Traveling as a solo female can be exciting. You learn to be independent – it also teaches you to be more grateful for the world and get to know yourself differently.
Everything you take for granted at home, you learn to appreciate again when you are in a place that is far out of your comfort zone. Traveling solo has many advantages: you can go wherever you want and do not have to take it into account with anyone. So simple and easy!
But easy to say than done.
It is terrifying to think that you will be alone in a stranger place you don’t know anyone and where you go, or scared of getting lost.
I know that feeling, and it’s perfectly normal. I have been traveling solo, and I’m still nervous whenever I plan a trip.
The majority of travelers rely upon their partners. But what happens if your partner or a travel buddy can’t go with you because they have an essential thing to do. Do you stop traveling too? Not me and either not you! So please do it now or regret it later.
I heard others say they were scared or weren’t brave enough to go on a trip alone. I bet anxiety gets in the way, but you will never do it if you don’t try.
To start with, not necessarily to fly. Try to visit one of the nearby cities. Alone not with friends or family members — solo trip by yourself. Do the research, a lot of research. Whatever you have in mind, the internet is your best friend.
The disadvantage of going on a trip alone is that you will do all the preparation. But that is part of the adventure. Nowadays, you can find extensive information online and book everything before you go.
I embarked on my first adventure in 2002.
At that time, there wasn’t a lot of information on the internet; thus, I entirely relied on a travel guide book, Lonely planet. Hotels wifi doesn’t exist then as well social media.
Every evening, I have my nose in the book looking at where I should go the next day. It was a taxing period to travel with less information. Even a car navigation system doesn’t exist yet.
I rented a vehicle during my first visit to the USA, and driving with a paper map wasn’t easy.
Traveling before and now are recognizably different — carrying a book was uncomfortable. Maps and everything must follow from a guidebook. As of today, it makes life so much easier to travel with all the practical applications.
Traveling solo for six years before.
I started my first solo trip to Australia. Yeah, my first adventure was 14,890 kilometers from home. It was the kick of my life exploring an unfamiliar continent for the first time.
Can you imagine I fly for 22 hours for the first time and arriving in an unknown place with no friends and family, just on my own? It was a nerve-racking experience.
After that, my second trip was to America, where a nightmare happened. A robbery in Las Vegas; thankfully, it was only the money I lost.
Unfortunately, I was partially incapable of going on my own after the occurrences because fear and anxiety got in the way. So it took me a while to travel again.
But the magic about embarking on a grand adventure is more significant than I had thought. I didn’t let the fear go into my system.
A year later after the incident, I went to Thailand. And by the following year, I had visited Singapore and many countries in Southeast Asia.
My terrible experience in America made me a strong woman today. It was like a lesson that I’ve learned a lot.
We gain knowledge from experience and realize our mistakes.
I have traveled with a partner for years, but traveling solo again crept up on me. I miss the adventures by myself to feel free.
Back on my solo adventure after many years
It is a deliverance! After so many years, I’m back on my solo adventure and genuinely loved it. As a courageous woman, I’d like destinations that are less visited.
The world is just a ball, but there are so many beautiful places on earth to discover. It is a disgrace if you don’t get out of your comfort zone.
So in 2021, I went to SAUDI ARABIA. This Islamic land has been on my bucket list for a long time, which was impossible to visit before without invitations from the locals.
Read more>>>GOING TO SAUDI ARABIA: A SOLO FEMALE TRAVELER.
But why this country?
I choose Saudi Arabia because it is a challenging destination for solo female travelers. Unfortunately, many women are not brave enough to travel to a Muslim country.
It was like getting ticked off my head. I just decided to go there at the last minute to regain my confidence after the absence of traveling alone for so many years.
And my experience in Saudi Arabia as a solo traveler went well. But the utmost culture is not easy for a solo woman traveler; it takes a lot of courage. You are traveling in a Muslim culture that consists mainly of men. And as a woman alone walking in the street, you were intimidated. But I just ignored the irritating inconvenience. You need a lot of patience if traveling to this country.
So for me, it was one of the most defying destinations I’ve ever been to as a solo traveler.
How it’s like traveling alone as a woman?
Some people ask me, are you not scared? I smile because I don’t want to give them the impression that I’m terrified. I would be lying if I said no. I’m nervous, and that feeling comes back whenever I plan a trip.
Women are more vulnerable than men, but I have never felt unsafe during my journeys. A good portion of common sense and trust in your intuition are the two most valuable things for a woman traveling alone.
Like during my trip to Saudi Arabia, I’m staying in one of the hotels where the location is in a dubious area. And when it’s dark, I don’t go out anymore.
I feel like a prisoner in my room. So on my recent trip to PERU, I chose the hotels in a busy area.
Do’s & Don’ts for a solo traveler
Don’t go trekking alone unless you hire a guide. Join in groups or speak with other people from your hostel/hotel.
I prefer going with groups not only cheaper, but you meet other travelers too.
