Mental Wellness Practices For The Solo Female Traveler

Traveling solo builds confidence, self-love, and allows for self-discovery, but the change in routine and being far from home has its downsides. It can wreck havoc on our health, especially our mental and emotional health, but it doesn’t have to ruin our experience. Here are some travel habits to pick up in order to stay balanced.

REST YOUR MIND — SLEEP AND MEDITATION

Missing sleep can be one of the key causes of some of our least favorite mental health symptoms. Sleep acts as the body’s ‘reset button,’ and it necessary for most of us to get the bare minimum number of hours a night if we want to entertain any hope of functioning at full capacity the next day. Snoring hostel mates and fluctuating time zones tend to be the most frustrating causes of sleepless nights. An eye mask and ear plugs go a long way in getting and staying asleep almost anywhere. 

If getting to sleep is the issue, maybe an overactive mind is keeping you up. Meditation is best practiced daily, but it it’s also a useful tool whenever you are overstimulated or in a situation where you need to calm your thoughts. When you find yourself on that crowded bus, turn all of your inward and outward focus on your breath until you find yourself calming.

BE GRATEFUL FOR THE MOMENT

Some people say that depression stems from living in the past, and anxiety from living in the future — so if you’re perfectly settled in the present, there is no worry. If you’re 100% focused on the present moment and doing your absolute best in any situation, then the future takes care of itself.

Whatever your circumstances, take a moment, take a breath, and look around you. You are traveling! Your travel dreams have come to fruition and even though it’s hard sometimes, you are doing. So watch every color cross the sky of that sunset, people watch from a cafe, or pull your camera out and snap away. It’s going to be ok, so let it all go except for what is right in front of you. 

Wellness Practices for Women

Challenge Your Limits

I know you are already stressed, so why would you go and do something that scares you? Because it will pull you right out of your funk and into the present moment! Plus, an endorphin rush will surely perk up your mood.

So try something thrilling if you’re up for up for it. Surfing, hiking, zip-lining, rappelling, scuba diving, check out what is available nearby. It can make a huge difference for your happiness level and remind you why you left home to travel in the first place. 

Go with the flow when things go wrong

The truth of travel is, no matter how much you prepare, you always run the risk of losing control of things. That’s why travel insurance exists, because you can’t possibly predict all the ways that your plans will eventually go sideways. It’s when things go wrong and you handle them, you will discover how capable and strong you really are. In fact, when things don’t go according to plan, that’s when we are more open for help from kind locals and can call upon our community for support. You will find your way, just go with the flow and lose attachments to your plans. 

women traveling solo in Cuba

MAKE NEW FRIENDS

We travel solo for a reason, but that doesn’t mean we always want to be alone. Making friends on the road is one the most rewarding parts of travel. When you are feeling low, it may feel natural to retreat to solitude, but I encourage you to sit outside at a cafe. Lounge around in the hostel lobby, or join a walking tour or meetup. Other travelers are the most friendly, inspiring people to be around. Sharing a deep belly laugh with a person who is unlike yourself serves to remind us how we’re all human and we all have a deep, inherent, implicit value — and, because of that, the world immediately becomes a better place.

Wellness Practices for Women

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DOWN DAYS — EMBRACE BEING ALONE

Just like there are high, happy moments of traveling solo, there are also some low days. We may have traveled many miles from home, we can’t leave our problems behind. Instead of escaping them, sit with the feeling until it passes. Wander around, read in a park, write in a journal, or even totally zone out with a day of Netflix. It’s ok. Self-care is especially important, so eat healthy, regular meals, drink plenty of water, and fill your head with plenty of kind words.

about the author

solo female surfer traveler

Rachel ‘Rosie’ Young

Rosie is a writer and yoga teacher who explores the globe as a digital nomad. She encourages her readers and students to blast through personal limitations and live life to their fullest. Find more of Rosie’s work here.  

The Egypt Packing and Culture Guide for Solo Female Travelers

Egypt is exciting, confronting, hot, rich in preserved pieces of history, and an absolute must see destination for every solo female traveler. While it’s perhaps not the best country for the new totally solo traveler, it’s still safe to travel with a few extra precautions. It’s also easy to go with a group and a perfect way to explore with a safety net and see all the best places.

Like many countries in the world, there are cultural rules and expectations on what women wear and how they represent themselves. We believe that women should wear what they want and do what they please, but our ideal world just doesn’t exist. Ignoring the culture of a country can not only really ruin your experience of your trip, but it can even be dangerous. 

Egypt is a conservative Muslim country, and at a glance, that means it’s best to leave the string bikini at home and get into light fabrics, loose fits, and shirts with sleeves. Cairo and tourist hotels and resorts are less conservative where tank tops and longer shorts will be just fine (although conservative is better), but the more off the beaten path you go, the more you should cover up and have a headscarf in your bag when you need it. Think breezy, cool fabrics with a loose fit to not only keep conservative but also let your skin breath in the heat.

If you are coming with us on The Egypt Global Meetup Tour, feel free to bring whatever you want to wear for our hotel pools and Nile River cruise, where we can feel free to relax the dress code with a cold beer in hand. It’s not fair to be the one gal on the trip in crop tops and booty shorts bringing unwanted attention to the whole group. The only attention we want to attract are chats with locals over tea, and smiles from curious kids.

Camel in Egypt solo female tour

Solo Female Traveler Egypt Packing List

Essentials

  • Sunglasses
  • Copies of your travel documents- passport, flight itinerary, travel insurance policy and contact info.
  • A pair of breathable, solid walking shoes like Keens or Teva, our favorites.
  • Loose-fitting, pants 
  • Ankle length lightweight skirt
  • Short sleeve or longer type tops that have modest necklines (if these are long enough to cover your bum and lose fitted, it’s ok to wear leggings with these, especially in Cairo)
  • At least one lightweight scarf
  • A one-piece swimsuit/ bathing suit cover-up

Toiletries

  • Sunscreen
  • Body soap
  • Shampoo/conditioner . Even better, for the savviest of packers, get a travel soap that washes it all – body, hair, clothes, everything. (Special discount for our travelers, use SOFETRAVEL at checkout)
  • Period essentials
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
solo female travelers on a boat in Egypt

How much should you pack?

We always recommend sticking to a carry on in almost all of our travels. In countries like Egypt, where sadly, scammers in the airports and city of Cairo are everywhere, it’s best to have a bag that’s always with you and easy to carry. This is much less of a concern on our Egypt Global Meetup Tour, but even though you’re safe with us, it’s good practice to travel light. It’s no fun to be weighed down by extra stuff you really don’t need, plus you will still have to carry your bags from you room to the vehicle.

Invest in a comfy, breathable, walkable pair of sandals for this trip. Trust us, you’ll need them.

Keep in mind, in mosques, you will have to take your shoes off. There are strict rules about conservative clothing while in a mosque, and if you aren’t dressed appropriately, you won’t be allowed inside. Always keep a scarf stashed in your bag just in case, because you will need to cover your hair during our visit to a mosque as well.

The more south you go from Cairo, the more conservative and the hotter it gets. While some solo female travelers may not be used to wearing such conservative, lose fitting clothing, we suggest embracing the comfort of it, using it to protect your skin from the hot sun, while relaxing in them after a big, delicious meal with a couple drinks.

