Embrace the World: Tips for Traveling Alone as a Woman

tips for traveling alone as a woman

The travel industry has seen an enormous rise in solo female travel in recent years. Especially when staying at hostels, you will find many women traveling alone in various countries.

Solo travel is a liberating adventure that fosters personal growth, development, and a broader perspective on life—something that every traveler should try at least once.

Traveling alone as a woman does not have to be lonely or dangerous. Here are some female solo travel tips as well as reasons why every woman should travel alone.

This guide is part of our bigger guide on staying in a hostel for the first time.

Hangtime Hostel Weligama Sri Lanka Outside Space
Picture: Hangtime Hostel Weligama is one of the best hostels in Weligama

Top Tips for Solo Female Travel

This article about female hostels and dorms is part of our Guide to Hostels.

In our guide to hostels, we cover all hostel-related topics and questions you may have. We dedicated a full article as well to showcase the different hostel room types.

We even wrote a detailed guide on the pros and cons of female-only dorms here and one on Female Hostels: Everything you need to Know.

Something to help out with your travels: Check out all our 5 Star Hostels and all 3 best hostel guides.

1. Choose vetted accommodation

Hostels allow women traveling alone to meet and connect with others while exploring the city. Some of the best hostels will have clean rooms, daily events and excursions, luggage storage, and an open-minded staff to help make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Read: the 7 different types of Hostels.

Staying at a hostel as a woman is always the most exciting choice. However, as a solo female traveler, always choose accommodations that are vetted and verified.

When booking a hotel, hostel, or other type of accommodation, read reviews from other women to ensure your safety. 

Here Hostel Bangkok Swimming Pool Fun
Picture: Here Hostel Bangkok is one of the best hostels in Bangkok

2. Research your destination

The country you choose to visit will influence your experience traveling alone as a woman. It is always important for every traveler to research the local laws and customs of their destination before booking a flight.

While most tourist destinations are accustomed to seeing women walking freely, some women must adapt to challenges such as sexual harassment and inequality.

Read: 46 Tips to identify fantastic Hostels worldwide

Before leaving, research any safety concerns you may have so you know what to expect. As a solo female traveler, you will face various obstacles than when traveling in a group, so always be aware of your surroundings to stay safe and respect the local culture no matter where you go. 

Nolo Hub Pai Outside Space
Picture: Nolo Hub Pai is one of the best hostels in Pai

3. Be mindful of your attire

The countries you visit will dictate how to dress as a solo female traveler. While most places allow women to wear whatever they want, others expect and legally require modesty.

This is why it is essential to research your destination; you must ensure that you are following all laws to avoid trouble. In some places, a woman wearing revealing clothing is subjected to catcalls and other forms of unwanted male attention.

When visiting churches, rural communities, and other conservative areas, it is always best to simply cover up to prevent uncomfortable stares. 

Even in western, touristic cities, some beaches have prohibited beachgoers from wearing swimwear inside restaurants and cafes. If you’re a female solo traveler who doesn’t know what to wear and wants to feel comfortable, look at what the local women are wearing to avoid standing out.

Ostello della Gioventù - Il Castello - Hostel view
Picture: Ostello della Gioventù is one of the best hostels in Sicily

4. Learn the local language

While you do not need to become fluent in the local language before your trip, learning a few phrases can mean the difference between getting on the bus and going left when you should have gone right.

To avoid getting lost and escaping awkward situations, learn phrases to ask for directions, prices, the bathroom, a nearby restaurant, and the town’s center. Plus, the locals will appreciate the effort!

If you have the time, join a language exchange to practice the language with the locals over a few beers. Apps such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Google Translate help with language practice and translation.

The Cranky Croc Bar
Picture: The Cranky Croc is one of the best hostels in Bogotá

5. Use reliable transportation

It is encouraged to use public transportation not only to save money, but also to learn more about the area. But, if you need quicker transportation, opt for ridesharing apps over taxis.

Unfortunately, taxis can be dangerous for women traveling alone at night, but with apps like Uber and Lyft, you can choose highly-rated drivers to ensure your safety. If you must take a taxi, always negotiate the fare ahead of time and try to enter with at least one other person.

