in the evening in a place close to your accommodation.
- Choose a venue with a terrace or an open space where you can sit outside.
- Watch people when you are alone is always fun and entertaining.
- Do not take a book or any other distraction.
- Make breakfast and lunch your main meals. During daylight, it is much easier to get around and having lunch alone, than in the evening.
Female Solo Travel – how to deal with unwanted attention
Having travelled on my own for +30 years, I know that there always highs and downs when you are alone, and dealing with unwanted attention is one of the less pleasant things. While it’s impossible to avoid it entirely, even if you are female and +50, there are ways to come to terms with this situation.
Here are my tips:
- Don’t go to out at night on your own to isolated places.
- Stick to a safe public area with live entertainment and stay among people.
- Choose a nearby restaurant that is a walking distance to your accommodation.
- Don’t drink or drink in moderation.
These are all tips to help you travel alone safely as a woman. They will help be aware of your surroundings when exploring places and stay safe. However, I can tell you that the kindness of strangers sometimes will lead you astray. Bear in mind that most people are willing to help, so don’t misinterpret the good intention.
Safety for Solo Women Travellers – Which places are safe?
When visiting for the first time on your own, choosing the right and safe destination is critical. While it’s essential that you choose a place that you want to see, it’s equally important to pick a comfortable and safe country to travel alone, that is a no-brainer and doesn’t bring additional stress.
For the first solo trip, I would suggest choosing a city with a good vibe or a destination that offers the right combination of cultural and natural attractions. 3-4 days are enough to start with the first solo trip. But if you are keen to venture into a more extended trip, you can build a trip itinerary by connecting a few safe destinations for women, near where you live or an overseas place that speak your language and can make yourself feel comfortable.
On my first solo trip around Germany back in 1990, I went on a train trip from Italy to Munich and further north to Hamburg and Berlin. Europe is one of the safest places for women who want to travel alone and I can highly recommend.
Safest places to travel alone for women
There are many safe countries around the world, but speaking by experience, I think the safest destinations for women are:
- New Zealand
If you want to practice your solo travel skills, these countries will give you ample options for explorations and type of experiences. Let yourself be surprised.
If you want to go to Australia solo, you can get my book to plan your trip: Your Australia Itinerary.
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