Women traveling solo in Egypt tours

Harassment

You will be harassed. It’s unavoidable. If you haven’t yet grown a thick skin for street harassment, a walk through Cairo (especially if you are not dressed in a culturally sensitive manner) will leave you in tears if you aren’t armed with the right attitude. It’s unfortunate that this is the reality, but most of it is totally harmless. Remember that absolutely nothing is free, no one you just met on the street wants to just help you out of the goodness of their hearts, and if you accept any “kindness”, you will be expected to pay for it. It’s the way of Egypt.

Here are some tips to ward of harassment: 

  • Ignore. Don’t even bother smiling. Just keep about your business.
  • Wear sunglasses to avoid eye contact.
  • Ignore. We mean it, so we said it twice! Ignore them but also ignore your internal commentary on it all. Let it roll off your back and walk on focusing on all the amazing things around you.
  • Dress respectfully and you will find both men and women will respond to you in a more respectful manner.
  • While it probably won’t happen, especially if you are with us on The Egypt Global Meetup Tour, do feel free to stand up for yourself if you feel threatened. Egyptian men you do not know should not be touching you at all.

Tipping

Being cheap with tips in a country where people rely on them is irresponsible travel, plain and simple. People depend on tips to feed their families and they deserve to be appreciated for a job well done. Both tourists and Egyptians are expected to tip for almost every service. Luckily, most tipping expectations are lower than Western countries like America, another tipping culture.

When you tip, do so discreetly directly to the person you are tipping.

 

Here are minimum, yet respectful, amounts to tip.

Tips can be in dollars, euros or Egyptian notes but not coins, because foreign coins cannot be exchanged or used to buy anything. 

Tour related tips

  • Tour Guide US$6 per day
  • Bus/Taxi Drivers for tours US$3 per day
  • Hotel Housekeeping US$3
  • Nile Cruise Crew (most boats have a tip box in reception) not less than $5 per day per person. This tip is divided among all staff – cleaners, maintenance, wait staff, cook, etc. If any of the staff have been especially wonderful to you, an extra tip of $3 – $5  on departure day is always appreciated.

Once off

  • Restaurant Waiter less than US$5
  • Porter or Baggage Handler  US$1
  • Toilet Attendant 5 Egyptian Pounds

If you are coming with us on The Egypt Global Meetup Tour, the tips for all of the porters and drivers are included, but the rest is up to you and totally at your discretion.

Solo Female Travel Quick Guide:

  • Go to Egypt. It’s a magical country that will surely take your breath away.
  • Dress culturally sensitive to maximize your experience.
  • Wear loose, lightweight clothing. Have a scarf for extra modesty with you at all times.
  • Leave the booty shorts and string bikinis at home, but do feel free to swim and relax the rules in Western only hotels and cruises.
  • Egypt is a tipping culture for Egyptians and tourists alike

A Local Solo Female Traveler’s Guide to New York City

NYC is a dream for solo female travel for so many reasons, but the most important one, is that unlike many locations around the world, almost everything in New York City is experienced the same whether you are on your own or with others. Visiting museums, eating out, joining tours, exploring parks, seeing attractions, riding the subway, taking in a show.

Not only are all these activities just as fun and safe for a solo traveler as those partaking in group travel, many times there is a huge advantage to being solo in NYC, as you will get to do so much more and oftentimes, for far less money. Having been single in NYC for most of the last 20 years, I’ve done everything on my own and here are some of my favorites.

woman travels solo to New York City

Dining Solo in NYC

Dining solo in NYC is the easiest and least intimidating place to do so. Almost every single bar, restaurant and hotel has a bar area where you can grab a drink and/or a meal. NYC bartenders are the absolute best in the world and very experienced with all kinds of single customers.

They will usually chat with you, introduce you to the other patrons (regulars) at the bar – and if you ask them about what to do in NYC, you’re in for a entire night of advice (aka, bragging) because all NYers love to brag about our city. After 10 minutes at a bar, you will not feel like you went out alone. This doesn’t apply to clubs or to a packed bar 4 customers deep on a Friday night, but just about any other time or place, dining solo in NYC is easy as can be.

Still a little nervous? Grab yourself a copy of AM New York, the free daily newspaper at most subway stations and work the crossword puzzle. Nothing is more of a people magnet than a women doing a crossword puzzle at a bar and it’s a super easy conversation starter.

Visiting Museums in NYC

It’s a no brainer to visit a NYC Museum solo. As a matter of fact, most of the New Yorkers I know prefer to go alone as they can spend their time exactly how they please while taking in the culture. I guarantee if you went to a party on a Saturday in NYC and asked 10 New Yorkers what they did that day, at least 1 would tell you they visited a museum or art exhibit on their own. That’s just how we roll.

Unless you are a museum pro, I highly recommend starting with a free Museum tour. The Met offers them all day at least every hour, usually more. The American Museum of Natural History offers multiple free tours throughout the day. MoMA usually requires payment, but they have free audio guides.

Broadway and Other Shows Solo

Now here is where being solo is a HUGE advantage! When bargain hunting for Broadway tickets, whether online, at TKTS or via the daily lottery, your odds increase dramatically when you just want 1 ticket! You’ll get better seats at lower prices, as well as not have to plan so early. It’s not like having someone there with you makes a difference anyway, sitting in the dark and not speaking. I’ve seen at least a dozen shows this way and it’s the best! I decide that morning I want to go a show, look at the TKTS app to see what’s available and head to the booth to wait in line for tickets. So easy and so much better than that family of 6 in line ahead of me who thinks they have a shot of getting same day tickets to any popular show.

 

solo female travel with bagels

9 Cool Things to do in NYC Solo

Visit Strand Bookstore in Union Square. Also see which authors are doing book signings – an awesome way to meet celebrities.

Rent a bike and explore the West Side Highway. Grab a frozen margarita at The Boat Basin. Or bike through Central Park and then cocktail at either The Boathouse or Tavern on the Green.

See what’s going on at the 92nd Street Y. There’s dozens of classes, lectures, celebrities there all the time.

Join a Meet Up. Seriously, we have more than any city. There’s like 25 different meetups just for beach volleyball. You are guaranteed to meet locals with whom you have something in common and likely sightsee in the process, the way the locals do.

Use Class Pass. Try Equinox, Barry’s Bootcamp or one of the thousands of yoga choices – try a class on a rooftop!

Try a unique movie theater. Nitehawk in Brooklyn, The Angelika in SoHo or Film Forum in the West Village. You can even get food and drinks delivered to your seat.

Pop in a day spa. You can go to any spa, but the Russian and Turkish Baths in the East Village are a local bargain, Spa Castle in Queens is like the adult version of a water park for pampering and Koreatown is known for their 24 hour specials – it’s where all the Broadway stars go after shows.

Get lost in a museum. Any museum really. But the best lesser known favorites are The Cloisters, The Frick and The Tenement Museum.

Join a running club. There are free running clubs every day of the week. Nike, Jack Rabbit, Paragon. Lululemon. Run over the Brooklyn Bridge, past the Statue of Liberty or through Central Park, while doing your body good and meeting locals.

solo female travel tours and tips

What NOT To Do in New York City Solo?

I have a pretty strong stomach for solo activities, but let me tell you about one of life’s most “I wish I were not here by myself” moments. I went to a Yankees game solo. Normally, not a big deal. But the 5 seats on either side of me were totally empty, so it was clear I was alone. In true Yankees tradition, between the top and bottom of the 6th inning, they play YMCA while the crew cleans up. There I was dancing and singing by myself…and suddenly up on the Jumbo Tron for the entire stadium to see.

