10 Practical Tips for Solo Female Travelers

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Brooke Saward

I’m going to travel around the world solo for a year.

…And so I did. For the past 8 months I have been traveling around the world solo. In those 8 months I’ve been to all 6 continents (Antarctica still awaits me as the 7th), I’ve seen lion cubs within arms reach on safari, learned to snowboard in Chile, explored Dracula’s castle in Romania, and so much more. But it hasn’t always been a smooth ride, so here are my top 10 practical tips for solo female travelers to help you on your solo journey…

Read my full Story Here.

1. Confidence is Key

The worst thing you can do for yourself both internally and externally as a solo female traveler is look worried or fearful. Even when you’re lost or in trouble, remain assertive and attentive at all times – no matter how tough it can be at challenging times. Just remember it will all be okay in the end – it just sometimes take a little longer or there are a few more hiccups than usual. This is all part of the challenge of solo travel.

2. Think, Act & Dress like a local

It’s one thing to think and act like a local, but it’s another to dress like one. If you really want to blend in, be sure to take a visual note of what others around you are wearing and follow suit. While it may be hot and humid for you in Springtime in Hong Kong, you will soon notice the locals are still wearing pants and/or a jacket. If you want to blend in and not be taken for a tourist target, go with the flow. Aka leave your summer brights well and truly at the bottom of your suitcase when you arrive in Paris.

3. Get to where you need to be before nightfall

When you’re traveling long term it is often difficult to keep track of time as each day, week, and month all blurs into one. But the golden rule for solo female travelers should be to always arrive at your destination before nightfall. That way you can ensure you A) know your surrounds, B) can get emergency supplies before it gets dark and unsafe, and C) aren’t walking the streets with all your luggage and an invisible ‘tourist target’ on your forehead.

4. Have a backup plan

There’s no harm in having a plan A, plan B, plan C, D, E and F (and so on and so forth). When I arrived at my one-night airport hotel in Miami before flying out early the next morning, I immediately knew I had been mislead by the images on the internet. The neighbourhood made me feel incredibly uncomfortable (as airport neighbourhoods often do), so I kindly told the reception staff that I didn’t feel safe in the area and they had no problem in not charging me a cancellation fee, and offered to call for transportation to a new hotel. When you sense something doesn’t feel right, it’s often for good reason. Trust your instincts and never sacrifice your safety… opt for plan B when necessary.

brooke saward

5. Don’t get wasted when you’re traveling alone

This should be an obvious one, but for some reason it’s not. I still get a very mixed reaction when I tell people I don’t “go out and party” while I travel. The reality is that it would be one of the most insensible decisions I could make as a solo female traveler. When you find yourself with a group of new friends, go for it. When a friend from home is in the same city as you are, go for it. But by no means should you go out getting wasted on your own and attempt to make it home safe after a night of heavy partying in a foreign city. It just won’t end well.

Read the Solo Travel Handbook.

6. Be Aware of your surrounds at all times

When you travel solo, it’s important to remember that you are your only eyes and ears to ensure you and your belongings are safe. This can be quite difficult at times (aka taking your entire luggage to the bathroom with you), but it’s important not to take chances. When you are in public places, be sure to keep your bag towards the front of your body and zips done up at all times. These little safety precautions sound over the top, but you’ll realise they’re not the day you get mugged because you let your guard down (touch wood, I have yet to be robbed).

7. Know that you will get lonely

The solo travel blues are inevitable at some point in your journey if you are traveling long term. What’s great news, however, is that they’re not the end of the world. After a while you learn to deal with your emotions and know what to do and how to cope when you’re feeling homesick, missing the company of another, or simply tired of your own thoughts. This is all part of the challenge you accept when you set off on your journey.

8. Leave a trail

Social media – with its’ many pros and cons – can be a great tool when traveling solo. A simple check-in at a new location or a quick photo upload will help to keep your family and friends back home in the know of your whereabouts. Before you leave home, try and set a sort of ‘time frame’ – aka – if you don’t see me post anything for 5 days straight, you know something is probably wrong.

brooke saward

9. Have an alter ego

In case of emergency, remember to have an alter ego or a “second self”. This is a falsified version of yourself that you will have as a backup story in case of extreme emergency. Imagine you’re out for lunch and a creepy middle aged man (you’ll meet many of those) asks where you’re from and how long you’re in town. You obviously don’t want to jump at the chance to invite a conversation with him, so you’re going to have to think quick – and be convincing at the same time. A simple “I’m just visiting for the day with my boyfriend who’s somewhere around here looking for me (laugh)” will do the trick!

10. Embrace this time in your life

But most important of all… don’t be scared, the world is inherently a good place (just with a few bad people in it). It’s important not to let fear get the better of you and prevent you from traveling solo because this is just as important a time in your life as others will be – marriage, family, a house, etc. if you see those in your future. Being able to stand on your own two feet as an independent woman is JUST as important as other times in your life. Don’t be put off by what others around you are doing – settling down, starting a family, getting married. Those can wait. This time in your life is about you – and you will be a much stronger, more independent person because of it.

