Traveling alone can be one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable ways to experience the world. You can move at your own pace, choose your itinerary, and meet some of the most incredible people along the way.
That being said, it can also sometimes be daunting, vulnerable, and lonely. Yet, with a bit of research, planning, and common sense, there are multiple ways to minimize risk and maximize safety. Remember to avoid advertising the fact you are traveling solo. It can be easy to bring up in conversation when making small talk with taxi drivers, accommodation staff, or potential new friends. Trust your gut; if you feel safe with someone, by all means, confide in them but always be careful with whom you share this information!
Wanna be friends?
A good way to meet people while traveling solo is through apps such as Meetup and Bumble BFF. Bumble BFF works just like the dating app: you make a profile to swipe through other people in the city and match with your potential new bestie. The other women on here are generally much less creepy than the dudes you’re used to seeing. Meetup is a bit more like a Facebook event column. You can search for any activity or type of person and find groups or events near you to join. Another way to meet people while traveling is by staying in hostels. They are full of like-minded people, many traveling solo, and the good ones have an abundance of organized activities, excursions, and common spaces where you can kick back. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a surefire way to make friends and get a few great stories.
Getting out and about often leads to conversations with random people, whether you’re lost or want a rec at a local spot. There are tons of free walking tours in most major cities, which are a great way to get in your steps and meet fellow travelers. We love grabbing a solo drink after a long day of exploring, and even if it feels odd in the beginning, there are probably other travelers doing the same thing. You may just find your new espresso martini bestie. And if it’s too early in the day for a buzz (even though it’s really never too early on vacay), there are coffee bars, juice bars, sushi bars…. all the bars. Just keep up with your normal safety precautions, like keeping an eye on your drinks and only accepting them from the bartender. Avoid getting smashed on your own, and ask a friend or family member to check in on you while you’re out. Lastly, keep a portable phone charger with you because a dead phone is nobody’s friend.
Here are some general safety precautions to keep in mind for you badass solo female travelers:
1. Learn a bit about each place your visiting before you go. Especially which part of town is the safest to stay in and which parts are best to avoid. Google is your first friend, and hostels or travel sites will also be able to give you this information.
2. Research known tourist scams. While most of them won’t be a threat to your safety, it’s best to get ahead of the tricksters to avoid losing unnecessary money. Petty theft is common in many countries, especially in Europe. Avoid this by locking your belongings in a safe in your room or keeping them hidden and tight on your person. Fanny packs are back in, ladies!
3. Bring two bank cards linked to two different accounts, just in case your primary card is stolen.
4. Always have some cash on hand. Sometimes your card may not work, or the service you need only takes cash.
5. Avoid unwanted attention by researching local etiquette and customs. Double-check that you are dressing appropriately for the culture and not advertising any flashy jewelry or clothing.
6. Plan transport ahead of time. Research the schedules and try to book departures/arrivals during daylight hours. Always be extra cautious about your surroundings, walk with a purpose, and look confident that you know where you’re going (even if you don’t).
7. If you get lost and feel unsafe in an area, it’s best to go into a store or restaurant and ask for directions/advice – preferably from a woman. If you’re traveling to countries with different languages, it may be smart to save some useful phrases on your phone or notebook in case you need to communicate. Don’t be afraid to ask. More often than not, locals are looking out for you. Always trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right. Better to be safe than sorry.
8. Learn the emergency services number for the country you’re visiting. The EU-wide number is 112, and in North America, it is 911.
9. Find a well-rounded travel insurance plan. In case of medical emergencies, crime or theft incidents, natural disasters, etc. this can cover your butt
Generally speaking, traveling solo is very common and safe. Most of the precautions you need to take are ones you already do as a woman. Life is too short to miss out on empowering experiences like solo travel! So book your trip and enjoy this time of freedom, independence, and adventure!
If solo travel is calling to you, but you want to dip your toes in the water first, join a group trip with other like-minded explorers. Many people come on SYB adventures alone, and we encourage this. On our most recent fitness retreat in Ibiza, 70% of the group threw caution to the wind and showed up not knowing a single soul. It’s the best way to be whoever you want to be, make lifelong friends and future travel buddies, and break out of the rut you’re in at home. You may just fall in love.
Posted on Tue 30 Aug 2022 · by Laura Renstad