Clearly, I was perfectly safe, just extremely embarrassed. The only thing I would recommend not doing solo in NYC is walking off the beaten path at night. You can walk through about 99% of Manhattan alone and be perfectly fine. Anywhere there are hotels, doormen, 24 hour delis and people, there’s no problem. Just be careful in more residential areas where there are less people around.

about the author

woman solo in NYC
Melissa from NYC Insider

Melissa is a fourth generation native New Yorker and has published www.nycinsiderguide.com for 10+ years. She loves just about everything in NYC and wants you to make the absolute most of your time in NYC. Enjoy her free maps and guides and feel free to ask any questions about traveling in NYC.

How to Deeply Connect with a New Culture

Travel is a very personal and exhilarating experience. I believe the key to experiencing a journey of optimum exploration and adventure is to connect with local cultures. Depending on your personality, it may seem intimidating or maybe it comes naturally to you. Either way, I have tried and tested these tips to help all of us solo female travelers navigate and connect with a diverse array of cultures anywhere in the world.

Consider the Purpose of Your Trip 

Take some time to ask yourself why you have chosen the place you would like to explore. Answer the following questions honestly; they can serve as a guide throughout your trip. Get yourself a cute little notebook even. Write them down and keep them with you to remind yourself when you need it.

  1. What is going on in your life right now that is inspiring you to travel? 
 2. What are you expecting to find or achieve through this trip? 
 3. What are three things you would like to learn about on this trip?

Havana Tour for women

Do Your Homework 

Traveling to a new place is exciting, but with travel comes responsibility. While it is important to figure out where you are going, how to get there, and necessary safety precautions, it is also important to learn about cultural customs, etiquette, and basic phrases in the local language.

Cultural Customs: 

African Massai Tribe Women culture travel

Pay attention to local or religious holidays.

Each and every destination is filled with fascinating complexities. Certain Muslim countries are very strict with how they operate during the holy month of Ramadan. For example, Dubai does not allow people to eat or drink in public during this month, while Istanbul is a little more lenient with how they operate.

Women in India culture traveling

Learn about the basic politics.

It is generally a good idea to learn about the basic politics of the country before departing for your trip. Find out whether it is appropriate to talk about politics; some countries are not comfortable talking about local politics, and these discussions may leave you in a precarious position with respect to safety.

Havana Solo Female Network tour

left hand or right?

Many countries in Asia, Middle East, and Africa use their left hand to clean themselves after using the toilet. Because of this custom, it is considered rude to use your left hand to eat, shake hands, paying for something, and when shopping in these countries.

Locals on Solo Female Traveler Network Tour

YES OR NO?

Some countries like Bulgaria, Sri Lanka, and Egypt nod their head ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes.’ This can be confusing for cultures used to a different way of agreeing or disagreeing.

Holi Festival Solo Female Network tour

Locals can always help.

From my experience, locals have been willing to help me out when I have learned basic phrases to get around. 

They have appreciated the time I spent learning about their mother tongue, and are more willing to help with directions, food selections, and deals for local goods. 

Cuba Solo Female Network Tour

Language can be confusing.

Language is clearly a great form of communication, but it can also be confusing across cultures. Here are some examples – the word ‘hammer’ means ‘awesome’ in German, and ‘chips’ can mean ‘French fries’ in parts of Europe. Google search language misnomers for the country you are traveling to in order to avoid any embarrassing mishaps.

Useful phrases to learn include:

  • Hello, goodbye, and thank you.
  • Hello my name is…
  • How much does this cost?
  • Where is the bathroom?
  • I am hurt.
  • I need help.
  • Can you show me how to get here on the map?

If you have dietary restrictions, learn how to communicate this in advance.

 

Etiquette:

I cannot emphasize the importance of practicing proper etiquette when going overseas. Respecting the nuances of the local culture will affect the quality of your trip. Research how people dress on different occasions and in the different areas you will be traveling to. Temples in Asia require visitors to cover their shoulders and knees. Villages adopt more conservative clothing etiquette than big cities. Being mindful of these cultural practices will help you feel comfortable and will provide you with the ability to connect with local cultures in a deeper way.

Culinary experiences have always been a medium to connect with culture. What I recommend researching in advance are dietary restrictions you may have with the local cuisines, where to find alternative food options and whether or not the local culture uses silverware or their hands to eat food. You don’t want to seem disgusted or surprised by your choice of food options or utensils/non utensils. Body language can transcend languages. If you are uncomfortable using your hands, bring your own set of plasticware (bringing a knife is not advisable).

Women connect with culture while traveling

How to Connect with The Local Culture 

All of the tips that I have provided above lead to this section. Connecting with local culture when you travel is what sustains the entire experience and also aids in the making of new friendships. I highly suggest thinking about the purpose of your trip as mentioned in Part 1. Empathy is the best tool to use when trying to connect with people you want to learn about. Self-reflect on your intentions and where you are in your life and think about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. Craft open-ended questions that connect you to that person and draft some questions ahead of time as a guide to expand your learning. Some examples from my trips are below:

Example 1: I have always marveled about how other cultures find happiness in their daily life because I like to remind myself about how to be happy on a daily basis. I tend to ask, “What is your daily life like?” and “What do you look forward to doing after work or on the weekend?”

Example 2: As a new mother I have been curious about how other cultures raise their children. On a recent trip to Jamaica, my son got sick. I asked some Moms, “What do you do when your children are sick?”

Example 3: I enjoy trying local delicacies. To learn about a local food or fruit, I like to ask, “What is a favorite food/fruit that you think I should try here?”

Traveling solo is a transformative experience if you take the time to self-reflect and do your homework to better understand basic customs and cultural nuances of the location. I have always cherished and learned from my travels when I take my trip to a deeper level by finding ways to connect with the local culture.

Your travel experiences are what you make of them. What do you expect to learn from the culture you are visiting? What are you curious about?

About the author

Travel Author

Sophia Hyder Hock

Sophia Hyder Hock is a responsible travel enthusiast, yoga instructor, Mom, and the Founder/CEO of Papilia, a boutique diversity and inclusion design and training company that incorporates customized wellness principles into every project.

SoFe Travel Guesthouse: Interview with Linda Harper

Affectionately known as ‘Mary Poppins’ by the SoFe Travel team, Linda Harper is an expert packer and solo female travel extraordinaire. She’s always prepared even with little planning, and her positive attitude and resourcefulness make her a role model for any solo traveler.

Linda has created a dream guesthouse specifically for solo female travelers. The details and extra special touches come from her own extensive solo travels. She’s been to 61 countries in total and on her second year of a nomad life after living abroad. Here she shares some snippets of her adventures and her thoughts on solo female travel.

Female Solo Travel Bali

Tell us about your latest trip and the reason you went. Share with us your fondest memory.

My latest trip was a return to Bali. This country is beautiful and spending time with the locals is amazing – to be greeted by name as I walk through the village by old and young alike is definitely special. One of my fondest memories is of a Balinese woman driving by on her scooter as I walked down the road one evening. She worked at a new local restaurant I had eaten at the night before, and she stopped and asked if I needed a lift somewhere. I didn’t, but just the concern and generosity from a woman I had only met briefly was touching and totally embodies the spirit of the people here. 

