FEMALE SOLO TRAVEL: HOW TO HAVE A SAFE, COMFORTABLE and FUN TRIP

Alonga travel the author is enjoying a solo hike & a custom sign: 'Female solo travel'
Alonga travel the author is enjoying a solo hike & a custom sign: 'Female solo travel'

Wondering about female solo travel? I am not going to convince you to travel solo on this page. I hope I already did that on my “why people travel alone” page! So, we already know why people travel alone and how it can be lots of fun!:)

However, women traveling solo have to objectively has some uniquely think about some specifics, that guys traveling solo don't have to think about.

The main specifics of the female solo traveling

The main specifics of the female solo traveling are emphasis on safety and comfort. All other aspects are the same as for any other traveler. 

  1. Prepare in advance well. Buy, book in advance (it's usually cheaper!). Print out your itinerary before leaving. 

  2. Arrive with a small carry-on. Pack smart! You do not want to carry heavy stuff to please someone with your appearance. You want comfort for YOU (while still looking good, wearing a few mixed & matched items of your outfits).

  3. Don’t rent a car, use public transport or a ridesharing and mobility apps like Uber, Bolt, Lyft, FreeNow (in Portugal as example). Guys like doing this, but I think it's easier for ladies not to rent a car. 

  4. Arrive before dark during the daylight hours. This is important to think about, when buying your tickets. 

  5. Sign up to a meetup group or a Facebook group for your city of travel. If you go out - a live music venue or a concert is the safest choice.

  6. Go easy on alcohol.

Other important advice for solo female travel that works for male solo travel as well

  • Bring comfortable and light travel gear with you.

  • Book social accommodation even if you can afford your own room. This Is an antidote to loneliness. Hostels are for all ages  and incomes now for talking with other travelers. 

  • · Use mobile apps for directions (they are your best friends!). Know your map and public transport options in advance.

  • · T-Mobile works anywhere in the world for free or get a local sim-card to stay connected.

  • · Make friends at a hostel or on a walking tour

  •  If you plan to visit attractions and museums, buy a city card (the same works for guys as well).

  • Eat at Food Markets in Europe. It's more fun, cheaper and you will feel better. 

  •  Have fun!:)

Read this post below for more detailed explanation of each point. 

Alonga travel author picture in Rome Italy
Alonga travel author picture in Rome Italy

Hello, I am Tatiana—a solo traveler, fascinated with beautiful old buildings and discovering the gems of Europe. Check out my comprehensive travel tips and reviews of the best European destinations and city breaks. Let's connect on social media!

 Before diving into details about how to have a safe and comfortable time traveling solo as a female, let me highlight some fun parts of your adventure.

Join fun public events you see

The events I get into by jumping into fun looking public events I see! 

There are all kinds of public carnivals you may encounter during your trip (or maybe even time your trip for them!) to have a great time!

You could encounter live music events, or maybe public Zumba events, and other public dancing. I loved the nighty salsa dancing on the streets of old town Nice, France at night!

Or, perhaps, use could visit the tango festival in Lisbon

Joining public events as an introvert 

Now, if you’re thinking that events are only for extroverts, you are mistaken!

Take me, for example. I am both an introvert and an extravert, depending on circumstances and times. And I have noticed that it is very comfortable to be an introvert during events like that! You don’t have to talk to a single person, you just walk with the crowd and soak all the strong and exciting energy.

That’s the easiest and the least draining way to participate in social activities for introverts!

Or you can just talk to everyone around you as people are more relaxed and outgoing during these kinds of events, so you will connect with people, and even make new friends! You will start feeling very connected to the city you are in!

Just use your common sense about what is safe and what is not! 

This video is about a public Zumba event on the streets of beautiful Dubrovnik. I thought that was a brilliant idea! And it sure was fun, though it was hard for me to continue recording, instead of jumping in!:)

Alright, there will be lots of opportunity for you to have fun on your trip, but for now let's talk  about  preparations to take before the trip. 

Preparation for Solo Female travel

Prepare in Advance Well. Print out Your Itinerary Before Leaving.

