An Empowering Women’s Guide To Safe Solo Travel

By: Maya Michelis | Last updated: Apr 08, 2024

Traveling alone as a woman can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
It offers the freedom to explore new places at your own pace, make new friends, and discover more about yourself. There is no better time to take the plunge than right now.

This guide is here to empower you with practical tips and advice, ensuring your solo adventures are not just exciting but also safe and comfortable.

Determine Your Destination - The Perfect Solo Travel Spot

Selecting Your Solo Adventure Location: When picking a destination, consider factors like cultural norms, language, and solo traveler-friendliness. Research using resources like travel forums, blogs, and safety indexes. Look into the local customs and current events of places on your list. Destinations with a robust public transportation system and a reputation for safety can offer a more relaxed experience. Remember, the best destination aligns with your interests and comfort level.


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Look into the local customs and current events of places on your list. Destinations with a robust public transportation system and a reputation for safety can offer a more relaxed experience. Remember, the best destination aligns with your interests and comfort level.


Smart Packing - Pack light, Pack right!

In addition to essentials, pack items that cater to your health, security, and entertainment. Think lightweight clothing adaptable to different climates and occasions, a sturdy padlock, a good book, or a travel journal.


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Don’t forget power adapters and a portable charger. Packing cubes can keep your belongings organized, and a small first-aid kit is always prudent. Packing right means being prepared for various scenarios while keeping your luggage manageable.”

Safe Accommodations - Choosing the Right Place to Stay

Your Home Away From Home: Research accommodations extensively. Look for places with positive reviews from solo female travelers. Consider location safety, ease of transportation, and proximity to main attractions.


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When choosing accommodations, security should be a top priority. Look for features like 24-hour front desk service, secure locks, and surveillance systems. Be mindful when answering the door, especially if you’re not expecting anyone. Use the peephole or a door chain to verify who’s there before opening the door. In some cases, accommodations might offer a safety deposit box, which is ideal for storing valuables and important documents.

Transportation Knowledge - Navigating New Places Safely

Apart from standard transport, consider options like bike rentals or walking tours which provide a local perspective and freedom. Research the reliability and safety of night travel if you plan to be out late.


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In some destinations, certain transport methods might be safer or more convenient than others – for example, ferries in coastal areas or trains in metropolitan cities. Always keep a map (physical or digital) and the contact information of your accommodation handy

Continuously Connected - Keeping in Touch for Safety

Always have a way to communicate. Ensure your phone works in the country you’re visiting, and keep emergency numbers handy.

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Today, there are many easy ways to buy a SIM card through different apps; you don’t even need to have it physically. You can switch from your own SIM to a different one with simple actions on your cell phone.


Cultural Sensitivity and Respect - Understanding Local Norms and Customs

Take time to understand local etiquette, dining customs, and dress codes. This awareness can prevent unintentional disrespect. In many cultures, gestures and body language can have different meanings, so it’s crucial to be aware of these nuances.

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Engaging in local customs and traditions can be deeply rewarding and offer authentic experiences. A respectful approach to cultural differences enriches your travel and fosters mutual understanding
If you want to be extra cautious, you can always learn basic words in the location’s language. It will make you feel more confident and maybe you can also meet new local friends more easily.


Enjoying Local Cuisine Safely - Dining Solo Hack

When dining alone, choose places where you can sit at the bar or a communal table to feel more integrated. Consider timings – earlier dinners can be less intimidating for solo diners. Cafés and casual eateries can be more solo-traveler friendly.

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Don’t hesitate to strike up conversations with locals or fellow travelers; it’s a great way to get recommendations. Always inform the staff about any dietary restrictions and be open to trying local specialties. Seek a safe, public place like a nearby store or restaurant and inform someone, like the staff or even local authorities, if necessary.


Adventure with Awareness - Stay Alert

Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and always have a map (digital or physical) handy.

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Don’t hesitate to change your plans if something doesn’t feel right. One of our strongest powers as women is our intuition. Trusting yourself is one of the things that you will learn during solo travel.


Managing Money Smartly - Financial Tips While Solo

Use a mix of cash, credit/debit cards, and digital payments. Notify your bank of your travel plans to avoid any fraud alerts on your account. Keep a daily budget to track expenses.

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Be aware of how “bling” you are – don’t walk around with too many jewels that draw attention – in some countries, that can turn you into a target.