Tell us about the Solo Female Traveler Guesthouse and what makes it a special choice for women.

The SoFe Guesthouse started as a flippant comment – a pipe-dream made in half-jestt – and just weeks later Amanda Black, the founder of The Solo Female Traveler Network, and I found everything falling into place to make this dream a reality.

Our vision for The Solo Female Traveler Network Guesthouse is to cultivate a community vibe and a Bali home for our members, a place where you have something in common with every guest the minute you meet. 

It is a spacious 2 bedroom guesthouse with a fully functional kitchen, living room, pool, and outside lounge area complete with a gazebo. There is a private room with ensuite and a 4 woman dorm room with privacy curtains and power outlets. Having travelled extensively and stayed in hostels in many countries, the goal was to include extras that we missed – like full length mirrors, hair dryers, bathroom storage to name a few.

Is there a life lesson you feel travel points you toward repeatedly?

This is a tough one there are so many but I think one that keeps being repeated is not to sweat the small stuff. Flights will be delayed, you will lose your charger, your favorite top will not return from the laundry, you might pay too much for a taxi, and another 100 things can happen. You just have to keep keep smiling, because this is exactly what makes traveling so spontaneous and fun! You never know really what’s going to happen next and the best thing to do is just take it in your stride and enjoy the journey. 

Female Solo Travel Tour Leader

Can you share with us the worst travel mistake you’ve ever made? Or is there anything on your travels that you regret?

Over planning – I have learned that traveling with a very fluid plan is the right way for me – when I started I had a very full plan of must-sees and ultimately I came away disappointed as I was so intent on seeing what I came for I missed out on downtime and just being spontaneous. It has taught me to now to have a few places and things that are must do and then to go with the flow – take downtime and just enjoy seeing whatever it is I see on a given day.

What have you loved most about your travels?

Experiencing the local culture and people – getting away from the tourist sites and spending time with local families and seeing the country through their eyes.

Is there any particular travel trend you’d like to see arise and grow in the near future? Tell us why.

An increase in conscious travel. The tourism industry has exploded taking away work from local people in a lot of cases. Supporting the locals or companies that hire and support locals is the best for everyone – seeing a destination through a local’s eyes while giving something back to communities through local guides, lodging, where we choose to eat, etc. makes all the difference not only for your enjoyment but also for their livelihoods. That’s why I love to lead our Global Meetup Tours because it’s important to SoFe Travel to support as many small, family-owned, or women run businesses as possible.

Female Solo Travel Tour Leader

Can you share with us your best travel packing tips?

Packing cubes are a life-saver and make living out of a backpack much easier. Pack for 6 days and a few extras you will be so glad of less weight and the extra room for purchases made during your travels.

For anyone afraid of traveling solo, any words of encouragement or advice?
It is tough but getting out of your comfort zone can be one of the hardest and most rewarding things that you do. Traveling solo allows you to experience living in conditions that you never thought you could survive, you initiate conversations with fellow travelers that you probably would not have done, but you do and you learn to enjoy and crave it. And you make some great friends along the way, which is one of the best parts of travel!

 

UPDATE: Sadly, The Solo Female Traveler Network Guesthouse has been permanently closed due to COVID-19 travel suspensions.  

about the author

Travel Author

Namita Kulkarni

A yoga teacher, writer and traveler on her way to everywhere, Namita Kulkarni  writes about her inner and outer expeditions on her travel & yoga blog Radically Ever After. She travels solo every year to explore new corners of the world and is grateful to yoga for the internal explorations it propels her into.


How to Maximize your Solo Travels

Solo travel is a skill. While knowing how to score a good flight, stay safe, and work your way around a country are all important, your state of mind matters even more in having fulfilling your travel dreams. Here are some tips on how to maximize your solo travels that go beyond logistics.

Take a moment

Breathe it all in. You are finally there! Soak up that sunset. Inhale the spices in the air. Feel the waves crash at your feet. Listen to the chatter of locals around you (especially if don’t understand it). Marvel at everything. Anyone can buy a plane ticket and go on tours/eat at restaurants/stay in hotels, but a solo traveler takes the time to just be there. The more moments you stop to just breathe and be in the moment, the better.

Be Solo

If you are on a Meetup Tour with us, there is almost always solo time built into the itinerary. Take it! If you are traveling alone and a meet slew of awesome people who want to tag along with you, that’s great. Still opt to do some sightseeing solo. Don’t forget there is a reason you set off by yourself. As easy as it is to get caught up with a group (because the people you meet are one of the best parts!), stay true to yourself and your travels. Your travel friends won’t take it personally; they get you and will probably appreciate the time to themselves, too.

Female Solo Travel

Make Friends

We know we just told you to be alone, but the people you meet are an important part of your travel experience. Whether it’s with your fellow participants on a Meetup Tour or the locals and fellow travelers you meet along the way, always stay open to new people (until they give you a reason not to of course). People are rarely what they appear to be, so give them a chance while keeping yourself safe. All travelers and locals have a story to tell that you have never heard, so if you withhold judgement, you will make friends with people you would have other written off on first glance.

Accept Changes as New Opportunities

Travel will never go totally according to plan. It doesn’t matter how you do it, even if you pay someone else to plan it for you. Some of the best moments in our travels have been when a bus breaks down in Cuba and we chat to the locals on the side of the road, when a day trip in Australia is cancelled so we find ourselves on a secluded beach with dolphins in the water, when we get super sick and the sweetest hostel owner brings you soup. Sometimes the bad things that happen simply give the people around us to show us how amazing they are. Often times a better adventure is around the corner. When things don’t go according to plan, trust that something spectacular is around the corner because it usually is.

Female Solo Travel

Keep it positive.

“Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Frank Outlaw

It’s so easy to complain, especially as a way to bond with fellow travelers. It’s tempting to complain as a conversation starter or a way to connect. And whether you are in a group or alone, it is even easier to complain when you feel out of control. Focusing on the negative is the quickest way to ruin your whole trip. Negativity is like the plague. It spreads fast and can ruin an experience for you and everyone around you. Look for the positive. Your food may be cold, but it is delicious. It’s crazy hot outside, but at least your hotel room has AC. If your thoughts are positive, then everything else will follow suit.

Accept Local Culture

There are countries with beliefs or customs that we don’t agree with personally. As our values will tell you, we believe in things like human rights, animal welfare, and equality. Unfortunately, other parts of the world don’t have the same priorities or simply can’t hold the same values. While we feed as many stray dogs as we can, we don’t judge the locals for allowing them to go hungry. They are probably struggling to find food for themselves. This is trickier to remember when it comes to sweatshops, how women are treated in society, and issues that feel really personal. The best we can do for our own travels is to just accept that we can’t change it and move on. We can help those we come across and we can choose to spend our money on ethical experiences, but we won’t change the world by ourselves on one trip. We would be in a constant state of despair if we internalized it. What we can do is leave a path of fed dogs, donate to worthy charities, and practice random acts of kindness.

11 Travel Beauty Secrets from a Travel Queen

Who says you can’t be pretty while traveling? No more sweaty group photos. No more hiding your hair in a hat. No more exploding shampoo in your laptop bag. As a female digital nomad who travels the world 365 days a year. I’ve absolutely mastered the travel beauty game, and now I’m here to share some of my best travel beauty secrets with you.

