Solo Female Travel Tips: 20 Things you Need to Know

So you’ve booked your ticket, all but packed your bags, you’re having those inevitable second thoughts and you’re in need of some solo female travel tips to assure you that it was indeed a good idea, not the worst you’ve ever had.

Solo travel as a female can be incredibly daunting and that’s not something to be ashamed of. When I took my first overseas solo trip I felt fine right up until the moment I landed on my feet in Hong Kong, the first point of call on my trip. I had no idea what I was in for until I was dragging my 20kg suitcase up three flights of stairs to exit the metro station that had escalators that had so coincidentally stopped working that day. I emerged in a full layer of sweat (in places I didn’t even know you could sweat) in the humidity of Hong Kong, with nothing but a hand written list of directions to reach my hotel. While it felt like the world was ending, it wasn’t… and I soon learned that these daily struggles seem a lot bigger in your head at the time, but soon resolve themselves and leave you smiling and often laughing at yourself for how dramatic you built them up to be.

Solo Travel: All you need to know

Solo Female Travel: Everything you Need to Know

1. Social Media is a great tool to keep safe

Telling your friends and family where you will be and when before you leave is only part of the story to keeping safe – you really need to keep people at home updated on your movements so they know roughly where you are at all times. That way if things do go wrong, you can easily be traced to your last point of checking in on Facebook, a photo uploaded to Instagram or a tweet about what you’re up to that day.

2. Copy your passport and important documents

As a general rule you should give a copy to someone at home, keep a copy in your purse, an extra copy in your suitcase (incase you lose your purse) and take a photo on your phone as a last minute resort.

3. Its okay to splurge

One of the things I used to struggle with as a solo traveller was feeling guilty spending my nights in cozy hotel rooms instead of “roughing it” at a hostel. Although I love meeting people and the social aspect of hostels, I’m a light sleeper and have never been drawn to the idea of sleeping in a room with other people. I used to feel guilty about it as my friends would say “this is all part of the travelling experience”. I totally agree that meeting new people from around the world IS the travel experience, but I no longer feel guilty about spending extra on a good night of rest as that is something that is important to me. Don’t feel guilty for splurging on what is important to you: be that a nice hotel, a night out partying with your new friends, a nice evening meal, or going on a shopping spree every once and a while. We’re all different, that’s what makes us interesting.

4. Dress like a local

Not only does dressing like a local result in a safer experience (as you blend in and don’t have the word “TOURIST” as a target on your back for pickpockets, etc.) but it also results in a much better travel experience, whereby you become a part of the city or country you are visiting, not just an onlooker.


5. Be prepared for catcalling

It will happen – sadly it is more a case of when than if. Being called out to in the street from onlookers is a global phenomenon and although you’ve likely experienced it in your lifetime, it become slightly more intimidating on your own in a foreign country. Don’t be phased by it, be prepared for it, act like you didn’t hear it and keep being fabulous.

6. “Table for one” Is one of the hardest parts about Solo Travel

As women, we love to talk. We love to reminisce, to chat about our day and we sure do love to plan (the next day before the current one is even over!) Thus one of the hardest parts about solo travel as a female is the inevitable “table for one” evening meal. There are plenty of ways to avoid eating out alone at night, like going to a communal dinner experience, making new friends and meeting them for dinner, or sometimes just grabbing take out and eating back at your hotel while you skim over your travel snaps for the day and write a quick journal entry. Often I go for option #3 (as a blogger I need time to write and edit photos), but I’ve also come to love grabbing take out and eating it outdoors, like on the Seine River or at a public square whilst people watching.

7. Walk Everywhere

Before taking my first solo trip, I made myself a promise: to walk absolutely everywhere I could, taking public transport wherever it was not possible. This way I kept my body AND my mind busy, making more room for those chocolate croissants and allowing plenty of time to wander freely, often accompanied by a soundtrack to my travels.

8. Headphones on, World off

One of my favourite little tricks whilst travelling solo is to always carry a pair of headphones with me for those times where you don’t want to talk to a stranger at a coffee shop, don’t want to spend the entire train ride listening to the couple next to you smooch and don’t want to attract conversation from that guy on the train that keeps trying to make eye contact. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I love to talk to strangers as this is all part of the travelling experience… but somedays you just feel like putting your headphones on, world off.


9. You will meet other travellers

Making friends as a traveller isn’t nearly as hard as making friends in school… so that’s a start. You will soon find that there are many other solo travellers out there, especially many solo female travellers. Making friends is easy as you both have that one thing in common: that you’re both solo and eager to meet other people.

10. Be firm when saying “No”

Something I used to struggle with was being able to say “no”. Whether it be an offer for a dinner date, an offer to take my photo by a questionable type of person or an offer to go out for drinks when I’d really rather not, I once found it difficult to be firm in saying “no” and wind up doing things I wasn’t really sure about. Eventually I learned the best way is to be firm when you say “No” with a polite smile that says that is a kind offer, thank you, but I have other plans. Furthermore, you can just follow it up with an “I have other plans” to seal the deal.

