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If you’re planning to travel alone for the first time, allow me to be your hype woman. I LOVE traveling solo and inspiring other women to do it too! This post encompasses the ultimate guide to solo female travel and will help you feel more comfortable seeing the world on your own.

Solo travel changed my life. Not only did it make me smarter and more confident, it gave me a purpose. Finding your purpose in life is a game changer. When I am on a solo adventure, I feel like I can conquer the world (and…who knows, maybe I will! 😉).

Wondering what today’s adventure will bring…

You’re already inspired, I can tell. GREAT! I love when I can do my job. But you probably have questions…okay, a LOT of questions. And that’s okay! You’re probably wondering how to stay safe, where to go, what to do, etc. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about all that further down. The first thing I want to address is how you’re feeling now – the nervous excitement (with perhaps a little more emphasis on “nervous”).

It’s totally normal to feel scared to go out all by yourself. It can be awkward sitting at a restaurant alone or showing up to a group trip alone. Society likes to raise an eyebrow at women who are seen out and about by themselves. But what they DON’T tell you is everyone is going to think you’re cool as hell. Trust me. I have had enough people tell me how fantastic it is that I give zero you-know-what’s and just go & do it.

And you know what? I think it’s pretty cool too. So now, I want YOU to know that feeling!

How Can I Help You Solo Travel?

A lot of this post is dedicated to things that will help you feel safe as a solo traveler, such as travel credit cards, trip insurance, choosing a safe destination, etc. If you have questions, write them in the Questions/Comments section at the end of this post and I’ll get back to you!

Lastly, it’s important to remember the best part about solo travel: the fact that nobody in the entire world is going to have this exact same adventure as you. You have memories, experiences, and feelings that will be unlike anyone else’s in the world. Okay, I think I’ve convinced you that you’re a badass and can do anything. Now…let me show you how! ⬇️

1. Planning Your Solo Travel Adventure

Most of what I focus on in this section will be solo travel in America. I have another blog post dedicated to solo travel tips for Europe that you can read here!

Choosing Safe Destinations for Female Solo Travelers

If you are by yourself, your #1 priority should always be safety. Make sure to let your friends/family know your whereabouts and give them a copy of your itinerary. I always share my location with the people closest to me on my phone so they can check on me.

No matter where I choose to go, I always research what parts of a city to avoid and which parts are safe. I also ask people who have been there if there are any areas I need to avoid or anything I need to watch out for. Getting real-life feedback from people you know and trust is so important, and invaluable to keeping yourself safe!

The Best Places for Solo Female Travel in America

If you are traveling in solo America and want to visit a new city, you probably want to avoid larger cities like New York and Chicago. These cities may overwhelm you if it’s your first time exploring on your own.

If you still want the city feel without being overwhelmed, I like suggesting Charlotte, NC to people if it’s their first time going solo. Charlotte was one of the first American cities that I ever visited, and I loved it for its beauty, food scene, and vibe. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite places to go!

If you don’t want THAT much of a city, I would suggest a beach town like Wilmington, NC or Charleston, SC. I have also been to Raleigh, NC and loved it.

  • Pro Tip: Although I have been to all the cities I mentioned above, my last time there was before I became a travel blogger. Therefore, I unfortunately don’t have any blog posts about them at this time.

You could also do a hiking trip! My favorite hiking destination is Sedona, Arizona, and I have tons of rec’s on my Hiking & National Parks page.

Know How You’re Getting Around

Is the city you’re going to walkable? Do you need to rent a car? Do they have public transportation, and how easy is it to use?

These are all things I make sure that I know before I travel somewhere. I usually have a trip itinerary planned, and getting from A to B is a huge factor in how I go about planning.

If a city has a metro system, there’s a 95% chance I’m going to be on it. I LOVE taking the metro. I think it’s incredibly cheap, convenient, and a great source of entertainment. Trust me, you’ll meet some characters on the metro.