Hi, I’m Alexa West – the founder of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide! Planes, trains, and buses – I never sacrifice beauty, and you don’t have to either. So listen up to my best beauty tips and travel hacks that will keep you looking Instagram-worthy, no matter how long and hot your travel day may be.

beauty tips for solo female travelers

1. Save your samples

You know those little samples you get from Sephora when you make a purchase? Save em’ for travel.

Have a little travel bag where you stash those mini moisturizers, shampoo packets, and tiny eye shadows. They offer the perfect amount of product for vacation, save you space, and are guaranteed to be carry-on approved. 

Sneaky Tip: Sephora and Nordstrom’s give away free perfume samples, all you have to do is ask! 

2. Carry baby powder

My secret weapon for greasy hair AND chaffing thighs is baby powder!

Dry shampoo can be expensive and aerosol canisters are not allowed as carry ons. But that’s okay because baby powder does wonders for soaking up greasy hair. Apply baby powder to your scalp before you go to sleep, and you’ll wake up with voluminous locks and no baby powder scent. 

Also, if you’re like 95% of women who don’t have that “thigh gap” then you’ll likely experience the sweaty thigh chaffing nightmare that happens while wearing dresses on vacation. Pat some baby powder on your thighs and violá – no more chaffing. 

Bali Solo Girls Travel Guide

3. Swap your Foundation for a CC Cream with Built-In SPF

Buildable coverage and sun protection! Traveling with a multi-purpose CC Cream saves you space, allows you to customize your coverage for the climate, and protects your delicate skin during long adventure days.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been traveling with IT Cosmetics ‘Your Skin But Better’ CC Cream. The tube is around $44, which may sound a bit pricey, but it literally lasts an entire year (that’s just 12 ¢ per day). 

Pro Tip: Apply with a wet beauty blender for buildable coverage. 

You can also purchase a travel size IT Cosmetics CC Cream …but it doesn’t come with that product-saving pump, which means that you’ll be wasting tons of product in the long-run. Bite the bullet and go for the regular-size tube, which is already the perfect travel size, in my royal opinion.

4. Learn how to do a sock bun

Literally the easiest 5-minute hair-fix, a Sock Bun should be part of every travel girl’s hair routine. It’s cute, comfortable, and keeps the hair out of your face during sweaty adventure days. 

Before you travel, cut your tube-sock and practice rolling your hair into a Sock Bun using an easy-to-follow YouTube tutorial. All you’ll need is a hair elastic and a couple of bobby pins to complete this iconic travel look.  

Bali Solo Girls Travel Guide

5. Use aluminum liquid bottles, not plastic

Is there anything worse than a shampoo bottle exploding in your carry-on bag?

Protect your purse and your products with a no-leak liquid travel bottle!

I swear by these Mini Metal Travel Bottles that have literally traveled across the globe with me. I can shove them in my carry-on and don’t have to secure them in a plastic zip lock bag first…cause they’re not going to crack mid-flight!

They’ve got a mist spray top, which I only utilize for my hair products. I fill the other bottles with my shampoos and face washes – and just unscrew the top to use them. 

6. Always carry exfoliating face wipes

You wouldn’t believe the amount of black residue that collects all over your face, neck and chest while traveling! 

Whether it’s dirt roads in Mexico or riding through traffic in an open-air Tuk Tuk in Thailand, women’s skin breaks out easily. Bring exfoliating wipes with you on all your travels. 

Swipe your face with a white cleansing cloth after a long adventure…and you’ll be horrified (and maybe a little fascinated) by the dark layer of sludge you collect. 

I travel with Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Exfoliating Peach and Willow Bark! I shove one pack in every bag that I carry. They keep your complexion clear and are a refreshing mid-day treat for your skin. 

solo female travel beauty tips photo

7. Bring a Multi-Purpose Facial Mist

Have you ever taken a 5+ hour flight and noticed how tight your skin is afterwards? It’s that gross recycled air! Keep your face fresh, moisturized and protected from absorbing all the icky gunk in the air by regularly misting during your flight with Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater. 

Then, when you’re on the ground, start every morning with a mist to keep your skin hydrated in new climates! 

Better yet, this facial mist also acts as an amazing long-wear makeup primer. Carry it in your purse to freshen up before photos! 

8. Skip the eyeshadow

Instead of carrying an entire eye shadow palette with me on weekend getaways, I bring my Paint Pots by Mac Cosmetics!

I’ve literally been purchasing and re-purchasing Mac’s Paint Pots since I started earning babysitting money at the age of 13. 

The shade “Painterly” acts as a concealer, brightening up my lid so beautifully that I can wear it alone. “Bare Study” adds that bit of shimmer that makes you look super tan! “Rubenesque” is more of my go-to glam night that I’d wear to a barefoot beach bar. Again, all of these can be worn totally naked!

If you do want to bring some eye shadows, the Paint Pots are the BEST primers I’ve ever used. No matter if I’m swimming or sweating, my shimmers stay put all day and my crease doesn’t smear.

Each pot runs around $22 and lasts for a year. Do it. 

solo female travel bali beauty tips

9. Use Travel Perfume Bottles

I used to carry my full-size Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume with me on my travels…and then I lost the entire bottle which was an expensive mistake. Now, I decant my perfume into a mini travel spray bottle for easy carry and low-risk! 

These Perfume Atomizer Bottles are made of aluminum and are refillable – which means years of use. They even come with a little funnel to make the process quick and easy. 

10. Use an Epilator before you go

If you can handle a bit of pain and don’t have terribly sensitive skin, try this DIY hair removal method. Imagine a row of tweezers working together to remove hair quickly. Now image 5 rows on a rotating system that tackle big areas in a little amount of time. That’s an epilator. 

Use it on your armpits, legs, toes, face…I just wouldn’t recommend using it on your bikini area. But hey, who am I to stop you?

An epilator will save you money spent on waxing and save you a bit of space & effort now that you don’t need to carry a razor with you on your travels. 

11. Hydrate

Water, water, water!

It’s so easy to get caught up in margaritas and cervezas that you forget your good ol’ friend, Aqua!

It shouldn’t be a secret (but it seems that it is) that water is the key to glowing, radiating skin! Decrease the dark circles and bags under your eyes, keep your skin from drying out, hold your tan longer, and maintain a supple texture just by drinking 2 liters of water per day…especially in the sun! 

Water is also to thank for less-frizzy hair and fighting chapped lips. 

Bring a Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle on your travels to reduce plastic waste and help you keep track of your water intake; just three refills per day will do the trick. 

beauty tips for solo female travelers

Extra Travel Beauty Tips

Leave your Hair Dryer and Curling Iron at Home

Blow Dryers take up too much space in your luggage and are not compatible with foreign voltage. Plus, many hotels and Airbnbs will have a blow dryer for you! And if I’m being totally real with you…your hair will likely end up in a pony tail or bun during your travels anyways!

Don’t Bring your Entire Makeup Bag

Unless your vacationing in France with your Fiancé, you don’t need that bright red lipstick, highlighter palette, or liquid eyeliner. Pick a travel makeup bag that is half the size of your day-to-day makeup bag and limit yourself.

Use Hotel Conditioner instead of Shaving Cream

Instead of carrying a heavy shaving cream bottle that you’ll only use once or twice during your travels, collect those free hotel bottles to create a shaving cream of your own.

