Traveling alone. For solo female travel, those two words might fill their veins with wanderlust and bring light into their eyes.
Others? It might be their worst nightmare.
So to help put your mind at ease, help you plans and most importantly, stay safe – here’s everything you need to know about solo female travel…
The Ultimate Guide to Solo Female Travel
What is Solo Travel?
Solo travel is simply the act of travelling alone.
While solo travel is about traveling alone, it’s not necessarily about being alone. Actually, travelling solo is not so much about who you’re with (or not with), but rather, it’s about experiencing a destination in your own company, on your own terms, and on your own accord.
The experience that you have while travelling solo largely depends on you – the traveller – where the choices that you make and the way in which you interpret the world around you ultimately influence the experience that you will have.
To me, solo travel is an expression of the soul, where the world is the canvas, you are the paintbrush, and the experience itself is the masterpiece.
How Do You Travel Alone For the First Time?
First off, you need to pick your destination. For your first solo trip, I would recommend a destination that is travel/tourist-friendly. This will make the transition to solo travel much smoother. For the same reason, you may want to also consider picking a place that speaks the same language that you do, or don’t.
Make sure to do research on the area you’re going to. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to micromanage every single step you take, but being prepared in what to expect and what precautions you need to take might be the difference between having a good travel experience and a bad one.
Once you have all the prep out of the way, that’s when the fun begins. Then, it’s all about booking the trip, finding things that you want to do, and doing it.
What Are Some Solo Female Travel Destinations?
While there is really no limitation on where you can go as a solo female traveller, there are definitely some travel destinations that are easier to travel to than others. I outline a few in the following list.
Whether you choose to visit the hustle bustle of Bangkok, go surfing in Bali, visit elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, or all of the above, the Southeast Asia trip is a definite must-do for solo travellers. The Southeast Asia trip typically encompasses Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
From conservation initiatives, to wildlife excursions and yoga retreats, Costa Rica is the place to reconnect with yourself and nature. It is a relatively safe place to travel and has a great backpacker culture which makes it a great destination for solo travel. But just an FYI, it is one of the most expensive countries in Central America, so make sure to save your pennies for this one.
Considered the adventure capital of the world, New Zealand is the hub for intrepid travel. Many travelers plan extended trips to indulge in this lifestyle, making New Zealand a great place to meet like-minded people.
Another destination for adventure, Iceland is best known for the northern lights, glacial travel, and #vanlife.
Well-established travel infrastructure offers convenience to solo travelers, and with low crime rates, safety is hardly a concern.
Cherry blossoms, onsens, traditional guesthouses and so much more, Japan is a country worth exploring. For solo female travelers concerned about safety, rest assured, because Japan is super safe and many places offer female-only amenities like female-only train cars and female-only accommodations.
If you are looking for maximum adventure with minimum spending, South America is your best bet. There are so many great places to visit with so much to see and do.
Discover the sacred Incan trails in Peru, visit giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, or hike the elusive Patagonia forest in Argentina. Keep in mind, not all countries are equal in South America, and as always, good research will definitely be handy in navigating those waters.
The Himalayas offers some of the tallest mountains in the world, and Nepal is one of the best places to see them. With lots to see and do, the amazing hospitality and tourist infrastructure, makes Nepal a great place for a solo trip.
New York City is a bucket list destination that everyone needs to cross off. And for solo travellers, it’s one of those places where being alone does not take away from the adventure. In this fast-paced environment, only having to think about what you want to do can make for a much smoother trip. Alternatively for a quieter setting, head up state into the Adirondack mountains for some fresh air and solitude.
Solo Female Travel USA
Speaking of New York, while you’re there, it’s worth investigating the rest of the United States. Whether you’re a forest dweller or city gal, the land of the free has something for everyone. Each state has its own flavour and it can be interesting to experience a little taste of each culture. The USA is known for epic road trips so renting a trailer or van is definitely the way to go.
Solo Female Travel in Europe
The inviting backpacking culture, monumental sights, and cheap intercontinental travel makes
Europe a great destination for solo travel. Tackle the popular Western destinations like Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France, or visit Eastern Europe to indulge in the culture of Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary.
Solo Female Travel in India
Full disclosure, India doesn’t have a great travel infrastructure, delhi belly (traveller’s diarrhea) is real, climate conditions are rough, and the culture can be overwhelming (womxn often complain about unwanted sexual attention). Despite all the downfalls, with an open mind and a period of adjustment, India can also offer an extremely rewarding, life-changing experience.
With a history rooted in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and yoga, India opens many doors for those looking to explore their spirituality. Spiritual exploration is a popular reason to visit India, but there is so much more to this country than just that. India is home to seven mountain ranges, coastal beaches, deserts, islands, rainforests and exotic wildlife. The culture is vibrant, and it’s the type of place that will leave you learning something new.
While all that sounds great and fun, for the reasons stated above, a solo female trip to India definitely requires a good amount of preparation, and is best left reserved for more experienced travellers.
