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Traveling solo as a woman is honestly one of the best travel experiences you will ever have. No pressure, right?! I’m an introvert, so taking a solo trip to a familiar destination, or even a new one, is something that suits my travel style. That said, you want to ensure your safety just like you do in your everyday life. Whether you’re embarking on your very first solo female trip or jetting off to your favorite city in the world, be savvy, stylish and most importantly, smart!
5 Must-Know Travel Tips for your First Solo Trip Abroad
Research your destination + plan ahead.
As much as I want to be a spontaneous traveler, I’m much more comfortable planning my trip ahead-of-time. As a solo female traveler, it might not be as “sexy” as booking a one-way ticket to Marrakech on a whim but it sure is safer. Before any trip, I do a little research on the destination and make sure I at least have my first day / night sorted out. This usually means booking a hotel and, if I arrive very late at night, organizing a safe airport transfer as well. There have been times where I “risked it” in an attempt to save money but there’s really no better currency than safety. Once you’re at your hotel, you can start planning your first day. I’ve found that having an itinerary for my first full-day helps me feel more comfortable.
Dress the part.
I’m all about expressing yourself through clothing and accessories but sometimes, it’s better to blend in than to stand out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get an entire new wardrobe before your trip; it might just mean bringing a few scarves along for the ride. American tourists are pretty easy to spot–take a look at Fashion Dads for a serious giggle–so you’ll want to dress as the locals do. For some countries, like Egypt, it’s not appropriate for women to show too much skin, especially their thighs and stomachs. In other countries where there are several religious sites, like Jerusalem and Chiang Mai, it’s respectful to cover your face and/or make sure your shoulders are covered.
Update your friends + family back home.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to Instagram every monument and tag your besties in the caption but you should keep friends and family updated on your travels. Even as a professional travel blogger, I always send my mom my itinerary, flights and hotel reservations. It’s mostly for her peace of mind but I feel a little comforted, too. Even though your parents or partner won’t be on your trip, at least they know your whereabouts should anything go wrong. I also try to email my mom a few times during my trip and maybe send her a picture or two. There’s a fine line between socially documenting your entire trip (which I don’t recommend) and completely going off-the-grid, so use your best judgment.
Learn the local lingo.
If English is your primary language, you’re in luck! Most people learn English at least a little bit in school, so the chances that you’ll be able to communicate with locals is fairly high. That said, don’t expect an easy translation. It’s always smart to learn a few works in the local language because you won’t always encounter people who can communicate in English. Plus, it’s a sign of respect and even if your pronunciation is off (note: it probably will be!) it shows that you are making an effort. Local lingo goes beyond verbal communication; it also means taking note of your surroundings, being aware and most of all, observing those around you. Women definitely have “female intuition,” so trust your gut!
Always have a back-up plan.
Remember the days before smartphones? No? Well, I do! Back when I was living in London, I had a Blackberry with extremely spotty / borderline non-existent service. In short, I couldn’t rely on it for directions so I went “old school” and write them down. Nowadays, I’ll admit that I rely on Google maps a little too much but more often than not, I try to have a backup plan. While Wi-Fi is fairly common in even the most far-flung corners of the globe, you won’t always find it and your phone might run out of battery. To this day, I have a few phone numbers memorized and a handful of email addresses at the ready. If I’m traveling to a new destination and have a contact on-the-ground, I’ll write their contact info on a piece of paper.
Have you traveled solo? If so, where? Tell me in the comments below!
This post is in collaboration with Blacklane. All opinions are my own.
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