Check Out My Travels On Instagram @SoloGirlsTravelGuide

Coming To Asia? Get A Copy Of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide To Help You Plan The Most Badass (And Safest) Trip Of Your Life.

about the author

solo girls travel guide

alexa west

Living between Thailand and Bali, Alexa West is a best-selling author, travel vlogger, and female-focused entrepreneur changing the way that women travel the world. For the past 10 years, Alexa has been solo traveling around the globe full-time – and now teaches women how to travel the world just like her. 

 

 

Planning a Solo Trip: A Guide for Beginners

So, you’ve decided to take the solo travel leap and are now planning a solo trip? This beginner’s guide is a practical tool to assist you in planning your first solo trip, including pre-travel logistics to navigating your destination like a pro. Let’s begin!

Pre-travel logistics

Planning a solo trip doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. There are, however, a few pre-travel logistics to consider before even booking your trip. Don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, these things will just become second nature. 

planning international's trip solo female traveler

PASSPORT

Ensure your passport is up to date and doesn’t expire for 6 months before you plan to travel internationally. Also make sure it has enough blank pages in it to accommodate new stamps and visas. 

You will want to keep a digital copy of your passport handy or store a photocopy of it in your carry-on; in the worst-case scenario that it is stolen or lost, at least you will have a record of your identity and your passport number. 

vIsas

You may or may not need a visa depending on your citizenship and the country you are traveling to. You can often check this on your government’s travel website. If you do require a visa, you may need to apply for it in advance. Exceptions to this are if the visa is offered on arrival, meaning you can complete the visa application form and pay in person at immigration when entering the country. Again, this will depend on which country you are entering and your citizenship. 

Finances

Considering how you will manage your finances is an important aspect of planning a solo trip. Some sources recommend calling your bank to let them know you will be using your debit card or credit card abroad, so they don’t activate identity theft protocol. In terms of how you will actually navigate your finances while traveling internationally in a new currency, there are a few options:

ATMs ATMs typically give the best exchange rate of the day and are usually conveniently available at airports upon arrival. However, most ATMs charge a fee for their use and some financial institutions charge their own fee; this could add up to a whopping $10 in fees per withdrawal. Check with your bank to see what your options are. Some bank accounts offer to reimburse international ATM fees, and if you are lucky enough to have this benefit, using an ATM to access money will be your best option. Cash Exchange Cash exchange kiosks are notorious for charging high exchange rates, meaning you will lose money just to exchange your money. You are better to directly exchange cash at your financial institution and only resort to commercial cash exchange companies if you desperate. For example, you are left with a foreign currency and need to get rid of it before returning home. Credit Cards If you don’t want to walk around with large sums of cash, having a travel credit card is your best bet. Look for one with a 0% foreign transaction fee so you don’t pay more for each purchase. Some travel credit cards also offer travel insurance or rewards programs, so definitely read the fine print to see what you are covered for.

planning a solo trip

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Booking your Trip

Travel agent vs. self-planned vs. organized tour

If you don’t have much experience traveling or creating a trip itinerary, or you don’t have the time to plan a trip, working with a travel agent can be extremely helpful. Agents can help you with everything from booking flights, to scheduling ground transfers, accommodation and tours — basically the whole package. They can also be extremely useful in sorting out issues in the event that something goes array while traveling, such as a flight being cancelled or delayed.

However, those on a tight budget or who desire more flexibility in their travel schedule may want to plan their own trip. There are a variety of budget airlines and fight search engines nowadays which can help you get to your destination cheaper, notify you of sales, or even explore all destinations across time according to cost.

Joining an organized tour specifically for solo travelers may be a good option if you are looking to get your feet wet on the road alone but would like the extra support. On The Solo Female Traveler Network’s Meetup Tours you are given the time to roam alone, but there is always someone waiting for you to come back. Logistics are taken care of and safety is less of a concern, so you can feel free to soak up the excitement with less worry. They are a good option for your very first trip to help teach you some solo travel skills. The downside is they are not as cost-effective or quite as adventurous as going it all on your own, but you leave with lots of new friends. Read more about where The Solo Female Traveler Network is going next and more about organized tours in general.

Deciding Where to Stay

Once you have your flights booked, the next step in planning a solo trip is to decide where to stay. Generally speaking, you have three options: hotels, hostels or an Airbnb.

guesthouse in bali for solo female travelers

Hostels

Hostels are budget-friendly and tend to be conveniently located in city centres near bus or train terminals. They usually have kitchen facilities and some of them even have an in-house bar! Staying at a hostel is a great way to meet other travellers and participate in group activities while traveling solo. The downsides are less privacy and the potential for noise or uncleanly shared environments. You can explore options on Hostelworld.com or hostelbookers.com.

hostel for solo female travelers

Hotels

Hotels may appear to be the more expensive option, but this really depends on your destination. In some areas of Asia and Africa, a basic hotel room can cost less than a bed in a dorm room. There are lots of great websites to explore your options, such as booking.com — just be sure to read the reviews to determine the accuracy of the listing. Sometimes booking a hotel directly on their website can be cheaper, so it might be worth-while to compare costs.

hotels for solo female travelers

airbnb

Airbnb has become a popular choice for travellers to find a home away from home while on the road. If you prefer to have your own kitchen or workspace while traveling, booking an apartment on Airbnb might be for you. You can also rent a room in someone’s home via Airbnb, meaning you will share space with the host. Just like with anything, check the reviews and trust your gut.

Pre-travel Health Considerations

Travel Insurance

We all know that life is unpredictable so even the best-planned trip can go off the rails. Travel insurance covers not only travel expenses and your belongings (e.g. your flight is cancelled, or your luggage is stolen), but also your health (e.g. you need to be hospitalized or medically evacuated). The costs associated with seeking medical consultation and treatment abroad can be very minimal in some countries or astronomical in others. It is therefore always best to be prepared and purchase travel insurance.

When purchasing insurance, always read the fine print to see what you are or are not covered for and how you would be required to make a claim. Leave a copy of your insurance policy behind with a family or friend and keep an electronic copy of it in an easily accessible file in your email or on your phone.

Here is a very thorough guide on how to choose a plan and some top-rated insurance companies especially good for solo female travelers – The Solo Female Traveler’s Guide to Travel Insurance.

Vaccines

To determine if there are mandatory vaccinations required for entrance to the country you are traveling to, you may want to check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel health website. For example, proof of receiving the yellow fever vaccine is required to enter East African countries and without your immunization card you may be denied entry. Conversely, there may be vaccines or tablets recommended for your destination, such as the rabies vaccination or antimalarial pills.

Medications

If you have a prescription medicine you need to take with you on your travels, speak to your pharmacist about getting it in bulk so you won’t run out while abroad. Also, it is important to ask for a prescription to keep with you as you may or may not need it during transit.

It is also important to consider whether your medication is legal in the destination you are arriving into. For example, some forms of narcotics are illegal in certain counties. You can check the status of your prescription medication at the CDC travel medicine website.

Avoiding Travel Mishaps

solo trip planning woman in Jordan

Do your research

Airplane travel doesn’t have to be stressful or cumbersome with a little preparation. Make sure you check with your airline for their luggage requirements and fees, including the weight and size dimensions of both checked and carry-on baggage. No one wants to show up to the airport and have to pay an unexpected cost, so weigh your luggage once you are done packing (though be sure to leave some extra space for things you may want to bring home with you).

