If you’re wondering how to travel alone for the first time with an upcoming solo trip, check out these helpful tips!
Traveling solo and learning how to travel the world alone especially as a female is such a rewarding experience. After you’ve had your first solo trip, you return home with a new level of confidence knowing that you accomplished what so few women actually end up doing in their lifetime!
Once you return home, you’ll begin plotting your next adventure in no time, as you’ll grow to love the feeling of seeing the world in your own way! Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know for your first female solo trip abroad and get helpful solo travel tips for first time travelers.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.
Advantages Of Traveling Alone
Traveling solo comes with many advantages. When thinking of how to travel alone for the first time, just remember that you don’t have to compromise on the itinerary. You’re able to go see whatever you want, whenever you want, and don’t have to worry about wasting money on seeing or doing something that you don’t care about, but that someone you would have been traveling with would have enjoyed.
You also don’t have to worry about deciding where to eat, which can be especially tricky if you and your potential travel companion have very different taste (ie: one of you is vegan, but the other is a BBQ lover).
Another benefit of traveling solo is that you can also choose the speed you want to go at. You don’t have to worry about someone slowing you down, or if you’re the slower traveler, you won’t have to worry about someone whipping you around to the point where you can’t fully absorb what you’re seeing as much as you want to.
Traveling solo if you’re more extroverted can be more fun than you’d think too because it really gives you a chance to meet people from all over the world, which we’ll touch on a little further down in this list.
What It’s Like To Travel Solo
If you’ve never traveled solo before, you might be wondering is it weird to travel alone and what is the experience like?
Well this will change depending on who you are, but overall, it’s an amazing sense of freedom. Of course if this is your first time, it’s completely normal to be nervous, but once you’ve done it for the first time, you’ll realize it’s not nearly as scary as you may have anticipated.
While traveling solo, especially as a female, it’s important to keep safety in mind, and we’ll go deeper into that later in this post. But as long as you take the proper precautions, it should be just like being in any other city for the most part.
Female Solo Travel Essentials
Female solo travel of course is made easier with some specific items. First of all, if you’re going to be getting your period during your trip, using a menstrual cup like the Diva Cup could be a good way to set it and forget it so to speak, so that you don’t have to think about changing anything throughout the day which is great if you’re going to be out exploring all day.
Another item that’s great is a piece of clothing with hidden pockets where you can store some extra money or documents without looking like you’ve got anything on you. These infinity scarves are becoming quite popular for female travelers.
Some comfortable shoes are always a must so that your adventures aren’t cut short because of blisters or anything like that. This is not a time to be trying out some new shoes.
A portable safe is also a great way to keep things like jewelry and money secure while you’re traveling on your own.
If you want to see some of the other travel must haves, I have a whole post about that here.
Where To Go For Your First Solo Trip
Unless you have a very specific country in mind, when you first begin to think about traveling solo for the first time, you might be wondering where is the best place to travel solo?
If you’re concerned about language barriers, then you could always begin by going to a predominantly English speaking country. Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, United States, Australia, New Zealand etc. are some good and overall safe countries that would be great for your first solo trip.
If you’re not too concerned about language barriers, there are many wonderful safe options around the world. A few options could be: Iceland, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Uruguay, and SO MANY MORE PLACES! Just do your research ahead of time to see which place appeals to you the most!
How To Find Cheap Flights And Hotels
When you are planning on where to travel alone for the first time and you first start to search for your flights and accommodations, you may feel overwhelmed when you start seeing the prices. It doesn’t have to be that way!
There are so many websites now that offer price comparisons when you’re looking to book your flight or accommodation. Sites like Kayak, Skyscanner, Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago etc. are great resources to help you find a good deal!
You can also opt to use Airbnb for your accommodations as well. Just make sure you research the area before paying for your booking, which brings us to our next point.
Choosing Safe Accommodation
Safety is always an important part of travel, but is just something you want to be a bit more diligent with when you’re traveling alone.
Before booking your accommodation, always check reviews of the place you’re booking whether that’s a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb type of service. If there are some bad reviews, really pay attention to what the people are saying, then use your gut to know if it’s best to move on to another option.
Personally when I’m traveling solo, I aim to stay in a home with a female present, or rent the entire place to myself, which helps me feel more secure.
