Being a woman and traveling on your own might sound scary, but just because people say that it might be dangerous doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. People say that out of fear of the unknown and have no idea themselves whether it is actually safe or dangerous.
The truth is, there are some places that are generally safer than others. With a little courage and a lot of planning, you can create a safe environment for yourself while you’re on your own. And while our world is on hold at the moment with COVID-19, you can still plan ahead for once things begin to open back up.
Here are a few reasons why traveling solo is a great decision, some inspiration as to where you should go, and some tips to keep you safe on the go.
Why Every Female Should Travel Solo At Least Once
Learn about yourself
Many people struggle with being alone or feeling lonely. The truth is, however, that finding the strength to feel comfortable on your own can teach you a lot about yourself. You’ll learn about what you like, what you don’t like, what types of cities you enjoy more, where you feel most yourself. It can be quite the liberating experience once you push past the negative feelings.
Much like learning about your likes and dislikes, finding your courage and self-confidence are huge benefits to traveling on your own. Small things like successfully navigating the streets of a new city or learning to flamenco can really show you how great you are. With time, the small things will add to your self-worth and you’ll start to realize how strong you really are.
Expand your view of the world
Once you begin your adventure and start speaking to others about their travel experiences, you’ll learn about new cities and cultures that you might not have been familiar with. It’s one thing to visually see the world, but it is another to be immersed in the communities that make up the world.
Meet lifelong friends
There are a lot of digital nomad communities and networks that can connect you with other remote workers in your current city. You might find some great advice and recommendations, but you might also make some great friendships through meetups and other events. Putting yourself out there and meeting individuals on a similar journey to yours can help ease any loneliness you might be experiencing, and open the doors to new friends and family.
5 Best Places to Travel as a Solo Female Traveler in 2021
With the rise of COVID-19 in 2020, travel virtually stopped overnight. While most countries are still in lockdown, others have begun to open back up. Be sure to do your research and see which countries you're able to travel to based on your nationality AND if it's something you're willing to prioritize right now.
At the end of the day, your health & safety comes first.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
For the past 5 years, Iceland has been recognized as the safest country in the world. As the capital, Reykjavik is a spot frequented by travelers from around the world. It is in close distance to many unique experiences like the Blue Lagoon, offers great resources for remote work if you need it, and if you visit during the Northern Lights, it can be a truly breathtaking experience.
2. Berlin, Germany
A hub for remote workers and digital nomads, Berlin is a great place to travel by yourself if you’re looking to create a professional network. It continues to be a place where women feel safe while traveling. It is also an easy place to adjust to if you don’t speak German, as there’s plenty of people that speak or understand English, which can make you feel more comfortable navigating the city.
3. Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is becoming ever more popular for digital nomads and solo travelers. This is due to the city’s vibrant culture and resources for those that work remotely. The city itself is safe, however, there are many neighborhoods that might be uncomfortable for a woman on her own, especially if they don’t speak Spanish. With a little preparation and a love for Mexican food, this city can be eye-opening for any solo traveler.
4. The Nusa Islands/Bali, Indonesia
Indonesia is truly a beautiful country. Bali is notorious on Instagram for being the location of gorgeous beaches and drool-worthy food. It’s also a unique place to visit solo, especially if you like warm tropical weather. The Nusa Islands, just off the coast of Bali, is known for attracting many solo nomads who are looking to escape the couples that tend to flock to Bali. Because the islands thrive off visitors, and its a hub for digital nomads, it’s a safe and welcoming place for women to visit on their own. You might not want to leave.
5. Malaga, Spain
On the southern coast of Spain, Malaga is a gorgeous town that is both warm and relaxing. The locals are extremely welcoming and the views of the Mediterranean Sea are inspiring. Although it would help to know some Spanish, the town itself is not too big to where getting around is very difficult. It’s also 2 hours away from both Cadiz and Seville if you wanted to take a day trip.
11 Tips for Solo Female Travelers
1. Tap into networks
One of your greatest resources while traveling solo, is other women! There are a lot of female-only travel programs like Adventure Women that welcome women from all walks of life that just want to travel. There’s also great Facebook groups that you can tap into and have a support system around the globe. Groups like Girls Love Travel or The Solo Female Traveler Network connect hundreds of thousands of women that are passing through cities and offer the chance to meet up if you’re feeling lonely or would like to go out but don’t want to do so by yourself.
2. Plan your first night
The first night in a new location will always be the most uncomfortable and most vulnerable. By creating a plan or itinerary for the first night can help you get to where you’re going from the second you land to checking into your hotel to finding getting dinner. By having a map and rough timetables you’ll set yourself up to feel safe, not get lost on the wrong side of town, and not worry about finding the right thing to eat when you’re decompressing from travel.
3. Limit your technology use
This is good for 2 reasons. The first, when you’re glued to your phone you’re less likely to pay attention to your surroundings. This can put you in a situation that you might not feel safe in, or you could get lost. The second reason, when you spend too much time on your phone or laptop, you spend less time taking in the scenery and experiencing the beauty of where you are. If you’re working while traveling, this might be unavoidable, but you can always make time to unplug, take a hike or a cooking class, or just sit at an outdoor cafe and enjoy the fresh air.
4. Pack Light
There’s nothing worse than having to carry around heavy, oversized luggage halfway across a city you’ve never been in. Packing light gives you the flexibility to move around from different locations while keeping your possessions close. It might take a little extra planning while packing to make sure you have the necessities, but you’ll be thankful for it later.
5. Protect Your Necessities
Always keep your wallet, passport, and any other important documentation safe. Find a crossbody bag with a secret compartment or look for accommodations with a safe.
6. Pack an Emergency Credit Card
Having a credit card stowed away for emergencies is always a smart idea. It also provides a sense of security knowing that you’ll always be covered.
7. Make Copies of Your Documents
Make a few copies of your passport, ID, and travel documents and hide them in different bags/shoes/pockets. If something gets misplaced, it’s important to have some kind of back up in case of an emergency. That being said, making copies and emailing them to yourself is also a good idea, should you need to print them out on the road.
8. Spend More To Feel Safe
The fact of the matter is, some cities are generally safer than others. It happens. If you find yourself wanting to visit these cities, just be sure to spend a little extra to ensure your safety. Do some research to find accommodation in a safe neighborhood and look for groups or other nomads if you’d like to explore parts of town.
9. Seek Local Advice
No one knows a city like the locals that live there. Befriending locals at the coffee shops, coworking centers, restaurants that you frequent can lead you to find out more about places you should go, and shouldn’t go. This will help you stay safe on your own, but you also might make friends or find some great food or awesome sightseeing that you would have never known about before.
10. Take Care of Yourself
Take time to give yourself some TLC. Enjoy new cuisines, but also eat for your health. Take vitamins and drink a lot of water. This will not only help you fight off travel bugs, but it will also keep you on top of your game and aware of your surroundings when you’re alone. A little self-care goes a long way when you’re on the road.
11. Trust Your Gut
Case and point, if you genuinely don’t feel comfortable doing something or going somewhere, don’t! There’s a difference between stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new and having a deep negative feeling in your gut about something. If your intuition tells you not to go down a street alone or you don’t feel safe in a market, leave and don’t return to that area. Just be sure to not dwell on the feelings for too long and let it spoil the great happiness and memories you’ve made through the majority of your journey.
Traveling by yourself can be challenging, and scary at times. There is, however, a great beauty to putting yourself out there and going on an unforgettable journey. With the right planning and research, you can take an adventure that will teach you more about yourself and the world around you than any other experience would. All you have to do is take the first step (then follow our steps after, just to be safe!)