Before I started travel blogging, the idea of going on vacation alone seemed a bit… odd. Why would I ever want to travel across the world alone? Wouldn’t I get bored? While I’ll dive into why you should travel alone another day, I will say exploring a new place by yourself is actually incredibly cool. It gives you a chance to learn more about yourself, discover new interests, meet new friends, and challenge yourself in a unique way you wouldn’t otherwise experience.
While you should always keep your guard up when traveling, being overly cautious is extremely necessary when traveling alone as a female – especially abroad. Being alone in a new place can make you incredibly vulnerable, so it’s important to do your research, be proactive, and pay attention to your surroundings to guarantee a smooth trip. Remember, safety always comes first.
SAFETY TIPS FOR FEMALES TRAVELING ALONE:
1. Research Everything Before You Go And Create A Detailed Itinerary
I’m not talking about a list of hotels and sights to see, but really plan and organize a detailed schedule from breakfast to the end of the day. Be sure to include hotel addresses, transportation details, flight numbers, important contacts, etc. While it may seem tedious, it will really make the journey much easier when you arrive.
2. Give An Itinerary To A Friend Or Relative At Home And Check In Everyday
While you don’t need to update your relatives every step of the way, check in everyday with a quick email to let someone know you’re ok. It’s nice to have someone accountable for your whereabouts, especially in the rare case of an emergency.
3. Look Confident And Never Lost
You know the expression, “fake it til you make it”, well this works when traveling alone as well. Walking around lost, holding a map in the air, or giving the impression you have no idea what you’re doing is basically like waving a target over your head saying “take advantage of me”. To avoid cab drivers taking you the long/wrong way, street vendors overcharging you, or in worst case scenarios getting led into a sketchy situation, always give the impression you know exactly where you’re going and what you’re doing.
4. Become A Morning Person And Don’t Stay Out Late
Take advantage of the daylight and try to start your day as early as possible. Wake up around 5:30 or 6:00 AM and be home by 10:00 PM. Not only will you have more freedom to roam solo safely, you’ll also feel more accomplished having a productive morning. As my parents always said, nothing good happens after midnight. Save the late nights with friends at home.
5. Limit The Alcohol And Don’t Make It A Party Trip
While it may be fun to let loose with girlfriends and go dancing at a local disco, signing up for a big night out while traveling alone is never a good idea. I’m not simply referring to your former Spring Break party style, but even sipping wine at a local bistro. If you’re teetering between ordering another and calling it a night, decide to call it a night. My best advice, avoid alcohol altogether.
6. Splurge On Transportation
Sometimes it can seem lazy to order a taxi when your destination is considered walking distance, but if the sun is setting or the route doesn’t feel particularly comfortable, order a taxi or uber to guarantee a safe ride home. Also, follow GPS on your phone to make sure your driver isn’t leading you off the correct path.
7. Don’t Publish Your Location On Social Media
Since I document my life on social media, this one is super important to remember. No matter how cute your morning selfie is in your luxury suite OR how badly you want to announce to your friends you’re living it up in London, wait until you’ve checked out to publish your location.
8. Don’t Announce You’re Traveling Alone
Whether you’re casually chatting with your cab driver, hotel concierge, a new friend, etc, never admit you’re traveling alone. Casually mentioning your friend is waiting on you at the hotel, referring to yourself as “we”, and leading on that someone nearby is accountable for you can prevent uncomfortable situations.
9. Dress For Your Surroundings
Avoid calling attention to yourself and try to dress like a local. Is this a very conservative city? Does your outfit scream American? Try to dress modestly, stick to neutral colors, leave the valuable jewelry at home, and carry a non-designer bag with a zipper closure. It may sound extreme, but if you’re traveling alone, who are you trying to impress? Best of all, traveling with simple neutrals allows you to mix and match your outfits, while packing lighter – big bonus since you’re the one stuck carrying a heavy bag throughout the city!
10. Learn Some Of The Language Before You Travel
While being fluent would be ideal (and out of reach for this girl), learning a few basic phrases will really help you out – especially if you’re lost and trying to make your way back to the hotel.
11. Be Friendly, But Not TOO Friendly
While we always believe in being polite to everyone, it’s ok to be rude sometimes if you’re flying solo in a foreign place. Don’t trust drinks from strangers, don’t accept invites from the cute locals, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a situation abruptly if someone is giving you the creeps. Sometimes it’s ok to be a b*tch.
12. Get An International Phone Plan And Always Carry A Phone Charger
Not going to lie, I’m one of those people who loves turning my phone off when traveling for a technology breather, but you should ALWAYS have your phone on hand when you’re traveling alone. Even if you’re not in an emergency situation, it’s good to have in case you need to contact your hotel, use GPS to find your way, check your bank account, call an Uber, etc. Always keep your phone and a portable charger on hand.
13. Wear A (Fake) Wedding Ring
Ok you may think this one sounds a little crazy, but there’s nothing more annoying than trying to dine alone and having an unknown gentleman walk up to offer you a drink. While it may be a flattering gesture, traveling alone is not the time to put yourself in these sorts of situations. Wearing a simple ring on your left hand not only cuts back on these events, but it also allows you to be alone – which IS one of the reasons why you decided to travel alone, am I right? (NOTE: if you ARE married, consider leaving your wedding ring at home and wearing a faux diamond or something less flashy)
14. Always Carry Cash
While I never carry cash in Dallas, I always have cash on hand when traveling abroad. A lot of taxis don’t accept credit cards and can be quite angry when they realize you don’t have cash. Keep spare currency on hand for any situation – including the occasional bathroom break that requires a couple Euros to enter.
15. Have A Backup Plan
While a smooth vacation is the expectation, things happen so it’s always best to be prepared. Snap a photo of your passport and credit card and store it on your Dropbox in case you lose your wallet. Have a backup hotel in mind in case you hate your first one or your reservation is lost. Keep your phone on you for an Uber if you miss the last train home. Leave extra cash in your suitcase in case you lose your purse. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
Before you freak yourself out and think you’re solo vacation will turn into the next dramatic Lifetime movie, remember that all of these are simply precautions to guarantee and a safe and smooth trip. There’s nothing more exhilarating than exploring a new destination, and learning that you can have these amazing experiences on your own is such a rewarding feeling!
So next time you have a feeling of wanderlust, book the ticket and go. You won’t regret it!