Have you been thinking about solo travel for a while now, but unsure of how it all goes? There’s richness in taking a solo trip someplace new. Full immersion into discovering a new culture or place, and all the time in the world to find and flow with new interests of your own.
Often, solo trips offer the opportunity to reconnect and rediscover yourself, like Julia Roberts did in Eat, Pray, Love.
Julia makes it look so effortless, but in reality, there’s a lot of planning that goes into taking a safe solo trip around the globe, especially as a woman. The good thing is, though, there’s nothing a good plan can’t sort out.
You can still have the Eat, Pray, Love moment of your dreams, if you consider a few important things in advance. Let’s get into how you can plan a successful solo trip:
Location, location, location…
It’s important to be realistic about where you choose to go, as a solo traveller. It goes without saying that countries with high crime rates should be avoided when choosing a destination to explore alone. You want to opt for the safer countries, with low crime rates and positive reviews from other solo female travellers.
According to stats released by Bounce, these countries are the safest for female travellers to visit:
- Czech Republic
Now that we’ve established a shortlist of safe female traveller countries, do your research! Talk to friends who may have travelled to one/some of these destinations, and read up on reviews by female travellers online.
Searching for ‘vlogs’ (video logs) of your chosen destination on Youtube is a good way to suss out the area, from a tourist’s perspective.
Once you’ve picked a destination, you’ve got to be just as careful with accommodation. Look for a hotel/lodge with positive online ratings, and make sure your accommodation is located centrally, in an open/well-lit area.
Assign a regular check-in buddy
Once your travel plans are in motion, assign yourself a check-in buddy back home, who will send you regular check-in messages, and call you every so often.
Establish a check-in schedule. Commit to sending your check-in buddy an update three times a day. Perhaps once at breakfast, once at lunch, and then at dinner. Letting them know where you are, and that everything’s still fine.
If they don’t hear from you, for an entire day, then they should raise the alarm.
Never visit somewhere new without letting someone know where you are. It may seem like effort when you’re trying to live your travel dreams, but take the time to send your check-in buddy a message. Even if it’s just a “I’m at x for lunch. All good!”
Don’t plan the itinerary down to the minute
Take it from a serial-planner, planning life down to a T comes with its cons. If you’re so focused on eating at this restaurant, ordering this meal, going to this spot for an Instagram shot, then the beauty of the present moment will be lost on you.
I’ve learnt that you need to have a little spontaneity when traveling. If you discover a small authentic restaurant in Bali while doing your morning shopping, opt to stay over for lunch, rather than eating at the hotel for the third time. Try new things, don’t be so strict with the itinerary.
You still need to keep safety in mind, but act on your feet, at least just a little. Ask locals you meet by passing, where are the best spots in town? If you’re apprehensive about travelling by a stranger’s word, find a local tour operative to take you on a guided tour. Along the way, you’ll meet tourists and locals to connect with.
Even if there may be a slight communication gap at your particular location, make space for talking. Use a translate app if you must. It helps to get a sense of the area by speaking to locals.
Look for group activities
As mentioned, this is the best way to connect with other travellers and locals in the area. Group tours range from culinary experiences to photographic walks, adrenaline-fuelled adventures and museum visits. What are you in the mood for, or more partial to? Would you like to discover new food, new art, or architecture perhaps? There’s always something for everyone.
Have a quick Google of tour operatives near you, or visit meet Meetup, an international platform where various groups of different interests, plan get-togethers. Maybe you’ll find something that tickles your fancy near you, like a local quiz night, book club, or run around the block!
Keep these things with you
We love checklists. This prevents any last-minute panic about forgetting or misplacing something. When you’re a solo traveller, make sure you’ve always got the essentials with you before you leave:
- A folder with all printed documents related to trip
- A planner/diary (a digital copy works well, less to carry)
- Technology: phone. Optionally, a tracking device.
- Passport, ID and driver’s licence
- Tickets and booking information
- Credit and/or debit cards
- Covid vaccination certificate
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