Ten Tips for Enjoyable Solo Female Travel
I was in my thirties before I even left the shores of the country of my birth – Australia. As opposed to Europe or even America, when one grows up on the world’s biggest island, it wasn’t simply a matter of driving far enough to reach the border with another country – there wasn’t one! In a land where some of the cattle ranches are bigger than entire states in America and whole countries in Europe, even traveling from state to state is quite the journey.
My first international trips were short ones to Asia mostly for business, but I must admit, while the places were interesting, I still wasn’t really sold on the whole notion of travel for enjoyment. For me, it felt like a few hours to pack and get ready, a few hours to endure the airports and flight, a few hours to see the highlights of wherever it was I was visiting, and then a few hours to retrace my steps back to where I started – and then a few days to recover.
It wasn’t until I moved to the USA did I develop my own style of relaxed elegance when it comes to travel (more on that in another article), but also learn along the way a range of tips and techniques for not only traveling safely as a female on my own, but also for realizing the greatest possible enjoyment from the entire experience.
When I took off on my first multi-month road-trip through America, several female friends were amazed. One even said, “I feel uncomfortable even going to a restaurant by myself.” While I wish I had a lovely tall knight with whom to experience life, I decided that just the fact that I am single is not enough to dissuade me from setting out and having the most amazing of adventures.
I am now a full-time Luxurious Nomad. I spend a few months in one country, then a few months in another; getting to know the people, the culture, the places… and loving it! So, if you are thinking about taking a solo trip, here are some of my tips for traveling by yourself, staying safe, and having literally one of the most unique and wonderful times of your life!
- Smile and look UP: OK, so that’s two tips in one, but it’s fascinating just how many wonderful experiences I have had that have resulted from simply smiling at people, and from looking up and seeing something unexpected.
- Trust your instincts: If your instincts say, “don’t go down that street,” listen to them!
- Become culturally aware: Do your homework and be mindful of the culture to which you are traveling. Do you need to cover your shoulders to be respectful? When in Italy and Germany for instance, realize people often tend to be more outspoken and expressive – don’t take it personally.
- Check in: I’m not talking about luggage or airports. Arrange pre-determined check-in times with family/friends so they do not worry about you (well, not as much), and so you have the security of knowing if you don’t show up on a call/email/text when you said you would, that someone would come looking for you.
- Language basics: If you are traveling to a country where you do not speak the language, at least learn the basic phrases – hello, goodbye, please, thank you, yes, no… They are your musts – just take it from there.
- Ask for help: If you get stuck anywhere, use your instincts, smile, and ask someone for directions, guidance, assistance… I have met some lovely new friends by doing just that.
- It’s ok to be an introvert: I may have had a fairly public life in the past, but I am actually an introvert by nature. That doesn’t mean I don’t like people, just that I need my ‘me’ space. It’s ok to take time out and just people-watch if that’s what it takes to recharge your batteries…
- Pack for your lifestyle: When God was handing out the ‘packing light’ gene, I was off somewhere else drinking wine. Even though you do want to pack as lightly as possible, it is important when packing to still be ‘you’… If you like wearing scarves, take scarves! If you can’t go a day without your favourite shampoo but you can only buy it from a hairdresser in a large bottle – take it! If you are going for any more than a long weekend, trust me – the extra small amount of baggage space these goodies will take up will be more than compensated for you looking and feeling like ‘you’.
- Use Google’s pins: I love the ‘saved places’ pins in Google maps. In this image, you can see the places I have saved. The benefit of using these pins is that (a) when I am watching a documentary, or reading an article for instance, and see a really cool place to visit, I save that place and drop a pin. Then, (b) when I am travelling, I simply look at my Google map to see if there are any places near where I will be that will be nifty to explore! (and you can see from the blue dot, I am in the Austrian Alps as I write this)
- Relax and enjoy yourself! Remember, this is not about getting something ‘done’ – if that were the case, one could argue that since your ultimate destination is back home, and you are already there, why bother going? Take your time, go off the beaten track (but follow your instincts), and spend an extended time in one area getting to know the people rather than flitting from one tourist spot to another…
Travelling by yourself as a female can be one of the most rewarding and illuminating experiences of your life. If you have any questions or need any further tips, please feel free to reach out to me: [email protected] – and have fun!
“The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.” Albert Einstein
By Leigh (Bella) St John, aka the Luxurious Nomad
Bella St John: Author, Artist, Executive Coach, and Luxurious Nomad. Thanks to the residual income streams Bella has created from licensing her corporate professional development programs, she now travels the world, living a laptop-lifestyle most people only dream about. www.BellaStJohn.com
Comments are closed