01 Jul How to travel alone as a woman!
Traveling alone can be scary, yes you are alone, you probably think what am I going to do all day, how do I get around when I get there, what do I watch out for etc.? Don’t worry this post will help you figure a few things out!
Haven’t we all been stuck in trips where you just follow what everyone else wants to do and pretty much been disappointed in the end because you didn’t actually see anything you wanted to see? Or did you take over the planning part because you had an experience like that in the past and you plan the whole thing but then you feel bad because half way through you realize that there is now this other person that didn’t get to see any of their things and usually being the nice person that I am I felt really guilty and still ended up again not seeing all the things I was planning on seeing.
Or how often are you or were you in a situation that you wanted to go somewhere but no one actually wanted to go with you?
Happens to me all the time. After a while I just got fed up and decided it was time for a solo trip. No one will annoy me, no one will tell me what to do, no one will rush me from place to place, or wake me up in the morning when I am still sleeping, or actually hate me for last minute changes.
Understandable as a woman it’s not as easy depending on the destination of course, to just pack your stuff and go, you do want to return save and sound.
Preparation is key…
And that’s how you probably stumbled onto my post as well, in search of well how to travel alone and how to return home save but at the same time not missing out on any fun activities. Hence preparation and research is key!
As a good starting point google information about the location. Where it’s safe to go and not to go, day and night. Take LA for example you don’t want to end up in Skid Row or South LA by yourself but how would you know that if you didn’t do your research. It’s good to also check Trip Advisor comments for insider tips or other travel blogs, people who have been to places will have the best tips.
Unfortunately, most cities have an area where you better stay away from, safe to say that won’t be any of the favorite tourist spots usually!
Find a Hotel/Hostel/Airbnb…
Whatever you prefer and again research the area and read the comments of fellow travelers. To be honest as a solo traveler you might prefer a Hostel since you can usually meet fellow travelers that you can connect with, that you can go sightseeing with or just chat a little at breakfast. A lot of Hostels travelers are often alone too so don’t worry about chatting with someone they will probably welcome the conversation. I do recommend however to choose a smaller room, females only. If you have stayed in as many Hostels as I have you will know what I am talking about. Big huge rooms yes, they will definitely be cheaper and if you are on a budget that might be what you are looking for but then please buy some earplugs or you will not get any sleep at night. Even females snore, party all night or simply don’t care if they are loud or whatever else.
After sharing a room with 30 females once I have sworn to myself never again. But hey please try it might be right for you!
Totally fine if you want to share your room with guys but then again, the snoring issue, had a really smelly room once or my phone stolen from underneath my pillow, not that I am blaming anyone this can happen in either room, unfortunately. If I am entirely honest, I just felt safer with only women, nothing bad has happened to me during a Hostels stay, knock on wood, but you can’t be too cautious. I have actually been quite lucky nothing to dirty, nothing to scary.
An awesome part about Hostels, they are usually in the middle of everything, so you can reach a lot of things walking which is great. It’s worth spending those extra dollars and then save on transportation. I used to try and save on housing and be 30 minutes out of the city center in London for example, super cheap, but then you spend all this time on your commute into the city and on transportation, I might as well have stayed in the center and walked everywhere. And yes I ran the numbers it was actually not cheaper!
Hotels are of course also a great decision if you just want to go to Hawaii and be by yourself enjoy a few cocktails, the beach, definitely do not stay in a Hostels, spend the extra money, it’s worth it to get the full experience of Waikiki. It pretty much depends on the experience you want to have when deciding which accommodation is best for your individual trip. Hotels are a bit more private; Hostels are better to connect, and Airbnb’s are great to get the full “I actually life here” experience.
This is not a how do I book my vacation blog, but flights do have something to do with the overall feeling. If I travel alone, I don’t want to pay first class or business but believe me you do want the comfort of a window or aisle seat versus the middle seat. You might be comfortable squeezed in between people I am not, especially at 12-hour flights. Yes people will lean on you when they fall asleep and yes you will feel bad when you have to get up to the bathroom every hour and the person next to you needs to be woken up and my favorite yes some people will occupy both armrests, which is the most annoying.
So I found that the window seat is the best choice, I am tiny so I don’t need the comfort of the aisle by the window at least I only have one person sitting next to me, so I can lean onto the airplane side rather than falling asleep on someone or someone on me. Also, you might be lucky, and no one will occupy that middle seat. So check in early and choose your favorite seat, it’s worth setting that reminder!
To and from the airport…
Nothing more important than a Hotel/Hostel in a save area but almost as important is traveling around with your suitcase to and from the airport. Not to scare you but you are a woman with 1 or 2 suitcases which unfortunately makes you an easy target for burglars. Again, just be cautious you will be fine but better to have your transportation figured out than getting stranded somewhere with all your things. Book transportation in advance if you can, don’t arrive late at night except you know where you are going and do your research. There is a variety of options, Hotel transfers: a lot of Hotels offer these, they might pick you up with a small shuttle bus, trains, taxi, bus whatever there might be.