Health and Wellness Abroad - Being Happy & Healthy

Pack a basic health kit with essentials like painkillers, band-aids, and any prescription medicines.

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Know about the healthcare system in the country you’re visiting and have travel insurance that covers health emergencies.


Alone But Not Lonely - Making Friends on the Road

Engage with fellow travelers. Hotels common areas, tours, or local events can be great places to meet people. However, always trust your instincts about new acquaintances.

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Always remember that there are many more solo travelers just like you – you are not alone; people out there will be happy to meet new friends just like you – don’t be afraid to reach out!


Embracing Local Experiences - Immersing Yourself in the Culture

Partaking in local activities and experiences. This can be anything from a cooking class, or a dance workshop, to a guided tour.

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It’s a wonderful way to understand the local culture and meet like-minded travelers.
The beauty of solo travel is that the age factor disappears; allow yourself to chase after old dreams.


Personal Safety Gadgets - Tools to Enhance Your Security

Consider carrying a personal safety alarm or a whistle. These are easy to carry and can be used to attract attention in case of an emergency. Also, explore safety apps for your smartphone, which can send alerts or share your location with trusted contacts. A portable door lock can add an extra layer of security in hotels, and a flashlight is handy for poorly lit paths.

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Expand your safety toolkit with practical gadgets. Keep pepper spray or a personal safety alarm on your nightstand for quick access. Such tools can be effective in deterring an intruder or calling for help. When exploring during the day, carry these items in an easily accessible pocket or compartment of your bag. Remember, the key is not only to have these tools but also to be familiar with how to use them effectively in an emergency.


Emergency Preparation Protocol

Familiarize yourself with the local emergency procedures and have a plan in place for different scenarios, like losing your passport or needing medical assistance.

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Those details should be available freely on the Internet or at the local embassy in your country.


Social Media Sharing - Where and When

While sharing your travel experiences in real-time on social media is exciting, consider the risks. Sharing your current location or travel plans can make you a target for thieves or stalkers. Instead, post updates with a delay or after leaving the location. Adjust your privacy settings and be cautious about the amount of personal information you share.

Porto City, Portugal ; Source: RossHelen / Canva Pro

Adjust your privacy settings to control who sees your posts. This mindfulness ensures your safety while still allowing you to share your journey with friends and family.


Trusting Your Instincts - Let Your Intuition Be Your Guide

Don’t worry about being polite if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. It’s okay to remove yourself from situations or seek help.

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre Coast ; Source: MStudioImages from Getty Images Signature / Canva Pro

Sometimes, as women, we put our favor last in line. When you travel alone, learn to respect your own wishes, because no one will take care of you but you.


Embrace the Freedom and Growth

Solo travel can be an enriching experience that fosters independence, resilience, and self-discovery.

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Embrace the journey, and remember, it’s about making memories and enjoying the ride.


Capturing Memories - Photographic Wisdom for the Solo Traveler

In your solo travels, capturing memories is priceless. When taking photos, be mindful of your surroundings. Consider a lightweight, compact camera for convenience. Avoid getting too absorbed in your camera or phone, especially in crowded or unfamiliar areas, and always ask permission to take pictures of local people.

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If you’re handing your device to a stranger for them to take your photo make sure you’ve studied them to make sure they won’t steal it, usually if they are someone at a cafe or a local worker at an establishment they are a safer bet.


Money Matters - Know the Currency Exchange

Understand the local currency and find the best places to exchange money, ideally with lower fees. Often times you can do this even before you’ve left the country. Only use your credit card in secure locations, otherwise, use cash. Make sure you’ve done your research on how cashless or card-oriented a destination is before you get on the plane.

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Use ATMs in secure locations like ones attached to actual banks, and keep an eye out for skimmers. Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any card blocks.


Invest in A Support Network - Creating Connections Abroad for Safety and Enjoyment

While traveling alone, building a local support network can enhance your experience. Connect with fellow travelers at tours, or local events.

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Engaging with expat communities can also provide valuable insights and add a sense of security. Remember, these connections can offer not just companionship but also local knowledge and safety advice.


Practice Safe Nightlife Habits

If you plan to enjoy the nightlife, choose well-known and safe venues. Avoid accepting drinks from strangers and keep an eye on your drink at all times.

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Consider going out with a group from your hotel or organized group tours for specific night activities like a Pub Crawl. It is another way to be safe and get the inside scoop on local hotspots you wouldn’t find otherwise.


