The Ultimate Safety Guide for Women Traveling the World Solo on a Budget – Actionable Tips Inside
Last Updated: 11th October 2021
The Ultimate Safety Guide for Women Traveling the World Solo on a Budget – Actionable Tips Inside
How about spending a couple of days or more alone? Living life to the fullest stretching your happiness levels to a new high, leaving no room for ‘hodophobia’ while discover amazing new places, meet new faces, and discover new cultures and traditions?
The latest statistics shared by Condor Ferries show a 42% increase in solo traveler bookings over the last two years. The website also highlights key female travel statistics for 2020-2021, which include the following:
32 million single American women traveled at least once over the past year, and 1 in 3 traveled five times or more.
The search for the term ‘female solo travel’ across all search engines has increased by 62% over the past three years.
59% of women solo travelers would travel alone again in the next 12 months.
86% of women state that they are not afraid to travel.
TL;DR: For your convenience we have recapped our post to an easy to read Infographic:
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Why do women travel solo?
Traveling alone might be scary to some. But how come there are those women who prefer to travel solo?
Fearless female solo travellers cite several good reasons women should try to get out of their comfort zone and explore.
What do women get from embarking on solo tours?
They discover their strengths and develop new skills as they explore new places.
Build more confidence and become more independent. When alone, you rely merely on yourself for everything— from self-care to decision-making. you may experience getting lost or missing buses and being solo give them all the reasons to be responsible for yourself.
You become resourceful. As a solo traveler, you find ways and take advantage of the things that you have in your surroundings.
It is easier to keep up with your budget.
You meet a lot of new friends. Making new friends is easier when women travel alone, which may also lead to a deeper conversation.
Women exercise more freedom.
Myths on Solo Travel Debunked
Yes, there exist misconceptions about solo female travel.
You might think traveling solo is lonely, You can be traveling alone without getting lonely!
Take advantage of your solitude to meet locals and know their culture and traditions.
Focus on your surroundings and the people around you.
Talk and share stories with them. Listen to their stories, too.
Share tables when dining in restaurants. This act can help you win new friends. Also, staying in hostels is a great way to meet new people.
Traveling solo is not safe, especially for women.Never let this myth limit your mobility and stop you from going places on your own. Traveling solo can be as safe as traveling with others as long as you know how to plan your safety.
Traveling solo is Impractical.Is solo travel expensive? No, for so long as you know how to say no to single supplements. The single supplement refers to a premium charged to solo travelers when they take a room alone, and the amount involved ranges.To avoid single supplements, Plan ahead:
Choose your tour company wisely.
You may opt to take trains and buses instead of taxis.
Traveling solo is limiting.Going solo is fun. When you are alone, you will be more comfortable meeting locals and travellers like you.
Traveling solo is boring.It doesn’t have to be:
Try something you have never done before, but you have wanted to do.
Explore the place by joining a walking tour.
Tips for Solo Female Travelers
Book something. Choose your destination and book your trip to make it “official” that you are going. Strategically book your flight, hotels, tours, and attractions at least three weeks in advance for cheaper fares. Investopedia shared these tips on availing the cheapest flights possible:
Flights tend to be cheaper between four months and three weeks before your departure date.
Seasonal changes and holidays can create price fluctuations in ticket prices.
The day of the week when you book a flight does not affect the price.
Share blogs with friends and family members back home to let them know that you’re safe.
Have an open mind. Be prepared to accept the changes and challenges that come with traveling. Don’t allow your expectations to ruin your plans. If you happen to find that the place or its amenities fall short of your standard, find something enjoyable you can do. Note this: Necessities over luxuries.
Start small. First-time or beginner travelers are encouraged to choose an easy and affordable place to travel to.
Connect with other women. There is strength in numbers, so they say. You are safer and stronger when you’re together in a group.
Have your pre-travel checklist ready. Make sure to do the following before you travel:
Research your chosen travel destination before you go. You may read reviews of hotels, restaurants, tour companies, and the likes to have an idea of what awaits you once you arrive.