Some countries are very safe and maybe even safer than your own home. Nevertheless, some destinations can be a bit daunting to travel to as a woman because it requires careful attention, like the Arabic countries.
However, if you respect their culture, nothing can go wrong. To acquire back respect, dress moderately (cover your legs). After the trip, you will be amazed and realize how I survived there.
Tips for the solo traveler
- Write down the address and phone number of your embassy. In case you need them, you know where to go. Like if you lost your passport, you need the embassy.
- Make copies of your passport. I put one copy at the bottom of my suitcase and one in my purse. I also sent it to my email and saved it there. The passport is my second life when traveling. To avoid hassles, I’m taking good care of it.
- Travel with two credit cards. While traveling to Saudi Arabia, the ATM didn’t accept my card. Usually, I use the same card wherever I go. So I thought my bank had to do with it. I ring my bank, and damn, that phone call is marked high on the bill. They’ll let me hang on for almost one hour for security reasons.
- Bring a selfie stick with a remote button – You’re traveling alone, and nobody will take a picture of you except a selfie. Buy a solid one. There are so many selfie sticks on the market, but they are not worth it. However, some people offer to take a photo for you, or you ask them.
Download some apps to your phone
- Google Maps – Ah, one of my travel companions. Anything you type in, such as restaurants, hotels, or museums – will show you the address and the opening hours.
- Maps. Me – an offline GPS that helps you navigate. But you have to download the map of your destination before going on a trip.
- Google translate – is your translator when traveling to a non-English speaking country. You can download the offline version. No internet is needed. Also, helpful to use the camera if you’re traveling to Arabic countries where the streets are not readable for visitors.
- Uber – Safe and cheap – better than the taxi. Therefore, you need the internet.
- Cabify – the same as uber, another alternative as taxi
- Bolt – another app for rides, but not as known as Uber
- Flight tracker- Useful app to check your flights
- Accommodation apps – booking.com, hostelworld.com, Airbnb.com
- Skyscanner – if you decide to book a flight, access to your phone is faster.
- Momondo – I used Skyscanner and Momondo if I needed to check air tickets.
- Netflix – if you have an account, download some movies. Sometimes a long waiting at the airport can be tedious or even a long bus ride. You can watch the movies offline.
- Music – I’m sure everyone has music on their phone these days. So don’t forget your headphone.
- XE – a currency converter, easy to use to compare the local price to your currency.
- NomadHer – If you want to connect with other female travelers or looking for a travel buddy, you need this app on your phone. It is a website exclusively for women travelers.
Planning a trip
Easy peasy if traveling alone. You don’t need to discuss where or what to do with someone – you’re free to make your plan, the benefit for solo travelers.
Choosing a place to visit is easy as I have a long list. As already mentioned, I mostly choose less popular destinations. I plan my trip from eight to six months for cheaper flights.
Air tickets are essential in a journey – planning before can save you money on the flights. Flexibility is difficult for me, so I need to plan every trip.
But before booking my flight, first I check the weather conditions at my destinations because I don’t want to fly to a county during the rainy season or cyclones.
I subscribe to most airlines and often receive emails with promotions or discounted tickets. In addition, I use Skyscanner or Momondo apps and fill in the exact date of my trip.
Preparing the trip
After booking a flight, I work on my itinerary. Mostly, I go on a long trip for three weeks. I loved short breaks too. But that is less preparation, especially for city breaks.
I’ll try to see as much as possible in three weeks. I don’t want to cram my itinerary, either. Preparing for a trip can be stressful because you need to do a lot of research.
I search for how safe the country is for a solo female traveler, what to be aware of, or what their habits are – I need to know how to deal with them before I get there.
Don’t overdo reading about safety – on my recent trip, it freaks me out because I read too much about safety and security. But when I arrived there, it was the opposite way. I feel safe as an angel traveling around the country.
Then the next thing I search for is how to get around. But for safety reasons, I take the Uber taxi if available. And for other public transport like buses, I first read the reviews. And if I can’t find the answers, I ask Tripadvisor for help. So there, you will get some accurate replies.
The last is to search for accommodations. I stay for the most part in a hostel but in a private room. Hostels are a great place to stay if you want to meet other travelers. But it all depends on where your destinations are. In some countries, hostels don’t exist like in Saudi Arabia.
Buy a local Simcard
Your phone has to be unlocked to get a local sim card. There are always phone counters outside the airport. It’s handy to have a local number, just in case. Besides, you need the internet to be able to use your applications.
Traveling light helps you organize quickly. And you can save some money on a plane ticket, and time at the airport. It is very convenient once you disembark the plane. You go straight to the exit without waiting for your luggage.
Most airlines charge you for checked luggage of 23 kg, especially in South and Central America. I purchase each time I book a ticket, but lately, I realize it’s a waste of money because my bag weighs less than ten kilograms.
On my recent trip, I travel with hand luggage only. But the disadvantage of traveling with a carry-on is it allows you only to carry small bottles of shampoos and lotions. But you will find most products at your destinations. So don’t drag all that stuff with you.