Read: Simply but effective hostel safety tips + How To Stay Safe as a Solo Female Traveler

Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel Hallway
Picture: Saintlo Ottawa Jail Hostel is one of the best hostels in Ottawa

6. Keep an eye on your belongings

Wallets and cell phones should be kept in a secure bag, not in your back pocket. Never carry your passport with you when you’re out and about (it’s best to keep it in a safe place in your accommodation), and never leave your belongings unattended.

Most pickpocketing happens in public places like the beach, city centers, and public transport areas.

Travel insurance: Travel insurance is essential for all travelers who want to stay healthy and safe abroad. HeyMondo and SafeyWing are two travel insurance companies we recommend.

Unfortunately, once your items are gone, there is almost no way to get them back. When strangers approach you, make sure your belongings are secure and don’t get distracted–scammers prey on tourists who are alone.

Hostel TOKI Bed
Picture: Hostel TOKI is one of the best hostels in Fukuoka

Here are a few items to help keep your belongings safe:

Money belt: Money belts can be worn underneath your clothes and are a perfect way to discreetly prevent pickpocketers.

Padlock: A lock with your personal combination or key is the most secure way to prevent theft inside your accommodation.

AirTags: AirTags, and other similar devices, are Bluetooth tracking devices designed to track the location of your belongings. These small devices can easily fit inside your suitcase, purse, or any other item you want to keep track of.

And remember, when staying in hostels, always store your belongings in a locker or luggage storage to prevent theft. Do not leave your items lying around, and do not advertise expensive belongings.

7. Stay connected

When traveling alone as a woman, the best thing you can do is purchase a local SIM card to have access to data and calling.

Some tips for staying connected while traveling include always sharing your location on your devices, downloading city maps, using direction apps such as Moovit, and staying in constant communication with others to let them know you’re safe.

Furthermore, having data while traveling allows you to quickly order an Uber and follow new friends on social media. 

Read: Hostelworld App Solo Feature for Meeting People

Space Hostel in Melbourne
Picture: Space Hostel is one of the best hostels in Melbourne

Top apps for solo female travelers:

Google Maps: Not only is this useful for navigating, but you can also enable live location sharing with your contacts.

WhatsApp: The world’s most popular messaging app, WhatsApp, allows you to share your location at any time.

Moovit: As previously stated, Moovit works in a variety of cities around the world, providing directions, live bus and train schedules, and traffic notifications.

VPN apps: Using public WiFi invites hackers and trackers to steal your personal information, such as credit card numbers. As well, access to the internet is restricted in some countries, which is why a VPN is useful for protecting your data and ensuring you can communicate freely.

Try the must-have pho at Mad Monkey Hanoi
Picture: Mad Monkey Hanoi is one of the best hostels in Hanoi

Tips for staying connected:

Register with your country’s Department of Foreign Affairs: Register with your country’s Department of Foreign Affairs so your country knows where you are in case of an emergency. It is also a good idea to register with the consulate of your destination country if you will be staying for an extended period of time.

Keep copies of your passport, insurance policy, and contact details: For long-term travelers, especially, leaving printed copies at home and on your person is useful in case of emergencies or situations where you can’t access your personal items.

Unlock your phone: As mentioned, unlocking your phone and getting data with a local SIM card is critical for getting around and staying connected. If your phone isn’t already unlocked, talk to your current phone provider about adding an international feature. Alternatively, you can get a cheap local prepaid phone.

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8. Take time for self-care

Even the most seasoned backpackers get tired of traveling. If you travel alone as a woman, especially for an extended period, you may not have the same support system as you do at home to make you feel at ease during tiring or stressful periods.

Practicing self-care while abroad will benefit your mental health greatly. To give your body a break, try exercising, applying a face mask, or getting a massage.

Traveling allows you to try a variety of exotic foods, but it’s also fine to take a break from eating (and spending) by cooking something familiar in your hostel. Pay attention to your body’s needs to ensure that you have enough energy to continue your journey.

Pipe House Playa Grande Costa Rica Outside Space
Picture: Pipe House Playa Grande is one of the best hostels in Costa Rica

9. Be open to new experience

Planning your itinerary hour by hour, day by day, is an exciting part of solo female travel, but remember that it’s okay to be spontaneous at times. Go with the flow, and keep in mind that not everything will go as planned.

The best travel stories are the ones we made on our own, so be open to anything outside of your comfort zone.

Trying new things in another country is how travelers develop as individuals, making them more well-rounded and open-minded. Just remember to stay safe and use common sense at all times. 

