9 Things You Need To Know As A Solo Female Traveler
Traveling alone can be a little nerve-racking for anyone, especially to a place you’ve never been to.
Women specifically though, are always warned to take extra precautions, or often, to just not travel alone. If you have a best friend, roommate, sibling, or spouse who’s always excited to come along on your adventures, that’s great, but sometimes you have to head off on your own, and knowing what to expect when you’re the only person you know is important.
It’s easy to imagine all the fun activities you do, beautiful sights you’ll see, and soak in the wanderlust of the destination you’re traveling to, but if you don’t fully prepare yourself for what it’s like to travel alone, you may get into some sticky situations along the way, so check out these 9 pieces of advice that will make your travels a little bit easier (or at least safer)!
1. Plan in advance.
Don’t leave yourself trying to wave down a taxi outside the airport or risk finding out that the city you’re in doesn’t have Uber. While you don’t have to plan every waking second of your trip, you need to at least have a general idea of what you’ll be doing and how you’ll get to and from each place.
Doing your research in advance also give you the ability to decide on which tourist spots on worth skipping or what activities the locals prefer. Leaving that up to chance is likely to get you a lot of wasted time (and maybe money) trying to figure what exactly you want to do and see.
2. Take a portable phone charger with you everywhere.
It’s the #1 must-pack item for any trip. Think about how often you use your phone, even when you’re on a social media hiatus. You’ll want to take pictures. You may need to look up directions or closing times or who knows what else. You might meet an interesting person whose phone number you want to save. The point is: you’re going to want your phone.
It’s useless to you if the battery is dead, and let’s face it, they always die a little faster than we think they will. You never know when you’ll end up staying out longer than you planned or wasting the battery because you forgot to close an app that was running in the background. Take the portable charger. Better safe than sorry (assuming you remember to charge the charger!)
3. Let someone know where you are.
Your best friend. A close relative. Whoever it is, just give them some kind of update on your plan for the day. A quick text, social media message, or phone call to let someone know what you’ll be up to will be helpful if anything goes wrong and you don’t check in again later. It’s always nice to have people caring about your well-being, so give them the opportunity to do so by letting someone know what’s going on.
4. Take photos of your important documents.
Keep photos of your passport, birth certificate, license and social security card, boarding passes, etc. all on your phone. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but it’ll be incredibly helpful to have proof that you have those documents or to be able to give confirmation numbers in the event that something gets lost.
It may be a good idea to take photos of your luggage too (especially if you’re checking any bags). It’ll be much easier to show someone a picture of your lost suitcase instead of trying to describe it.
5. Plan for technology failures.
So you already know that planning ahead is important but don’t forget to plan for tech fails too. Your phone might die (if you forgot that charger!) or you may not have signal or be able to access you Maps app. Things happen, usually at the most inconvenient times.
If you’re flying (or renting a car, taking a train, bus, etc.) make sure you have paper copies of your boarding passes, confirmations, etc. or that you arrive early enough that if there’s a problem you can head to the help desk. If there’s somewhere you know you have to see or something you have to try, take a look at the route you have to take to get there in advance, so that if you can’t get directions from your phone you don’t necessarily have to rely on a stranger’s advice. This all goes back to really planning ahead.
6. Learn the language.
So obviously you don’t need to speak the language fluently everywhere you go, but at least take the time to learn the basics and the necessary phrases you might need. Even if you think most of the country can speak your language, you never know who you’ll run into and when you may need assistance from someone. Think of common phrases and questions specific to the places you’re going, and at the very least, learn those. Although they aren’t always spot on, downloading a translation app on your phone may be a good idea.
7. Opt for something other than a backpack.
If you’re going to be walking around a city all day, you’d be amazed at how many times you won’t be paying attention to that thing on your shoulders. You’ll pack it full of stuff and stand in lines, and maybe even set it down at some point. The more zippers and pockets it has the easier it is for someone to take something right out of it.
Go for something smaller, like a cross-body bag, that you can easily keep in front of you and that would be harder for someone else to get into. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad you didn’t have to worry about it, and your shoulders will probably thank you for not having to carry a backpack around all day.
8. Know the culture.
We can’t say “plan ahead” enough, but do your research on the culture of the area you’re traveling to. How do people typically conduct themselves in public places? Are there any customs or traditional mannerisms that you may need to know before galavanting around? Certain phrases or hand gestures that you may consider common can actually be offensive to other cultures, so take those things into account before you travel, so you don’t get caught in a terrible misunderstanding.
9. Be smart.
So this one’s pretty obvious, but it’s often the most forgettable. When you’re taking in all the sights, culture, and history of a city, it’s pretty easy to throw common sense right out the window. Remind yourself to walk in well-lit areas, be careful who you talk to, pay attention to your surroundings, and to trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right. Always give yourself a time cushion to get places in case you get lost, and never tell anyone where you’re staying.
As long as you remember basic common sense, be polite, and stay confident in your abilities, you’ll be just fine! Traveling alone doesn’t have to be scary, and the more you do it, the more used to it you’ll get!