You also want to research the neighbourhood to see if it’s a safe place to be. You also want to have a place that is considered safe at night. Even if you don’t plan to go out at night, you don’t want to put yourself into an environment that is known to be sketchy. It’s just not worth it.
There are so many safe spaces, especially in larger cities, so finding a safe neighbourhood shouldn’t be a problem at all!
Tips For Flying Alone For The First Time
If you’re traveling alone for the first time, it might also be your first time flying! People have different experiences with how they feel about flying, but it’s a very safe method of transportation, so just enjoy the experience as much as possible and focus on your excitement for your upcoming trip!
Some things to keep in mind if this is your first time flying ever:
Try reserving a window seat if your priority is to be able to have a view. The best views usually happen at take off and landing. The rest of the time you’re often too high to see too much detail, and sometimes clouds are in the way leaving you with no view.
If you’re more focused on having leg space, the best thing to do would be to book an exit row usually for a bit more money, or choose an aisle seat. You can usually stretch your legs out a bit better in an aisle seat, just be sure to not keep your legs in the aisle, that could end up tripping someone. Another bonus of being in the aisle seat is you don’t have to get anyone to move out of your way if you need to use the restroom, or if you just want to get up to stretch your body.
Don’t bring any drinks like a water bottle with you to security, you’ll have to throw it out. Wait until you’ve passed through security to buy a drink.
Disinfect your area. Planes have a lot of germs. The air is circulated, and you have a lot of people in the enclosed space breathing the same air, plus you don’t know how well the plane was cleaned before you get on, so having some disinfectant wipes is handy to wipe down your food tray, tv, armrests, and around the window area if you have a window seat.
If you have special meal requirements, make your request online ahead of time to ensure you can get it (ie. a vegetarian meal).
If you want some ideas for things you might want to bring along on your flight, you can get some ideas from this post.
What To Do When Your Flight Is Cancelled or Delayed
There is (almost) nothing more annoying than your flight getting delayed, or worse, cancelled all together.
If your flight gets delayed, basically you have to wait it out. The airline should be in communication with the passengers to let them know what’s going on. If the delay is going to be for an extended amount of time, such as overnight, you may end up getting an overnight stay at a nearby airport hotel.
If your flight is cancelled, the airline is supposed to get your booked onto their next available flight to your destination. If the wait for the next flight is also extended, you should be offered accommodation at a nearby airport hotel. In some situations you can also get a refund of your ticket, and try to book with another airline if possible.
All of the situations vary based on many possible factors, but your airline should help guide you through the process of what to do next.
Make A Schedule And Have A Plan B
Some people like to travel with as few plans as possible which is great, but if this is your first time traveling alone, it’s a good idea to go into it with a plan, and a backup plan.
Plan your locations, your transportation to the destination
as well as how you’re going to get around once you’re in the city. You also
should have a rough plan of what you’d like to see in the time you’re there.
You might over plan and not be able to see everything, so decide what is a priority
for you. Or you could make loose plans so that you can take the time to explore
as you go. It doesn’t have to be super strict, and you’re welcome to make
changes on the go.
Then also have a backup plan. If one of your day trips get cancelled for one reason or another, have something else on the backburner that you can do instead so that you’re not going to waste your day. Or if an outdoor activity gets rained out, find something to do indoors instead.
Find Out Your Visa and Vaccination Requirements For Your Travel Destination
This is a very important thing to keep in mind, especially when you’re learning how to travel alone for the first time. Depending where you’re traveling to and where you’re traveling from, you may need a visa to get into the country of your choice. You’ll want to do some research on this because it’s different for every country, and the amount of time you’re planning to travel also can play a role.
Then once you’ve checked for visa info, you’ll also need to do a search for any travel vaccinations that are considered mandatory for the country you’re visiting. This also varies based on the country(ies) you’re traveling to and the country you’re traveling from.
Tell Your Family Your Itinerary
In terms of safety while traveling alone, you’ll want to make sure that your family or friends know where you’re traveling and when you plan to be there. This way if anything were to happen, they know where you were supposed to be, and when you were expected to be there.