Again, start with easy trips if you’re a first-time traveler. You don’t want your first trip solo to be stressful so start with something you know you can manage.
Print/store copies of your passport. Make sure to photocopy the page that has your photo and full name on it. Keep these copies in separate places, let’s say at the bottom of your bag, in different pieces of luggage. Be sure to leave a copy of your passport with someone you trust to be an emergency contact.
Get an international phone plan. An international roaming plan lets you use both your phone and phone number when traveling abroad.
Take self-defense classes. Yes, traveling to a new pace is fun, but it also leaves you vulnerable. Paying attention to your surroundings and people around is a must but being vigilant and alert is not enough to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while you are in a different territory. Equip yourself with some self-defense knowledge to be protected from assaults or abuse while dealing with strangers. Get ready to defend yourself in any situation.
Get travel insurance. This insurance protects you from financial risks and other losses while traveling.
Plan your itinerary or give yourself an assignment. A perfect itinerary or plan must come with a realistic budget early on. After choosing your destination, organize your travel plans.
Pack and travel light. Traveling light enables you to save money and be more mobile at the same time. Pick a lightweight and versatile luggage. Remember, the best way to pack a backpack is to save space. Fold your clothes efficiently, place heavy stuff at the bottom and put those that leak in plastic bags. Toiletries and other things you’ll need as soon as you arrive at your destination should be at the top. Instead of folding them, roll your clothes up so they will take less space. You may opt to include these travel essentials in your luggage:
Passport and other travel documents
Cash and ATM cards
extra socks and undies
Universal charger and travel adapter
Cover up sarong
Leave jewellery at home. It will be safer not to wear jewellery when traveling. New studies reveal that leaving jewellery like rings and watches on your hands when washing them is a no-no. Keeping your rings while using antimicrobial soap or wipes leaves more bacteria on your hands afterward.
Unsure about where to land? Download offline maps and
smoothly plan your travel. Using maps saves you time and money as it aids you in locating a convenient airport to fly into or a potential cheap bus or train route to take.
Be mindful of your surroundings. Remain vigilant and watchful of danger.
Keep an eye on your valuables. Bring your passport only when needed.
Use your phone for safety purposes, primarily nav n. You don’t need to always rely on mobile data, or you may not always be within reach of Wi-Fi. It’s a great idea to download maps of your destination before you leave and access offline maps via your mobile phone.
Put your map/phone away while walking.
Not because something is not posted or shared on social media, it is not happening. It’s okay to keep people in the loop but be smart by not oversharing details or photos of your trips/travels. Don’t suddenly stop posting.
Don’t be too cheap (safety vs. saving). A cab ride could be cheaper, but using Uber, for example, from the airport to a suburb, would save you money and keep you safer.
Be extra cautious at night. Check with someone, like the hotel supervisor, where the safe and unsafe places are. Always stay in a safe, public place with new friends and don’t accept lifts or free rides from them.
Know your limits. Explore but know when it’s time to rest. Be conscious of your body. Don’t go to extremes or overdo things.
Get a daypack. A large backpack could be too difficult to carry all the time, so provide yourself a daypack, especially for trips that involve a lot of train and bus travel.
Lie if you need to. It is fine not to disclose personal details like your real name to strangers to protect yourself from danger.
Trust your gut instinct. Be alert and listen to your inner voice. Trust your intuition to be saved from imminent danger. When something just doesn’t feel right, it’s possibly not.
Be nice. Meet and connect with new people while on your solo travel.
Write in a journal. Consider keeping track of your adventures and experiences and sharing them with friends and loved ones through a travel journal.
Buy something local. It is not easy for farmers to sell crops or for locals to sell their crafts. By patronizing their products, you are also helping these local workers.
Stay longer on a cultural exchange. Traveling allows you to gain a deeper understanding and knowledge about one place, its people, culture, tradition, and day-to-day activities and practices. You can even learn a language as you engage yourself in a new culture.