11. Keep a Journal

One thing I will say should be mandatory as a solo female traveller is to keep a journal – even if that just means dot point entries instead of a full 12-page spread about your day. Not only is this a great way to reflect on each day, but it also serves as a permanent memory of all the little things that took your breath away that day, all the people who made you smile, all the thoughts that swirled around your head and all the confrontations of culture shock you encountered. Looking back on these memories is priceless as you will see yourself quite literally grow and change over the pages (my favourite example being where you originally think something is whack, then a few months later it has totally become the norm).


12. Come Prepared Every Day

One of my biggest mistakes in my early days was thinking that I could “wing it” with everything. It would always work out in the end, but too many times I found myself frantically looking for my hotel or short-term apartment in the late hours of the evening with no idea if I was in the right neighbourhood let alone the right street. The best idea as a solo female traveller is to always have a map of the city with a big ol’ X marks the spot of your accommodation. That way you can always ask a local to point out where you are on the map so you can find your way home.

13. Aim to Arrive During the Day

As mentioned earlier, as much as you can you should try to spend every waking hour outdoors, but after dark it is better to be safe than sorry (especially if carrying 20+ kilograms of luggage up the metro stairs!)

14. Find the Perfect Travel Purse

One thing about travelling solo I soon figured out (after being mugged from behind) is that it is important to ditch the backpack and handbag, instead opting for a cross body bag. This allows you to keep an eye on your bag at all times, as well having it securely across your body and not able to be snatched easily.


15. Pack Light

With the above two points made, it should also be said that it is easiest to travel lightly as a solo female traveller. There’ll be no strong Thor-like eye candy to carry that suitcase up the stairs for you, so you’d better be able to lug it up half-gracefully on your own! I continually made this mistake for years, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t get it right the first time. As a general rule, if you’re going for 2 weeks or less, you can entirely do so with carry on only (look for an upcoming video on that!)

16. Learn New Skills

One of the best ways to keep yourself entertained on your travels is to try and learn new things. I’m talking cooking classes, painting classes, language classes… anything that allows you to learn a new skill.

17. Learn how to take your own photos

Although I’ve already done a video on this once before, its about time I updated that to give a better idea of how its done. However in a few words: tripod, camera, self-timer, run, et voila!

18. Download These Apps

There are a bunch of apps that make travel a lot easier than it ever has been before, including: Currency Converter, Create Trips, and a Translator. If you want even more, here are 10 of my favourite travel apps.

19. Read books to inspire your journey

Excited about your adventure but need a little convincing? There are some great solo female travel books out there to help squash any cold feet you might be feeling, such as Eat, Pray Love; Wild; and my very own A Year to Myself.

20. Its Easier than you Think

The most important point to make is that solo travel is fun, exciting, invigorating and incredibly liberating. There’s no way you won’t have a good time if you’re prepared for what lay ahead, have a positive attitude (not just before the trip but every single day of the trip) and remember its okay to talk yourself through it sometimes, we’ve all been there.

Buy the Complete Solo Travel Guidebook:


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    cat crawford
    April 25, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I’ve never travelled solo before, but I’m on the verge of booking my first trip to Barcelona and I’m terrified haha. I’ll be reading every single one of your posts about solo travel before I head off. I feel like if I feel more prepared I’ll be less terrified when I get there. I am especially anxious about getting to and from the airport though, I find public transport in different countries extremely confusing haha

    Cat x

    March 29, 2016 at 5:44 am

    Being s solo female traveler, as well. . I have to say I absolutely LOVE your blog 🙂 One of my biggest problems a has always been saying no, but as for most of these others; they are SO helpful and true. Thank you so much for putting up this list. It truly is an inspiration to know there are many other women out there typing up guide books and journaling like crazy to get the female travelers out there. Traveling solo can be super difficult, especially in being super into human conversation/contact. But learning to say to no, (especially to men) even when having fun with others is DEFINITELY a big one.

    You’ve made me want to make my blog public when I start traveling again.

    Jaspreet Soni
    February 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Very well researched article. Travelling solo indeed offers a very unique experience and I sometimes get time to travel solo. I will definitely keep these things in my mind while travelling alone for the next time. Bookmarking this post!!

    February 17, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Great tips. I have done more hiking and camping solo than traveling. I did go to Chicago by my self.
    I tried my best not to look like a tourest. I must of done the right thing because I had people asking me for directions – it happened three times! My son called me and told me that his friend would be picking me up at the hotel. I told him that I was on the other side of the city. He asked how I got there. I pulled the maps and sights to see out of the phone books, Grabbed a map at the train station, picked up some sights to see pamplets and took a walk. I was all over the city and missed a lot because I didn’t have enough (vacation) time. Hope to travel more – even if I’m alone.

