Planning your first solo trip as a woman can be an exciting and empowering experience. It’s a chance to challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone, and discover new destinations and cultures. However, solo travel can also bring its own set of challenges and concerns, especially for women. With careful planning and preparation, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some tips and advice to help you plan your first solo trip as a woman.
Don’t take it all on at once – Book a planned tour
It’s overwhelming to plan out an entire itinerary alone. There are many tour operators out there that plan comprehensive itineraries for different types of groups. If you are between 18-30, there are a number of trips set up for that specific age group. If you are older, there are other types of trips so that you can more closely connect with people around your age bracket. Alternatively, tour operators also set up trips for people who enjoy different activities. Do you want a historical cultural tour? Are you more of a foodie? Do you prefer to be active all day? Depending on what you are looking for out of your solo vacation, there are many options.
When I was in my early twenties, I went with Contiki to Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. We traveled around the three countries over 14 days, so you can imagine how jammed-packed our itinerary was, but I connected with many of the people on the trip and had a really good time.
In my mid-twenties, I went with G Adventures on a Vietnam 12-day tour. Long story short, I ended up on a tour with people all over the age of 55, which was not what I was expecting! It turned out to be a wonderful trip, and I fell in love with Vietnam.
In 2021, I went on a Sail Croatia trip along the Croatia shore and was able to enjoy Split, Hvar, Dubrovnik, and smaller stops. I met 18 incredible people and we had an absolute blast during the week.
Read more about that trip here: Sail Croatia Navigator Cruise Review
All-in-all, the planned tours make for easy planning if it’s your first solo adventure. You get to explore the area that interests you, and generally met really interesting people along the way!
Book a short weekend trip
You don’t need to book a whole week-long adventure for your first solo trip – start small. Find a nearby place, or a great train/flight deal and try a new location for a weekend. This is a great way to dip your toes in the water, without committing to a whole week in a place you’ve never been before while on your own.
Stay in hostels
I am still surprised by some people’s misperceptions about what hostels are like. Many of the hostels I’ve stayed in offer both private and shared accommodations, clean washrooms, comfortable beds, and social areas for people to meet. I would encourage you to read the reviews of the hostels to ensure that they are in fact like they advertise themselves. Still, I opt to stay in hostels over hotels or Airbnbs when I am traveling solo because they are typically more affordable and that’s where I meet all the incredible people that I experience the place with.
Find hostels at: Hostelworld.com
My favorite hostels:
- Bambuda Lodge, Bocas Del Toro, Panama
- Bambuda Castle, Boquete, Panama
- Purple Monkey Hostel, Medellin, Colombia
- Casa Losodeli, Puerto Escondido
- Dreamer, Santa Marta, Colombia
Join the Solo Female Travel Network Group on Facebook
I joined this group a few years ago and it’s incredible to see all the women telling their stories and sharing how they have opted to take on traveling. You can read about their stories and see others provide advice along the way. It’s a perfect network to be in if you are new to solo travel (especially as a woman).
Plan for Your Safety
It’s always important to be safe when embarking on any type of trip so here are some things I do to keep myself safe.
- Check the Canadian government’s travel alert website to ensure your safety when traveling abroad
- Email my planned accommodations to my family so they know where to reach me if they can’t get a hold of my cell phone
- Ensure I have data on my cell (whether it’s buying international roaming or switching my SIM in the new place). This allows me to access all my apps (like Uber) without relying on finding Wi-Fi
- Separate cash into different areas of my bag(s) so that if I happen to get pickpocketed, they don’t get all my cash
- Download an offline Google Map of where I am going to be just in case I lose data and cannot connect to the internet
- Have a good lock if you are staying in hostels to lock your valuables and general items away safely
Traveling solo has allowed me to experience so many interesting places and meet unique people all over the world. By going alone, you are more open to connecting with others and creating a schedule that fits exactly what you feel like doing on any given day. By using my advice above, you can also plan your first solo trip and I promise you, it won’t be your last! Get out there and get exploring!