Blend in (wardrobe). Traveling light also means carrying limited pieces of clothes. Go for a little black travel dress you can top with a tank or cover up with a button-down top. Transform a casual dress for the day into a stylish one for a night out. Mix and match your clothes.
Check your hotel’s location. Familiarize yourself with the vicinity of your hotel. For safety, you may consult a travelagent who knowsthe area.
Know what time it gets dark at a particular place you plan to visit, so you won’t need to rush as you travel back to the hotel after roaming around.
Avoid geotags until you’ve left the place, or else you’ll expose your location to potential criminals.
Walk and get oriented. Walks at daybreak allow you to see facets of life at the place you visit. Enjoy the experience.
Do not disclose your accommodation to anybody. It is not safe to tell people where you will be staying.
Protect your documents, cards, and cash. Secure your passport and other important documents. Keep backup copies with you and at home with your trusted contact.
Go incognito. Ditch those gadgets, take a break from technology and discover yourself more.
Reach out to locals. Consider buying local crafts, eating local food, stay in locally-owned accommodations.
Take public transport over taxis. Public transport is almost always cheaper than taxis and often actually saves you time. Taxis move slower due to traffic in cities with dedicated train or tram lines.
Download transport apps. Having those transport apps is like keeping a tour guide in your pocket, and they tend to simplify journey planning, especially in unfamiliar locations. Just imagine how convenient commuting could be when you no longer need to surf websites before going out or ask pedestrians for help and directions.
Go for solo-friendly accommodations, which will allow you to pay merely for yourself and what you exactly need.
House Sitting. It is a great option to travel without hurting your pocket. Plus, you can cook your meals while enjoying your free accommodation.
Safe Couchsurfing for Solo Female Travelers
Couchsurfing is a brilliant travel innovation. It connects restless wanderers with generous hosts to create an authentic travel experience and cultural exchange at no cost, The setup gives you the best opportunity to meet locals to be your tour guides.
But there has always been a gender imbalance in this hospitality network. More men take advantage of couchsurfing than women, signifying the greater freedom men have when traveling.
Women would usually think twice about couchsurfing for one obvious issue—safety. But is couchsurfing really unsafe for female travelers?
Not according to many experienced female travelers. The key is to really understand the couchsurfing philosophy and know how to use its network. Not only does this make your travel experience safe, but it also makes it worthwhile.
So, read on if you are interested in couchsurfing to satisfy your thirst for freedom and adventure on your next trip.
What is Couchsurfing?
Couchsurfing is an online social network that enables its members from around the globe to coordinate travel accommodations and organize gatherings. People commonly view it as a way for travelers to find a host who offers free accommodation.
While that is technically true, Couchsurfing goes beyond that. Aside from sharing their homes, the host often becomes a local guide to the traveler. The two can share things about their lives, fostering cultural exchange. Their relationship is built on mutual trust and respect. And if everything clicks, they develop a lasting friendship.
That is what couchsurfing envisions itself to create. In fact, its philosophy is to “make the world a little smaller; a little friendlier.”
How does it work?
You can sign up on Couchsurfing.org on your computer or a mobile app. Membership used to be free. But due to the impact of Covid-19 on its operations, Couchsurfing now asks for a $2.99 monthly subscription fee from its members in certain countries.
However, the agreement on accommodation between host and traveler (also called surfer) remains free and consensual. The two parties must decide in advance the duration, nature, and terms of stay.
In addition to organizing accommodations, members of the couchsurfing community also provide local touring, hangouts, local event gatherings, and local travel advice.
How popular is it?
American programmer Casey Fenton started Couchsurfing in 2004. He got the idea for it after booking a trip to Iceland and emailing students there for free lodging. Hundreds of people responded to his request positively, and this is how Couchsurfing was born.
From then on, the Couchsurfing community took off and now boasts a membership of 12 million people worldwide. About half of this number are males, while 40% are females.