In fact, the only thing I love more than the metro is a walkable city. No wonder I visit New York and Chicago so often! (This is another thing I love about Europe – so many walkable cities!)

  • Pro Tip: One of my favorite apps I use to plan my trips is inRoute. It allows you to easily put multiple destinations in the map and shows you the distance between all of them. I always list my hotel as my starting point.

Tips for Booking Hotels, Flights, and More

For hotels, I advise people to stay as centrally located to the city center or things they want to see as possible. This will minimize not only your travel time, but also transportation cost. A lot of times, I will also search for hotels on Google maps! If you think that’s odd, read How I Use Google Maps to Find Cheap Hotel Deals here.

For flights, I try and fly direct as much as possible. I will usually try to get an early morning flight, in case of any delays. I highly recommend investing in TSA Pre-Check (+ Global Entry if you’re going to be doing international travel). Most travel credit cards will credit you back the fee it takes to apply for each of these.

  • TSA Pre-Check gets you through security faster in United States airports
  • Global Entry gets you through international customs faster in United States airports

My favorite apps & websites to book flights include Skyscanner and Google Flights (and I use this Google Flights hack all the time to find cheap flights!)

2. How to Pack for A Solo Trip

A lot of people will recommend packing light, no matter if you’re going on a solo trip or a trip with 10 other friends. However, I am not one of those people.

My suitcase is huge, because I like options. If I’m going somewhere for 5 days, I have at least 10 outfits and 4 pairs of shoes to choose from. I have my jewelry, my dual-voltage curling iron, my makeup bag, my laptop, my toiletry bag…need I say more?

Yes, it’s heavy. Yes, I have had to drag it up and down steps, through narrow alleyways, taken it on the crowded metro, wheeled it half a mile to my hotel, etc. But I’d rather have options than regrets. And besides, it builds character 😉.

If you do want to pack light, I would recommend taking outfits that you can mix and match. Think neutrals or “staple pieces” that you can switch up with accessories like a scarf or a hat. Throw in sunglasses so you don’t have to do your makeup, and bring 1-2 pairs of shoes that go with everything. Some hotels even have laundry rooms! (Personally, I would not spend my vaca doing laundry, but you do you baby. 😘)

My Favorite Packing Pro Tips for Vacation

  • Make a (detailed) packing list. I even write down specific makeup products that I want to take if they’re different than what I use in everyday life.
  • Packing cubes are a game changer, and I NEVER travel without them. They help me organize my outfits, and also leave me with more space in my suitcase.
  • If you are going to check a bag, invest in Airtags so you can track your luggage.

3. Get a Travel Credit Card (Bonus: They Include Travel Insurance)

Getting a travel credit card is SO important, especially if you are going to be traveling internationally. If you are going outside of the country, you want to make sure you have a credit card that doesn’t charge you international fees.

If you’re going on a solo trip, that likely means you’re paying for everything on your own. With travel credit cards, you are able to redeem or transfer your points to get free or discounted flights, hotels, experiences, and more. Investing in a good travel credit card is a lot of why I have been able to afford to travel so much!

  • Pro Tip: When you’re going solo, I recommend taking a second credit card, just in case your travel card gets lost or stolen. I usually lock my backup card in my hotel room.

You can also get an airline credit card which will help pay for your flights. This is a good idea if there is an airline that you fly often. Almost every popular airline has their own credit card that will get you a ton of perks!

What Are The Best Travel Credit Cards to Get?

I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and I am a fan. This is Chase’s card for hardcore travelers and offers the most extensive travel perks. Chase also has the Sapphire Preferred for people who want travel benefits but don’t travel quite as often as the Reserve cardholders.

AmEx Platinum is another card that hardcore travelers love. If you are someone who travels all the time, you likely either have the Chase Reserve or the AmEx Platinum. Each card has their different perks and benefits, some of which are similar, others that are different. IMO, you really can’t go wrong with either one. This article from Newsweek does a good job at explaining the benefits of both cards.

