Solo Travel | The truth about being a solo FEMALE TRAVELLER
The idea of travelling solo across the world to a place you’ve never been, where you don't speak the language, no the culture, or know one living soul can quite frankly be really really scary! Of course, it's easy to think about every possible worst-case scenario!
"What if I'm abducted like in taken!!"
"What if I'm robbed!!"
"What if I'm murdered in my sleep!! In my hostel!! By the creepy guy that was staring at me at the hostel dinner!?!?!"
There are so many "What ifs?" and in a world where every other news headline is about trafficking and violence, I don't blame you if you have doubts! But all of these things could happen to you just as easily in your own home towns! Solo travel is an opportunity to let that fear go.
For me each and every time I take a solo trip they're really different, and I think that’s the amazing thing about them!
My first solo trip was to Singapore and Malaysia and it was amazing! I planned my itinerary, did everything I wanted, and overcame my initial fears of being alone in a foreign place. BUT I made 0 friends LOL! I was really scared to talk to people and made the huge mistake of staying in hotels the whole time. But I still absolutely loved it.
My second solo trip was 6 months backpacking through Asia and it was an extremely different experience. I started in the same manner, to scared to stay in a hostel, and I probably spent the whole of my first week alone in hotels. But I realised if I carried on I'd run through my saving quickly and I'd spend the whole trip alone. So I checked into my first hostel, where I meet 5 amazing ladies that I continued to travel with over the next 3 weeks. After that, I was way more open to meeting people, and connected with so many people as the 6 months went on. My experience as a solo traveller completely changed my life, and I'm now able to share those experiences and my travel knowledge with you all. I believe that was all because I took that leap of faith to travel solo!
photo credit: https://www.alilahotels.com/manggis
Now, let's not get it twisted solo travel is not always a bundle of roses! Especially as a woman, you have to stay vigilant and make smart decisions. I have defiantly had frightening and uncomfortable situations. But I think it's really important to get comfortable being uncomfortable, it encourages you to grow and open your mind to new and amazing experiences.
Being a woman of colour, of course in some countries I have found people are absolutely amazed by me. People have come up to me touched me, touched my hair, even pulled my braids once! Lol! Depending on where you are from seeing people of different nationalities may be the norm for you, but in some parts of the world being black or white can be quite unique! Be understanding, be friendly, be tolerant, these people 9 times out of 10 are nothing but curious. And these experiences may lead to amazing memories and acts of kindness from people you don't even know. Here are my top tips for solo travel after a year of being on the road!
My TOP TIPS for travelling solo:
1. Be Smart, Stay Safe!
This has to be my first and most important tip, ultimately you are on your own, and while I believe solo travel is 100% safe. You have to be smart about how you move as a foreigner in another country. But there are ways to keep yourself safe and keep the risk factors as low as possible. Check out the mini-list below!
Avoid going out at night alone. But if you do avoid walking anywhere, take a taxi or public transport.
I hardly drink, but when I do, I always keep an eye on my drink and I keep it to a minimum.
I check in with friends and family at least once a day. Having them on find my friends is always a good shout
Keep your valuables safe, either locked away or on you while in transit.
Be vigilant, keep an eye on your surroundings and keep your belongings close.
2. Do your Research!
This has to be one of my favourite parts about travel prep! I love doing my research finding all the beautiful places I want to visit. Its also a good way to stay safe, be aware of all the possible dangers so you can avoid them. Read blogs, search Pinterest for all the best hotspots, watch vlogs, reach out to influencers and ask them questions.
This research will help your trip go a lot smoother!
3. Yes, you guessed it! Stay in a hostel!
If you want to meet people while you travel, Hostels are the best way to do it. And I no a lot of you will be thinking “gross I’m not staying in a hostel”. But Hostels have come a long way, I’ve stayed in hostels that have private pools, cinema rooms, rooftop bars! I would highly recommend you give it a chance.
Top Tip: Always check the rating and reviews of the hostel before booking.
4. Meet new people!!
If you're not completely comfortable staying in a hostel then there are other ways you can meet people. Apps such as bumble friends(link) or Meetup are great ways to meet other link minded people!! OR dare I say it, you could slide into the DMS! I can honestly admit I have some of my closest friends via Instagram dm!!
Lastly, you could go on an organised group trip, although this is not completely alone, you would be travelling with a group of people you've never meet.
5. Don't forget to have some alone time.
Once you get into the swing of things, you're going to meet some amazing people, life long friends even. But it’s important to also not compromise your plans to be with new friends. One of the best things about travelling solo is you can completely control to adventure, so didn’t get caught up in other peoples plans just because you don’t want to be alone again. Its also really important to be okay with being alone, enjoying your own company, and loving yourself.
6. Invest in a Tripod!!
So travelling solo can mean there is literally no1 to take your pictures! And let's be realistic we are all tryna do it for the gram! so I'd highly recommend investing in a tripod! I've taken some of my favourite pictures using my tripod, in fact, all the pictures in this post where taken on my tripod or on my drone by myself! Be confident and strut like no1 is watching, and get that dope content!
7. Get Travel Insurance!!
If you're heading off no matter what type of trip you're going on, get travel insurance! We have to be realistic, as a foreigner, we are a target. You also just never know what could happen on an excursion, or dare I say it at dinner!! I actually ended up in the hospital after catching an infection from some seafood in the Philippines, because I had insurance so going to the hospital did not break the bank!
Solo travel is a lot more than what’s sold on the tin, It’s an amazing way to challenge yourself, to explore a new destination, and to grow as a person. I think its something every person should experience at some point in their lives! Hope this guide helps you achieve all your solo travel dreams!!
8. Start the day early
As I tend not to go out too much after dark, I start my day as early as possible. I like to get the most out of my day and get as much sunlight as possible. Also if you wanna get those dope Instagram shots where there's no1 in the background! then you gotta get up!! LOL
I hope these tips help you all to get out there and chase the adventure life has waiting for you!