Nervous about your first solo trip and need some help? Read this post for 21 Must-Know Tips For Every Female Solo Traveler in 2021!
1. Always trust your instincts
I honestly can’t say this enough as a female solo traveler but PLEASE trust yourself!! Your intuition should have more value than anyone else’s perspective on any situation. If we don’t trust our intuition, we’ll end up in situations where we could likely get hurt or be in danger. If your intuition is telling you that a man looks sketchy… GET AWAY FROM HIM. If your intuition is telling you that you’re at the WRONG address, trust it. As a female solo traveler, your intuition is the most honest friend you’ll ever have. Don’t ignore it and don’t leave it behind!
2. Airbnb is your new best friend
As a female solo traveler, I use Airbnb to book all of my experiences whenever I visit a new city. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, an Airbnb experience, is an activity that you can book on the app that is usually designed and hosted by locals. With each experience, it’s really easy for you to immerse yourself in the culture of your travel destination. For example, if you were traveling to Rome, Italy, Airbnb has a list of experiences you can sign up for if you search for them on the app. These list of activities can include a walking tour, a hike, or even a cooking lesson. The range of activities on Airbnb are endless, because of this app I was able to turn a solo trip into a not so lonely one!
3. Never arrive at your destination late at night
This tip is definitely helpful especially if you’ve never been in a situation before where your flight arrived to your destination really late at night. From my perspective, arriving at your destination late at night can make things a little bit more difficult for you. For one thing, you won’t be able to take any public transportation to your accommodation if you arrive too late. Not all public transportation systems are 24/7, so please keep that in mind. However, even if it is running, you’d still have to walk to your accommodation late at night in the dark. I don’t know about you all, but if I was in a situation like that, I would feel very intimidated and anxious to even go through with it as a solo traveler. Uber or Lyft could also be another option, but they’re usually quite expensive late at night so be prepared.
4. Choose your accommodation wisely
Sometimes the best accommodation may not always be the best for a female solo traveler. For instance, since I’m planning to visit Los Angeles soon for more than 3 days, I would usually book my accommodation at a hostel. However, with the pandemic and everything, a hostel might not be the best choice for a solo traveler especially since you’ll be sharing a lot of common areas. So, if I were you, I would look into some private stays on Airbnb or book a hotel room on HotelTonight. HotelTonight is an app that I use that gives me access to last minute hotel deals at the most extravagant places. I use this app for most of my accommodation needs and I’ve never had a problem with them. If this is the first time you’ve ever heard of them, please feel free to use my promo code JAOKANLAWON to get $20 off your first booking.
5. Get tested
Since we’re still in this pandemic era, it’s really important to get tested before you depart from anywhere! There are two types of tests you can get to check for COVID-19: a viral test and an antibody test. A viral test is more preferable in my opinion since it’s testing for whether or not you have a current infection. If you’re interested in getting a viral test, please check your state’s health department website for the latest information on testing sites. If your test results are positive, then I wouldn’t recommend going on your trip. You may need to isolate or self-quarantine for a while and that may also depend on what your healthcare provider says. However, if they’re negative, then go right ahead! You can walk into that airport worry-free on your way to your destination.
6. Check the COVID-19 travel restrictions for your destination
Please click here to check the travel restrictions for your destination. If you’re going to a specific state in the U.S., you can also look up the travel restrictions here. Looking up the travel restrictions for your destination not only makes you feel more prepared but it also helps you stay safe!
7. Get out of your comfort zone
Your trip is what you make of it! If you spend too much of your time inside your comfort zone, you won’t be able to join your time there to the fullest. I can personally attest to this after going to South Africa for the first time. I was pretty much in my comfort zone for most of the trip and it really affected some of the relationships I had with the locals. In fact, in some cultures, staying within in your comfort zone is highly looked down upon. A lot of South Africans in my opinion really just want you to be your best self and you can’t do that in your comfort zone.
8. Join a Facebook group for female solo travelers
There are plenty of Facebook groups out there for female solo travelers. Take advantage of them! With a Facebook group, you can connect with so many female solo travelers all at once to ask questions, get advice or share a story. So please feel free to join one if you’re interested in networking!
9. Enroll in the STEP program (if you’re traveling abroad)
The STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) program is a free program that allows U.S. citizens to register their trip to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at their travel destination. By enrolling in the program you’ll get updates from the U.S. embassy or consulate on the safety conditions of your travel destination. The U.S. Embassy or consulate will also be able to reach you if there is any emergency at your destination or back at home. Also, as a plus, you’ll also be able to stay connected with friends and family while you’re gone! Click here if you’re interested in registering for the program.
