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All the single ladies, put your hands up! We now live in an age where women can do anything men can do—including travel around the globe solo. But that doesn’t mean our needs are necessarily the same as men’s while we’re out on the road. From staying safe to accessing essential feminine items to avoiding unwanted company, our global team of female travel experts share their top pieces of advice for globetrotting women everywhere. Plus, if you have your own tips for keeping travel fun and safe for solo women, please add them in the comments!

RELATED: The 5 best destination for women to travel solo

TRIP PREP

“I always keep my family and close friends updated with my specific itinerary including flight numbers, hotel info, Uber details and any reference information I have so that I can always be traced easily. It’s so easy to do this these days with apps and email, and it makes me feel like I’ve got a village behind me even when I’m alone in a far-away country.”—Danielle Braff

“I keep extra copies of my passport and driver’s license on my computer (thanks, Google Drive), so they’re always accessible just in case I lose them. I also keep my itinerary and all my documents online at all times so I can access them whenever I need to, and I share these documents with my family.”—DB

preparing for solo travel

“Research, research, research. Along with reading up on what to see and do in your destination, look for valid sources that can tell you about the local culture in terms of dress and manners. It can give you some insight on what daily living is like within a country, as well as how women are seen and treated.”—Michele Herrmann

“Buy travel insurance. It’s scary when you get ill or injured on a trip where you might need medical attention. Depending upon the policy you choose and the company you go with, travel insurance can help cover sudden emergencies that could require medical care or trip cancellations or flight snafus. Read up on policy offers before purchasing.”—MH

“Learn as many words as you can ahead of time. While learning a foreign language is helpful, try to master common words and phrases that can help you communicate if you need help. Along with learning “hello,” “excuse me” or “where is the …”, words that relate to getting aid from others, or medical or police personnel, can help you draw needed attention and assistance to you in the case of a medical or safety issue, or if you are the victim of a crime.”—MH

 

PACKING

“Always observe the local dress code, even if other tourists don’t. You will be less of a target if you dress like locals and especially dress more conservatively.”—Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

“Always bring a travel scarf or pashmina. You can use it to protect yourself from the sun, keep you warm during sudden post-sunset temperature drops, or quickly cover up if you visit a church or temple where that’s required.”—Martina Sheehan

packing for solo travel

“When you’re planning an international trip, check into the availability of women’s hygiene products—namely tampons. They’re especially hard to find in the Middle East and Africa, and some Latin American countries, as well as China, Indonesia, the Philippines and other parts of Asia. But what may be more surprising is that they’re not always readily available in some European countries (especially if you prefer those with an applicator). Other toiletries such as contact lens solution can also be harder to find abroad.”—MS

“I travel with a mini-pharmacy. There are few things worse than being sick on a solo trip, so I keep my bag stocked with everything I may need, including Tylenol, stomach meds, aloe vera (good for just about any irritation), along with extras of all my prescriptions.”—DB

“Pack a sarong. It can be used for anything: At the beach, to cover a bright light in a hotel room, to cover shoulders in a conservative country, or to use as a tablecloth when clean surfaces are lacking.”—Erin Holmes

“Pack a doorstopper as a way to better secure the door to your room if it seems flimsy. A doorstopper can easily be wedged underneath your door as an extra barrier against potential break-ins overnight, and for some extra piece of mind.”—MH

“Invest in anti-theft products. I use a money belt to help sort and safeguard my bank cards, passport and extra cash away from my purse. It goes underneath my clothes and stays hidden, plus it’s comfortable. There are other pickpocket-preventing products such as specially designed pants and scarves to consider, as well.”—MH

“Use apps such as Find My Friends, your iPhone’s Share My Location setting or location sharing with Google Maps so that your family and loved ones can know where you are at all times, in case you don’t answer the phone or texts.”—Michelle Meyer

TRANSPORTATION

“Many countries provide special transportation accommodations just for women. For example, progressive countries like Germany and Switzerland offer women-only public parking spots. Meanwhile, in places like Mumbai, Mexico City, Cairo, Rio and many Japanese cities, you’ll find women-only train cars. Take advantage of these: Though designed to keep women safe from lewd behavior, the women’s cars also tend to be cleaner and less crowded.”—MS

