Tips for Women Traveling Solo

Today, I'd like to explore tips for traveling solo. While I was at the beach, a man packing his tent asked me,"Are you traveling alone?"  I couldn't deny being alone, because it was pretty obvious that I was, so I said yes. His next question was, "Aren't you afraid?"  I looked him in the eye and answered, " No, I'm not."

My utmost priority is to travel safe.  Maybe I can get a bit paranoid but I've experienced being robbed, scammed, and in tricky situations that it's better to be cautious than sorry.

Research. Research.
The more information you know about your destination, the greater experience you'll have in making the most out of your stay.  Prepare a rough itinerary of places you would like to see. Conduct your research about each of them that would prepare you for any unexpected bumps.  Trip Advisor reviews from other travellers are very useful as well as blogs. These will also give you information which places would be safe to travel and stay in.

Book Accommodation in Advance
It's better to book your hotel / accommodation in advance at least for the first night.  Otherwise, schedule a flight where you arrive during the day that would leave you enough time to search for a hotel.  The last thing you'd want to be in is, walking around at midnight in a dark alley looking for a place to stay.

Travel Light
Make sure you can easily carry what you have packed.  We're on our own so we have no extra hands to carry the extra load.

Appropriate Outfit

It's better to dress conservatively.  Though I was a bit bold enjoying wearing a two-piece bathing suit at a beach where women are mostly covered up when swimming. I have a big scarf / shawl /pashmina ready to cover my chest and shoulders, being discreet as possible when I'm in public (and out of the water).  I try to avoid attracting attention and try to blend in as much as possible. Read about the appropriate outfit for the current weather and culture of the country you're visiting (E.g. Some public places in UAE forbid wearing sleeveless shirts and shorts for women).

Money Talk
Be prepared to pay more when traveling alone. It's always cheaper to travel in big groups. The bills are split, transportation is shared and usually tours offer more discounts for a bigger number of people.  Scatter your cash and don't store them in the same place.   Take only enough money with you when visiting a place.  Most hotels offer security vaults for safekeeping of passports, jewelry, credit/ debit cards and cash.  If you can, try to pay hotels and larger expenses in advance so that's already taken cared of, which lessens the risk of not having enough to pay them if you lose your wallet. It's also less stressful knowing you don't have to deal with those anymore.

Small Purse
I have a small purse that I always use when I'm out and about, carrying just enough coins and loose change for bus fares and food. In case this gets lost, it won't hurt much.  The money that I use for tour fees and larger expenses are stored in another wallet and I only bring them when I need them.

Carry Water and Food
I bring food and water at all times with me, just in case I get stuck in a place where they're not available.

Text Mate
If you have a friend in the same country you're visiting or family wherever they might be, or someone concerned about your safety, always inform them of your whereabouts.  I send text messages to my husband and  best friend Zepy of Travel Explore Beyond,  of the places I go to, the people I meet, license plates of taxi cabs, where I'm off to next.  You can send information privately either by email, private facebook message or in any way that is easy for you.. In this way, if something happens to me, they can track my last stop.  Always have your emergency contact information with you always and an I.D.

Travel Map
Grab a travel map of the city at the airport or tourist information office.  The more you're familiar with the roads, the more comfortable you'll feel navigating and getting around.

Travel Insurance and Vaccinations
It's better to have one. Travel insurance can cover unexpected mishaps, medical emergencies and accidents. Some countries require certain vaccines.

Wear a (Fake) Wedding Ring
If you want to focus more on traveling solo without disruptions, I noticed that my wedding ring seem to ward off any unwanted attention and flirtation.   It need not be expensive and it could be a fake one.

Pamper the Self
Make time for massages after a long tiring day hiking. Indulge in mani-pedis and spa treatments whenever possible.

Book as a Travel Mate
Carry a book.  I love my kindle and it serves me well on travels.  I can store up to hundreds of books I'd like with less weight.  It's perfect while waiting in a train station, waiting for your food in the restaurant and when you're not in the mood to socialize.