10. Get a fake wedding band
I saw someone talk about this on their blog but apparently her fake wedding band has been able to repel a lot of unwanted attention from men. I haven’t really tried this out for myself yet. But I did find a cheap wedding band on Amazon you might like!!
Not only is it beautiful but it’s also not too expensive! You can read the reviews for yourself if you’re unsure, but I believe having a fake wedding band on the finger can make so much of a difference on your trip!
If you’re traveling by yourself, always pack the essentials! The last thing I want is for you to end up in a situation where you forget something important. By traveling smart and light, not only will you avoid baggage fees but you’ll also have everything you need.
12. Always arrive at the airport early
There are a lot of perks to getting to the airport early. For one thing, you’re less likely to get stuck waiting in security for a really long time. Going through security is already brutal enough, so why not make it easier on yourself? Coming to the airport late not only adds more stress but it also puts you at risk for missing your flight. So, as a suggestion, I would recommend being 3 hours early for an international flight and 2 hours early for a domestic flight.
13. Get a mobile boarding pass
In my opinion, I think mobile boarding passes are definitely worth it because you have everything ready to go at the palm of your hand! Mobile boarding passes are also impossible to lose unless you lose your phone. But even then, by checking in through your mobile you’re already in the airline’s database for the flight. Also, at your convenience, you can even change the seat in your mobile boarding pass right in the app. So, if you’re about to check in for trip, do it on your phone!
14. Don’t forget your identification
As a female solo traveler, you never want to be in a situation where you forget to bring your ID or passport to the airport. I have never been in a situation like this but it could almost happen to anyone. To prevent this from happening to you, always make sure to double check your stuff before you leave your home. If you do by any chance happen to forget your ID, the TSA might still let you fly but again… it’s a small chance. At the end of the day, I’d rather you be over prepared for the airport than underprepared.
15. Don’t have high expectations
You’re only going to get let down if you have to many unrealistic expectations of your travel destination. When I first traveled to Rome, I was expecting it to be the cleanest city ever. But boy was I wrong…. there was a lot of trash around the city and the lack of cleanliness made it no different from NYC, where I’m from. Having that high expectation of Rome led to a major letdown that I had to adjust to. In order for you to not make the same mistake I did, I want to encourage you to be more open-minded to whatever your travel destination might have to offer. You might be shocked, confused, or terrified by the things you might see when you travel but it’s all part of the experience.
16. Avoid poor lit areas
Avoiding poor lit areas is the safest thing you can do as a female solo traveler! There are a lot of evil people in this world and the last thing you want to do is make yourself an easy target. Poor lit areas make it easier for criminals to steal, kill, or even attack you. By keeping yourself in well lit areas not only will you be more alert but you’ll also be able to keep yourself safe.
17. Don’t listen to music while walking
Listening to music while you’re walking in a foreign city is not always safe. Not only is your brain distracted but you also won’t be able to hear anything if someone’s trying to sneak up on you. When I was studying abroad in Italy, I remember hearing about a girl in my class who got attacked late at night because she was listening to music while walking. Please take it from me… don’t this if you’re visiting a foreign city for the first time.
18. Always keep your phone charged
Think of your phone as basically your lifeline, it needs to be charged at all times. Not only does your phone help you navigate your directions but it also gives you access to apps like Uber or Lyft. To prevent yourself from having a dead phone, always carry a portable charger with you wherever you go. If you don’t have one, I’m hoping you don’t end up like me when I was stranded in Sicily. That story had a good ending but trust me buying a portable charger like this would’ve saved me a lot of tears.
19. Dress smart
If you’re traveling to a new city, you need to be smart about the way you dress. Dressing too inappropriately can draw a lot of unwanted attention to yourself. This attention usually comes in the form of catcalling which not only makes you feel embarrassed but it also draws too much attention to you. So, as a suggestion, do your best to dress in a way that makes you feel smart and comfortable. The last thing I want is for you to be harassed by a group of men just because your dress is too short.
20. Find a way to commemorate the trip
No trip is complete without a souvenir to commemorate the journey! Your souvenir could be basically anything from a photo to a stuffed animal. It’s all up to you! As for me, I like to collect snow globes whenever I travel. They’re the perfect souvenir in my opinion since they’re so shakeable and cute.
21. Get tested as soon as you’re back home
And last but not least… after your trip is over, make sure to get tested as soon as you’re back home. Again, it’s better to be safe than sorry, because the last thing you want is to spread COVID-19 even more. If your test is positive as mentioned in tip #5, isolate and self-quarantine yourself. But.. if it’s negative, feel free to give yourself a pat on the back because you traveled safely like a pro!
Overall, I hope these 21 tips made you feel more confident about your upcoming trip! Which tip did you love the most? Let me know in the comments down below.