Quick Links

Solo traveling is a dream for many people, and some get the privilege to partake at some point in their life. There is a lot to know before taking the journey of traveling alone! There can be benefits and cautions for all solo travelers, but especially for women and gender-non-conforming people. Different cultures regard women differently, with different norms and values, and it can be very important to know these nuances and to be prepared for varying circumstances as a woman, especially when traveling alone.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

Related: Here's What to Know Before Solo-Traveling Europe

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your journey!

Find A Safe Person / Place

When you arrive in an area alone, whether for one night or one month, it can be nice to familiarize oneself with the space. We recommend finding a couple of "safe places." This can (and hopefully will) be the place you are staying, along with perhaps a bar or café that you may feel comfortable attending often. This can give you a sense of routine, along with a sort of anchoring point. Well-known illustrator, author, and traveler, Mari Andrews gives this advice as well, saying,

I don't remember every restaurant where I ate in Rio, but I vividly remember going to Bar do Gomes at the end of every evening, saying hi to the same sweet bartender. After getting mugged one afternoon, I was so grateful I'd already made somewhat of a connection with someone in the city; it felt familiar and safe to return to my dear little neighborhood bar after a disorienting day.

It can be nice to have an anchoring space when you are traveling. It can also be important and rewarding to have an anchoring person, as well. Even one! This may be your Airbnb host if you connect with them, or perhaps it is a kind barista you trust.

Another good tip when traveling alone is to keep your accommodations to yourself - let this be a safe place! If someone asks where you are staying, it is perfectly okay to be vague. If you are getting weird vibes from someone, and they ask if you are traveling alone, you can tell them you have a friend nearby (perhaps considering that Airbnb host or Barista as a friend).

Lastly, if you are able to, wait to go out at night until you are comfortable with the city and the area. Different cities have different streets or districts that may not be the safest for women walking alone at night. If possible, get to know the city a bit before making any nighttime excursions. You may find the city doesn't have Lyft to help you home, or that the tube ends at midnight; perhaps your "safe person" can make recommendations on these nuances, along with places to go / not to go. All of this will help you feel more sure and confident when you do go out!

Share Your Location With A Friend

Many apps and phones have the ability to share your location with friends, including the iPhone. Heaven forbid something were to happen where they need it, it can provide a lot of relief for friends and travelers if someone has the nomad's location. Perhaps this is not your parent or someone who may worry obsessively, but a close and trusted friend can benefit from knowing where you are - just in case. Plus, if you lose you are to lose or misplace your phone, they may be able to help you find it!

Keeping a phone charged can also be an important factor in traveling. First, it is an important way to get ahold of someone in an emergency. When traveling alone, it can also be important to have location and mapping services. In many cities, you can utilize maps to see the Metro and bus routes you must take to and from destinations. If travelers are going to be gone all day, it is recommended to have either a charger with you (many train stations, airports, etc have charging stations) and/or keep a portable battery charger with you! Even if you are going off the grid a bit, it can be nice to have a backup plan just in case!

Learn "Not Interested" In The Language

It is good to learn many basic phrases in the language of the location you will be traveling. One particularly nice phrase for women and non-binary people to know when traveling is "not interested."

  • Spanish: Non interesada.
  • Italian: Non interessato.
  • French: Pas intéressé.
  • German: Nicht interessiert.

This phrase can be helpful to ward off unwanted passes; whether flirtatious in nature, or just from a persistent sales vendor on the street!

Related: Solo Female Travelers Should Be Especially Careful in These Places

Trust Your Gut; Watch Your Back, And Your Drink

Sadly, spiking drinks is still very much a thing. In some cities, even bartenders have been known to slip unwanted additives into drinks. This is, again, where it can be helpful to meet a local you can trust to learn a bit about the area - where to go and where not to go.

It is also important to be aware of your surroundings. If you are walking alone at night, keep an eye behind you. Keep your headphones out so you can pay attention. Some women say that taking a self-defense class before traveling alone provided a lot of peace of mind, even if they never had to use it!

Most of all, trust your gut. Women have been blessed with incredible instincts and intuition! Listen to that instinct when it tells you who to talk to, what street to go down (or not go down), or when to leave a situation. If you feel someone is following you or waiting for you, strike up a conversation with a female or older couple, or someone that looks trustworthy nearby. Do not be afraid to go back into the bar and tell the bartender what is going on. Don't be afraid to ask for help!

Overall, don't live or travel in fear. Women traveling alone can be an incredibly empowering experience, providing amazing independence and bliss. There is a great opportunity for growth and memories to be made. Be prepared and aware, pack what you need, and keep these tips (and others) in mind to ensure a splendid trip!