“When I’m traveling to a new city oversees I do a ton of research on the transportation, especially from the airport. Is it safe to take Uber in this country or am I better off with a taxi? If so, which taxi company? Should I book a private car or take public transit? I also familiarize myself with my routes before heading out so I have a general idea of how long it should take to get somewhere and what direction I should be heading. Also, download or screenshot your Google maps before you leave in case you find yourself in a dead zone and don’t know where to go.”—Lidia Ryan

transportation while traveling solo

“In many destinations, it’s better to use rideshares like Ubers instead of taking taxis. The three main reasons for this are that you can usually share the status of your ride with people not in the vehicle; you can see the rating of your driver and make sure he is the right person based on a photo; and make sure he is driving the correct car. Plus, with rideshares, you’ll know what the price will be ahead of time, so you have less of a chance of getting ripped off.”—Caroline Lupini

“If you are not sure what the legit cabs look like, ask the concierge or reception staff to call a cab for you. Also, get an estimate from the hotel staff on what the rate should be and ask them how long it should take to get to where you’re going.”—MH

“Sit in the front seat. When using a ride-hailing app like Lyft while traveling alone, I sit in the front seat. If a driver wants to be nefarious, sitting in the back seat, where they can turn on the child locks and prevent you from getting out is easy. But the front passenger seat will open when locked. Sitting in the front changes the dynamic, too. You can see a person’s face, engage in conversation, and pick up on odd cues faster than in the back.”—Margaret Littman

“Whenever I’m traveling alone, I make sure my smart phone is fully charged before heading out for the day, in case I need to make an emergency phone call. If I’m going to be out longer than my battery will last, I bring my Everpurse that has a phone charger built in.”—Sharael Kolberg

“If you’re driving on a road trip or just around a town or city, take detours. The beauty of traveling alone (among many things) is that you don’t have to stick to any particular itinerary or schedule—it’s just you and whatever you want to do. If you see a road that beckons you, take it. If you want to check out the view from that overlook, go stop. Get out of the car and dip your toes in the water or buy some fruit at that roadside stand. More often than not, these mini, impromptu adventures are the ones that you remember the most.”—LR

“When I’m exploring a new place solo, I walk everywhere (if possible). You create such a personal connection with a place when you’re seeing it on foot, by yourself with no distractions. You’ll notice the wild plants growing, the changes in pavement, maybe take little detours through back alleyways in a city or hidden paths on a beach. Pop into a shop and buy yourself a souvenir that will always remind you of this day.”—LR

MAKING FRIENDS

“Schedule a walking tour for when you first arrive at your destination. It’ll help familiarize you with the area and lessen your chances of getting lost during the remainder of your trip. It also provides a good opportunity to pick a tour guide’s brain about places that are especially good for solo travelers, and spots to avoid. Bonus: You may meet some like-minded travelers to spend time with during your stay.”—Judy Sutton Taylor

“To avoid the awkwardness of dining solo, think about signing up for a pop-up dinner-party experience. You’ll get to know some locals in an intimate setting and maybe even make a new friend or two.”—MS

“When I am on a trip alone, I do something I never do at home—make small talk with waiters and store clerks. When you’re alone, talking to yourself can start to get old, so having a little human interaction is nice, and you’ll also find that locals are more than happy to give you tips on cool things to do. And real authentic recommendations from locals are always the best ones.”—LR

making friends traveling solo

“Solo trips are great opportunities to meet new people and other travelers. Be open to joining others on excursions but don’t offer too much personal information like full name, birth date and address to avoid friendly people who turn into stalkers.”—RCY

“Don’t be afraid to say ‘Hello’ to strangers while traveling solo. It’s travel currency that can lead to wonderful discoveries, adventures and memories. (Use your judgment/intuition on whether the person is someone with whom you can safely engage, of course, and be careful what you share.) As someone who’s taken numerous solo travel trips over the past 20 years, I have enjoyed some of my most epic, unscripted travel moments after turning to someone near me, smiling and introducing myself. You never know where that new “Hello” will lead. Perhaps it’s being invited to a unique cultural experience. Or uncovering a hidden gem not found in the guidebooks. Or making an on-the-fly travel companion. Or befriending one of the destination’s local characters.”—Erica Bray

