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10 Dos and Don’ts for the Solo Female Traveler

Traveling as a solo woman can be daunting. Even if you don’t mind spending time alone, it can be difficult to get past other concerns, like safety. But if done right, traveling alone can be extremely satisfying. You can go where you want, do what you want, when you want.

Follow these 10 do’s and don’ts to get the most out of your experience, with or without company!

DO...

1) Choose the right location

Location matters. Do your research and choose a destination that’s considered safe. That doesn’t mean you should only travel to Europe. Costa Rica and Thailand are excellent choices, for example. Wherever you go, find accommodations in areas with easy access to restaurants, sights, and transportation.

2) Have a plan

Traveling alone is NOT the time to be unprepared. Do your research (I can’t say this enough) and have a basic itinerary outlined. If you’re the spontaneous type who prefers traveling without a plan, reserve a hotel for your first night. The last thing you want is to be stranded alone.

3) Join a tour

If you’re not ready to venture out by yourself, join a tour. I’m not a fan of mass tourism, where one can expect to spend lots of time on a tour bus. However, there are companies, like Intrepid Travel, that offer small group tours (10-16 people) at an affordable cost. It’s a great way to travel on your own without feeling alone.

4) Sit at the bar

Instead of sitting at a table or hiding in a corner hoping to go unnoticed, sit at the bar. Its great for people watching and a nice way to meet locals and fellow travelers. As a woman, I've been reticent to sit at the bar for fear it might welcome unwanted attention. This depends entirely on your location. Be mindful of the local context and use your judgement.

5) Tell a friend

Make sure to tell someone that you’ll be traveling and leave your itinerary with hotel information (or ranger station information if camping/backpacking). Check in regularly by email or Facebook. This is always good practice but especially important for the solo traveler.

DON’T...

It goes without saying but remember to use your common sense while traveling, just as you would at home. Being open and adventurous is not an excuse for being careless.

6) Tell strangers where you are staying

Obvious, I know.

7) Walk while talking on your cell or listening to music

Being alone makes you a more attractive target, so be mindful of your surroundings. Minimize distractions while walking, especially at night.

8) Get drunk or use drugs

I’m not saying you shouldn’t drink or have a good time. But be careful not to put yourself in a vulnerable situation or do anything that could wind you up in jail.

9) Be afraid to ask for help

Things occasionally go wrong while traveling. If you’re alone, don't be afraid to ask for help. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

10) Be afraid to wander!

Yes, you want to plan ahead, be safe, and join a group when you can, BUT don’t shy away from adventuring on your own! It may be scary at first, but soon you’ll be hooked.