Taxi is obviously easy you get in, they drop you off and even help you load your luggage. However do pre-book your taxi or go to the designated taxi pick up area or use Uber, do not trust random people walking around in the airport or wherever offering you a ride, that might be obvious but believe me after a 12-14 hour flight your brain might just think Taxi, Hotel, sleep.
Busses are usually also a good option and probably the cheapest option. Again get on the right bus, pre-book a shuttle or if you take public transportation make sure you don’t need 10 busses to arrive to your destination, change in unsafe neighborhoods or get lost somewhere at night when busses have stopped running and will not start running again until the next day. In LA for example buses are ok to take but the public transportation is horrible (so I’ve heard, I always use Uber).
Trains usually are more expensive, still cheaper than a taxi mostly and also faster than busses. It really depends where you are and where you are headed, what time of the day and the obvious of all how big your budget is.
However, I can’t stress this enough don’t minimize your budget on transportation or Hotel stays, stay safe and save your money in other areas.
Once you are there…
enjoy yourself explore the city or whatever you are planning on doing.
You will probably wonder, yes but how do I get around once I am there?
I have tried a lot of different things, depending on the budget again of course. When I was younger, I used to use those apps, e.g. city maps to go, or walking tours, or free walking tours, there are a lot of different ones out there. What I usually do is go to the app center on my iPhone and just put in the destinations name and it will show you a bunch of apps for walking tours, free stuff to do or even thing to do on a budget.
You can also ask your Hotel/Hostel they usually also have a lot of information on what to do, etc.
Very important download an offline map and save it to your phone. You wouldn’t believe how fast it can happen that you find yourself in a place with no internet connection, you will thank me for that later! Also, a great tip and something that I have experienced in cities, are those guided walking tours. A lot of them are free and you just tip the guide after. Since you are traveling alone why not meet fellow travelers on a walking tour. Again, be safe and use trusted websites. Someone offering you a private tour around town at night or randomly approaching you is not be a legit guide. Not saying everyone has bad intentions but again stay safe.
If you don’t feel like doing too much walking take a bus. I just love the Big Bus Tour or any other related company. They take you to all the important touristy spots and the best thing you can use them like a taxi, just hope off whenever or wherever you feel like it and within usually an hour there is the next bus that picks you up again and you hop back on. Great great great and safe. No tour bus driver would ever let you get off in an unsafe neighborhood.
Well and whatever else you feel like doing, ride a bike, pick up a Lime/Bird which becomes more and more popular at least in California. If you are wondering what that is, it’s a scooter that can be randomly found all over the city, you download the app, scan the code and off you go. Cheap, can be found on almost every corner, pre-covid anyway and takes you to close destinations in no time. So no worries, you will get around.
A cities nightlife...
If you are a nightlife person and not too tired from exploring/walking around all day, you might want to check out the city’s nightlife. No harm in that if you stay in safe areas. Ask your accommodation if you are unsure where to go, they always have recommendations. If you stay in a Hostel they plan evening events for everyone were you could join or in Hotels they often have evening events as well at the Hotel bar or pool area. If you want to go outside and enjoy the local area, again do your research keep in busy areas, make sure you travel safely to and from the accommodation and know how to get back. Be careful, in London for example there are night busses that will run all night and bring you back home at all times of the night, careful they do not follow the same routes as day busses though, or in Vienna the underground will run on Saturday nights, however in other cities there might not be any public night transportation at all, definitely make sure you find out before you leave and don’t get stuck somewhere you don’t want to spend the night at.
What is also a great experience and I can highly recommend, most cities offer pub crawls. It’s not only a great way to get to know the cities night life but it’s also a guided tour. You usually pay 10 or 20 bucks, no entry fees, free shots and maybe 5 different bars or clubs that they take you to. You cannot only chat with the guide, ask questions, but you also don’t have to wait to enter anywhere and again fellow travelers to chat and party with. They usually offer different crawls, so if you are all up for it you can do one the one night and then do a totally different one the next night. Great and safe for exploring at night and definitely better than sitting in a bar alone.
If you want to explore the non-touristy spots…
simply ask a local, maybe your pub crawl tour guide, or again the accommodation. I have to admit I usually don’t have the time or don’t always feel save enough and stay at the tourist spots when I travel alone, but not to say you can’t go and try new things or find different things. Most people are really friendly and will guide you around. Or help you out when you get lost so no worries about that.
All of this to summarize, do your research and most importantly stay safe. Traveling alone can be very rewarding and help you grow and realize how many things you can do alone. And why wait around and miss out on opportunities until someone has the time or same interest to join you. Don’t be afraid of trying new things, you got this!