Knowing the Benefits of Travel Insurance

Another huge perk of investing in a travel credit card is most of them come with some level of travel insurance. You are able to buy your own separate insurance when you book your flight, hotel, etc., but you will end up paying more money in the long run. With a travel credit card, you technically always have insurance as long as you are paying for your travel expenses with that card (part of why you have to pay an annual fee!).

But make no mistake, travel insurance is not always as easy as it seems. In fact, I have written a whole separate post on the ugly truth about travel insurance and why getting reimbursed can be quite difficult. But despite all this, it’s better to have coverage should you need it. Just know that getting reimbursed can be a long, tedious process.

  • Pro Tip: Make sure to read the fine print about what is and isn’t covered and in what situations! This is so important for knowing whether you will get reimbursed or not

4. How to Budget Your Solo Trip

Now that we’ve discussed credit cards, I think it’s important to talk about money in general. One of the biggest downsides about solo travel is that you have to pay for everything yourself. And as you can imagine, shit gets expensive.

My Top Tips for Budgeting and Saving Money on Your Solo Trip

  • Get a travel or airline credit card – I know I just said this, but I’m saying it again. It’s my #1 tip!
  • Create an Excel spreadsheet – List the cost of everything so you can budget and plan
  • Download a budget app – Mint, YNAB, or PocketGuard are apps that can help track your spending
  • Book your flights in advance – Flights go up in price directly proportional to your departure date
  • Space things out – When I plan trips, I do it a few months in advance. If I am going to 2 different countries and have to book 2 different hotels, I’ll pay for 1 hotel now and then pay at the property for the 2nd one. Or, I’ll book my flight one month and then my hotel the next month.
  • Rent, don’t buy – We all want new clothes for vaca, but a lot of times it’s much cheaper to rent them. I am a HUGE fan of FashionPass because they carry the cutest clothing brands!

Finally, while it’s important to remember to be smart with your money, I also think it’s important to remember that a lot of trips can be once in a lifetime experiences. I always remind myself that money is fluid. In other words, I can always make more money. I can always eat cereal for dinner for a week when I come home. I can always find ways to save. But I can’t always take a boat tour off the Amalfi Coast.

5. How to Stay Safe as A Solo Female Traveler

Safety is probably the biggest reason that most women don’t travel on their own…and I can understand why. The world today is a mess, and people are crazy. When women tell me they are too scared to go out on their own, I can totally sympathize.

So many people ask me if I get scared when I travel alone, and for the most part, I do not. I always remind myself that from small towns to big cities, bad things can happen anywhere. As long as you pay attention to your surroundings and use common sense, there is a high likelihood that you will be safe.

My Top Tips for Staying Safe as a Solo Female Traveler

  • Don’t ever post on social media in real time **this is actually my #1 rule of solo travel**
  • Know your boundaries – such as refusing to go back to a stranger’s hotel room or apartment
  • Walk with a purpose (and/or RBF) – the more confident and unapproachable you look, the less likely you are to be a target
  • Don’t be afraid to be a bitch – it’s better to be rude than dead 🤷🏼‍♀️
  • Keep an Airtag in your purse (or your shoe…or your bra…)
  • Carry a Birdie Alarm – This keychain alarm will sound a loud whistle and flashing strobe light if you are in danger
  • Share your location with multiple people
  • Carry a portable charger with you in case your phone dies
  • Get a Google Voice phone number – this is a fake number that you can give to someone which will ring to your phone, but they won’t be able to track you with it.
  • If you meet someone you want to share your night with:
    • Take their photo & send it to your friends. I’ve also heard of women taking a photo of the person’s ID
    • Always go to your own hotel (you can even register this person as a guest, so the hotel has their information)
    • Google them/look up their social media
    • Trust your instincts – if they’re being too pushy/eager/aggressive, see bullet #4

I’m going to say this again: TRUST. YOUR. INSTINCTS. You would be amazed at what your body and intuition can detect. Solo travel has made me even better at sharpening my senses and recognizing when I’m in a good or bad situation. It’s honestly wild how your body just knows these things, but it does. Always pay attention.

