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Travel Advice for Female Solo Travellers

Top Tips for Women Solo Travelling

Travelling solo as a woman can be empowering, yet ensuring safety should always be of the utmost importance. However, this doesn't imply sacrificing fun. By following these safety guidelines tailored for women, solo adventures can be both thrilling and secure!

Women researching on laptop

Do your research

At the top of our safety tips for solo travel is thorough destination research. Familiarize yourself with local customs, dress codes, and possible safety issues: research transport, accommodation and areas welcoming female travellers. Proper research ensures your safety and enhances your anticipation for your upcoming adventure!

Gather as much information as possible about a country before your visit. Explore personal accounts and stories on blogs, and inquire in popular forums and Facebook travel groups. For solo female travellers, seeking advice from other solo female travellers about their experiences in a country is advisable.

Educate yourself on weather patterns, potential natural disasters, unsafe areas, current political climate, cultural norms, appropriate attire, common scams, and other useful insights about the destination. Acknowledge that life in another country may vastly differ from your own, potentially feeling like a different world.

Discard any unfounded assumptions or hearsay about a place, both from your mind and from individuals who have never visited. Rely on factual information to guide your preparations and expectations. You might want to consider volunteering overseas, if so then read more about it on our blog page- Tips for Travelling & Volunteering Overseas

Woman walking down a cobblestone street

Choose your accommodation wisely

Secure accommodations in reputable establishments located in safe neighbourhoods. Prioritize accommodations with safety-focused amenities like lockers and 24-hour receptions. Whether opting for a 16-bed dormitory or a luxurious villa, meticulously review guest feedback, paying particular attention to comments from other solo female travellers.

Avoid booking accommodations without any reviews. Always scrutinize reviews when staying in someone's home (e.g., couch surfing), hostels, Airbnb listings, and hotels. Pay close attention to mentions of safety concerns and prioritise reviews written by women, as they may offer valuable insights specific to solo female travellers.

When looking for accommodation abroad you might want to look at our blog on 10 Top Tips for Travelling Solo for ideas

Open suitcase with clothes inside

Pack light

Travel light by bringing only the essentials or items you truly need. Carrying multiple bags quickly becomes burdensome and increases the risk of theft, as noted with other safety tips. The less you have to carry with you, the more you're free to walk around and be as spontaneous and adventurous as you want. Consider whether you can easily run while carrying your belongings if necessary. Overpacking will only hinder your mobility and efficiency.

Limit the number of valuables you bring to only what is necessary for your trip. With only one bag, you can always keep your eye on it, so there’s less chance of theft or damage. Go lighter, safer, ease your mind, and be a better explorer. Write your name and contact info on the inside of your bags in addition to the outside, as tags can get torn off. Leave jewellery and valuables at home and never pack anything fragile in your checked baggage.

This does also depend on where you're travelling for example if you're travelling to South America then you won't have lots of trouble finding a shop or similar items to what we use. However, if you're travelling Southeast Asia then their products may be significantly different or not have a shop nearby.

A light bag doesn't run the risk of incurring an overweight baggage fee and baggage fees at the airport can be expensive. Consider sending souvenirs home so you won't have to lug them around; check carriers and costs before leaving home. Before you leave, pack your bag and practice carrying it around and lifting it up and down. Too heavy? It's easier to ditch things at home. Some airlines have limits on size and weight; check specific airlines for rules and restrictions.

travel checklist

Get travel insurance

You never know what’s going to happen while you’re away, and travel insurance can be a great help if worst-case scenarios happen. Whether you lose your belongings or have a medical emergency abroad, having insurance can make all the difference. It’s so tempting to skip out on the extra cost of travel insurance when a trip is already expensive. However, it could save you thousands in the long run on potential health risks, emergencies, theft, & more.

Another reason to get travel insurance is the airline cancelling or cutting short your trip for reasons beyond your control. Having travel insurance will allow you to get some if not all of the money back.

It's particularly important to take out travel insurance if you are travelling independently because you may find yourself stranded with no way to get home and no one to help sort out your holiday problem.

A shuttle bus waiting outside an airport

Choose the right mode of transport

Avoid walking alone where possible, but if you do have to, try tagging along with a group of people. Public transportation is a cheap, busy alternative to venturing out on your own, but in situations where taking a taxi is preferable, always go with an official service and never accept a ride from a stranger.

Be observant and aware of the people and places surrounding you. It’s best to avoid walking down the street wearing headphones unless you’re familiar with your surroundings and stick to busy, well-lit routes where possible.  

Aside from Uber being cheaper than taxis, they’re also safer. Both Uber Drivers and Taxi drivers are strangers, but you can view an Uber driver's information/ratings on the app before you get in the car. You can also be sure that they’ve had a background check. On the contrary, you can’t even be sure that all taxis are official when you visit a new country. There have been plenty of times I’ve gotten into a taxi, unsure if it was legit.

women at airport with backpack

Look the part

Dress modestly and respect local customs to avoid drawing unwanted attention. Even if you don’t look like a local, you’re less likely to be a target if you do your best to dress like the residents; this may mean covering up and leaving flashy jewellery at home. You become a target of being robbed if you are wear flash watches and designer clothes, therefore, make sure you aware of the dangers and consider blending in with the locals.

When visiting a country you should respect its beliefs and morals therefore, in countries like Saudi Arabia this means wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, such as maxi dresses, long skirts with loose blouses, or tunics with leggings.

Headscarves aren't mandatory, but we recommend bringing one as a sign of respect and for certain situations. Avoid wearing tight or revealing clothing, such as short skirts, even on beaches or resorts. Read more about female travel advice in Saudi Arabia for information on cultural beliefs and regulations

solo female backpacking

Keep your wits about you

Stay vigilant and attentive to your surroundings, both people and places. Avoid walking down the street with headphones unless you're thoroughly acquainted with your environment. Opt for busy, well-lit routes whenever feasible to enhance your safety.

