Solo travel is a concept that has starting to gain popularity among the traveling community, not just in the United States, but worldwide. I am a result of the same travel-solo momentum.
Over ten years ago, I would have never thought that traveling alone could be such a bliss for me. Being a die-hard Disney fan, I have a knack for taking solo trips to Disney World (and yes, as an adult).
But I get it!
Traveling alone can be a daunting idea for many of us, female globetrotters.
You are just a click away from horrifying news, a conversation away from hundreds of no-solo-for-women advice, and a Google Search away from them dirty “proofs.”
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So, should you drop the idea of traveling solo altogether?
I say NEVER.
Is a safe solo trip possible?
YESSS, thousand times yes. If it were not, solo trips among women wouldn’t have increased by 88%, and the search for “solo women travel” wouldn’t have surged by a whopping 230% between 2017-2019.
According to stats, the number of solo women travelers is more than double the men.
What does that mean for you?
It means that you are not alone in wanting to explore the world alone. The experience is liberating and full of sense of freedom.
It also means that if women out there can travel the farther ends of the world then so can you.
13 Tips for Solo Female Travelers
To help you feel more confident about your decision of taking a solo trip, here are 13 of my tried-and-tested solo travel tips.
Whether you want to travel to the North Pole, to India, or the Orlando Walt Disney World, these tips will work as the foundation of becoming the solo woman boss traveler.
1. Pick Travel Destinations with Intent
The benefits are twofold. First, you get to explore a travel destination that truly inspires you to travel. Second, you will be willing to go the extra mile to learn more about it.
For example, if you are a Walt Disney World fan like me, picking a theme park for your solo trip will make you feel more excited and less intimidated.
You will also want to learn about the timings of the show, resort rules, security measures, food scene, etc.
2. Plan and Book Solo Trip in Advance
Plus, when it comes to early starting early can mean better discounts on flights as well as accommodations.
Planning ahead of time, think at least six months ahead, also gives you ample time to research on your chosen destination. You can read online reviews, skim through blogs, and learn about nooks to avoid as well as places not to miss.
3. Pre-Book Your Solo Travel
Here’s a pro tip about pre-booking – pre-book everything you can – flights, return flights, hotels, cabs, and even restaurants, if possible. With all the main payments made, you won’t have to worry about running out of money.
Worst case scenario: even if your cards and cash get stolen, you’ll have a place to sleep and return flight to come back home. Now that’s a stress-free solo trip.
4. Learn to Read Maps and Pack One
Even in the times of GPS, maps are the most reliable navigation tools. They don’t run out of battery, never confuse you with ten different roads, and work even in the remotest area with no network coverage.
To put it simply, learn to read a map, and even if you think you don’t need it, pack one as an offline backup.
The tip helps whether you are off to a solo road trip, solo hiking, or to enjoy at a massive theme park.
Hipster Power Tip: For theme parks, you can find a copy of the park map on the official website. Download the map and print it out before you leave for your trip.
5. Pack All Travel Essentials
6. Pack Light to Take Care of All Belongings
Packing light is the ultimate mantra for newbies and travel experts alike. When you are traveling solo, you alone are responsible for the safety of the luggage. Pack minimally to avoid getting distracted or making it tough to carry and take care of your belongings.
Note that packing light doesn’t mean compromising style or comfort, but it does require being mindful. An ounce here and a pound there, small increments can add up real fast.
Start with a challenge to fit it all in a carry-on. If you succeed, you will be able to avoid worrying about losing your luggage or being encumbered by heavy bags. If you don’t, you’ll still have much less to pack.
7. Plan to Arrive at Destination During the Day
This a no-brainer. Taking a cab and keeping yourself alert despite possible jetlag is easy during the day.
You are also likely to feel safer at a brighter hour when roads are full, public places are bustling, and bad boys are mostly out of sight.
8. Learn the Local Language, Customes and Rules
Again, whether you are traveling abroad or to rule-bound spaces like theme parks or carnivals, you will need to learn a little about them. Knowing basic words in the local dialect, like no, can help you overcome the language barrier.
Now about the rules. Find out about what to wear, where to smoke, timings, and such to plan a carefree solo vacation.
9. Stay Connected: A Major Travel Safety Tip
No, you don’t have to call your family or friends every time you check-in or out of the hotel room.
But it is always a good idea to share a copy of the itinerary, regularly update them of your trip, and let them know of any changes you make to the travel plans.
Whether you want to call them or leave them a message, is totally up to you. Doing so will not only give your people peace of mind but also reaffirm your security.
Keeping in touch also evades the sense of being alone on a trip.