6. How to Embrace Solo Time

“What if I get lonely?”… “What if I get bored?”… “How will I know what to do on my own?”

To embrace solo time and have the most fun, I highly encourage researching a destination and planning a few excursions before you go. This will help you to not only avoid boredom, but will create more excitement around your trip in general. Look at everything you get to look forward to!

I talk about the fear of loneliness more in the next section, but for now, know that I have met other people on tours, in cafes, on the street, in the bathroom, in line for the bar, etc. While meeting people on vacation is a lot of fun, don’t sleep on the benefits of taking time for yourself too. You’d be surprised at what a soul-cleansing experience this can be!

The Benefits of Solo Travel for Personal Growth

  • Independence – Solo travel offers the opportunity to make decisions independently, which helps you build confidence in your abilities and judgment.
  • Freedom – Ever taken a group trip and NOT wanted to do what the majority was doing? Traveling solo allows you to set your own pace, pursue your interests, and create your own itinerary. In other words, you get to do WHATEVER. YOU. WANT! This is one of my favorite parts of solo travel. I am always satisfied because I’m always doing what I want to do.
  • Self-discovery – Being alone in new environments encourages self-reflection and introspection, which leads to personal growth and deeper self-understanding. I have discovered things about myself that I never knew I enjoyed, and in turn, created the person that I am today.

This is not to say never do group trips, of course. But sometimes, taking a trip and catering solely to your own wants and needs is the most therapeutic thing in the world.

Tips for Enjoying Your Own Company and Embracing Solitude

  • Practice mindfulness – Take moments to pause and appreciate your surroundings. Really pay attention. Listen to the sounds of cars in the city, notice the music playing in a restaurant, observe the different trees and plants on your hike.
  • Plan activities that you know you’ll love – Embrace the freedom to indulge in whatever brings you joy. Explore a unique museum, take a boat tour, make reservations at a unique restaurant
  • Disconnect to reconnect – Listen, I am the last person who should say “don’t take a million pictures with your phone” (have you SEEN this website?!). But lately, I have started making it a priority to take my photos and then put my phone away. Limiting screen time allows you to fully immerse yourself in the present moment.
  • Embrace spontaneity – Be open to unexpected adventures and serendipitous encounters. Allow yourself to wander aimlessly, follow your curiosity, and embrace the unknown with a sense of adventure. Some of the best nights of my life have been when my night didn’t go as planned…but that’s a story for a different blog post 😉
  • Remind yourself that you’re a bad b*tch – Let’s be honest: it takes a LOT of confidence, a LOT of bravery, and a LOT of planning to solo travel. You’re doing it, and you’re killing it. Order another glass of Prosecco and remind yourself how cool you are right now.
Pro Tip

The #1 Reason I’m So Comfortable Traveling Solo

Quite frankly, I’m addicted to the freedom of solo travel…and the empowerment that comes with it. But it’s because I trust myself.

I love being able to do what I want, when I want. But I also love how solo travel contributes to self-love and self-confidence…which leads to self trust!

I can honestly say I am my own best friend. I genuinely enjoy my own company. I love discovering new things about myself in new places. All along the way, I trust myself to listen to my instincts…and it’s made all the difference.

Pro Tip: As a creator, a lot of my biggest inspirations and best ideas come from solo trips. I force myself to pay attention and observe, and use what I see, hear, and learn to make myself a better writer, photographer, and traveler. I gain a new level of confidence each time because all of these ideas are ones I came to me through pushing my boundaries and comfort zone, which makes them even more authentic and real.

