In the box office hit Thelma and Louise, two ladies set out on a road trip that didn’t end well. Sure, it was fiction, but it gives pause to think about how valuable solo traveling can be. You’ll have no one’s emotional baggage to deal with, no one’s conflicting schedule, and no one’s needs different from your own.
Fiction aside though, the thought of traveling alone can be daunting, especially for the female solo traveler. If you’re thinking about taking a trip alone, put aside your fears with this checklist for an epic solo trip.
Table of Contents
1. Research Your Destination’s Safety
If you plan on traveling alone abroad, do your research and choose wisely. All travelers should check online for a list of countries unsafe for travelers. A good place to begin is the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisories. Solo female travelers should also check the Women’s Danger Index.
Study your destination on a local level to determine if there are any areas or neighborhoods you should avoid. Find out what the best modes of transportation are and the safest routes to take.
2. Keep Your Valuables Secure (or at home)
Vacationing almost anywhere is a good time to leave your expensive jewelry at home. When you venture out, only take your phone, your ID, and your credit card. Only take the cash you’ll need. Take a copy of your passport if traveling abroad. Keep your actual passport and extra money in the hotel safe. Leave a copy of your passport back home with a friend or family member.
Keep your belongings close when riding on buses, trains, and other forms of transportation. Look for a backpack for the ladies that’s comfortable to carry and has a smartphone pocket and other zippered organizational pockets to keep your belongings secure.
3. Let Friends and Family Know Your Travel Plans
Send your accommodations information and itinerary details to a friend or family member back home. Stay in touch often by calling or by email or on social media.
Before going out on the town alone, let the hotel concierge know where you’re going and about what time you expect to return.
Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) when traveling abroad. STEP is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals to enroll with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By enrolling your trip, you’ll receive information regarding the safety of your destination country. STEP also helps the U.S. Embassy know how to contact you in an emergency and helps your family get in touch with you if necessary.
4. Don’t Engage in Reckless Behavior
Just as you would in your hometown, use common sense when going out alone. Keep your drinks in sight and politely refuse drinks from strangers. If you leave a drink on the bar when you go to the restroom, toss it out and order a fresh one. And speaking of drinks, don’t overindulge.
Pay attention to what’s going on around you. If something feels uncomfortable, go into a restaurant or other public place.
Never tell strangers you are traveling alone. Say you’re meeting a spouse, relative, or friend.
5. Have an Emergency Plan
Research nearby police stations, hospitals, and other emergency services and store their numbers on your phone. When traveling to a foreign country, know how to ask for help in the local language.
Make sure you have any needed inoculations when traveling abroad and pack an extra supply of any prescribed medications. Pack face masks, hand sanitizer, and insect repellent. Do your research about the safety of drinking water at your destination.
6. Have Fun and Grow as a Person
Don’t be afraid to be sociable and make friends. Sit near friendly-looking groups of people in restaurants and bars. Enjoy the local culture and expand your palette with the local cuisine.
Allow your travels to help you grow as a better global citizen and learn to appreciate different political outlooks, cultures, and world views. As a solo traveler, you are sure to gain confidence and become a more interesting person.