If you are flying out of a large airport, check the airport website for which terminal your airline departs from and the estimated wait times. Once you start to travel more, you will come to know which airports are notorious for being chaotic versus streamlined, but for now it can be really helpful to orient yourself online before arriving to the airport.

Check-in Online

Checking in online can save stress while at the airport and also gives you the option to pick your seat on the aircraft (though often at an additional fee). Note that if you are stowing baggage, you will still need to drop your luggage off at the airline counter. Nowadays there are often electronic kiosks which print bag-tags, and a designated bag-drop line so you can avoid the check-in que all together.

If you are nervous about doing this, simply wait in the check-in line and give the staff your passport. However, if you plan to do this be sure to give yourself a full 3 hours before your international flight to accommodate for long lines.

Packing your carry-on

Most airports are very strict on fluids, gels and aerosols over 100ml/100g and any objects which may appear to be a weapon. There is nothing more stressful than having items confiscated or your bag pulled apart by security agents. If you have personal care products in your carry-on luggage, ensure they are the proper size and inside a clear pouch or plastic bag. Reusable water bottles are fine but make sure they are empty when you pass through security.

You will also want to keep all valuables and travel documents in your carry-on. My rule of thumb is to pack my carry-on as if I know my stowed luggage will be lost or tampered with.

Navigation 

Navigating your new surroundings can be difficult when dealing with jetlag, culture shock and language barriers. While most hotels and hostels provide city maps and can offer you further advice, you might prefer to use a digital navigation strategy. Apps like maps.me offer offline solutions to navigate, simply requiring you to download the country map before you go off wifi. I usually do this at the airport before I fly to any new country. Conversely, getting a local SIM card once on the ground will ensure you never go offline and can readily use google maps, Uber or any local transit apps.

City walking tours or hiring a local guide can also be great ways to orient yourself to a new city by foot, and often serve as great opportunities to find local hot spots and hidden gems.

Safety

While solo female travel is generally very safe, it is still important to be proactive in any situation. It is therefore helpful to consider how you will take measures to protect yourself while traveling. First, check your government website for any travel advisories for your destination and register as a citizen abroad to get direct email notifications of any emerging events. Reading about your destination can also provide useful information on local crime rates or any popular scams to be aware of, as well as helpful tips like  how local women typically dress.

More specific safety tips will vary based on the context of where you travel, but it is always SO important to trust your gut. If something or someone doesn’t feel right, trust your inner intuition to keep you safe.

About the author

Author woman

Stephanie Huff

Steph Is A Canadian Travel Writer And Founder Of The Award-Winning Solo Female Travel Blog The Pink Backpack. She Has Traveled To Over 50 Countries And 6 Continents, Most Recently Backpacking Solo Across Africa.

How to Plan your First Solo International Trip

Planning your first solo trip and wondering where to start? Random fears and worst case scenarios intruding on your excitement? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This article will help sort you out and walk you through the entire process of planning your first solo trip with a good dose of humour and perspective -two things you don’t ever want to travel without.

International solo trip planning

Women have been exploring the world on their own for centuries, even to the furthest places and under the most treacherous conditions. It doesn’t mean you need to climb the highest mountain or hike through the desert on your first trip, but if they can do it, so can you. After 5 years and over a dozen solo trips to continents far and near, here are my top tips for planning your first international solo trip.

How to pick a destination

This can seem to be the most important and daunting decision in the entire trip-planning process. To simplify things, here are a few ways to approach this decision and spark your decision-making:   

  1. Is there a particular culture you admire? Maybe Japan for the gardens and onsens, Italy for the art, India for all its festivals and colours, or Andalusia for its flamenco scene.
  2. Do you have friends you can stay with or meet in a certain destination? Especially friends with kitchens, in my experience, save you a lot of money as you can cook instead of eating out all the time.  
  3. A cause or social issue you feel strongly about and would like to volunteer for, where your skills meet the requirements.
  4. Hobbies or interests you’d like to deepen
  5. Wherever the flights and stay expenses seem most agreeable to your budget – Google Flights and many flight booking websites will show you fares to anywhere within a certain budget.
  6. Any long-held curiosity or draw you’ve felt to a certain part of the world, or a side of your personality you’ve always wanted to explore.

You could also, of course, just pick a destination on a whim and run with it. Knowing your reasons for travel gives you the conviction to go ahead with your plans without second-guessing them at every step. So much of solo travel is about trusting your choices, and trusting that they’re right for you. If you ask me, travel is another word for trust.

A good way to get your feet wet on international travel is to join an organized tour specifically for solo travelers, like The Solo Female Traveler Network’s Meetup Tours. You come alone, make like-minded friends, have opportunities to explore solo, but you always have us waiting for you and there to help. They are a perfect way to ease your first trip fears while still getting to explore a new place. You can’t help but leave with more confidence to go it totally alone next time.

India Solo Female Travel

Packing

“Travel light” is the overarching advice across travel  blogs/forums/magazines, but it’s also perfectly okay to not cut down your luggage to the absolute bare minimum. If you feel the desire/need to bring more of your cherished possessions along for reasons best understood by you – do so. Know you can handle all your luggage yourself and are aware of luggage limits on your flights and other transport.

Safety

The sense of liberation that comes from being on your own in a strange new land is often coupled with that cautious awareness that you’re all you’ve got and you’re up for grabs. While the general perception seems to categorize some parts of the world as ‘safer’ and others more sketchy/dangerous, safety is never a guarantee anywhere and danger isn’t lurking on every corner either. Your best bet for staying out of trouble is keeping your wits about you and taking the same basic precautions you would in your home country. Avoid dark deserted streets, always look like you know where you’re going, never look lost, stay aware of your surroundings, you get the drift. Helps to remember that despite all appearances and news media, more things go right than wrong in the world every single day. More people want to help than harm, befriend than betray.  

India Solo Female Travel

Money

To avoid carrying wads of cash, sign up for travel debit/credit cards that don’t charge an international transaction fee. For example, Charles Schwab cards are popular among American travellers because they reimburse ATM transaction fees.

Have enough cash on hand to keep you afloat for a day, or until you get to your stay. Numbeo.com is a great resource to estimate local expenses around the world, as are so many travel blogs. Be sure to inform your bank of your travel plans, because banks often block your card the minute they see a “suspicious” login from a different country. A neat trick to prevent this kind of blocking is to use your card at the airport’s ATM to check your balance (not to withdraw cash). That way, the bank now has your new location on record and won’t block you when you try to withdraw money from there.

Snagging the best flight deals

Skyscanner, Matrix Airfare Search, and Kayak are some of the best websites for great flight deals. An incognito browser, clearing cookies, and booking a few months in advance are good ways to score great flight deals. Also get the Hopper app on your phone to be able to enter destinations and dates and get updates for new price decreases. 

Solo Female Travel

travel and medical insurance

Something you’d rather have and not need than need and not have. Even the most organized and experienced travellers run into unexpectable snafus on the road – such as losing passports, belongings, or falling ill – and insurance really saves the day in such scenarios. We have written a guide to go into more detail about how to choose the best travel insurance for you and some of the companies we have used and recommend. 

Language

A few useful phrases go a long way. Apps such as Memrise and DuoLingo are great to grasp some basics. My favorite language-learning method has to be the Pimsleur method (first lesson free on Youtube for over 60 languages), where you’re thrown into a conversation from the first lesson so you learn by anticipating and participating, rather than listening and repeating. Speaking the local language, no matter how broken your sentences may be, is also a sign of respect for the host country.