I've already talked about how guys will throw a few things in their bag last minute and will fly to a city knowing nothing about it. They will go out, do some exploration, but they would miss a lot of fun things to see...  Most likely. 

However, you should absolutely NOT do the same! :) You will come PREPARED and feeling great and safe, knowing you’re all prepared!

Before you leave - type your itinerary, all the names of your hotels, which company you booked through, your flight info, which cities you arrive on, which dates and times, and send a copy to your loved ones at home.

Or, you can just use TripIt - the neat app that keeps all that info together, without you needing to type anything. https://www.tripit.com/web

Print your travel itinerary out and have it with you in case you lost your phone. It’s quite a job, but what are you supposed to do without your phone if this happens? Or when the reception on your phone is too weak and you can't even load a page or a map? So, just to be on the safe side…

Arrive With a Small Carry-on. Pack Smart!

You will travel with a small light carry-on, as I have shown you how to pack light. In your carry-on you will have many things to make your trip and stay very comfortable. 

Most of us, women, require more items to be comfortable than guys do. But you will do yourself a HUGE favor if you only bring the items you absolutely need, and nothing else. 

Packing light the right way and having everything you need and not one item extra, and having all the lotions, shampoos etc. in tiny bottles is both a necessity of female solo travel, and should be taught in colleges with awarding an advanced degree after the graduation!:) 

It WAS taught in Harry Porter's academy as a spell and Hermione mastered it well!  I am ALMOST as good as she was by now, and you will be as well, if you follow my advice!:) 

use travel compression cubes for organizing and saving space
use travel compression cubes for organizing and saving space

Bring Comfortable and Light Travel Gear and Clothes With You.

Here is more explanation on comfortable travel gear and which clothes to take with you.

Book Social Accommodation Even if You Can Afford Your Own Hotel Room. This Is an Antidote to Loneliness.

You need to research which area of the city is safe and stay there.

To save on your accommodation AND not to feel lonely, stay at social accommodation. It should only be a nice hostel, female only room. 

Choose the one that has great reviews (more research!) and has privacy curtains.  Good hostels are in the best parts of a city, close to all the attractions.

You will also make friends there (if you want) to go explore the city at night. So here is another advantage of a hostel.

More on why hostels are not just for the youth and backpackers anymore, and how people of all ages, professions, and incomes stay there now, is here.

Some people prefer to book a room from a female host instead. Your host will most likely give you info on where to go to explore, but it’s unlikely she will go out with you.  So chose your accommodations accordingly.

You can always book a room in a hotel, but it will be more expensive and lonelier.

Why wouldn't you want to come from the day of wondering alone to a great dinner and lots of laughs with your new hostel mates, like captured on this video from the dinners we were having every evening in Lisbon!? 

Sweet Home Lisbon hostel bar with schedule of social activities
Sweet Home Lisbon hostel bar with schedule of social activities

Arrive Before Dark.

Always plan to arrive in your city before dark. Unless it’s a really large city, like Rome, or Barcelona, and you will be staying at a safe area.  Still—arriving during the daylight keeps things safer and works better in case there are some problems with your check in.  

Keep in mind, there could be problems with a check in, if you book anything but a large hotel or a large hostel, where they will have 24 hours reception.

Booking anywhere else will require a prior agreement with your host about your time of arrival. And sometimes the host is late—so again, arriving during the daytime is just a safer option.

Make sure you confirmed your reservation, especially if you arrive late!

This sounds obvious, but I almost got stuck in New York once at night without a place to stay, as my hotel didn't get my reply email and canceled my reservation.  And New York is NOT a great a place to walk at night alone and pretty booked for any affordable accommodation without an advanced booking.

Luckily, I was persuasive enough to make them find one last room for me. But this event and the feeling of being very vulnerable had definitely taught me the lesson! 

So, it is very important to make sure you confirmed your reservation either by phone or email, AND received the reply to your reservation request. Do not just assume they have received your email!

Don’t Rent a Car, Use Public Transport or a Cab, and Use Apps for Directions.

