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Essential Tips for Solo Female Travelers

In today’s world, you can book a transatlantic flight for just a few hundred bucks, apply for a tourist visa, and organize discount accommodations all with a few taps on your smartphone. Whether you need a few days of foreign winds sweeping across your face, or you want to discover different sides of yourself with an ever-refreshing background, traveling is the way to go.

When you make the decision to explore a new place, you’re essentially letting another version of yourself come to the forefront. When you take in an unfamiliar landscape, you’re breathing new life into aspects of your personality that are waiting to wake up. This is especially true for solo female travelers; some of the best travel ideas for single women are to pack up and find themselves in new and intriguing places.

However, the carefree notion of solo travel is not without its safety concerns. In order to truly feel the pulse of some of the best places to travel alone, a woman making the journey by herself must also take certain precautions to remain out of harm’s way. Not only will this guide detail what strategies to employ in order to stay safe, but you’ll also learn how to have the time of your life while you use them.

Table of Contents

1. Selecting a Destination and Making an Itinerary
2. Packing Appropriately
3. Dressing for Comfort, Cultural Respect, and Safety
4. When in Doubt, Stock Up On Essentials
5. Transportation Options
6. Learn a Few Phrases of the National Language
7. Hostel or Hotel?
8. Local Currency Tips and Tricks
9. Buying a Local SIM Card vs. Using Free Wifi
10. Little-Known Safety Hack
11. Hostels Don’t Have to be Hostile

1. Selecting a Destination and Making an Itinerary

Choosing where you want to go is, naturally, the first step in the process. Planning a trip abroad is almost like an algebra problem: without knowing your destination, it’s nearly impossible to plan for the other variables in the equation.

• Many solo vacation ideas for women involve high-traffic, touristy countries where crime is low, but prices are high.
• This can be an excellent idea if you’re looking to book tour groups for solo travelers with solo travel companies.
• However, these types of vacation packages for single travelers aren’t right for everyone.
• Solo vacations for women can be as rugged and as adventurous as you want them to be.

The Bottom Line: The best places for women to travel alone are the places that women want to travel alone. Whether it’s a cruise along the Mexican Riviera or camping in the deserts of Oman, your destination is just that: yours.

2. Packing Appropriately

Okay, the most difficult decision has been made. With a destination in mind, you can think about what you need to bring with you to maximize your trip.

• Many travelers make the grave mistake of overfilling their suitcases, oftentimes with clothing items and shoes that they’ll wear only once, if at all.
• Take just a few key pieces of clothing to mix and match, creating new outfits.
• Don’t shy away from buying local clothing at the destination! You’ll be respecting the dress code of the culture and treating yourself to a souvenir at the same time.

The Bottom Line: You probably don’t need a different outfit for each day. Pack light on clothing, and purchase something authentic to wear if need be.

3. Dressing for Comfort, Cultural Respect, and Safety

As maddening as it may seem, women need to take a little extra care in choosing what to wear. The absolute most crucial detail to examine when deciding what to pack is to know how the locals dress in the country you’ll be visiting.

• Is it appropriate to wear the same clothes you see everywhere in your home country?
• Will an outfit that’s normal in your culture seem offensive to those at your destination?
• And most importantly: will the clothes you wear seem distracting to locals?

The goal in dressing to blend in with locals is split: you want to respect the culture you’re visiting while also keeping yourself from standing out as a target for potential danger. Make sure to read articles about the country you’re planning to visit on travel blogs for single women in order to get a firsthand account of appropriate attire.

The Bottom Line: Clothing is a statement when you’re traveling. Don’t make the mistake of sending the wrong message.

4. When in Doubt, Stock Up On Essentials

When backpacking or heading to a remote location, it can be difficult (and sometimes impossible) to find the creature comforts to which one may be accustomed at home.

• Do you know where to find ibuprofen in Marrakesh?
• What about aloe vera gel in Kathmandu? Can you finesse a toothbrush into your possession in Quepos if the shopkeeper doesn’t understand English?
• Even if you can find toiletries and essential personal hygiene items while you’re abroad, you could be paying a significant markup as a tourist.
• Play it safe and be sure to stockpile any and all essential products before leaving your home country.

The Bottom Line: It’s okay to repeat the same shirt a few times during your journey, but running out of sunscreen is dangerous. Choose the space in your suitcase wisely.

5. Transportation Options

Once you reach the destination country, you’re going to have to find your way to where you’re staying. Most of the time, airports are located on the outskirts of a city, and it’s up to you to decide your best method of transport.

• Most cities with an international airport offer some kind of public transportation or bus service between the airport and the city center.
• Also, many hotels and hostels around the globe can organize a car service for a nominal fee.
• Usually, a line of taxis snakes around outside every airport or train station across the globe.

TIP: Taxis are a viable option in many parts of the world, but do research on solo women travel blogs on your destination before deciding to hire a cab. In some countries, taxi drivers increase the fare prices for tourists who don’t know any better.
The Bottom Line: Getting from Point A to Point B is a task best researched ahead of time. Don’t make the mistake of frantically trying to connect to a foreign wifi signal to research how to make the hour-long journey from an airport to a city center.

6. Learn a Few Phrases of the National Language

As any solo traveler blog will tell you, this is a vital piece of advice for anyone looking to explore a new land. When you take the time to pick up some words in the language of the country you’re visiting, you’re showing the locals that you have made the effort to communicate in their mother tongue.

