Solo travel as a woman in Sri Lanka blue train

The first thing everyone said to me when I left for the first time was: “Are you going alone? Aren’t you scared? It’s a scary world out there…”

So yes, I was pretty nervous and scared I must admit.

And I still get these questions and comments, no matter where I am.

My answer, yes, the world can be really scary but you’ll be surprised by how many good souls are actually out there. And you can only discover that by stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring the world. So, I just take a few obvious precautions and I’ve found that it’s much less dangerous to travel abroad than in my own country.

Without further ado, here are a few tips on how to travel freely and enjoy your trip.

Save it for later!

1- Always be weary of your surroundings

It goes without saying and this is my number 1 rule: even if you’re in the safest country in the world, you should ALWAYS look after yourself.

Although you’ll find plenty of people (usually more than you thought) ready to help you when you find yourself in a difficult situation, it’s always best to be able to rely on yourself first.
Being a little paranoid isn’t all bad, especially if you find yourself in a totally unfamiliar environment.

When you’re alone, you’re the only person you can trust, which is all the more reason to protect yourself.

So keep an eye on your valuables, be extra careful at night and you’ll be fine.

2- Always send your location to friends or family

Whether I’m checking into a new accommodation, going hiking…, I always send the address or location to a friend or family member.
Because accidents or delicate situations can easily happen, I automatically keep in touch and inform at least one person of my plans.
It only takes a minute, but I feel more confident and secure.

3- Learn some local language

One of the things I’ve noticed while traveling in different countries is that, wherever you are, the locals will always be happier and more open if you make the effort to speak in their language.
You don’t have to say a whole sentence, even a word is enough to make them that you’re not one of those rude tourists they might think you are.

Useful too when you want to say no to some pushy tuk tuk drivers or vendors.

4- Be social

Social gathering while traveling solo as a woman

Okay, that may sound weird coming from an introvert. But if I can do it, I think everyone can too.
You might be tempted to stay in a corner, read or keep your headphones on, but that would be a shame because you won’t meet other travelers like you.
You’ve already come this far on your own, so making friends isn’t that difficult.
Sometimes all you have to do is introduce yourself while you walk into your dorm room.

And you’ll find that being alone, believe it or not, attracts people. They will naturally be curious and want to know more about you and your background.

But remember, there’s nothing wrong with being alone and recharging your batteries. Sometimes you just need some “me time”, and that’s perfectly normal!

5- Be flexible

Planning your trip may seem important, but I’ve learned that planning nothing is actually much better and more.
Aside from flights, accommodations and insurance, the best thing to do is to “just go with the flow”.

If you plan everything down to the minute, you’ll feel stressed and miss out on the moments that make a trip magical.

Your new friends may ask you to join them for activities or you may have just heard about a place that wasn’t on your list but sounds more appealing. None of this would be possible if you have a fixed plan.

Getting lost is actually one of my favorite activities, as it’s always when I’ve discovered gems I’ve never expected.

6- Join a city walking tour or a day tour

In larger cities, you’ll usually find guided walking tours in which you can take part free of charge.
It’s a great way to meet other travelers and discover a new city at the same time. So, if you’re still not sure about exploring a city on your own, or if you’d like to learn a few historical/cultural facts from a local, don’t hesitate!

Day trips are also great, especially when you don’t feel like doing any fun activities on your own. You’ll usually find other solo travellers like yourself and can easily make contact with them. After all, you’re all there to have fun, and you probably share the same hobbies since you’ve chosen the same tour.

7- Don’t be afraid to eat alone

I assure you, people don’t care whether you eat alone or not. But if you don’t feel comfortable, take a book with you or write/draw in a journal. That way, you’ll be busy and won’t pay attention to the people around you.

It would be a shame not to take advantage of the local specialities, so don’t wait any longer and enter this restaurant!

8- Trust your instinct

Feel like something’s wrong? That’s because there probably is. Trust that little voice in your head!

Don’t panic, try to get away from the bad situation first and don’t hesitate to ask for help!

> See my list of DON’Ts when traveling solo abroad in this other post!

9- Be aware of the country’s culture

Adapting to the country you’re traveling in is a form of respect that will be greatly appreciated by the locals.
Do not wear too conspicuous clothes; always pay attention to how the locals dress, and do the same.

10- Enjoy

solo traveling

I’ve saved the most important for last. Enjoy your freedom and the fact that you’re in the place you’ve dreamed of.
You’ve had the courage to buy a ticket and travel the world alone, so pat yourself on the back and embrace this new you!

Traveling alone may not be easy at first, but don’t forget that the first step is always the hardest. It’s a big decision to step out of your comfort zone, and you should be proud of yourself.
I’ve learned and experienced so much by traveling and meeting people from all other the world. It’s made me grow and I’ll never go back to the way I was before!

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