Eco-Friendly Travel Practices - Sustainable Adventures

Embrace eco-friendly practices while traveling solo. Choose accommodations and tours that prioritize sustainability. Minimize your carbon footprint by using public transport, walking, or cycling.

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Your travel choices can contribute positively to the environment and local communities.


Embracing Spontaneity and Flexibility

Don’t over-plan; leave room for unexpected discoveries and changes in your itinerary. Be open to recommendations from locals or fellow travelers. Sometimes, the most memorable experiences come from unplanned adventures.

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Flexibility can lead to unique cultural experiences, hidden gems, and personal growth. Embrace the unexpected with an open mind and a flexible attitude.


Storing Documents Securely

Keep your passport, visa, and important documents in a safe place. Consider using a hotel safe or a secure pouch. Carry photocopies or digital copies of these documents in a separate location.

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If you are using a safe then make sure you remember the passcode and be discreet, not sharing this with anyone.


Maintaining Your Fitness on the Go

Prioritize your health while traveling. Find hotels or local parks with jogging paths, or join a fitness class for fun and meeting people.

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Even simple activities like walking tours or cycling can keep you fit. Remember, staying physically active enhances both your travel experience and well-being.”


Navigating Communication Across Cultures

Language barriers needn’t be a roadblock in your travels. Embrace them as part of the adventure. Along with basic phrases and translation apps, try language exchange meetups, where you can learn and teach simultaneously.

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Observe body language; often, non-verbal cues are universal. Local bookstores may have picture books or guides that can be incredibly helpful in markets or transit. Engage with locals – even with language differences, you’ll find human connections transcend words. Remember, smiles and kindness speak volumes, regardless of language.”


Local Festivals and Event Immersion

Dive Deep into Cultural Festivities: Local festivals and events are windows into the heart of a culture. Research the region’s calendar for unique events like local holidays, traditional celebrations, or art and music festivals. Attending these events can offer unforgettable experiences. While at these gatherings, be respectful of customs and participate actively. Engage with artisans, try local crafts, and learn the history behind the festivities.

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These events are not just about entertainment; they’re an immersive educational journey. Document these moments through photos or journal entries, and don’t forget to collect souvenirs that have cultural significance. Such immersive experiences can be the highlight of your solo travel adventure, offering stories worth sharing for years.


No Horsing Around Animals - Responsible Wildlife Interactions

When traveling solo, encountering wildlife can be thrilling yet requires caution. Always observe animals from a safe distance and never feed or attempt to touch them. Research beforehand about local wildlife and any potential dangers. In natural habitats, stay on marked trails and follow area guidelines. If you’re visiting a sanctuary or reserve, choose ethical operators that prioritize animal welfare.

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Carrying a guidebook on local fauna can be insightful. Remember, respecting wildlife is key to safe and responsible travel. In addition to wildlife, be cautious of domestic animals when traveling. If approached by a stray or unfamiliar animal, remain calm and do not make sudden movements. Avoid direct eye contact, which can be perceived as a threat. Keep a safe distance, and do not attempt to feed or pet them. In areas known for having stray animals, research local animal control resources or carry a whistle to scare them away if necessary.


Journaling Your Journey

Keep a travel journal. Reflecting on your experiences through writing can be therapeutic and help preserve memories. It’s also a great way to track your personal growth and the people you’ve met along the way. In your journal, reflect on the safety measures you took each day, what worked well, and what could be improved. Did you follow your instincts effectively? Were there situations where you felt unsafe, and how did you handle them? These reflections not only help in enhancing your travel safety strategies for future trips, but they also keep you safer.

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Consider including sketches, ticket stubs, or pressed flowers to make your journal visually rich and memorable. At the end of your trip, you’ll have a personalized memoir full of diverse experiences and reflections. Not to mention you’ll be able to keep better track of where you have been and where you are going.


Making Memories Starts Now!

Remember, solo travel isn’t just about the destinations you visit; it’s about the journey of self-discovery, resilience, and independence. It’s about embracing new cultures, overcoming challenges, and making lasting memories. Always trust your instincts, respect local customs, and most importantly, enjoy every moment of your adventure.

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Solo travel doesn’t have to mean danger if you do it properly and with these tips, you’re already a step in the right direction. What are you waiting for? Have you booked your solo adventure yet? You are now ready to confidently travel on your own. Safe travels!