Solo female traveling is becoming bigger with each passing year. Although not exactly a trend, but rather a personal choice, going solo on a lengthy trip, especially to Asian countries, still shocks most people, both male and female. How many of you have gone on a solo trip to a foreign country and got the usual ‘wow, you are so brave’ comment? I bet most of you, if not all. It is still considered dangerous for women to venture out ‘into the wild’ all alone as if the world was full of predators. Nevertheless, traveling alone requires certain skills and there are things you should think about while on the go. Here are 10 best travel tips from female solo travelers that will help you on your journey.
Get yourself prepared for the new place you’re visiting. Staying connected and online can make all the difference – a local Sim-card will not only give you access to the Internet with its messengers and online maps, but also safe taxis (like Uber), online ticket booking, and emergency calls if you happen to get in trouble. For those of you who love trekking solo – invest in a satellite GPS phone that will keep you connected even without the cellular service. Buy a topographical map before you go on a trip to get familiar with the area.
Always trust your gut
Women have amazing intuition and should use it fully on a trip. While traveling, you will meet all kinds of people and visit various places. Not always the meet-ups are planned and the places are well-lit. If you don’t feel comfortable about something – skip that alley, ditch the suspicious stranger, excuse yourself from a shady party. In other words, do what your gut tells you to! If it’s right, you’ll avoid a bad situation, and if it’s wrong – you’ll miss on some experience, but you’ll be safe and sound in the end.
Interact with locals
After all, this is what travelling is all about, right? Other countries are like other planets with cultures different from yours, where beautiful unusual languages are spoken and customs are practiced like you’ve never ever seen before. Interacting with the locals is the only way to really get to know the culture of the country you’re visiting. You should also interact with other travellers as you might find a like-minded travel companion or even a friend for a lifetime.
Seek pro help for a breathtaking experience
Tour companies are not all about crowded travels – they can do female solo trips, too! If you are seeking an individualized experience with a twist (like learn photo while you’re at it or learn to cook local food) you might as well seek some pro help that will prepare a planned trip that will meet all your specific needs. You can also join women-only groups to meet like-minded companions and potential friends. Companies like Damesly and Wild Women Expeditions will help you with that.
Try living in a hostel
Hotels might offer you comfort, but they will always give you limited options in terms of experience. Hostels, on the other hand, are a backpacker’s paradise because they’re packed with like-minded people, info about the place, and useful contacts. Owners usually know a thing or two about local attractions and can point them out, while friendly travelers will offer their own experience and advice. Not only can you make friends there, but also find travel companions and get all the info about the place you are going, including prices, hotels, and local guides if you need them. Hostels also come in all shapes and sizes, so you’ll be pretty comfortable there, too.
Mix traveling with your favorite hobby
While on a solo trip you should be prepared that most of the time you will be spending alone (duh). Whether it’s a few hours on a train or a peaceful evening in a hotel, you’ll have plenty of downtime that can be used to try new things or continue doing those you already love. Photography, painting, sketching, writing a journal – all these activities will enrich your travelling experience and make your journey unforgettable.
Rely on the kindness of strangers
You don’t have to get into trouble to ask something from people you don’t know (or get help when they offer it themselves). Once you start travelling alone you will notice that in all countries all over the world there are lots of compassionate kind people that will always help you out of need be. So don’t be surprised when someone comes to your aid while you’re gaping in the middle of the street trying to understand which way is your hotel. Also, don’t hesitate to ask street vendors and shop keepers – they are the ones who know the neighbourhood more than anyone else!
Be aware of the scams
Not all strangers are equally sweet and innocent – that’s the sad truth traveling alone teaches us. This may happen in any country or city in the world, but South-East Asian and Asian countries, in general, are especially rich with all kinds of ‘helpers’ that will either help you carry your luggage, show you to your hotel, or help grab a pricey taxi. This is the time when you should listen to your gut the most. Come prepared, stay alert, use the services of known taxi companies or choose a prepaid taxi if you’re leaving out of the airport. Pre-book your hotel at least for the first night and then decide where to go next. Book train and bus tickets yourself to avoid scams.
It’s a simple rule, but one that is pretty hard to follow. Traveling light will make your life so much easier! You don’t have to pay more for check-in luggage and wait in line to get it after you land. You can grab it anytime and just go! You also don’t always need to rent a car taxi – a riksha, a scooter, or a bike taxi are also available at a cheaper price. It’s easier to walk without a heavy suitcase, so pack a light backpack or a small suitcase on wheels and be as mobile as possible
Take a break when necessary
Whether you’re traveling for a week, a month, or a year, it can become pretty exhausting having to deal with everything alone all the time. You are the one responsible for everything, hence, all the decision-making is on you. When you get tired the most logical thing to do is stop, leave all your worries behind, and take a day off. Go get a massage, spend a whole day in a hotel with your favorite book, or simply sleep a lot and chat with your friends and family. You are traveling alone so you are making all the rules!