Traveling alone is a wonderful experience, full of adventure. Unlike male solo travelers, solo travel isn’t as straightforward for female travelers. Solo female travelers can be more vulnerable to dangerous situations. This article provides you with the insight you need on how women can travel safely and offers some great destinations for female solo travelers, too.
Why Solo Travel?
You might wonder, “Do I really want to travel alone? Why don’t I just go with a group?” Here are some great reasons why solo female travel is a wonderful experience.
First off, it isn’t every day that you have friends or family available to join you in your adventure. This can be for a variety of reasons, maybe due to when your vacation is scheduled, or because you want to travel to a place that no one else wants to. So why postpone your dream trip?
When you travel with others there is some cooperation needed to adjust and combine your plans, which isn’t always easy. But on the other hand, being alone is a chance to do everything exactly the way you want.
Solo travel is totally different from traveling with another person. It is a fantastic way to meet new people, connect with yourself, and even discover some things about yourself that you didn’t know.
To tell you the truth, depending on how you travel and if you want, you may likely have company most of the time.
Is It Safe to Travel Alone as a Woman
Unfortunately, being a woman isn’t always safe in many parts of the world, but this doesn’t mean that it’s inevitable that you will be in danger when traveling. You must take some precautions, and this article will show you how to stay safe and enjoy your journey.
While more and more women are feeling confident in their freedom, more are looking for solo travel experiences. Google Trends suggests that since 2004 there is an increase in interest in solo female travel. We believe that the more women travel, the easier it gets for others.
To know if a place is safe to travel alone as a woman, it is good to research the destination before you go. Looking for another woman’s experience is the best way to know how safe the place is.
Solo Female Travel Safety Tips
See these tips for women traveling alone and find out how to travel solo safely.
Arrive in daylight
If you are alone, look for a flight that will arrive in daylight. This way the next leg of your journey as you get from the airport to your destination will happen during the day when visibility can contribute to safety.
Hostels with female or solo rooms
If you are going to travel alone but don’t want to be by yourself, being in a hostel is the perfect way to get to know people looking for friends, fun, and adventure. But one common fear is if a hostel room is safe for women.
Many hostels offer a female room, which is fantastic. You’ll also find a lock to put your valuable things at the hostels, so you can relax in the bar, pool, sleeping areas, and whatever else the place offers.
Another option is to be in a solo room so you can have your privacy but still be with other people in the common areas.
If you have a mixed room (female and male) in the hostel, a good tip is to stay on the top bunk bed. You can also talk with other women and keep an eye out to take care of each other.
Show your route to your family or friends
When you solo travel, it is helpful that a few people know about your plans for the following days. Share with your family the names of the accommodation that you are going to, the days that you will move around, and what your general plans are.
This is a good thing to do, especially if you are going to places that don’t have internet and are in remote destinations.
Take care with the parties and drinking
When traveling alone you may be going out to parties and might be celebrating and drinking. It is good to remember that you are not at home, and even if you are with new friends you’ve made on the trip, you don’t really know them very well yet. Customs may be different where you are. Behaviors that are common and accepted where you live, may not be seen the same way where you’re visiting.
Travel can have an impact on your usual tolerance for alcohol. Different foods, fatigue, different altitudes, and different kinds of alcohol, can all impact your body’s response to it. Your usual two drinks at home may have a much stronger effect on you when traveling, for example. It is best to go slow and get used to the impact that alcohol will have on you. So enjoy your night, but be cautious.
This is a more common piece of advice for both women and men, but it is always worth mentioning – watch your drink at all times. It is not impossible for a variety of drugs to be slipped into the drinks which can put you in a vulnerable position. If you’re at a party or in a bar, keep your drink in your hand, not down on a table, and if you walk away from it, don’t drink it on your return, but buy a new one instead.
If you are going to move away from your friends, tell someone
When traveling you might find someone with whom you want to have more privacy, but here is some advice: tell someone that you are leaving, where you are going, and with whom. If you aren’t with anyone at the time who you could tell, then you could consider sharing this with someone at home.
A tip before you leave with someone, ask to see their social media. This way you can be more confident of the name they are giving you and can do some quick investigation into the type of person they could be.
It is always good to have a few contact numbers of the people you meet in the hostel for any emergency.
You can always join a travel group of women
If you don’t feel safe traveling alone, consider joining a travel group of women. There are tour companies that specialize in this kind of trip, where you will have the safety that the service offers and be with other women discovering the destination you dream of knowing. Also, check out Wanderful. It is a global women’s travel community that will link you with female travelers around the world.
Don’t display expensive things like jewelry
When traveling, even with others, try to keep it simple and leave the expansive jewelry and accessories at home. This is an excellent way to prevent any problems with robbery.
On the bus, stay in the aisle seat
It is a great tip for solo female travel that if you are going to use the bus to travel, try to be in the aisle seat. This way people around you can see if you need some help, or you can quickly get out of the chair if someone is disturbing you.
Do some volunteer or work exchange
Doing a volunteer or a work exchange is a whole different way to travel alone, where you will be longer in the place, connecting deeper with people and the destination.
