Solo Female Travel

Should I tell people I’m alone? and other questions from solo female travelers

The first time you decide to travel solo can be nerve-wracking. You have to worry about safety, what to pack, where to go, what to do when you get there…it can be terrifying! There’s so much to do and so much to worry about, and often there’s no-one to ask for help because they’ve never traveled solo, either.

Well, hello!

I’m a seasoned solo traveler of over 10 years, 2 of them full-time traveling in Europe and Asia. I’ve had lots of questions from women wanting to travel solo for the first time, and I though it’d be a good idea to share my answers to those questions for anyone looking for them.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, I get a small percentage of that at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

I’m too scared to travel alone. How do I get over my fears?

Taking your first solo trip is scary! But if you really want to travel, and you don’t want to wait for a partner or friend to go with you, then eventually you’ll have to make the leap. There’s really no other way to do it: you have to decide to go, and then go.

There are a few ways to get over that fear of going on your first solo trip.

First, you could go to an event or conference. For instance, on my first solo trip, I went to NYC for a book convention. I was SUPER scared to be in the city by myself, but I knew that a) I’d be meeting friends at the book convention (though we wouldn’t be traveling together) and b) having an event to plan for cut out a lot of the stress from my trip, because I could focus just on that one thing.

Maybe you’re really into concerts and want to go see your favorite artist. Or maybe you’re into musical theater and want to see Phantom of the Opera in London (highly recommended!!). If you’re into yoga or meditation, there are spiritual retreats in Asia and South America that you could join.

Find something you want to do and plan a short trip around it. Having an event to focus on will help keep your goals clear.

Another idea is to visit a place you’ve already been to, but on your own. Use it as a way to dip your toe into solo travel waters. It could even be a town within your own state! You won’t stress out as much because you’ll already be familiar with at least part of your destination, which means less things to worry about overall.

Another idea is to join up with a group tour! Group tours are great for new solo travelers because (once again) it takes a lot of the worry out of planning. You only have to plan how you’re getting to the meet-up point, what to pack, and how to get back home.

Plus, if you’re worried about making friends while traveling? You’re in a group already! Problem solved!

G Adventures and Intrepid Tours are two companies that host tons of group trips all over the world, and you can join them as a solo traveler. There’s also several companies that host tours just for women, like Solo Female Travelers Tours.

What should I say when someone asks me if I’m traveling alone?

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. The key is to consider who is asking.

If it’s a taxi driver, random person on the street or at a restaurant, a hotel owner, a tour guide…they don’t need to know you’re traveling alone, in my opinion. Random strangers aren’t entitled to your personal information, no matter how friendly they are.

For these situations, I always say I’m meeting up with friends and/or we’re traveling together. If it’s on a tour where it’s obvious I’m solo, I just say I wanted to do this activity myself and I’m meeting friends for lunch (or whatever).

And sorry to taxi drivers in particular, but whenever they start asking personal questions I just lie my ass off. Yes, I have a boyfriend/fiance, yes he works as an accountant and we’ve been dating for 5 years, yes I’m meeting him at the hotel, etc.

Now, if it’s a fellow backpacker or solo traveler on a walking tour…yes, you can tell them! Usually it’s totally fine, as people want to know because they are also solo, or they want to ask you to split a cab to a tourist site or something. I’ve made lots of friends by talking to other solo travelers in hostels, in particular.

Always listen to your gut, though! If it says this person is weird, even if they’re in your hostel or on a tour with you, don’t tell them personal information that could make you vulnerable.

What if I get lonely while traveling solo?

There are lots of ways to make friends while traveling! The key is to put yourself out there (in SAFE situations). I have a whole post about meeting people and making friends while traveling solo here.

Basically, you have to go where there are people to meet. That might mean staying at a hostel, or finding meetups or group tours in your destination city.

And then, once you find people…you have to TALK to them! Start conversations! Invite them to do walking tours or night markets!

For introverts this will be fairly terrifying, but you’ll have to balance the fear of new people vs. the fear of being alone. Some people are actually happier alone– if that’s you, then you probably don’t need to worry too much about this because the loneliness will pass after a while.

If you’re an extrovert who needs people, then traveling solo is doubly terrifying because all your usual friend group is gone. Luckily for you, you’ll be able to pull in new people and make a new, temporary traveling friend group wherever you go. Just remember the key to success: talk to people! And listen to their answers!

What if I get hurt or sick while traveling alone? What if my stuff gets stolen?

It could happen! It probably WON’T, but let’s be honest: freak accidents happen every day. That’s why it’s important to have travel insurance for your trip, as well as the contact info for your country’s embassy and the emergency numbers for the local hospital/police in your phone. Be sure to program those into your phone BEFORE you land in the place you’re going to.

Here’s a list of US Embassies and Consulates around the world. And here’s a list of emergency numbers around the world (PDF).

Some places have bad reputations for theft. Be sure to educate yourself on keeping your belongings safe from pickpockets and thieves, and look up common scams for the area you’re going to.

Tip: Using an anti-theft purse or backpack like the ones PacSafe makes is one way to random hands from reaching in and getting away with your wallet.

I use SafetyWing for my travel health insurance, though I haven’t had to actually claim anything with them yet. They’re great for travelers because you can sign up even when you’re already abroad, and you can cancel it any time.

I also have some extra travel insurance (like for trip interruptions and lost luggage) through my Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. Having a good credit card with extra protection coverage like that is really essential if you’re planning on doing a lot of traveling.

How do I keep in contact with my family while traveling?

The easiest way is to have an unlocked phone that can use eSIMs. Buy an eSIMs before you land, and have it set up and ready to go once you get off the plane.

You’ll need an unlocked phone because if it’s locked (e.g. still attached to your regular phone provider) you won’t be able to use an eSIM. If you’re not sure if your phone is unlocked or not, contact your phone company to double-check.

As for eSIMs, I use Airalo to get most of mine, but Klook has some regional ones which work great as well. If you’re going to multiple countries in the same region in under 30 days, get a regional SIM card.

One you have the phone and an eSIM, you’ll be able to use data to make Facetime calls and send iMessages (iOS only). Even easier than that, though, is to switch to using WhatsApp or another messaging app! You’ll probably use WhatsApp a lot while abroad anyway, to message tour companies and hotels and whatever, so it’s good to get it set up ahead of time.

Learn more about keeping in contact with family while abroad here. If you’re looking for WhatsApp group chats, I have a whole list of them here.

Are you traveling solo for the first time? Have any questions? Drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to help!

The first time you travel solo is always the scariest, but after that it’s relatively easy sailing. Just gotta make that first leap into the unknown!

Save to Pinterest

Explore More

Best Travel Resources

  • Get discounts on tours and tickets with Klook
  • Get an eSIM for your phone with Airalo
  • Book your hostel and guesthouse stays with Hostelworld
  • Stay safe while browsing the web with ExpressVPN

Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

Leave a Reply