Top Tips for First-time Solo Female Travellers
Most would agree that travelling alone is a very rewarding experience. Yet if you have never done it before, it can feel very scary, especially for women. That’s why last year in December at a solo female traveller’s social event, we asked the attendees: “What you wish you would have known before your first-time ever solo trip”.
Here are the top ones we recorded from these real solo female travellers. We hope they will inspire you to take your first solo trip and help you prepare for it better.
Be open-minded: “I’m a Londoner, and mostly travelled in Europe before. Many people told me how “unsafe” it is before I took my first solo trip. I was overly cautious about people I met – thought they’d try to scam me, and complaint about how inconvenient some local systems were. Of course, you need to take care of yourself, but meeting people and getting to know the local culture are the best parts of solo travelling. I wish I was more open-minded hen. “ – Charmaine
Embrace it: “You’ll encounter lots of unexpected- good or bad, just embrace them, even the bad ones. Later you will realise that all those experience will make your trip memorable and yourself to be stronger.” - Vera
Learn basics of the language: “It was 22 years ago when I went to China by myself, I wish I learnt some basics of the language before I went there – even just a little. You don’t need to learn all the languages to travel the world, but everywhere I went, the locals really appreciate when they see you making some effort, and you will make more friends – a little goes a long way!” – Amy
Pack light: “My first backpack was almost 20kg! I struggled a lot carrying it around. Seriously, you only need ½ of what you just packed, if not less.” – Kirsty.
Be flexible: “Have an itinerary which allows some flexibility. The beauty of by yourself is that you can do more of whatever you like. So don’t feel you need to pack your days full, make sure you leave enough space for yourself to soak it in, rather than rushing from A to B.” – Annette
Learn to say no: “I wish I knew how to say no to people. My advice is: learn to say no politely and rudely. A woman alone in parts of the world attracts a lot attention, mostly friendly but some can have bad intentions. You need to say no firmly in some situations and just walk away. Be friendly but be alert.” – Yvonne
Find local events in the evening: “Evenings are the worst for me. I spent the evenings of my first trip alone in my hotel eating sandwiches as I hated to dine by myself and did not want to get harassed in the bar. There’re lots of local activities – use Meetup, CouchSurfing, local forums to find them and most times you will have a great time.” – Sahra
Don’t be afraid of asking: “Be thick-skinned: just ask for more and you may get more. I’ve got upgraded, transferred to a better room, a space in a fully booked tour etc. Just be polite and reasonable. People do tend to be kinder to a woman travelling alone. ” – Lynn
Solo travel can open a whole new world for you, just take the leap and you won’t be disappointment. Trust yourself, be confident and don’t forget to share your stories to inspire more.