There are couchsurfers in 200,000 cities worldwide. But the largest number of members are in North America and Europe, particularly Canada, the US, France, Britain, and Germany.
How safe is Couchsurfing?
As the Couchsurfing community grew, various issues emerged. Some members are using it for things it was not intended to do, like dating and hook-ups. This has greatly tarnished the integrity of Couchsurfing as a network of travelers.
However, one of the biggest issues the community confronts is the issue of safety, especially for its female members. Over the years, a number of female sexual harassment by male hosts have been reported.
To address this, Couchsurfing has put systems in place to weed out bad hosts and guests. One example is the multi-level account verification system of the member’s government-issued IDs and phone numbers. This is a way to authenticate the member’s identity, preventing them from committing any form of harassment or fraudulent activities.
Another is the system of rating and reviews left by travelers who stayed with the host before. Bad reviews reduce the chances of a member to host, so this prompts them to be on their best behavior with guests.
How do you make your Couchsurfing travel safe?
There is no such thing as a 100% safe travel experience—Couchsurfing or not. But there are ways to avoid meeting dangerous hosts, especially if you are a solo female traveler. Here are some useful tips from experienced female couchsurfers:
Look for verified hosts only. Having a verified profile reduces the likelihood that the member is up to no good. This serves as proof of identity, establishing the host’s trustworthiness. However, this goes both ways. Have your profile verified so you can be hosted easily. Include as much relevant information as possible, especially references from friends.
Review member profiles carefully. Read the reviews left by other travelers. If you find it inadequate, contact the travelers directly to confirm their reviews. You can also video call the host to see if they are the same person in their profile. Send your request for a stay at least a month before your trip. This would give you enough time to review profiles and get to know hosts through conversations.
Be extra careful with male hosts. The truth is, most couchsurfing hosts are men. But you can identify the bad apples by watching out for red flags in their profiles. One example of this is when they only prefer hosting female guests. Usually, this is a sign that they are only interested in hook-ups. If you are planning to stay with a male host, then just be frank and straightforward by telling them you are not looking for a date or hook-up. Do not flirt during correspondence, or this might give them a different idea.
Choose female hosts. If you really want to avoid the chance of being harassed by a male host, then stay with a female host or a family. You can do this by filtering the gender on the Couchsurfing website. You can also check out other alternative networks that work like Couchsurfing, such as the Facebook Group, Host a Sister.
Have a backup plan. Have an escape plan before you go to your host’s place. This includes having the contact details of a nearby hostel or hotel, taxi company, and police, or any emergency hotlines. Always keep extra cash and, if possible, have a backup host. So, if your host makes you uncomfortable during your stay, you know what to do and where to go.
Trust your instincts. Remind yourself that you are ultimately responsible for your own personal safety, especially when meeting with strangers through social networks. Set your boundaries and communicate this clearly to the other person. Leave when you feel something is wrong or uncomfortable.
Tour companies often offer limited discounts to solo travelers. But generally, $20,000 is the standard cost for a trip around the world for one person for one year. This estimation aligns with popular recommendations that travelers on a budget can spend $50 daily on the road and allow additional budget for flights and vaccines.
Go to the ATM when you land. Have your ATM ready as you approach the machine. Be aware of your surroundings, particularly at night.
Use a travel-friendly bank account. To save money when traveling abroad, find a bank with low wire-transfer charges, decent currency conversion rates, and competitive international bank ATM fees.
Bring back up card/s. Carry at least a spare card when traveling in case you encounter bank or network issues.
Don’t exchange currencies in airports. Airports are not the ideal places to exchange money; instead, try a local bank or a bank ATM for the best rates.
Use leftover cash on essentials.
Don’t carry your cards together. The more cards you carry, the more you’re likely to overspend. Bring at least two or three cards with you.
Have an emergency fund. Get ready in case unexpected expenses hit you.
