Female Solo Travel Tips: 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Left

Mt Bromo, Java

Sarah Gibbons

I’ve been meaning to write and share my best female solo travel tips for months now – because, before I left, it was exactly what I was feverishly googling! 

I remember the feeling of walking to Heathrow’s Departure Gates on my very first solo backpacking trip: a potent mix of excitement, uncertainty – and a good dose of anxiety. 

What if I get lost? What if I don’t make friends? What if I don’t have a good time? Looking back on it now, I can say for certain that it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.

Apart from my flight to Sri Lanka and a surf and yoga retreat booked for the first week, I had absolutely no plan – and no idea how long I would be away for. 

All in all, I ended up travelling for eight months – solo and with old friends and new – and have since made the most incredible memories, new friends and developed a new-found confidence that I can handle whatever is thrown at me. 

So what did I learn? That’s exactly what you’re going to find out — here’s my top five female solo travel tips to keep you on the road and living your best backpacker life! If you’re considering your first female solo travel for the first time, read my top tips below.

Nusa Penida, Bali

Female Solo Travel Tips #1: Solo rarely ever means alone

One of the biggest things I learnt from my backpacking trip is that you are rarely ever by yourself – especially if you are staying in hostels. 

The vast majority of people are travelling solo these days, so are in the same boat and keen to get to know new people. 

In fact, you’re far more likely to strike up new conversations if you are by yourself and not with a group of friends. 

Just make sure to be approachable, friendly and open-minded. You never know who will end up being a best friend for life. 

Female Solo Travel Tips #2: But also embrace the solitude…

As someone who literally never spent any time alone before this trip, this was actually something I had to learn to enjoy. 

While my backpacking style was quite leisurely, given that I had so much time to play with, I could take my time and get to know people and places really well. 

However, believe me, when you’re living in a hostel – you’ll find yourself craving alone time and I often used to read, take myself to a coffee shop to write in my journal, enjoy a walk or explore by myself when I felt like this. 

Nusa Lembongan, Bali

 

Female Solo Travel Tips #3: Hostels aren’t just for youngsters

Age was my main concern about solo backpacking. The last time I had stayed in a hostel I was 20 and that was a long time ago. I had visions of feeling like a grandma in a hostel with drunken twenty-year-olds keeping me up all night. Sure, there are party hostels wherever you go, but I just made a point of never picking them and so many hostels around southeast Asia are more like boutique hotels with communal living spaces. 

The truth is hostels are designed for solo travellers who are keen to meet other people, while also being the most affordable accommodation option most of the time. The average age varied depending on where I was, but the great thing is that I ended up making friends of all ages, older and younger – and I loved that. 

At the end of the day, age doesn’t matter in this scenario and nine times out of ten, you’ll find like-minded people. 

BONUS Top tip: Look at hostel reviews and see what the average age listed is. I usually avoided the consistently 18-24 reviews on Hostelworld 

Female Solo Travel Tips #4: Be spontaneous and flexible with your plans

I’m a definite ‘yes person’ at the best of times, but even more so when I travel solo as flexibility is key. You never know who you’re going to meet or where you’re going to end up! 

Given that I had no plan most of the time, this was never an issue for me and some of my best experiences were when I hopped on a bus or flight with a new friend that I had made and found myself in a new, incredible place.

Sometimes, the path doesn’t run smoothly and you end up thinking ‘maybe I should have booked a hostel in advance’ as you’re frantically scrolling Booking.com  at midnight, but this is a very rare occurrence – and frankly always makes for a funny story. 

Ella's Rock, Sri Lanka

Female Solo Travel Tips #5: It’s really empowering

There’s something really empowering about knowing that you can arrive at an airport in a new country and just figure it all out. Sure, I fell for a taxi scam now and again, but all in all, you’ll feel reinvigorated about the goodness in the world and all the wonderful people that will enter your life and help you when you need it. 

So if you’re still contemplating whether solo travel is for you, just take that leap of faith and hop on that plane. It will be one of the best travel experiences you’ve ever had, trust me.

What did you learn about solo travel? Let us know below!

 


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