Socialize but be Cautious
Be more friendly and open up to locals in a public setting. As long as you stay in public, you are protected. There's nothing better than engaging in a conversation learning more about the place and the people, getting immersed with the culture.  Don't give off too much information about yourself. Try to filter the details you give out. Someone asking about your hotel is trying to figure you out. (Obviously, if you're staying in a five star hotel, they'd be quick to assume, you are rich.)  Don't just be wary about men, some women can be dangerous too.  And more importantly, don't take drinks from strangers and don't leave your drink unattended.

Keep Emergency Numbers on Speed Dial
Always carry a mobile phone where local emergency phone numbers are stored.  I always get a local SIM card of the country using another mobile phone. This saves me from expensive roaming charges. My real overseas mobile phone is also active that serves as a backup.  Know the location and number of your Consulate in the country you're visiting.

Life-savers: Travel Tissues and Anti-bacterial Gels
You never know when toilet paper runs out in some public restrooms.  Sometimes there are no lavatories nearby and you wish to eat.  They both come in handy.

More importantly:

Listen to personal instincts and gut feeling
I'd like to share this particular experience that happened to me.  I made arrangements with a cab driver to take me to an island by crossing the sea on a barge.  There weren't any public transportation on that island except for motorcycles that can sit two passengers without helmet.  I was hesitant riding on a motorcycle hugging someone that I don't know, unprotected, on a very rough road. Therefore, the best option is to hire a driver from the main land.  The island is a bit remote.  The driver I hired was the same one  that drove us around the past few days.  However, that particular night before the trip, I felt extremely bothered.  Like something terribly wrong  is going to happen if I push through with it.  There were also signs, like a scene that flashed on TV when I switched it on, an article I just read in a magazine that struck me, a message from a friend and the final sign was a blog post from Sherry Ellis of Mama Diaries on Premonition After all of this, I decided immediately to cancel the trip.   Maybe it's paranoia, I don't know, but I remember having flashes of a car accident while I was brushing my teeth one morning.  I had the same sinking feeling to stay at home but I didn't listen.  Next thing I knew, I was in a major car accident and was inside an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Premonitions and gut feelings are accurate.  

Having been used to traveling alone on business trips,
I have always wanted traveling on my own for leisure.  I'm glad I did. 
Have you ever traveled on your own to a foreign place? Did you enjoy it?
What were your fondest memories and any more tips you could offer?

Safe travels and have a wonderful day!
Love & light,

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  1. Thanks for an insightful post. These comments are really helpful.. I found a lot of useful tips from this post
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  2. Great tips. Most of them are similar to what I do when I travel. I have only travel domestically alone which was quite daunting initially, especially with taxis (my weird phobia of them)but after a few trips I have gotten used to it. I do like how I can do whatever I want and not worried about the others which sometimes can cause some drama/tension with the group/friend.

  3. Traveling is so peaceful and relaxing if you prepare for it, great tips !

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  4. I definitely get really concerned about my safety when I travel alone, These are really great tips! I know what you mean about premonitions, it's hard for me though because I often feel really scared about a situation but it's mostly just my own anxiety, not so much reality.

  5. I travelled solo a few times a number of years ago. I wish I got these great tips then!

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  6. Such a great post. I use a lot of these tips when I travel alone too. I do find I dress very conservatively when I'm on my own and I limit the variables I carry. However, I think it's about being careful about your safety without being too obsessed about it. I want to enjoy my holiday without being too scared or too worried. It definitely takes practice. Safe and happy travels Arni xoxox

  7. terima kasih sudah berbagi info

  8. Those are great tips for traveling alone. I still haven't gotten up the nerve to do it but bravo for you!

  9. Now, those are fantastic tips. Women can surely have fun even if they are travelling solo, thanks to your tips.

  10. Wearing a fake wedding ring is one good tip. It can actually avoid distractions. Thanks for these awesome tips!

  11. Dang, I should have worn a wedding ring. That would have saved me so much headache. I will have to do that next time. I love travelling alone too. It's a great way to learn about yourself without distractions. There's some great tips here that I have to apply personally on the next travel.

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  13. Thanks for sharing these useful tips. I am also planning my solo women trip to India and your blog helped me a lot to remember so many things during my trip.