Where is Safe For Solo Female Travellers?
Should I be Concerned About Travel Safety as a Woman?
Travel blogger duo, Ashley and Lyric Fergusson, have compiled a variety of sources to create a Women’s Danger Index for the most dangerous places for females to travel in 2019.
According to their index, the most dangerous places for solo female travelers are South Africa, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, and Iran.
Despite this, a quick google search will show that solo female travelers have been to all of these places, and many of them have had successful experiences. According to many of these women, while there is no limit to where to travel, as I have been saying over and over again, good preparation is key.
When researching, it’s beneficial to look at other female travellers’ perspectives as well. For example, a solo male traveller in Morocco will not have the same experiences of catcalling that a solo female traveller might face.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t travel to Morocco, but it is something to be prepared for. Research will also tell you important information about dress norms, popular scams in the area, customs, and areas that you may want to avoid.
Solo travel safety tips
The top tips for travel safety to follow are:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Walk with purpose with your head held high
- Don’t flash around belongings
- Be mindful of how much alcohol you consume
- Always let someone know where you are
- Avoid walking alone at night – try to walk nearby other people or find a buddy who will walk with you
- Organize your travel plans so that you arrive at your destination during the day – You will feel more secure and comfortable if you arrive during daylight
Travel safety precautions will vary from place to place. In some safer places of the world, some of these travel tips won’t be applicable. In other places, there may even be added precautions. Common sense is going to be the most important tool in many cases.
How Can I Enjoy Travelling Alone as a Woman?
Be yourself, be mindful, and have fun. Use common sense and be aware of travel safety, but don’t be afraid to open yourself to new experiences and meet new people. Some of the best solo travel experiences are spent with other people.
The best and safest way to meet new people is by staying at hostels. Many people at hostels are also solo travelers looking to meet people who they can enjoy their travels with. Another great way to meet people is by joining group tours.
A lot of times, group tours are hosted by locals. Using Airbnb experiences is a great place to find good local-run tours. Meeting and talking to locals allows you to gain perspective about the place you are visiting.
As you get more and more experienced as a solo traveler, you will develop the confidence to push past your comfort zone and meet people you otherwise would have never talked to.
Meeting people is not the only way to have fun while travelling solo. You can have amazing solo adventures by yourself too. Just find something you like to do and do it. Despite what social media believes, the moments in our lives do not need to be shared in order to be enjoyed. Watch the sunrise, count the stars, climb the mountain, and dance the night away… ALONE. You won’t regret it.
Are There Any Solo Female Travel Groups?
Being in a travel group can be a great option, especially for first time womxn travelers. A google search of the area you are going to will reveal any solo female travel groups available.
You can also look up female-only meet up groups on www.meetup.com. Having a support system around you with like-minded individuals can alleviate the anxieties of travelling alone and make the solo experience all the more better.
Some female travel groups you can look into are:
- REI Women’s Adventures
- Adventure Women
- Wild Women Expeditions
- Women High on Adventure
Additionally, if you would like to join a community of female solo travels to relate your experiences with, follow @wakefultravel on Instagram or check out the Wakeful Travel Facebook Page.
Using the Wakeful Travel Journal on Your Adventures
The Wakeful Travel Journal is a great tool for solo travel.
It’s a physical journal book that essentially provides a platform to map out and organize your mind during your travels. Whether it’s to plan out what you’ll be doing for the next week or to help collect your thoughts, it acts as more than just a journal, but like a good friend accompanying you on your journey.
Through a variety of exercises, tools, and challenges, the Wakeful Travel Journal allows you to turn inward in a positive and productive way. Its philosophy resides in raising mindfulness in the way we walk, talk, and act on the Earth and through our travels.
Using the Wakeful Travel Journal while travelling can provide the direction to stay mindful and support the transformation that happens when you travel. You can pick up your own journal from the Wakeful Travel shop here.
Being a Wakeful Traveller
As much as we support woman totally in their power to travel alone, we also encourage travellers to support ethical and sustainable practices while they travel.
When you travel to a new country, you are entering the home of a people, culture, and land that is not your own.
Being a Wakeful Traveller means respecting those boundaries, celebrating our similarities, and appreciating our differences. Wakeful travelling involves considering the ethical and fair treatment of the workers who provide tourism services; seeking out the environmental sustainable tourism practices; respecting the culture; and reducing your own individual ecological footprint.
Solo travel is the ultimate expression of wanderlust. It’s like screaming to the universe, fists in the air, that you are going to explore and there is nothing that’s going to stop you. No fears, expectations or limitations. No excuse.
So what are you waiting for? Travel the world. Fill your soul. There is no one stopping you, and there is no one you need to wait for.
About The Author
Sabrina is a freelance writer for the Wakeful Travel Blog.
She completed a two year diploma in Environmental Landscape Management, is currently working towards her Athletic Therapy credentials, and is passionate about environmental sustainability and travel.