Spindrift Madiha
Picture: Spindrift Madiha is one of the best surf hostels in Sri Lanka

10. Trust your gut

It is perfectly acceptable to leave a situation if you get a strange vibe from something or someone. Many women are socialized to be friendly and polite, even when it puts them in dangerous situations.

The thing about your gut instinct is that it is almost always correct. Remember that your safety is the most important consideration when traveling abroad, and always trust your instincts!

11. The benefits of traveling alone as a woman

Embarking on solo adventures as a woman not only offers the opportunity to embrace spontaneity but also allows for an authentic connection with new cultures.

It is a chance to showcase the strength and resilience that comes with navigating unfamiliar territories independently.

Freedom and Flexibility

Consider how many times you wanted sushi when your friends wanted tacos. When you travel alone as a woman, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, without having to make compromises with others.

You set your own schedule, whether you want to sleep late or wake up early, and you’ll make the most of your solo female travel experience by completing all of your bucket list items, even when others aren’t interested.

If you’re tired of waiting for friends to join you on a trip, book a flight and go alone! Even if you’re traveling with other people, try to carve out an afternoon for yourself to get that much-needed nap or wander aimlessly– you never know what will happen. 

Traveling Alone as a Woman

Confidence

Women who travel alone become more aware of their surroundings, more comfortable conversing with strangers, and learn how to diffuse stressful situations while remaining calm.

Solo female travel enables women to apply all of their new skills, coping mechanisms, and experiences in their daily lives, becoming more empowered and confident in their abilities and standing up for themselves.

Plus, experiencing new cultures, learning new languages, and studying global history can all lead to job and leadership opportunities!

Meet new friends at Selina Puerto Escondido
Picture: Selina Puerto Escondido is one of the best hostels in Puerto Escondido

Solitude and Reflection

“Wherever you go, there you are,” as the adage goes. While traveling will not solve your problems, it will certainly distract you from them! A relaxing beach vacation can help you recover from a stressful school year or a messy breakup.

Being connected, both in person and online, 24-7 has made it nearly impossible for humans to be alone with their thoughts. Solo trips allow you to temporarily escape and choose who and where you want to focus your energy.

Take a solo trip to journal, hike, volunteer, or do anything else that brings you joy. You will return home rejuvenated and happier.

Barn Laos Hostel
Picture: Barn Laos Hostel is one of the best hostels in Vientiane

Meaningful Connections

The best part about traveling alone as a woman is the new friendships you’ll make.

You’ll meet people from Italy to India, fall in love with a beautiful local, be adopted by a new family, and meet other travelers with different and similar lifestyles who will help you expand your worldview.

Your travel memories will always lead to new friendships, relationships, and connections that will last a lifetime!

Read: The New Hostelworld App in Review – sharing the best features

Meet new friends at HI Jasper
Picture: HI Jasper is one of the best hostels in Jasper

How to search for female-only dorms in hostels

I want to mention that on Hostelz, you can search the dates of your trip and actually filter the results only to show female-only dorms; this is something that I’ve found super convenient and a huge time saver.

Read: Our best hostels for female solo-travelers

Check out Hostelz.com here

Hostelz - Price Comparison for Hostels

FAQs

Here we share with you the most asked question:

Should I solo travel as a woman?

On a solo trip, you're the master of your culinary castle, activities, and itineraries. Traveling solo as a woman means you can embrace freedom and say goodbye to compromises. It also means that you'll have no one to blame but yourself if things go wrong. This can be daunting, but the experience will leave you better for it.

Alternatively, if you have a fear of loneliness, traveling solo doesn't mean you'll necessarily have to be alone: you can pick a hostel and easily make friends, regardless of whether you are an introvert or extrovert. Just read reviews to understand whether or not the atmosphere of the hostel is going to suit your style.

So yes, you should travel solo as a woman - if you want to.

Is it safe to stay in a hotel alone as a woman?

Though hotels offer security measures, it's crucial for female travelers to maintain their own safety checklist. Make sure to read reviews and go to vetted accommodations.

Is it awkward to travel alone?

Even seasoned travelers may experience anxiety before embarking on a solo journey. Despite awkward moments and challenges, the excitement and advantages of individual travel surpass the fears associated with it.

What’s next? More useful info for you:

Safe travels,
The Hostelgeeks team

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