Useful travel apps that work offline

Maps.me, Google maps (download offline maps), Google Translate, TripIt (to manage your itinerary), XE currency (to convert currencies),  Spotify (for music), American Red Cross First Aid app (for emergency first aid guidance). The location sharing features of Google Maps, Whatsapp and Life 365 are great for keeping your family/friends informed of your whereabouts. Remember to keep your phone in airplane mode to save battery.

planning a solo trip in cuba

Gadgets

Invest in a reliable and light-weight power bank.  Especially if you plan to go hiking or to places with little electricity. A world travel adapter sorts out your electronic needs in any country. A wearable personal safety alarm is something I highly recommend.

Water refills

Carry your own refillable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles everywhere. This saves money and is a lot more earth-friendly than plastic. Apps such as Tap, Refill, GivemeTap, and websites such as refillmybottle.com show you the locations for water refills.  

Taking care of your health – mental, physical, and emotional

Your state of health determines the quality of your entire trip, more than any other factor. Apart from physical health, you’re going to need your emotional and mental health when you’re far away on your own in unfamiliar surroundings. Because wherever you go, there you are. Which can be a boon or a bane, depending on how much you enjoy your own company. This quote says it well – The only zen you find at the tops of mountains is the zen you bring.

Tourist scams

Look up tourist scams common in your destination so that you are not another easy target. Wikitravel and travel blogs are great places to read about common scams to watch out for in your destination.

how to plan international travel for women

food

Food is an important consideration when planning your first international solo trip. Unlike some countries where you have your choice of different cuisine, most of the world is not like that. If you don’t like Thai food, then Thailand may not be the best place to go, at least for your first international trip. If you can’t get enough Italian food, then you will be in food heaven in Italy. 

Dietary restrictions are also important, but very manageable most of the time. For vegans and vegetarians, Happy Cow is a useful app/website to find the nearest restaurants. Vitamin supplements and granola/ protein bars are also great for travel, where you know your food habits will not always be the healthiest. 

Weather

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Accuweather (app & website) has reliable weather predictions so you can plan your wardrobe accordingly. Thin thermals and layering work great for colder climates, rather than bulky jackets that take up a ton of space. Consider layering in destinations where the weather is less predictable and be ready to re-wear clothing more than you would at home, especially for longer trips. 

Books

Some books have a way of putting you in that traveller frame-of-mind before you even know where you’re headed. Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem and Beppe Severgnini’s La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind are two of my favourite travel books. There are many more of course, and reading a book based on your destination might be a great way of sensing the pulse of the place.

We hope after reading this guide, you have a better understanding of where to begin planning your first solo trip. Just remember there is no wrong answer. Planning travel is personal and exciting. It can feel overwhelming, but that’s why you have The Solo Female Traveler Network Facebook group for support. We have your back! Don’t forget to share your photos and keep us updated on your very first solo international trip!

About the author

Travel Author

Namita Kulkarni

A Yoga Teacher, Writer And Traveler On Her Way To Everywhere, Namita Kulkarni Writes About Her Inner And Outer Expeditions On Her Travel & Yoga Blog Radically Ever After. She Travels Solo Every Year To Explore New Corners Of The World And Is Grateful To Yoga For The Internal Explorations It Propels Her Into. Catch Her On Instagram @Radicallyeverafter

Why Digital Nomads Need Community

The journey to become a digital nomad opens up a world of excitement, nerves, hope for the unknown, and the potential to live a life full of rich experiences and people you may never have met in a 9-5 office setting. Becoming a part of this ever-growing new world of business and self-promotion is possible now more than ever before, thanks to tools that can be found through whatever technology you prefer, whether it’s your smartphone, tablet or computer. The concept of a “normal” work life style has forever been changed, and we don’t want to look back.

So how do we make sure we’re successful and fulfilled? Among other things, a huge part of being a successful digital nomad is knowing how to find and be a part of a strong community of other digital nomads wherever you’re living. Tapping into these resources properly can help determine just how successful and happy you are.

guide for women who travel solo community nomad

Finding Your New Community and Keeping In-Touch with the Old

Speaking from my own experience over the past three years as a solo traveler throughout various countries in Asia and Europe, travelling alone can be fulfilling in its own right, teaching you independence, problem-solving skills, quick-thinking abilities, and communication skills.

That being said, at some point it becomes necessary to find other workers who can help support you and comfort you, as well. Fellow digital nomads can offer understanding of your lifestyle, as well as helping you to hone your skills and maybe even help you with any projects or business issues you have. You never know when you could meet a like-minded person to collaborate with!

solo female traveler budget in South Africa

Advice from the pros

One such person who’s been quite successful in doing just that is a Vlogger Andrea Valeria. In an interview she did with remote.com, she talks about how she uses various social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to connect with other digital nomads and how she creates a schedule that works for her to stay on track. This can vary for everyone, of course, but for her she works full days Monday through Wednesday, with more relaxed days on Thursday and Friday working in cafes, rooftop pools, etc., and takes the weekend off for her to meet and have fun with other people in her community.  

community for solo women nomads

eatwithus & Sofar sound

Everyone has to eat, so why not do it and meet people at the same time you’re getting a unique and authentic experience? EatWith offers just that. With this tool, you get to eat an intimate dinner with locals and strangers on rooftops, gardens or wherever! Once you’ve filled up from your amazing meal, you can try Sofar Sounds next for a little after dinner entertainment. Sofar Sounds is great for music lovers, connecting people to secret gigs with only 3-4 performers with an intimate audience. 

meetup.com

Of course, if you want to mix it up and find communities for basically any interest you may have, you can turn to Meetup. This in-depth site connects people of all interests, from mountain climbers to board game lovers to just finding people to go out and drink wine with, this site offers a seemingly endless way to connect with others.

travel for women solo in Cape Town

Choosing the Right Environment and Resources

Human connection is necessary, and a good environment can make all the difference in the world for a digital nomad. To achieve a solid, positive environment, there are always going to be a few things that are absolutely needed to be successful and to help meet others: good internet access, affordable rent, and helpful locals.

solo female traveler in blue

nomadic notes

Thanks to a great page by Nomadic Notes, you can easily check out their list of different cities and countries that have been reviewed by other experienced digital nomads. In general, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for good blogs and podcasts that can help you meet people, grow your business, or market yourself in your new environment, as well.

"making it anywhere"

One of my favorites is a blog called “Making It Anywhere,” that was started by a couple from England who write about business building, life skills, and inspirational travel tips. There are many other blogs out there, though, as well, so if you’re feeling a little stuck, check them out.

solo travel in Egypt for women

While there are many ways to navigate being a digital nomad, you can pick and choose exactly what works for you. There’s no one right way, and you might even discover something new that you want to share with others as you develop your own way to make your digital nomadic lifestyle work. Thankfully, there are more and more tools and resources out there to help make your experience smoother and to help you remember, you’re not alone!

about the author

communities for solo female workers

Annie brown

Annie Brown an entrepreneur, cartoonist and history nerd. She is also the social media director for SafetyWing, the first travel insurance provider made for digital nomads, by digital nomads with coverage plans starting at $37/month. At SafetyWing, we are building a global safety net for digital nomads which includes our first product – affordable, reliable travel medical insurance.

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