Even though you’re travelling alone, you’ll find yourself depending on strangers more than you’d expect for directions or help. Most people are good and helpful. However, we all know that some people don’t have the best intentions. If you get the feeling that someone has ulterior motives, then you need to trust that feeling. It will be easier to get yourself out of the situation sooner than later. Your instinct will reveal a lot to you on the road & it’ll sharpen with experience.

If a person or situation feels off, chances are, it is. Remove yourself from uncomfortable scenarios as quickly as possible, and don’t be afraid to come across as rude to keep yourself safe. 

Dangerous activity is more likely to happen at night when there are fewer crowds out.

  • Try to arrive/land in a city during the daytime so you can get your bearings
  • Avoid walking around at nighttime. Opt for public transportation or taxis.
  • Leave all of your valuables in your hotel and only take the amount of cash you need if you go out at night
  • Try to find a group to join if you want to go out at night. Join a pub crawl, stop by a hostel bar, and meet with people during day tours to avoid going at night alone.

women on phone

 Stay in touch

This doesn’t mean posting your location all over social media, but keeping friends and family members updated with your travel plans and checking in with them when you can. If you keep in touch regularly while travelling you will make important connections with people back home which can be reassuring for you when you are away in a new location. It also gives your friends and family peace of mind.

The Internet is the most cost-effective way to communicate while overseas. Instant messengers, email, and Skype are great ways to communicate. Finding an Internet café or other form of Internet access may be difficult on short-term trips and may not meet your local calling needs.

Even with all the new friends you’ll make, there’s no doubt that at times you might feel homesick. People tend to see calling home as a weakness or worry that it might make things worse. In reality, talking to your family or BFF can help you get over your loneliness. Just make sure they’re not the only people you talk to!

Save local emergency numbers and contact information for the nearest embassy or consulate - you never know when these could come in handy!

people backpacking together

Connect with other travelers

You know what they say about safety in numbers - travelling alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone all the time! Get to know other fellow travellers by joining in with group tours and activities, or meet people in the communal areas at your accommodation.  Travelling alone can be pretty isolating at times. So don’t be nervous to meet locals and fellow travellers, or get into friendly conversations. As long as you respect local traditions, you’re not likely to accidentally offend. At the same time, you shouldn’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you’re not sure about.

Think of it as an opportunity to make friends and boost your self-confidence. Everyone travelling solo will be in the same position and are most likely open to making new friends. As adults, it can often be challenging to make new connections. Between spending most of our lives at work or asleep and trying to maintain our existing social lives, it’s fair to say our lifestyles don’t always allow much room for blossoming friendships. When travelling solo, you have an abundance of time that provides the perfect opportunity for meeting other travellers, especially solo travellers.

If you're travelling with a group of people then we recommend taking a look at our page: Tips for Travelling With Friends.

people at the beach

Get out there and speak the language

Locals are a wealth of knowledge. They can tell you which areas are safe to travel alone and which restaurants are worth visiting. Talk to the people working at your hostel, your hosts (in case you are doing work exchange), the shopkeepers, and the people you sit next to on the bus. You never know what they will share with you!

Speaking the local tongue (or trying to) is not only the polite thing to do but can also help you make a whole bunch of new friends. Another fun online language school to try out is Habla Bonito, which offers Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese and English classes and is available worldwide.

Learning different phrases can make travelling less dangerous as you can blend in as a local and can understand if you need directions. Using public transport and speaking to the locals in their language gives you an advantage in ensuring your safe.

A woman staring up at hot air balloons at sunset over a desert landscape

Carry yourself with confidence

Even if you're unsure, projecting confidence and appearing knowledgeable about your surroundings it can significantly deter thieves and scammers. If they think you’re a local, you’re less likely to be harassed.

Embarking on solo travel as a woman can be immensely fulfilling, yet safety takes precedence when journeying alone. By adhering to these safety guidelines tailored for women, you'll equip yourself to confidently navigate unfamiliar territories. Remember, prioritising caution doesn't diminish the enjoyment of your adventure!

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Where are the best travelling destinations?

Some destinations we have mentioned in our blog regarding Tips for Travelling & Volunteering Overseas include Ghana, Costa Rica, South Africa and India. Australia is a popular destination to travel and so is Southeast Asia.

What do I need to travel abroad from UK?

Make sure you have the correct documents such as visas and passports to travel. Keep paper copies of your passport, ID, and other essential documents in case you lose them. Store backup copies online or email them to friends and family so you can still access them if your bag goes missing. 

How can a woman travel safely solo?

Safety is a big concern for solo female travellers, and rightly so, but it shouldn’t put you off travelling alone. The majority of solo female travellers have amazing experiences and come home with inspiring stories.

That being said, women need to stay safe and take extra precautions when travelling alone. Find out how to stay safe while travelling with our travel safety tips!  Include basic medical supplies for minor injuries and illnesses as well as extra supplies of any prescription medication you might need. For more advice check out our page on 10 Top Tips for Travelling Solo.

What is the safest country to travel alone as a women?

There are various ways of measuring how safe a country is, but Denmark, Ireland, and New Zealand are often considered to be among the safest destinations for solo female travellers. Saudi Arabia has a low crime rate, making it generally safe for solo female travellers.

Is it safe to travel alone at night?

If you’re travelling alone, it’s safer to arrive at your destination during daylight hours so you have time to get to grips with your surroundings before it gets dark. In situations where travelling at night is unavoidable, choose reliable transportation over walking and, even better, find a group of people to travel with.