Without a doubt, one of the questions I get asked most often is, “do you have tips for solo female travelers?” Firstly, I’m SO glad all my ladies out there aren’t letting fear stand in the way of traveling and exploring the world by themselves. And secondly, you bet your cute little face I’ve got some tips!
I took my first solo trip abroad in the Spring of this year, and tried to make the absolute most of it, but dang girl, did I learn a lot along the way! From (now looking back) comical ways of sprinting to a train I nearly missed, to chatting with fellow travelers I never would have otherwise, it broke me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible.
I’ve now had the chance to also travel solo quite a few times since we moved to Europe a few months ago, and each time teaches you something new about yourself. You’re pushed out of your comfort zone in the best way, your tested, challenged, and tested again. And in the end, you’ll leave with a passport full of new memories.
There’s nothing like traveling with Zach, and I’m so grateful we’re able to explore so much while we’re over here, but there is something so empowering about traveling by yourself. No one knows you, your day is yours and yours alone to make. You are in control of everything that happens to you, and it gives you a chance to truly soak in the place your visiting in a way that makes you so aware of everything happening around you. I could sit for days with a delicious book, at a sidewalk café, and watch the world go by. It’s an incredibly gratifying experience I think every lady out there should experience if you get the chance!
If you’re thinking of taking off on a trip as a solo female traveler, I’ve got some insider tricks to help you make the most out of your time alone, so without further adieu, grab your passport, and let’s dive in, shall we?
Let Loved Ones Know Of Your Travel Plans
This is as much as for your peace of mind, as for your family and loved ones! When you’re traveling solo, it’s always a good idea to check in with someone to let them know you’ve made it to your next destination, checked into your hotel, or are turned in for the evening. Do this, and everyone will feel cooler than a cucumber with your travel plans!
Stay in a Central Location
When I stayed in Prague, which was my first ever trip as a solo female traveler, I decided to stay in Old Town, which was pretty central in the city and very walkable. This was definitely one of the best decisions I made, and something I’ve continued to do since then. This will give you some comfort when you’re walking home by yourself, because there’s so much action always happening. It’s worth the extra few bucks, but you can usually always snag a killer deal if you look hard enough! I’m a huge fan of Booking.com because (most of the time) they have a free cancellation fee, which is unheard of. You can snag $30 off your next booking, right here!
Learn the Local Lingo
Learning the basics of how to get by will make it so much easier to get around, plus it’s just respectful of whatever culture you’re visiting to do so. Friendly PSA: don’t be that person that travels and knows nothin’ in the local native language. I usually try to learn: Hello, goodbye, yes, no, thank you, how much, please, where is the bathroom, I would like, and of course…more wine, please. Google Translate is my go-to app for this, you can even download all of it offline to refer to whenever you’d like!
PS–if you’re lookin’ for a list of travel apps that I use on the regular to help make everything from navigation to booking flights a breeze, head right here!
Don’t Be Scared to Eat Alone
I think this is one of the things I hear most about going it solo as a female traveler, the fear of eating alone. And to be honest, I totally get that. The first time I sat down in Prague to eat solo, it was definitely a foreign feeling. But guess what? No one cares! Turns out, eating alone is quite empowering.
I actually ended up chatting with a gal next to me, who also happened to be from the states, and we had a great conversation! This is something I admit I usually wouldn’t do if I was back in Seattle, but I figured why not? She was so sweet and we ended up having a lovely dinner together!
If you’re still a bit nervous about it, bring a book or your Kindle, and enjoy the sweet, quiet of alone time. Bonus points for eating alone: you get all the dessert to yourself!
Leave the Valuables at Home
Yep, leave anything flashy at home. When I travel by myself now, I leave my engagement ring at home. I hate that this is a “thing” but we gotta be real, ladies! Don’t draw unwanted attention to yourself with flashy designer bags or clothing. Do as the locals do when you’re thinking about this. Practicality wins in this area, always.
Get Prepped, Girl
Traveling in and of itself can be stressful, so being prepped ahead of time will definitely ease some of this stress for you. If you don’t have a local sim card, and aren’t sure if you’ll have Wi-Fi, make sure to screenshot things like: the address of your hotel, the directions from the train station/airport to your hotel, etc. In Europe specifically, lots of smaller hotels are run by families and don’t allow for check in after a certain time. Definitely make sure you let your hotel know of your estimated arrival time, if that’s the case!
