Women and Solo Travel – How to beat the “I can’t”

Hey Explorers!

Say it with me – “I am a woman and I can solo travel.” Repeat it to yourself a few times. It is a sad reality that women often times feel a lot of anxiety and fear when they think about solo traveling for the first time.

As a woman who has traveled to 6 continents, 41 countries, and all over the US, I still get butterflies at the prospect of traveling solo. We worry about our safety, we worry that we will be taken advantage of, and ultimately we worry because we have been trained to worry. It is true that there are more risks as women travellers, but risks can be managed. That is what I want to talk about here.

Here is how you can beat that voice in your head that is telling you solo travel is a bad idea:

1. Remind yourself that it is actually a fantastic idea

I am going to start with this one so that you can begin visualizing yourself in the place you want to travel. Obviously, you are reading this article because you have a desire to go somewhere or do something that scares you. But your desire is what I want to focus on. Solo travel is incredibly rewarding. There comes a feeling of being unstoppable and unparalleled accomplishment of doing something all by yourself. Let’s list some benefits:

  • You can go on your trip when you want! There is a quote – “If you wait for others to be ready, you will wait forever. If you go alone, you can go today”
  • You can go wherever you want
  • You can go at your own pace 
  • You are the boss when it comes to choosing stops, food, travel, and accommodation
  • You can have as much or as little interaction with others as you desire
  • The list can go on and on but when it comes down to it – you are in control of your experience – (Not to say that all things will go as planned 🙃)

2. Have a Plan 

Planning ahead and educating yourself on your destination is a sure way to curb doubt and anxiety. Here are some tips for planning:

  • Nail the basics – In general if you are nervous, it helps to nail the big details of your trip. I consider the basics to include all transportation you intend to use (both getting to your destination(s) and while you are there), your accommodation(s), and any big excursions or activities you plan to do.
    • Planning Your Transportation – What exactly does this mean? This means that from the moment you leave your home to the moment you return home, you should know how you will get between locations. This doesn’t need to be exact but you should generally know which options are available to you. For example: know whether you will be able to walk between destinations. Learn about the public transportation options available. Learn whether the public transportation is safe. Learn whether there are options to take Ubers, taxis or similar ride hailing services. Understand how you will be able to pay for any of these transportation options to avoid being in a bind. In summary – be prepared.
    • Planning Your Accommodation – There are likely several factors that will contribute to your choice of accommodation. To name a couple, you will likely want to stay in close proximity to the activities that you want to do. You will also want to remain in budget and you will want to find a place that meets your needs in terms of room, amenities, cleanliness, and hospitality. Whether you decide to go with a private room in an AirBnb, a whole house, a hotel room, or camping, it is important to know in advance where you will be sleeping each night. Don’t end up like me that one time in Mt. Ranier when I arrived later than planned to find that all campsites were booked. 
    • Planning Your Big Excursions –  This one is less important but I want to highlight here the importance of reading reviews to find reputable companies. Reviews of others are a good way to set your expectations and take precautionary measures to avoid being in uncomfortable situations. 
  • Do your research – In general, more knowledge about your destination will help assuage your fears.
    • Know what to do in an emergency – do you know the emergency number for the area?
    • Know the general safety of the area – Is the area safe for tourists? Are there any dangerous animals that you need to be aware of? Is it safe at night?
    • Know the rules and regulations – if you are traveling to a different country, have you read their rules? In some countries, activities that you do casually at home may land you in jail. Be informed.

3. Communicate

Awesome! I am sure your plan is looking stellar! Hopefully you are feeling a little more at ease now that you have some of the major details ironed out. The next option to further add comfort to you as a solo female traveler is to communicate before, during, and after your trip.

  • Before Share your trip details with those you trust. By sharing the details of your trip, you are building a reliable network of people who are familiar with your plans and are ready to help if needed. Perhaps they will even be able to give you some pointers on the area if they have previously visited. When you share these details, don’t be surprised if others express anxiousness as well. Their worry means that they care. Re-enforce that you have a good plan and that, by sharing the details with them, it will provide both parties with peace of mind.
  • During Check In Often. When you achieve milestones on your itinerary such as arriving to your destination, checking into your hotel, etc., let your circle of trust know! They will be relieved to hear it and it is a good way to build up a habit. In the event that you build this habit and for some reason you miss a check-in, others will be more likely to reach out to you and check that all is good. Additionally, if you happen to meet people during your solo travels, that is incredible! It may be good, as a precaution, to let people know if you intend to do activities with this person. Being cautious DOES NOT mean that your new friend is dangerous, it is just a safe practice.
  • During (w/no cell service) – Your travels may take you to areas with no cell service. Whether you are arriving in a destination where your plan doesn’t work or you are hiking in the back-country, having no cell service as a solo female traveler can be nerve-wracking. Plan ahead to avoid a situation where you lose service and you are unprepared. It is better to think in advance if there will ever be moments you won’t have cell service and know what to do about it.

    Some options for you may be to:
    • Get a local SIM card in the airport
    • Buy a satellite device such as a Garmin Inreach
    • Inform others of relatively the time frame you intend to be out of service.

      I liked to do all of the above. I know my plan for cell service the second I touch the ground, I hike with a Garmin Inreach AND I inform my loved ones when I will be hard to reach.
  • After – Let everyone know you made it home safely after your flight and share with them all how awesome it was 🙂

4. Manage Your Social Media Presence

While many of us love posting about our incredible trips, it is generally a good rule of thumb to never post about a place while you are there. Save the posts for after the trip or when you move between locations.

This list is just based on my experiences. What tips do you have for fellow solo female travellers? Let me know in the comments and I’ll update the article with the best tips!

Happy exploring,


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