Use Skype for phone calls. Skype offers affordable international call rates to mobiles and landlines anytime. With low domestic and international call rates and without peak times, you can connect to your loved ones and friends back home whenever you want.
Other helpful tips
Put a ring, regardless if you’re married or not, to pretend you’re attached, to keep those “bad” guys away.
Don’t sleep in. It will zap your energy.
Check your hotel. After checking in, know where the emergency exits are located. Shutting your window curtains will help you sleep better and keep your place private.
Keep emergency numbers on your phone. Try googling and find a handy reference list of emergency contact numbers in your chosen destination. Write down or save them on your cell phone.
Look confident and alert. Don’t let the people around you feel you’re from out of town so you won’t be vulnerable.
Learn a few phrases and keywords in the local language so you can ask for help in case of an emergency.
Have backup accommodation if your hotel becomes fully booked and has no rooms left for a particular time or date.
Learn to say no to an invitation for a drink from anyone, especially from a group of strangers. Pretend you are waiting for somebody when asked if you’re traveling alone.
Don’t give out your details or personal information.
Be wary of public Wi-Fi. Connecting to untrusted or unsecured wireless networks increases the risk of acquiring a virus or malware on your device.
Arrive during the day to avoid the hassles of a last-minute rush to get to your hotel.
Some evidence indicates that jet lag is reduced with afternoon arrivals. If arriving by night is inevitable, use taxis and rideshares safely like Uber. Uber or local apps can track your location, and they can also make the fare standardized. Check the license plate on the car you’re getting. It should match the one from the app. If these apps aren’t available, use authorized taxis from the airport or let your hotel call you a taxi. It’s okay to ask the hotel for taxi recommendations.
Dealing with Loneliness or Homesickness
Call a friend. You may also chat with locals or meet new friends.
Switch up from a private room to a hostel.
Spend less time on social media. See and socialize with actual people.
Travel slowly. Take time to stop so you can reflect on the new experiences that you have had.
New York. Among the recommended neighborhoods for solo female travelers to the city are the following: the West Village, East Village, Upper West Side, Cobble Hill in Brooklyn, and Long Island City in Queens. New York is even a “card-happy city” since there, you can use cards nearly everywhere, including taxis.
Los Angeles. Generally, female travelers are as safe as any other group who love to visit LA. However, they are encouraged to avoid public transportation at night and take extra precautions when getting into an Uber or Lyft.
San Francisco. To best enjoy your stay in San Francisco, getting local guides is highly recommended. The city offers solo tourists plenty of accommodation options which include free parking near San Francisco International Airport.
Las Vegas. Still, it is safer to stay in well-lit areas while exploring the city. The casinos are safe as well. Just a gentle reminder: Keep an eye on your bag and place it on your lap instead of leaving it on the floor.
Chicago. Are you traveling in pursuit of the purest coffee beans? Ladies, Chicago is home to some wonderful hidden-away coffee shops.
San Diego. San Diego is known not only for beautiful beaches and great weather year-round. There are also exciting outdoor attractions for adventurous female travelers to the city.
Seattle. Gorgeous lady travelers beget more than gorgeous skyscrapers and views once in Seattle. The city is also famous for plenty of museums and attractions.
Miami. For solo travelers, hotels that are closest to South Beach and Miami Beach are the best options.
Washington, DC. Travelers visit the National Mall and Memorial Parks, which includes more than a dozen units of the National Park System & more than 100 unique monuments & memorials.
Austin. Food trucks and Tex-Mex barbeque restaurants proliferate in Austin. Tourists thrive here for live music, too.
New Orleans. A New Orleans trip wouldn’t be complete without the swamp tours.
Montana. The place is famous for its national parks and museums. The long list includes: Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Lake McDonald, Going-to-the-Sun Road, Logan Pass, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Grinnell Glacier
Barcelona, in Spain, heads the list of the most solo female tourists-friendly countries in Europe. Described as an extremely walkable city, Barcelona offers various dining options for a solo traveler. You may dine al fresco, try Barcelona’s paellas or go to the city’s tapas bars. Aside from its comparatively low crime rates, the following European destinations are fascinating to visit for several reasons.