Buy the Complete Solo TravelΒ Guidebook:


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    Suzan Hall
    March 1, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the tips. This will surely help me to travel more and explore the world. Glad you shared this.

    Chelsea Solmo
    February 18, 2016 at 4:30 am

    I completely agree with this list! Here are some of my own tips:

    Kacy Ratta
    December 22, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    The ‘back up story’ always works wonders. Mind you, the longer I travel, the more elaborate I sometimes make them.

    Love all of these tips though – I hope they inspire more women with the confidence the jet off solo.

    August 7, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    If you take a day pack sized backpack as a carry-on, you rarely are asked for it to be weighed – I believe this is because it’s much less obvious and obtrusive. Much less often than with a rolling suitcase as a carry-on.

    Clipping Path Service
    July 13, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Each and every tips are important to me. Many thanks for sharing. Just love the post.

    Backpack Babe
    June 19, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Excellent post!! And yes it can definitely be lonely, but it’s great to people in hostels and dorms πŸ™‚

    Being aware of your surroundings, traveling during the day and not getting drunk are important to keeping safe! xx

    June 15, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    If i am traveling alone I never get drunk. Even in a party situation. It’s one of the riskiest situations you can put yourself in as a solo female traveler.

    January 15, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Great tips! I’ve been thinking about traveling solo recently, this posts really helps.

    Anna Pevarello
    January 14, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Great posts and wise tips! I used to travel alone in asia and i totally use all of them.
    I think every person should go alone traveling at least once in their life! It’s totally a unique experience.
    Keeo on girl!

    January 13, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Great tips! I think they are really helpful!
    If you travel alone, who takes all those pictures of you? Or do you take a tripod with you?


    January 7, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I travelled solo for 6 months when I was 18 and never thought that it would be such a significant experience.I have only just clicked now that as an 18 year old girl this was huge

    January 7, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    I travelled solo when I was 18 and never thought that it would be such a significant experience.I have only just clicked now that as an 18 year old girl this was huge

    November 22, 2014 at 1:47 am

    The Alter Ego is so important! I use it when I don’t feel comfortable around people in my own town.

    September 25, 2014 at 1:45 am

    I love this post, it makes me feel like taking a flight and starting a new adventure right now.

    September 10, 2014 at 4:24 am

    I love number 3! I feel like so many people overlook the local dress culture and are then shocked when people take advantage of them through theft or unwanted attention. While those that abuse are never in the right, it never hurts to protect yourself with a little extra prevention.

    I have also found that learning the local language is another big help. When I went to Korea (a decidedly safe country) people treated me much nicer when they heard me speak the language even though it was obvious I was from abroad.

    Laura G
    September 10, 2014 at 12:08 am

    I just love it!, Thank you so much, this is really encouraging πŸ™‚

    Erin Klema of Where Erin Goes
    September 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    No. 3 is so important to keep in mind even if you are not traveling alone. In hindsight, it was probably foolish that my female travel companions and I arrived in Athens at night and hadn’t done sufficient research on how to get around the city or about where we were staying. Luckily, it all worked out, but there were moments when I didn’t feel entirely safe. That’s why my No. 1 travel tip is to always do your research before arriving at your destination.

    September 7, 2014 at 5:24 am

    I admire your courage and motivation- I love to travel, yet I always want to go on an adventure with my other half…just so I don’t have to describe the beauty of various places- he can experience tchem with me. But in the future…who knows!

    StΓ©phanie | Expeditie Aardbol
    September 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    What a great post, especially love your last advice.

    September 5, 2014 at 6:12 am

    These are great, sensible tips.

    I actually started traveling last year by myself AND surprisingly enough, it was that bad at all. Everyone was petrified, but honestly, I felt at peace.

    My first trip was to Costa Rica and then I went to World Cup in Brazil alone.. It was actually very liberating. People will make you think that women shouldn’t travel alone but men to it all the time!

    September 4, 2014 at 5:09 am

    What great advice plus an interesting read! i am yet to travel alone so i will print this out and keep it for when i do.

    September 4, 2014 at 1:59 am

    These are great tips! Although I won’t be traveling solo I’ll definitely be using the social media tip for my vacation.

    Best holiday destinations
    September 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Such a helpful information. this place is looking so beautiful. thanks for posting nice views.

    September 3, 2014 at 9:01 am

    This is so perfect! And very nice of you. I know, as I am a solo female traveler, that there are some things we just aren’t aware of and which are very important to keep the trip save and a good experience. You summed it up perfectly!

    Love, Thea /

    September 3, 2014 at 5:54 am

    I travel most of the time with my sister because we have similar goals, but wow this article is really useful. Actually, I wanna share it on my blog! Thanks for the tips.

    My beauty/motivational blog:

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    September 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Wonderful tips as always πŸ™‚

    Renate @ Renate's Travels
    September 2, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Many great tips! I follow pretty much all of these when I travel solo, which I’ve done quite a few times now and will continue to do. I just love the freedom! I’m actually traveling solo to Slovenia this month, and Albania and Macedonia in October. I can’t wait!

