So You Want To Travel Solo?

It’s no secret that solo travel is my favorite way to travel. As with many of my blog posts, I’ve had a draft on this topic for months that I just did not finish. Well, a Twitter mention yesterday put a fire under me to go ahead and write, so here it is. I am asked about this often, especially by women who want to venture into solo traveling but have some reservations.

 Traveling alone has SO many perks. You save both money and time. You’re able to keep your itinerary flexible and won’t have to fork out cash for activities you don’t really care to do and places you don’t really care to eat. You set your schedule. If you want a day of adventure or a day of relaxation–it’s all up you to. You can also meet people you probably never would have interacted with had you not been alone.

Solo travel isn’t for everyone, I get it. And this post isn’t to force it on anyone, but if you’re curious and want to get started on your own solo adventures, here are some useful tips for you.

BEFORE YOUR TRIP

Do Your Research

This is a given whether you’re alone or with a group, but it’s sooo important if you’re by yourself. Research everything there is to know for tourists and first-time visitors of your destination. Know the currency, language spoken, areas that are or are not safe for women and solo travelers, and laws as well.

If you venture somewhere alone without the proper research, you’re seriously doing yourself a disservice. You don’t want to end up somewhere you can’t find a soul who speaks English (and you don’t speak the native language), Google Translate isn’t working, and you can’t find your way back to your hotel. And you definitely don’t want to end up somewhere, alone, in a place where women are not valued and protected.

Make Sure Someone Knows Where You Are

Ensure someone knows where you’re going and where you’ll be staying. Have their number memorized in case you are without your phone for whatever reason and would need to contact them. It would also be good to set occasional check-ins with them so that they know you are okay and won’t freak out if an extended amount of time passes before they hear from you. My best-friend made me take a picture of a note written on the hotel stationary when I was traveling to meet someone, this is a good trick because it included my handwriting so she knew it was authentic. Little reassurances throughout your trip will do wonders for your loved-one’s sanity.

If you have an iPhone, activate the emergency contact feature in case they need to be contacted by someone other than you. It will appear on your lock screen so they will not need to unlock your phone first.

Book Travel Insurance

This is for any kind of travel. You never know what can happen and you want to make sure you’re covered in case of an emergency where you would have to receive medical care or need to leave your destination suddenly. It may seem like an unecessary expense until you break a limb overseas or need to be medically evacuated (those can and do happen).

Download Maps and Translations

Google has a great feature that will let you download offline versions of maps and common words and phrases. This is helpful even if you have an international plan because you may lose signal unexpectedly and don’t want to end up lost or unable to communicate. Map out your lodging to popular areas around you or activities you will be engaging in and go from there.

Ensure Documentation Is In Order

From passports to visas, to printed tickets. Make sure to dot your I’s and cross your T’s. Some places won’t allow a passport that will expire soon and some locations require visas and vaccines. Have printed copies in your luggage that you keep locked up, as well as digital copies.

Forget The Hotel

This is just my opinion of course. But there is much to learn from staying with the locals or in non-tourist areas. You can arrange hosting and transportation beforehand. This is also a great opportunity to meet other travelers from all over who may be staying with you. I know this route isn’t for everyone but if you’re interested, my favorite to use is Airbnb. Sign up here for $40 off your first booking. 

Take More Than Enough Money

Budget for emergencies, food, transportation, and activities. Traveling with limited funds is not fun and can hinder your experience, especially if you’re alone and have no “fallback”.

DURING YOUR TRIP

Stay Alert and Aware

You don’t have to be antsy and on your toes during your entire trip but definitely, pay attention to your surroundings. Be aware of where you are at all times and keep your belongings secure. If you feel unsafe at any moment, find a “trusting looking” woman or another person standing alone and pretend to strike up a conversation. You can discreetly let them know that you’re just using them for a second as a distraction. Don’t alert too many people that you are traveling alone, and you can always fake a phone conversation about waiting for someone.

If you’re out at lunch or dinner d not take your eyes off of your food or drinks, especially in open spaces. I like to sit relatively close to an exit in any unfamiliar setting or somewhere where I can see the door. This is not to scare you but to remind you that there are bad people anywhere you go and you are definitely a larger target as a woman traveling alone.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Locals

Stay alert, but don’t be afraid. You can end up knowing or doing more if you befriend the locals and have casual conversations with the people you meet. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or directions, or even suggestions on sites to see.

Don’t Look Like A Tourist

This is self-explanatory. Don’t walk around with your phone constantly out snapping pictures of everything. Don’t have huge maps out and about pointing. If you are lost, don’t panic and make it noticeable. Don’t bring attention to yourself with your clothing (overly flamboyant or exposed based on location).