The Bottom Line: When you can say a few things in the language that locals know well, you are setting yourself up for a more pleasant trip. You’ll be treated better in shops and restaurants, and you’ll be more aware of your surroundings when you have the key of communication.

7. Hostel or Hotel?

For many budget travelers, a hostel is the way to stay. For those concerned about safety, a hotel is usually the best bet. But what if you fall into both categories?

For those on a tight travel budget, a hostel is ideal.

• Regardless of the continent you’re visiting, you can expect to pay a shred of the price of a hotel room for a bunk in a dorm-style room.
• Most hostels offer mixed-gendered rooms as well as female-only rooms, and you are usually given a locker or safe storage space for your valuables.
• Bathrooms are normally shared, but showers are generally private.

Hotels, on the other hand, are perfect for those who prefer a little more privacy, even if it comes with a higher price tag.

• In a hotel, you can generally count on having your own room with a private bathroom.
• Also, you’ll almost always have a safe or locker inside the room to store expensive or valuable items.

The Bottom Line: If personal space means more to you than money, go for a hotel. If you are looking to meet new people and save a few bucks in the process, opt for a hostel.

8. Local Currency Tips and Tricks

No one likes getting ripped off. And yet, it seems to happen so frequently during periods of international travel. Why?

• Well, not only is the currency different from that to which you’re accustomed, but the denominations are usually different.
• For example: one US dollar is equal to around 255 Hungarian forints.
• Having to perform what feels like mathematical acrobatics in your head every time you make a purchase can be dizzying, which leads many travelers to simply swipe a card and be done with the transaction, regardless of the price.
• Make sure that when you’re spending your money, you’re keeping track of how much everything actually costs. The most simple way to do this is to just get cash in the local currency, and use it as your “allowance” during your trip. This way, you’re not overspending, and you can see exactly how much you have at a glance.

TIP: Authorize your debit or credit card to work in the country you’re visiting, and withdraw cash from an ATM upon arrival. You’ll get an up-to-date exchange rate, and the ATM fees are much lower than the fees charged by a formal currency exchange office.
The Bottom Line: Regardless of the exchange rate, money is still money. Use it with precision, and monitor your transactions.

9. Buying a Local SIM Card vs. Using Free Wifi

In today’s society, connecting to the internet is more than just posting vacation photos to Facebook. An internet connection is an invaluable tool to anyone traveling abroad, especially if they’re unfamiliar with the local language.

For those with an unlocked smartphone, purchasing a local pay-as-you-go SIM card is an excellent idea.
• This way, you are able to use a data plan anywhere you go in the country where your SIM card is issued.
• You’re free to explore your new surroundings, and not tied to a wifi signal at your hotel or hostel.

On the flip side, sometimes it can be better to only pick up free wifi signals.
• The cost efficiency is a major advantage, as SIM cards can sometimes be a major expense.
• By only using your smartphone when you really need it, you are freeing up your eyes to take in the world around you, instead of living life through the lens on your phone camera.

The Bottom Line: Making contact with the outside world is important. So is living in the moment, with your cell phone tucked away. Only you can decide what’s best for you.

10. Little-Known Safety Hack

We all know that a woman traveling by herself is guaranteed to get some extra attention, be it from well-meaning locals or swindlers with bad intentions. It’s of the highest importance that a solo female traveler knows a few tricks to shift public attention away from herself.

A woman walking with luggage is a surefire sign of a tourist, one who can easily be harmed.

• Do yourself a favor and store your luggage in a locker at the airport or international train station upon arrival to a new city.
• Take only a small handbag with you and familiarize yourself with your surroundings before heading back to get your things.
• It’s a good idea to check into your hotel or hostel during this time, so that you know exactly where you’re staying and can travel there with your bags as if you’re a local.

The Bottom Line: Anyone meandering around with suitcases is signaling that they’re unfamiliar with the layout of the city. In a group, this is almost expected, but as a woman traveling alone, this is a recipe for danger.

11. Hostels Don’t Have to be Hostile

Some of the best vacations for single women materialize out of a well-chosen hostel. The basic premise of a hostel is to bring travelers together: you’re essentially staying in a guesthouse with several other people who are in the same situation as you. Friendships spring up almost instantly between single women travel groups staying in the same hostel, and usually these bonds last even when you get home from your trip.

The Bottom Line: The best vacations for solo travelers are sometimes made possible by the solid friendships formed between the bunks of a hostel dorm room.

Soaking It All In

In this day and age, it’s never been easier to spin a globe and take off to wherever your finger lands. With so many deals on international flights, and so many jobs available to remote workers, there hasn’t been a more opportune time in history than now to take the chance of a lifetime and see the world.

The best trips for single women are journeys that cultivate new and interesting perspectives where there was once only speculation. The most beautiful experiences await the woman who dares to go boldly into the great unknown of the future. Traveling as a solo female is a chance to not only experience the world in a new way, but to peel back new layers of who you are.

Go out and explore the world outside your comfort zone, as well as the world within yourself.



Sarah Pierce is a reader, writer, and adventurer who has a craving for the unknown. Born in the Deep South of the USA and having traversed the soil of 30 countries and counting, she is currently based in Munich. Her ultimate goal is to translate her experiences abroad into words to help inspire others to take in the beauty of the world around them.

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