    September 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    These are all great tips Brooke. And good call putting your first one first – it’s all about confidence x

    September 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    This is a great list of things that women’s need to be aware of when traveling alone. I appreciate you’re not an alarmist and quite practical when it comes to travel. πŸ™‚

    September 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for the tip! It’s really useful πŸ™‚

    September 2, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    /thanks for the tips Brooke! I have used these on my solo trips as well. You may have said it in the past, but I keep a printed copy of my itinerary at home with my family and a copy sent to my email. In South America, they ask for my passport number so I have a scanned copy saved in my phone and a printed copy to show them so I dont have to bring out my passport at all times. Keep on traveling and thanks again for your tips!

    Clipping Path Outsource
    September 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    As only 23 and as an women your are breve, It’s not the fact to tell. The tips are great for solo travel as well. Thanks for the nice post.

    September 2, 2014 at 9:57 am

    This is some sound, practical advice! Solo or not, I always practice these things when I’m abroad. Great post, as usual! πŸ™‚

    Betty J. Ogburn
    September 2, 2014 at 8:49 am

    …Excellent advice–esp. #1!!…You always have to have the air of assurance about you…

    ~ Carmen ~
    September 2, 2014 at 7:00 am

    These are some excellent tips. I’lll save this for future reference. At least social media can be a saving grace for leaving a trail & keeping everyone updated. I love following along with people’s journeys, but it keeps them safe as well. :] // ☼ ☯

    September 2, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Such wonderful and well-composed advice, but it saddens me to think that we still live in a world where the attitudes towards women who alone makes this information necessary.

    In addition to keeping yourselves safe, ladies, let’s work on making the world more tolerant of independent women!

    September 2, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Love these tips! I think #5 is one that far too many people don’t follow- plus I think it goes along with #3- after dark is when the creepers usually come out. I would much rather be safe than sorry! A great list. Thanks for sharing

    September 2, 2014 at 4:48 am

    Kudos to you! I couldn’t do it. Do you ever meet up w friends to break it up?

    September 2, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Great tips. Number 5 is really wise and number 9 was something that I’ve never thought about.

    Lauren Hughes
    September 2, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Love this blog post, I have been wanting to travel alone for such a long time and it is my biggest challenge that I want to overcome by the end of the year!

    I like your no drinking one too, as a girl, when travelling I try to avoid this anyway unless I am with a big group of friends that I can trust.

    I also hate wasting days on hangovers, I read a quote today that said something along the lines of “when partying, you are only stealing happiness from tomorrow” – I’d rather be exploring and finding something new and amazing πŸ™‚ xo

    Rachel @ Vagabondbaker
    September 2, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I haven’t travelled solo that much but when I do I notice I’m a different person. It certainly makes me more confident but also a lot more wary and on guard.
    I love tip 2, dress and presentation is so key to blending in and getting by, I don’t want to stand out too much and draw too much attention.
    My alter ego is married!

    September 2, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Nice post! I love ‘Have an alter Ego’ part. I always do , but somehow I thought I was being a little bit crazy!

    I am super excited about my 8 day solo road trip around the Highlands and Isle of Skye coming up at the end of the month! Cannot wait to be alone with nature πŸ™‚

    Potala Palace

    Gwynne Finlay
    September 2, 2014 at 2:50 am

    I just travelled by myself for the first time this summer. I went to Italy and found that I did most of these steps! I definitely wasn’t ready to be THAT lonely but I learned to accept it and slightly appreciate it. And back-up plans are a must!
    Great tips!

    Sarah Ball
    September 2, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Thanks for the excellent advice, Brooke. I’ve traveled solo all over the world and employed all of these tips at one time or another.

    I think the most challenging part is dealing with loneliness, simply because it comes up more often than feeling unsafe. Most of the time I love my moments alone, but it’s frustrating when I want to connect with fellow travelers but it just doesn’t work out for any number of reasons.

    I’ve got a solo trip to South America coming up, and this time I’ve got a few new ideas to mix the alone time with new-friend-making time. I’m curious to see how this will change things.

    Jessica Feng
    September 2, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Your blog is so beautifully written and so inspiring! I know that your favorite (or one of them) is Paris, and I had the opportunity to live there for 5 months – and just wrote a blog post about if you want to check it out! [] Never stop blogging/ traveling because you are such an inspiration!! Love your blog Brooke and good luck on your infinite amount of adventures heading your way!! xx

    Amanda @ Positively Amanda
    September 2, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Great post! Very helpful tips for my future travels. Thank you πŸ™‚

    Emilie Larsen Bro
    September 2, 2014 at 12:41 am

    You truly are a very inspirational person, and I absolutely love your blog.
    What you are doing is so bold and brave, and it really shows that dreams have no limits.
    Hope the rest of your trip will be fab.

    September 2, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Great article. Going to travel solo soon so I’m going to keep this in mind!

    September 2, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Thanks for this article … very useful reading for tonight.
    I am doing sort of my first solo traveling Penang now πŸ™‚

    September 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Thank you for these amazing tips! I’m definitely more hyper-aware than most but I’m constantly trying to give female friends advice on travelling (even not alone)!

  • Madelinefedmont@yahoo.con'
    September 1, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Thank you for your tips