Solo female travel is a fantastic tool for self-growth and confidence. It allows us to get out of our comfort zone and at the same time, get more comfortable with who we are as a person. Here are some tips that I’ve learned after my solo female travel experiences and living abroad by myself. These are the tips I live by, and I hope they will help you too!
1. Don’t push someone to come with you
After learning this the hard way, I’ve learned a rule that I now go by ‘If I’m meant to go with someone personally, I will. If not – it’s simply not meant to be.’ The first time was tricky, but that first time showed me the massive pros of travelling solo – the freedom that comes with it and the ability to do what I want, not being dependent on someone.
Going alone has many advantages, such as meeting other people being so much easier. People are much more likely to speak to you if they see you alone than in a group, people travelling in groups are usually a little less likely to be open to meeting new faces (not always of course), this is a great thing to remember and feel a bit less scared to just go with it! We are all in the same boat!
2. Get out of your comfort zone
Usually, getting out of your comfort zone when travelling feels much more comfortable than back at home. Speak to people, go up to someone in the common area and ask if they have plans for today, remember that very often people who stay in hostels are in a similar position to yours and will be more than happy to speak to you! Instead of thinking of you as ‘weird’ they will most likely be pleased with the fact that you approached them.
It’s usually straightforward to tell if they are open for conversations or not, just go with your gut feeling and you will quickly be surprised with how easily you just made some new travel buddies or how all of a sudden you have a brilliant plan and a list of things to do with others for the day ahead.
3. Allow yourself to be ‘by yourself.’
Many of us don’t allow ourselves time to simply be in our own company. One of the important things travel has taught me was the importance of going ’within’ instead of searching for happiness externally. This was the biggest game-changer and something I go by, still today. It might seem scary and uncomfortable at first, but giving ourselves time to enjoy our own company is one of the best things we can do.
Remember – being alone doesn’t mean feeling lonely. Once getting used to it, it will allow you to truly appreciate your own company and at the same time, the time you get with your close ones – on another level.
4. Go with the flow
Don’t over-plan, or plan months in advance. You never know what might happen and the opportunities that may come your way when you’re open to them. You might end up travelling to a completely different place or even living somewhere abroad. Having the freedom of being able to do what you want to do is not something that everyone gets a chance at – so remember to appreciate it and fully live it.
I’ve met many travellers who wished they didn’t book their hostels for weeks ahead as they really wanted to join other travellers who were going in a different direction. But at the same time, didn’t want to lose all the money they spent on booking ahead. Start with booking about two days in advance and see how it feels. You can always extend your stay or book a hostel nearby.
5. Stay in hostels
Hostels were the places I’ve met most people when travelling. It’s much easier to start chatting to someone that is sitting next to you in the common area or staying in the same dorm as you – this was my go-to trick to meet other people. Booking big dorms made it so much easier for me as I would feel a lot more comfortable starting a conversation with someone that was on the same bunk bed as me or just directly in the same room – big dorms mean more people and more possibilities for new travel buddies.
Of course, it depends whether you prefer quiet sleep or not, I didn’t mind that too much and would always prefer more people. I would also go for mixed dorms as I often find it easier chatting with guys, of course, this depends on the situation and the person – some people prefer same-sex rooms, and that’s also totally ok. Go with what feels right!
6. Don’t feel like you have to stay with the same travel buddy
When travelling, it’s easy to meet people and end up journeying together or in groups is fun and easy! Saying that, remember that it is your time and your travel experience, so if you’re starting to feel like wanting to go your separate way – that’s completely ok!
Don’t ever feel like you have to carry on travelling with a specific person or group. Be open with how you feel and don’t take it personally (aka don’t treat it as a big deal). It’s normal, and people will usually understand it or even feel a similar way. It doesn’t mean you don’t like that person anymore etc., it just means you’re following your intuition and if you’re meant to travel together one day again. Well, you will (trust me!)
7. Use social media & your phone to your advantage – not as an escape
Social media can be used to find out about different events and to meet people abroad (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). But it can also be used as an escape from socially awkward situations or in other words – situations that we find uncomfortable but most probably are not (simply because we don’t allow ourselves to have them).
Instead of taking your phone out straight away when being alone in a coffee shop etc. Try and put it away, look around you, notice things surrounding you, smile at a person nearby. This will lead you to become more comfortable with spending time with yourself. And maybe more importantly with being in the moment rather than scrolling through social media.
So that’s it from me! Most importantly remember – solo female travel is nowhere near as scary as it seems! If you want some tips or recommendations – feel free to get in touch with me, and I’ll be more than happy to help. Listen to the podcast where I talk about being a female travelling solo around the world.