Munich, Germany – Beautiful architecture, charming traditional culture, and spacious green spaces
Norway’s Fjords – Norway has some of the most impressive fjords globally, and these waterways are home to multiple remote islands, wilderness areas, and even entire cities. Here, you will also find waterfalls and fjord arms to explore at every turn, and the western fjords of Norway is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
London, England – You will love roaming along the River Thames, winding through the four and a half acres of Harrods department store, and snacking in the 1,000-year-old Borough Market. At night, grab a seat alongside locals at a pub or catch a show on the West End before enjoying a late-night bite at nearby Chinatown.
Paris, France – The Eiffel Tower — absolutely one of the most famous landmarks in Paris!
Venice, Italy – St. Mark’s Square, the city’s central square, home to the opulent 12th-century St. Mark’s Basilica, tiled with beautiful Byzantine mosaics; The Doge’s Palace, home to one of Venice’s most important historical museums; and Bridge of Sighs which was built entirely in white limestone
Taipei in Taiwan is the leading Asian destination when it comes to being safe for solo female travelers. Taipei is popular for numerous night markets. The city is perfect for shopping for accessories and souvenirs and filling your belly. The metro system has “Safe Waiting Zone” boxes marked on the platforms, monitored closely by video feed, specifically to protect female passengers at night. With their salient attractions, the following Asian destinations are recommended to solo female tourists:
Okinawa, Japan – Naha, the capital of the Okinawa islands, houses the ancient castle, a vibrant shopping street, and many other tourist d]attractions. Naha is where you will findOkinawa’s only public rail system. The Okinawa monorail provides an easy route through the city to the old capital of Shuri.
Delhi, India – Street food such as chaat papri (fried wafers loaded with potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt, and chili) or golgappas (fried hollow dough filled with chickpeas and spicy potatoes), stuffed parathas (fried pieces of bread with vegetable fillings), sizzling kebabs and treacle-dripping jalebis (sweet swirls of fried dough) and others
Melbourne – Melbourne is the second-most livable city in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Queen Victoria Market, popularly called Queen Vic or Vic Market, is a major attraction in Melbourne.
Sydney – Famous for Shows at the Opera House, Paddy’s Markets, Bondi Beach, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay
Dubai, UAE – Known for Cityscape at Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Quarter (Old Dubai), Traditional Architecture at Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House.
Istanbul, Turkey – Popular for Palaces, mosques, museums for cultural and history buffs
Toronto Canada – Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Toronto Island Park, and more
Mexico City, Mexico – Chapultepec ( the oldest and largest urban park in Latin America, and also among the oldest urban parks in the world, museums, the traditional boroughs such as Coyoacán, San Angel, and Xochimilco)
Galapagos – Sea turtle, Marine iguana, Galapagos giant tortoise, Galapagos penguin, and other wildlife
El Chalten, Argentina – Heralded as the National Capital of Trekking in Argentina, the place will win the heart of every solo female backpacker.
Frequently asked questions
How much money do you need to travel solo?
Tour companies often offer limited discounts to solo travelers. But generally, $20,000 is the standard cost for a trip around the world for one person for one year. This estimation aligns with popular recommendations that budget travelers can spend an average of $50 a day on the road and allows additional budget for flights and vaccines.
Is it safe to travel alone as a female?
“Traveling solo is as safe as traveling with others as long as you plan for safety and follow your instincts,” according to Janice Waugh, author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook and the Solo Traveler Blog. Misconceptions about solo female travel shouldn’t limit your mobility and stop you from going places independently. Traveling alone, just like traveling with others, is not scary as long as you know how to plan your safety.
Is it safe for a woman to backpack alone?
As long as you are prepared and equipped with self-defense and other survival techniques, it’s safe for you to backpack alone.
״The secret of happiness, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less״ - Socrates
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