    January 26, 2016 at 5:15 am

    Great post. I need want to do a solo trip, I just have to try to overcome my fear of it and save some money.

  • Weekly Pins & Tweets - Work.Play.Bake
    January 25, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    […] 3. Some great solo female travel tips […]

    January 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Great tips, these are spot on I really want to travel a lot more this year and doing it solo can be scary but I’m so ready for it xoxo

    January 20, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Thanks for this post! I like the fact that it’s a bit different from all the usual tips for solo female travelers.
    I specialy loved the point of “not feeling guilty” for sleeping in nice hotel and the one about the music to “shut off the world”!!! I thought I was the only one feeling that, and now, at the other part of the world, I feel less alone and weird because of you 🙂

    January 18, 2016 at 2:42 am

    Thanks a lot for your tips. I’ve always wanted to travel and I am sure going to do this in the future. Bookmarking this post. Have a happy Sunday. Xx

    January 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I absolutely love this!! The colors are so soft.

    January 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    So gorgeous! You look so classy in that outfit!

    January 12, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Love this! Thank you! I’ve had the travel bug for a few years now, and I still haven’t gotten off my butt to go do it either because it wasn’t a good time for my boyfriend and I to both take off or because I just was too afraid to travel alone. But this was great! Thank you so much for sharing! I’ll definitely add this to my mental prep for when I finally take the step to see the world. 🙂

    Kayti Clayton
    January 12, 2016 at 11:02 am

    Love this article, super helpful and honest. I can relate to a lot of these.

    January 12, 2016 at 7:19 am

    I think your point on being firm on saying “No” is a big one. I always want to give people the benefit of the doubt and be nice, but it’s important to be safe and say “No” with confidence. I also think that part about the travel purse is key! Making sure that it is light and functional, with a zipper enclosure to protect against pickpocketers! I love the crossbody bags.

    Characters & Carry-ons

    January 12, 2016 at 5:23 am

    I did my first solo travel at the age of 19 last year.

    Allthough I was scared it happened to be one of the best experiment I ever lived.
    Of course, there was some down but it was mostly something I’d love to do again.

    Thx for the article. 🙂

    Kenza from

    Aradhna Krishna
    January 12, 2016 at 3:14 am

    The last point about it being easier than you think is so so true. I tell that to people who wonder how I’ve done most of my travelling alone. Most of them just look at me in awe, but do nothing about it. I wish more people would be inspired to go off on their own at least once, cos they really don’t know how exhilarating or liberating it is!

    January 12, 2016 at 3:12 am

    My biggest issue is saying no. I recently was put into an uncomfortable situation that led to being scammed out of a few dollars because I tried to be nice and help someone. I should have just walked away, but, you live and you learn I suppose… Great article though!

    January 12, 2016 at 1:38 am

    thank you for this post. I am a girl and I am planning to travel solo for the first time. You blog is a big help! 🙂

    el armario de la nena
    January 12, 2016 at 12:23 am

    these are great tips for travelling. I think this post will help me in future trips. Thank you! 🙂

    Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    January 11, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    As usual a great post! I haven’t done a lot of solo travelling, just a few, but I’m thinking about one now!

    January 11, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Another great post and love that you spoke about the lonely side of solo travel. I think it’s important we all have a balanced view of solo travel.

    January 11, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Really great tips! There’s something for everyone in this article – tips for first-timers, but also good reminders for those who’ve travelled more extensively.

    January 11, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Super helpful and inspiring! Will refer to this in the future when I summon the courage to travel by myself.


    January 11, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    These are some excellent tips. Last year I travelled solo for the first time in January and since then, I haven’t looked back. I don’t actually mind the ‘table for one’. Sometimes I get the jump the queue and squeeze into and awkward restaurant gap. I think learning to dress like a foreigner is really important too, firstly to stop yourself from standing out and secondly to respect their culture.

    Sally ~ DiagonSally

    January 11, 2016 at 9:38 am

    I’m glad you touched upon the lonelier side to solo travel. Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling alone and have the best experiences doing so, but more than anything else, loneliness was the biggest challenge I had to face last time I travelled solo. I spent 2 months in Japan last spring, and was at one point the only guest in the hostel! I guess the upside to loneliness is that you get quite desperate for some company, which forces you to be brave and seek conversation with people you don’t know. That night that I was the only guest, I went for a walk (in the rain) looking for a small bar I could find company in, and ended up joining a big party of ESL teachers!

    January 11, 2016 at 8:10 am

    What an awesome post! I travelled alone after school and learnt so much from it! I also think it’s important to let your fears go a little and interact with new people – it’s something I didn’t do so well before but after being somewhere where I didn’t know anyone and everyone else could hardly speak English I quickly became more confident! I definitely agree with your point that you shouldn’t feel guilty spending money – it is after all about having the best time possible!