But, volunteer or work exchange isn’t totally problem-free. To find out if the place you are going to is safe for women, talk with other women who were there:
- You can do that on the website where you can find the feedback of other travelers. For example, visit the volunteer organization, International Volunteer HQ, to learn more about their programs and see how you can impact lives through sustainable tourism and volunteering! Consider the evaluation of other women, as the perception of the place can differ from a man’s experience.
- Facebook groups are excellent places to exchange perceptions of the volunteer and work exchange hosts worldwide.
One step at a time
If you have never been on a solo female trip, ease into it. One weekend out to a destination close to your home or even going out in your city alone can be your first step to bigger plans in the future.
Real stories: traveling alone as a woman
Our Hidden Lemur team includes a few avid female travelers. Here we share some of our favorite places to travel alone – and why.
Marie Grunewald, COO
Armenia was one of the friendliest countries I traveled to. The country is very safe for a solo female traveler and the local people are truly warm and helpful.
Armenians are very curious and will love learning more about you and your travels. They gave me some insider tips on how to travel around the country like a local and gave me amazing tips to explore authentic places off-the-beaten-path.
They are also passionate about their country and will happily teach you about their culture and language. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been invited to join a family for lunch or dinner and I even joined a birthday party where I ended up dancing and singing with a group of Armenian friends all night long! You never stay alone for long in Armenia!
Deb Lace-Kelly, Managing Editor
One of my favorite places to travel alone in the South of France: Nice to Saint Remy de Provence, and surrounding villages. When I worked hard to communicate in French as best I could, local people were caring and helpful: from the car rental attendant who patiently spent extra time with me until I was comfortable with the vehicle, to the father, son, and grandfather trio in a small roadside restaurant who argued with each other in order to give me the very best directions when I went off-course.
In various villages throughout Provence, ladies wanted to feed me, and people shared their stories (and their love of soccer). One tip: if you’re feeling strange about eating in a restaurant by yourself, take a notebook and write! As I was intently focused on my writing, I found that people left me quietly alone, never intruding on my desire to write or to take in the gentle surroundings. I walked alone, explored alone, ate alone many times, and never felt unsafe. As the soft sunlight of the south of France nestled around my soul, its people gave me both freedom and security.
Rafaella Orelli, Partnerships and Community Manager
As a solo female traveler, my favorite country is Portugal. The locals and the ex-pats are very approachable. You will always find English-speaking people willing to talk to you and offer help with directions or recommendations.
I never felt unsafe in Portugal, and the capital Lisbon offers you everything you need: excellent for food and art lovers, hiking, and surfing – there are great beaches only 30 minutes driving or by public transportation from the city.
Meetups are happening daily, and they are authentic opportunities to make new friends and discuss your interests. The nightlife in Lisbon is also famous, and there are several bars and restaurants in Bairro Alto, and Cais do Sodré (Pink Street). These are the main areas to have fun while visiting the city. In this context, I can confirm that I always felt safe walking alone in Lisbon – which was rare because most of the time, I was surrounded by new friends. And, this is what I like to call “the friendliness concept.”
When planning for my trips, I prefer to visit countries where people are known for their friendliness because it is a great advantage when I find myself lost or in need of assistance. I decided to follow this idea because visiting a country where people refuse to talk to you whenever you find yourself in trouble is arduous.
Alicia Pineiro, Content Assistant
When it comes to solo traveling, especially as a woman, safety and adventure opportunities are my top priorities. Iceland is the perfect solo getaway. Its small size and location make it a hub for solo travelers and adventure-seekers alike. It is super easy to make friends, and unless you want to, you won’t stay solo for long.
I visited for two weeks and was happily surprised when I discovered that my hostel had been selected as a secret venue for the yearly “Iceland Airwaves Festival”. After a week of meeting musicians and attending local band shows with my newfound friends from around Reykjavik, I had the chance of witnessing “Of Monsters and Men” perform live in their hometown.
The Land of Ice and Fire is gifted with beautiful landscapes and I spent my second week exploring and driving around the famous Ring Road. As a solo female traveler, there are plenty of adventure providers that offer guided tours led by local experts, making your trip super convenient and leaving you with nothing to worry about. From glacier trekking, swimming between tectonic plates, hiking up volcanoes, or soaking up in one of the thousand natural hot springs, Iceland is sure to leave you breathless and dreaming of your next visit.
Renata G. Ferreira, writer
Traveling alone as a woman, I can’t tell you about a place I prefer, but I can tell you about my kind of solo travel. I always have the most amazing experience when I travel as a volunteer. Now I have made 10 trips of this kind, and I can tell you that they were amazing!
I always combine my volunteer work with a destination I want to know, plus sustainable and spiritual places, making the trip a learning journey. It isn’t always easy because you have to do work, and some processes can be complex, but for me, it is always worth it, so I keep coming back to volunteer travel.
In my experience, it is common to find more women volunteering in spiritual and sustainable places, which makes me comfortable. In fact, to choose where I’m going, I always look for sites where some women have made a recommendation.
Volunteering is also good because local people can tell you where it is safe to go at the destination and give you exclusive tips that only locals know. This kind of trip can give you the opportunity to experience a place more authentically, as it really is.
Solo female travel can be one of the most rewarding travel experiences. Venturing off by yourself can be empowering, you will learn so much, not just about the places you go, but a lot about yourself too. We hope you will use these tips and ideas to inspire you to take that trip you’ve always wanted to take and feel comfortable and safe on your adventures.