Keep Your Travel Documents In Order and Make Copies
It’s super important to keep all of your travel documents in order while you’re traveling. You don’t want to be neglectful then find out your passport has gone missing once you have to fly back home or to your next destination.
It’s also a good idea to take a copy of important documents like your passport to have on you in case something were to happen to your real passport. It makes the process of getting home a lot easier if you can at least supply a copy of your document.
Take Pictures Of Yourself While Traveling Solo
So often when people travel solo, they get home to find that they are hardly in any of their pictures, especially pictures that aren’t more than an arm’s length away. If you’re in a location where you feel safe to leave your camera or phone out of reach, you can set up a tripod, or set your camera on a steady surface and run into your shot.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you could always ask a stranger to take your picture instead. Try to vibe people out who are around you because you don’t want the person to end up running off with your equipment, but a general rule is women with children are overall a safe bet, but there are plenty of kind people out there who aren’t out to get you or your stuff, so just use your instincts.
How To Meet Other Travelers
If you’re a social person, or an extrovert, you may find that spending your entire trip alone may drive you nuts. That’s totally fine, there are many ways to meet fellow travelers on your journey.
When you’re learning how to travel alone for the first time, booking group tours can be a great way to meet people (we’ll talk more about this is the point below).
Staying in a hostel is a great way to meet others and make some friends when you’re traveling solo. You bunk with other people, plus there are usually some great common areas where other people are hanging out ready to make conversation with you!
Airbnb or an actual B&B can be a great way to meet people. These people welcome travelers into their homes and are usually very open to getting to know you. Plus they are a great source for things you should check out in the city that you’re in.
Chatting with people around you is always a good way to get the ball rolling. You can meet locals, or chat with your seat mate on transportation. Just strike up a conversation with someone around you and see where it goes.
Booking A Group Tour
Booking a group tour can be great for those who want to make new friends on their travels. Doing bus tours, regular group tours, or cruises are idea because you’re put into situations where you’re spending a lot of time close to other people, and often eating with them so it’s natural for everyone to strike up a conversation. Often while doing something like a bus tour, you also end up being around people around the same age as you too.
Staying Safe While Traveling Solo
Traveling safely as a solo female traveler is very important, but luckily there are so many things you can do for this! When thinking about how to travel solo as a woman for the first time, you want to make sure you do your research, but also let yourself have fun with it! Staying safe while traveling solo is pretty much the same as being safe in daily life when you’re out in your own city. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, don’t go out alone at night, don’t get into cars with random people you haven’t met etc. Just be extra diligent because you don’t know the area.
Trust Your Instincts Always
This fits into the above point of staying safe while traveling alone. If your gut is telling you something’s off, always listen to it! Maybe nothing would go wrong, but do you really want to take that chance?
Even if something on the outside seems innocent enough, if you’re not feeling good about it in your gut, it’s always better safe than sorry to pass.
A lot of people pack way more than what they need,
especially when they first begin traveling. You’re almost always going to need
so much less than what you’re packing. Worst comes to worst, if you really find
yourself without something you need like toothpaste, you can always buy it on
your trip. Reuse clothes instead of packing a bunch of options, settle for one
pair of dressy shoes (if you need them) but other than that stick with a
comfortable, reliable pair, bring small versions of things like deodorant etc.
Really analyze what you’re bringing and decide if you really need it, or can you live without it? Likely, you can live without it.
Pack The Right Things For Your Destination
In terms of packing, you also want to make sure you’re packing for the location you’re going to, so you’ll want to do a bit of research.
Depending on the time of year of your trip, you’ll want to decide if you need to have warmer clothing or breezy clothing. Also depending on the destination, you might need to have some clothes that cover your knees and shoulders.
If you’re going to a destination that’s known to be rainy,
then bring a raincoat or umbrella, but if you’re going to a place with a lot of
sun, then be sure to bring sunscreen.
Making sure you’re prepared for your destination will make the entire experience that much more enjoyable for you.
I hope that this post on tips for traveling the world alone for the first time was helpful for you if you’re currently planning your first solo trip! If you’ve already traveled solo before and you’re reading this, I’d love to know in the comments below what your tips would be to those traveling alone for the first time and is traveling alone fun for you or do you prefer to travel with someone?