“While I don’t recommend being glued to your devices and social media while traveling, do leverage social media ahead of time to make like-minded friends ahead of landing in your destination. Destination-specific traveler forums abound online and on Facebook. (Just be careful what your share ahead of time, and if you can get a personal referral, even better.) I have used social media to ask my own friends for ‘friend and family hookups’ to soften solo traveling in destinations where I know not a soul. This strategy allowed me to spend time with a local family while visiting the West Bank of Israel, where it felt like an entire neighborhood of mothers came together to serve me a delicious home-cooked meal. It also connected me to a local woman in Bali who spent the day taking me around to secret waterfalls only locals knew about.—EB

“If you’re planning to exercise, research a running group or drop-in fitness class you can join, or ask a female hotel staffer to recommend a safe route. That way, you’re not stuck in an empty hotel fitness center or on a deserted trail.”—Dalia Colon

NIXING UNWANTED COMPANY

“When I’m traveling solo, I always wear a ring on my left ring finger. If I’m getting any persistent, unwelcome attention from the opposite sex, I just flash my ring and say I have a partner. I’m always amazed how this small symbol of ‘being taken’ is generally respected world-wide.”—Kate Robertson

nixing unwanted company while traveling solo

“As a person who takes road trips for a living and writes guidebooks about them, I always sit at the bar when I’m out alone. Even with your back to the room, it is the perfect vantage point for a solo traveler. At the bar, the bartender gives you the lay of the land, and feedback whether your long list of must-sees is spot-on or sorely lacking. The bar social contract allows someone to sit next to you and ask about your trip or tell you about his. So, you get good intel, but you have the bartender there as backup if things get hinky. In my experience, bartenders have good radar. If I need to make a quick getaway because someone is making me uncomfortable, I can pay the bartender quickly, which can be trickier at a table.”—Margaret Littman

“Avoid telling people that you’re traveling alone. Always refer to a partner or a friend who is waiting for you at your room.”—RCY

GENERAL SAFETY

general safety on a solo trip

“As a female traveling alone, you may want to treat yourself to a nice dinner and a glass of wine or a cocktail (or two). And by all means, do! But I stop the flow of wine there when there are no friends or companions around. If you feel like you still want to keep the party going, head to your hotel bar or somewhere within a block of where you are staying. In a city you don’t know, it’s best to keep your wits about you and not have to stumble around alone at night.”—LR

“This may sound silly, but if you are at the beach alone, bring a shirt or cover-up that you can drape over your back. If you’ve got no one to put sunscreen on the places you can’t reach yourself, you will get burned. I learned this the hard way more than once.”—LR

“When I’m traveling solo, I always check in with a local as to where and when it’s safe to walk the streets alone.  One of the most pertinent, practical answers I ever received was when I was studying Spanish in Granada, Nicaragua. My teacher advised me to always look around and see if there are women and children out and about. If not, get off the streets. This advice has served me well on my travels around the world.”—KR

“As a traveling photographer, I am often going it solo to destinations well beyond Europe or the Caribbean. Often, I disguise my camera gear in an ordinary bag that doesn’t scream ‘expensive camera inside.’ I wear sunglasses when walking alone to avoid eye contact, and I try to stick close to families with children, or other women. If I must be reliant on tech for navigation while out and about, using a synced up watch or a wireless earbud is more discreet than staring at an iPhone, which is best kept out of sight.”—Kymri Wilt

“If you ever find yourself fearful or uncomfortable, walk into a crowd or a group of people and pretend that you”re with them, just walk along with them, smiling until you are in a place where you feel safe.”—RCY

“Choose a small hotel, where the staff will be familiar with you and outsiders will stand out.”—DC

“Avoid rooms near the exit or stairs because there is increased access for intruders.”—RCY

“Over the past 20 years, I’ve taken numerous trips across the globe solo. Even though I am nearly six feet tall and consider myself quite strong, I’m well-aware that as a female, I need to take heightened safety precautions to deter against unwanted advances. It’s an unfortunate reality. Two things I always do: 1) carry a pocket knife whilst traveling (which I’ve only had to pull out once); and 2) walk closer to the middle of the street, away from buildings and alleys where nefarious types might lurk, especially at night.”—EB

“Ask a female concierge to recommend safe place to eat, shop and explore.”—DC

“It’s okay to say no. I’m a good-natured person who will remain polite to the people I meet through my travels but I’ve learned that if I’m not comfortable sharing certain information (as in, where I’m staying or my plans) or I find myself in a situation that seems off, I change the subject or excuse myself and leave with no apologies.”—MH

 

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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