10. Be Proactive If Something Goes Wrong
The room is messy, the cab is late, missed the last train, or you lost your way? Whatever is the trouble, don’t just complain or space out.
Prepare yourself to take action. So, either let the person responsible know what you want them to do or find help.
Above all, look unfazed and confident.
You want to attract helpful people without being an easy target for cons who would grab chance to take your advantage. Keep local emergency numbers saved, and phone sufficiently charged at all times.
11. Buy Travel Insurance
It’s not for nothing that Disney offers its very own travel insurance. Getting your vacation covered offers immense peace.
You won’t panic in the face of adversities like passport loss, loss of baggage, health issues, theft of cash/cards, cancellations, or financial emergencies.
In times of and after the pandemic, I would recommend you buy travel insurance even if you are traveling from California to Orlando instead of Morocco or Tokyo.
Join the Conversation on the Solo Theme Park Traveler’s Community on Facebook!
12. Stay Sober Through Your Solo Trip
Come on, it’s a vacation, and beer is customary! Absolutely. Beer and delicious cocktails make a trip 100% more enjoyable. But when you decide to take a solo trip, you sign up to be more responsible and self-dependent.
For your safety, refrain from getting tipsy to the point where you stop being aware of the surroundings. New York, New Orleans, Drinking Around the World at Epcot or visiting New Delhi – it’s best to be alert and street smart everywhere.
13. Trust Your Instincts and Don’t Over Indulge
If your gut says something is off, it probably is. The opposite is just as true. If your instincts say all is well, it probably is.
Talk to the locals but never over indulge and disclose information like the hotel address or itinerary just to be polite or courteous.
Never worry about what people will think and be nice only when it is warranted. Choose safety over being kind.
A Little on Being Street Smart With Solo Travel
I don’t think there’s another phrase that gets as abused and thrown around as “be street smart.” But what exactly does it mean and how to implement the smartness for safety?
Here are some cues to it.
- Carry at least three copies of your IDs and important documents
- Go local but always keeps your guard up around strangers
- Keep ticket emails saved in case you lose your phone
- Make other solo female traveler friends
- Memorize your passport number
- Trade money for safety and do not fall for cheap thrills
- Carry decoy money in dummy wallet
Frequently Asked Questions For Women Traveling Alone
Is it okay to travel alone?
Traveling alone is totally worth it. It is a great path to being independent, self-dependent, and learn to love your own company.
Is traveling alone safe?
Traveling solo isn’t unsafe. Compared to traveling in groups or couples, going solo is less safe. But this ‘con’ shouldn’t hold you back from taking a solo trip. There are several extra precautions that you can take to ensure you are safe.
Join the Conversation on the Solo Disney Traveler Community on Facebook!
How to take a solo trip?
The easiest to start taking solo trips is by planning a staycation or weekends in nearby by neighboring countries. For example, if you are a US citizen, you can start with a trip to Disney World, Orlando.
It may be the safest place to travel and boost your confidence as a solo female traveler.
What is traveling alone like?
It can be challenging at first but liberating overall. Traveling alone pushes you out of the comfort zone, helps you learn a lot about yourself, and makes you a more independent self-aware person.
If you are wondering about it being weird or lonely, it is neither.
Where should I go on vacation by myself?
As I said before, the safest place to start solo traveling is the Walt Disney World or any similar theme park (think Universal Orlando Resort too). Fitted with CCTVs at every nook and corner, these parks have some of the safest travel destinations.
The crowd at theme parks is jam-packed with families, kids, or Disney fans. In short, people like you and I, who are safe to be around.
Can I travel alone at 18?
Legally, you can travel anywhere in the US or abroad at 18 years old. But again, make sure you are choosing a safe place to travel – one which has all-inclusive on-property facilities – to ensure overnight safety.
Let’s Wrap It Up on Solo Travel
Traveling solo can be intimidating, especially for women. But as I said in the very beginning – thousands of women are exploring the world alone and enjoying every bit of it – myself included.
So, what are you second-guessing? Pack your bag for the first solo trip.
When done right, with confidence, solo trips can be gateways to placidity and happiness. I know I sound too poetic about it, but this is exactly how you feel when you go on a solo expedition.
You get to explore the place on your terms, at your pace, and on your call.
Here is a parting confession – becoming a confident solo adventurer may not happen overnight.
Nobody starts as a confident solo traveler. This is something you will learn, get used to over time as you become more comfortable finding your way, and making your choices.
My tip? Give yourself time, keep your shoulders squared, breathe in, look confident, and don’t forget to enjoy every minute of your trip.