If you aren’t comfortable being alone during the entire trip, look up group activities and tours happening that include other travelers.

HAVE FUN!

Have a question about something not listed? Or a tip a missed? Feel free to comment below or to contact me!

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27 Comments

  1. Reply

    Yasmine Saibou

    August 24, 2017

    Great post! I have my first solo trip coming up next year and I’m soo nervous but I will be using your tips!

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 24, 2017

      Yay!! You’ll be fine, have fun and enjoy yourself! Make sure you tell me all about it too 🙂

  2. Reply

    Eva Wilson/SocaMom® (@SocaMomDC)

    August 25, 2017

    This is all solid, straightforward advice. I am leery of staying in an AirBNB alone after some of the news reports, but I bet reading reviews would help a whole lot to curb that nervousness.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 25, 2017

      Yes reading the reviews is very important. I’ve stayed in an Airbnb where there were other houseguests and I’ve stayed in one where I was alone in the apartment. There’s good and bad everywhere but definitely don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with.

  3. Reply

    loveatanystage

    August 25, 2017

    All great advice! I will admit I had some fears but you address them.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 27, 2017

      Well I hope you’re able to venture out soon!

  4. Reply

    LeShelle, host of MRTV

    August 27, 2017

    More motivation to get up and get out! Everyone I know have other financial obligations and can’t really travel. I got a second job just so I can travel!!!! I’m ready to swim with dolphins, ride elephants, eat new foods, and have new adventures. I just have to build up the confidence to take the leap.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 27, 2017

      Yesss too all of that!! Live it up honey, don’t wait for everyone else to get it together!!

  5. Reply

    saisha (@Sen_Saisha_Nal)

    August 27, 2017

    I really appreciate this aspect, I need to take the initiative to do more a solo trip! I always find myself waiting for others to be on board. I’ll make sure to hold on to this as a checklist

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 28, 2017

      Waiting for others to get it together will have you missing out on the fun! Don’t wait for others to enjoy 🙂

  6. Reply

    Kiwi

    August 28, 2017

    Super good tips that are true. I love solo traveling now I cant wait on people who arent into traveling like me. I am not homestays or hostels yet but I am into AirBnBs. I also think it is super important not to bring attention to yourself to look like a tourist. That can be super dangerous.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 28, 2017

      It sure can be dangerous so I had to include it! Have fun on your next solo adventure!

  7. Reply

    LaShawn Wiltz (@lashawnwiltz)

    August 28, 2017

    When I was single, I used to travel by myself all of the time , so I agree with all of your tips! I really have to get back to taking at least one trip by myself once a year!

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 28, 2017

      That’s a good goal to have!

  8. Reply

    Ngumabi

    August 28, 2017

    Interacting with locals is the best way to enjoy your trip
    These are some very great tips you gave here
    I really find them useful for my solo trip

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 28, 2017

      Thank you!!

  9. Reply

    Ty Knighten

    August 28, 2017

    These are really great tips. I have wanted to do more traveling but the way my friends are set up, I think solo traveling would be the way to go for me.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 28, 2017

      Definitely! Don’t miss out because others can’t come.

  10. Reply

    arielsaysnow

    August 28, 2017

    Did you ever have any inhibitions about the international usage of AirBNB? I only ask because I believe you when you say it’s a great experience…but girl, I’m nervous! LOL I will definitely keep my mind open to this and share with my friends who are also iffy about it. Loved your tips!

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 28, 2017

      I’ve used it twice internationally now and have no issues. Just read the reviews and have ample conversations with the host. You’ll be fine!

  11. Reply

    Jonna

    August 28, 2017

    I’ve traveled solo often but never out of the country. I don’t know if I ever would but these are great tips for those who want to explore the world and not be dependent on a travel partner.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 28, 2017

      I’ve been out of the country solo a couple of times and it’s great. Just practice caution and have fun!

  12. Reply

    Tiffany H.

    August 28, 2017

    Great Tips, I enjoy both group and solo travel. While I love traveling with other people I will not wait on other people to plan a trip. If you wait you may never go anywhere. I just wrote a post about hanging with the locals, I think its a great way to have fun and get to know more about the place you are visiting. Def good to let people know where you are all times in case something goes wrong. I like the facebook feature where you can check in.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 28, 2017

      I read that post and it was definitely a great one! I don’t utilize Facebook checkins because I’d rather not have everyone know where I am but a select few keeps tabs on me while I’m away.

  13. Reply

    Gennatay

    August 29, 2017

    Traveling solo is such a great experience that I wish everyone could do at least once. The only commitment you have is to yourself. These are some great tips.

    • Reply

      Ashleigh

      August 29, 2017

      “The only commitment you have is to yourself.” I love it!

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