One of my very favorite apps to use is TripIt. It’s seriously life-changing, and I don’t say that lightly. If you’re traveling abroad (solo or otherwise) this would be the one app I would recommend without a doubt. I have the paid version, and would wholeheartedly recommend it! It essentially becomes a little trip planner in your pocket. You simply forward all of your email confirmations (hotels, flights, trains, etc) to their email, and they from your itinerary for you, including directions of how to get to each location. If it sounds like I’m obsessed with it, it’s because I am. Head here to download it!
P.S. If you’re a corporate babe who’s company happens to use SAP Concur, you might have a complimentary subscription to Tripit! Click here to check it out, and connect to your account right here!
And this goes beyond just posting about your trip on Instagram 😉 One of the things I now usually always do if I’m traveling by myself is to take a free walking tour. Sandeman’s free walking tour was recommended to me by quite a few people when I visited Prague, and it was a great way to chat with fellow solo travelers, and also just a fabulous way to see the city you’re in (especially if you’re only there for a short amount of time). I’d highly recommend Sandeman’s firstly because it’s free (though you are encouraged to leave a tip) and secondly because it’s an awesome way to meet people! 10/10 recommend.
This is so key before you get to any city! Is the bus system easy to use? Or would it be easier to use the metro? Is the city super walkable? Do they have Uber, or something similar? These are all great things to research ahead of time so you know the easiest way to get around. I always also look at average prices of the airport to your hotel, so you know you’re not gettin’ ripped off by a cabbie 😉
If you’re taking the train, which I highly recommend if you’re in Europe because it’s SO easy to use, make sure you know how you’re getting your ticket. Some trains accept digital tickets, but some still require them to be printed. Make sure you know before you go, to avoid sprinting to catch your train like I did when heading to Salzburg! #facepalm
This is along the lines leaving your valuables at home, but it deserves to be reiterated. A few things I always try to do when traveling solo: wear neutral colors (you can still look super cute and be covered up!), try to dress like the locals (Instagram is a great place for inspiration for this!). Do as the locals do here, and you’ll be blending in in no time.
Plan Your Route
TripIt comes in very handy here, too! But one of the things I always liked to do, was to plan my route before heading somewhere, or before leaving the hotel each day. This is again just in case you don’t have access to Wi-Fi and your Google Maps stops working. If you get lost, duck into a coffee shop to jump on their Wi-Fi and get re-sorted. Try to avoid pulling out a massive map in the middle of the street 😉
Relish Your Alone Time
Okay, this is by far one of the most important things on this list. GIRLFRIEND, if you are reading this, that means you had the courage to set out and go see the world by yourself, go you girl! That’s such a major accomplishment! One of the biggest takeaways you’ll get some traveling as a solo female is a newfound sense of confidence that you didn’t have before. Own that ‘ish, girl.
Even if you don’t feel confident at first, fake it till you make it and soon enough you’ll be walking with more confidence than Elle Woods owning Harvard like the boss she is.
Don’t Forget Cash
Because even major restaurants sometimes don’t accept card! This happened to me once in Munich, and I’m so glad I happened to have some cash on me. It’s also just easier for smaller purchases (like taxis and coffee). If you didn’t bring any with you, no worries! Hit up a local ATM and you’ll be able to pull some out, and be so grateful you did! Keep it in a safe spot, and always make sure your bag is zipped and buttoned up. I recommend using a purse or bag that has both a zipper, and a button closure.
Girlfriend, if I haven’t said it enough: you are SO beyond brave to consider traveling solo! This is your opportunity to savor every single moment of it. You are in charge of your day, your destiny and your desires. Feel like sleeping in? You do you, boo! Feel like shopping and getting a massage? You totally can! Want to extend your trip and spend another night in Paris? YOU CAN DO IT. There’s nothing holding you back, and you are completely in control. Now go be the badass woman you are, and get to fillin’ up that passport!
Have you every traveled solo? Would you consider it? I hope this post helped you, if you are! You can follow my journeys (both solo, and otherwise!) over on Instagram, @thelyonbadger. Thank you so much for stopping by!