Recently I had a request for tips for female solo travelers. Since I haven’t traveled much alone (it’s hard to get away from five kids!!) , I wanted to rope in some help! I found Carly and her darling IG @carlyrosewanders and asked her to guest post for me! She recently visited Thailand alone and has some great info to share. I’ll add a bit of advice of my own at the end and be sure to meet Carly below as well! -Leslie
Table of Contents
Tips for Solo Travelers
- Do your research ahead of time. Create a detailed, organized itinerary of everything you would like to do! This will ease stress. Map out activities, public transportation, if there are taxi’s/Tuk Tuk’s/cabs, etc. before you even leave so you don’t find yourself in a situation where you feel unsafe and unknowledgeable! TripAdvisor can be a huge help for this info!
- Trust your gut. Believe in yourself that you are more than capable of being able to travel alone, be confident that you can branch out and meet other people and trust when you feel like something may be unsafe or a fraud.
- Don’t overpack! I did and you don’t need that much for one person!
Traveling as a Solo Woman
- Thailand. This is the only country that I have traveled solo to and I was worried. It is a very foreign country and I don’t know the language AT ALL. But, Thailand is very big in tourism, especially with young adults. If you stay in the right areas or right hostels then you will feel more than safe. Especially on the small islands like Koh Phi Phi, it is so small and touristy that it feels safe almost everywhere you go. I did feel uncomfortable at the start, but I had everything planned out beforehand so once I adapted, i felt more comfortable.
- Europe. I would say that there are certain countries in Europe that would be good for solo travel (that I would love to travel to alone at one point!) – Italy, Sweden, Iceland, England, Scotland, Spain and Ireland are all very gorgeous countries with very sincere and nice people. They thrive off of tourism and most countries speak English. Plus there are so many hostels to stay in to meet other solo travelers in those countries.
- Australia. I feel like Australia is definitely a great place to do solo travel. I have a lot of Australian friends who are so laid back, nice and accepting. It really puts in perspective their way of living. Also everything is in English there and is probably the closest thing you are going to get to America (with an added bonus of having kangaroos!).
- Planning and research is critical!
- Do extensive research about where you are staying and talk to the hotels/hostels ahead of time to get an idea of what you should expect when you are there.
- Bring a whistle in case you ever find yourself in a scary situation
- Stay in crowded spaces and don’t wander to far off the beaten path
- Reject anyone that doesn’t seem right and always have a backup plan.
What I Enjoyed About Solo Travel
- I really liked challenging myself as I never thought I would be brave enough to do it – especially in a foreign country.
- I liked the alone time with my thoughts that really grounded me
- I forgot about my massive to-do list back home and didn’t look at my phone too much. I took days slow.
- I stayed at a nice hotel (because i felt the most safe there) but I visited hostels/hostel bars to go out and meet other young travelers – there were PLENTY! and I made a ton of new friends which made my experience a lot less lonely.
- Challenging yourself to do something out of your comfort zone
- Not feeling bogged down by someone else’s agenda and what they want to do (i.e. friend or family) – you get to do whatever you want!
- Meeting new people that you may not have met otherwise
- Can definitely be lonely at times
- No one to take your pictures 🙂 You gotta bring a tripod and do the best that you can
- If you get lost – its up to you to figure out a way out of it 🙂
Hi, I’m Carly! Im a 26 year-old who balances working a full time entertainment job while traveling whenever possible and sharing my experience on my instagram @carlyrosewanders. I have traveled to over 25 countries, with favorites being Italy, Colombia, Thailand and Australia. I recently went on a solo trip to Thailand and ended up having the time of my life. Taking that risk was a big one, but I found myself in a situation where my friend who was supposed to travel with me could no longer go. Instead of cancelling the trip altogether, I went alone! I met all sorts of people from all around the world and it gave me the courage to travel alone again in the future. It forced me out of my comfort zone and into a world where I felt like we as people are more similar than different despite where we come from. I’m excited to continue traveling alone in the future.
I have always had a passion for traveling. I grew up being able to travel with my family, but as I got older it became an obsession. I started planning trips at every chance I got because it became all that I thought about! I have made it a point to travel internationally and around the United States a few times a year while working. I love learning about new cultures and really immersing myself into that culture to ground myself and learn more about the world that we all share.
I am an entertainment film publicist by day, travel day-dreamer by night! I WISH I was in a position to be able to travel full time, but I work a full time job to help afford traveling. I also try and budget while abroad. I save my money that I make so that I can travel 🙂
I am currently planning my travels, but the top on my list are Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Austin TX, Vancouver, New York and camping at national parks around the United States.
Seven fun facts about me:
- I am a cinephile and LOVE movies, I tend to go to the movies by myself all the time to make sure that I see everything.
- I am very competitive about puzzles and love to spend hours on jigsaw puzzles.
- I have three dogs who are very cute! (but all dogs are!)
- I love to go fishing with my dad
- I’m a sucker for a good cheesecake
- Plants and keeping care of them are a simple pleasure of mine
- A goal of mine is to go to all of the national parks throughout the United States!
My favorite destination is Italy because I have Italian roots and family over in Italy! it is just a magical country with amazing food, culture, sights and charm. I love Colombia because it is so beautiful and colorful. I also love Australia because the Aussies are laid back and know the right way to live life 🙂 Finally, Thailand because the scenery was beautiful but also because it was my first solo experience so it holds a special place in my heart.
A Few More Thoughts From Leslie
If I was considering solo travel as a female, after having seen as much of the world as I have, I’d share these tips and recommendations:
- Asia has felt more safe to me than anywhere else. Often I go to work or grocery shop alone in a new city. This can feel really uncomfortable, especially late at night. However, I found Asia to always feel more safe overall. Big cities like Taipei, SIngapore, Tokyo are all incredible safe. Even when I spoke to local women that had traveled to the USA, they felt much more unsafe in the US than in their Asian neighbors!
- In Europe, I felt the most unsafe in Paris. I LOVE Paris and we even daydream of living there someday. However, the metro at night, alone, is not something I enjoyed. We had one incident when our staff visited and were verbally threatened. My purse became a subject of interest and my friend Cassidy called the guy out. He went on to yell at us across the platform and throw coins at us. I was very nervous. I also had a couple of incidents on the train and we ran into a riot our first night there.
- A simple doorstop under a hotel door can provide some awesome security. Just bring a rubber doorstop. I learned this from my mom, who solo traveled a TON over the USA.
- Have a backup charger for your phone. It’s pretty nerve-wracking running out of cell battery and being lost. Keep your back-up charger changed also 🙂 . If you don’t have data internationally, have a pocket wifi or personal hotspot. Don’t know what these are? I’ll write up a quick blog!
- I agree with Carly above in that being confident in yourself goes a long way! Those wishing you harm can be scared off by simply being confident.
- People are so kind and warm everywhere. You’ll find the exception, of course, but there are good people everywhere! People who love to help you, who can offer assistance and those who want to be your friend.
- Language barriers are no biggie. Sure, it feels weird to you and it can be hard in moments, but don’t let it keep you back. English is a world-wide language and the language of tourism in most places. Google Translate can take care of the rest!