Another absolute must do is to research how to get to your booked place in advance. Plan to use public transport if you are going to Europe. Otherwise, you will pay around 30-50 euros to get to the city from the airport by taxi.  Most airports have buses running to the main square of the city for around 5-6 euros. There are ways to book online and it can be cheaper.

Once in the city check citymapper or Moovit app, which you will download at home, along with offline maps for Google maps. Google map works in many places as well, but sometimes it will get you lost.

Use Google map and Rome2Rio website to research in advance which public transportation you need to take to get to your hotel AND make screen shots on your phone in case wi-fi of the network is not working. Yes, that happens!

Always have extra external power batteries for your phone .

I can't think of any other item  more crucial to your safety on your trip other than your phone and extra batteries to recharge it! Your phone is your navigation source, your hotel conformation source, your tickets display. If there are only 2 items you are allowed in your bag for your trip, your phone and an extra battery with all charges and cables would be it!    

If you Plan to Visit Attractions and Museums, Buy the City Card.

The city card will save you money and it usually comes with a free public transportation use. It's just less hassle besides saving you money.  Every single city card I have checked saved me money compared to me paying for each attraction separately. 

Getting your hotel information in details is the only info you really NEED before you leave.  The rest you can handle later. Not a biggie if you miss some attractions because you didn’t know they existed, but knowing how to get to your hotel and how to get between different cities, if you have over one city, is a MUST! Having all the train, plane, bus tickets in advance will save you a lot–tickets are usually 3 times more expensive on the day of departure.

So now that you’re all settled in your accommodation, let’s talk about what to do and not to do in the city. And I am not talking about attractions here.

what to do and not to do in the city on a Female solo trip. 

Eat At Food Markets. It's More Fun, Cheaper and You Will Feel Better. 

Where are you planning to eat? There are options.  If you’re not worried about saving money, you will find a place to eat with no problems. It might be better for you to sit at the bar, though. Sitting alone at the table could be a lonely experience, besides you won't have to wait for a table this way  and you most likely will have someone to talk to if you feel like chatting. 

Eating at the restaurants all the time can cost more than your air ticket and hotel combined. So, if you would rather save money for another trip, you can either eat at some market stall, where they have a variety of choices or the deli department of a supermarket.  

Add to that stop at a tiny local bakery and fruit stores you will find anywhere, and you will have decent meals for about 10 euros per day total. That will also include water and bottled alcohol, if you’re not too picky about your wine.

pizza in Bonci cafe in Rome
pizza in Bonci cafe in Rome
alonga travel fruits from a local market in Porto Portugal
alonga travel fruits from a local market in Porto Portugal
How to make friends on the road
How to make friends on the road

Make friends On The Road

If you think you will appreciate some company on your trip—sign up to a meetup group or a Facebook group for your future travel city. They usually do some events you could join. If you go out - a live music venue or a concert is the safest choice. Some hiking events are great for that! Just make sure you joined the right hiking group, with the right level of difficulty, they are very fussy about that! 

Or use dating apps to find friends. Below are two most popular ones. 

What are the popular dating apps to find friends out there?

The Bumble  BFF app

The Bumble app has three modes: Bumble Date, Bumble BFF, and Bumble Bizz. Choose whichever mode suites you the best. 

FRIENDER APP

FRIENDER APP  can be useful for finding  friends in your area with similar interests or hobbies.

I meet new people who become fast friends during my travels all the time without any apps. Just be friendly and approachable if you feel like talking to people and smile a lot

 Drink Alcohol in Moderation on Your Trip.

Speaking of alcohol… It’s a great idea to drink moderately! And only do day drinking. Yes, you’re on vacation, it’s OK to drink  moderately during the day😊. Just don’t drink at night, perhaps? You need to be in your best senses, traveling alone. 

Go to live music events

You can never go wrong with live music.  Live music is my other passion, besides traveling.  People who perform and go there are fun and  nice! You'll have a great company for the evening and you don't have to stay there too late. Leaving earlier is safer!