7. Making Connections: Meeting People While Traveling Solo

Although I talk about apps in the section below, I always prefer meeting people “the old fashioned way” – by striking up a conversation with someone in person. IMO, this is safer and creates a more authentic experience.

Tips for Meeting People While Traveling Solo

  • Socialize in common areas – Stay in hostels, hotels, or accommodations with communal spaces where travelers often gather. Strike up conversations with fellow guests over breakfast or in the lounge area.
  • Join group activities or book group tours – Participate in cooking classes, walking tours, or pub crawls. These activities provide opportunities to meet like-minded travelers and bond over shared experiences. I love booking things through Get Your Guide and Viator.
  • Attend social events – Keep an eye out for meetups, concerts, festivals, etc. happening in your destination. Check destinations-specific social media accounts to see what events are happening when you’ll be there.
  • Use the apps – Although this isn’t my personal preference, you can always connect and meet up with people via an app. Bumble For Friends lets you meet a pal you can hang out with, and then there’s Hinge, Tinder, and the OG Bumble app if you’re looking for something more.
Pro Tip

The #1 Way I Meet People While Traveling Solo

My absolute favorite way to meet people when I travel alone is to sit at the bar. I will almost always sit at the bar every night when I have dinner on vacation, or find a cool spot to grab a drink. I have met some of the best, funniest, most incredible people this way.

Some of the people I’ve met at the bar have turned into dates, and others have even turned into friends that I still keep in contact with and visit. The stories about the people I meet when I travel solo are always some of my favorites to tell.

8. Documenting Your Solo Travel Adventures

Sooo if you’re all alone, who is going to take your epic vacation pics?

I bring this tripod with me everywhere I go and use it to take all of my photos. It has a remote that I can Bluetooth to my phone that makes taking photos easy.

Some people may be hesitant to be that girl who is setting up a tripod taking photos of herself. I always remind myself that these people will never see me again, and while they may make fun of me for a few minutes, my trip photos will last forever!

I also love bringing a journal along and writing about what I did that day before I go to bed. I love having special moments documented in writing, and it makes it that much more special knowing I can go back and read about them years later.

9. Your Solo Travel Itinerary: To Plan, or Not to Plan?

Some people fly by the seat of their pants, others are Type A planners. I am the latter. I always tell solo travelers to go with a planned itinerary for two main reasons:

The biggest reason that I plan trips is because I really like knowing what a destination is known for. I want to know the buildings I need to see in Prague and what the main town square is in Munich. I feel like really embracing the culture, famous landmarks, and food takes your trip to the next level. I want to know I am getting the most out of my vacation, which is why I always research and plan.

Solo Travel Itineraries:
Things I Always Research

  • City centers/notable streets
  • Famous buildings, bridges, landmarks, churches, etc.
  • What food the city/culture is known for
  • Restaurants/bars/coffee shops (I use Yelp and Beli)
  • Any notable tours (taking a boat tour off the Greek islands is 10/10)
  • How long it will take me to get from place to place, especially when picking out my hotel
  • If the destination is considered safe, and where in the city I need to avoid

The other reason I plan solo trips because it helps me feel safer. If I know where I’m going and what I’m doing, I am able to look less like a tourist, which makes me less of a target.

This isn’t to say I plan every minute of every second of every day. If I see something not on my itinerary that looks super cool, best believe I am going to take advantage of the opportunity. I have roughly 3-4 things on my list each day to do, and the rest of the time I devote to seeing where the cobblestone streets take me.

Pro Tip: If you prefer to figure it all out when you get there, I love that for you. I would end up wandering aimlessly around and have no idea what I was doing, especially if I didn’t know much about my destination. However, I know trip planning can be time-consuming and a huge pain for some people (which is why I created my Destinations page!)

Final Thoughts About Solo Travel

Although it can be intimidating to travel solo (especially your first time!), keep in mind that it can only make you a better, stronger, more confident version of yourself. Take this opportunity to celebrate pushing your comfort zone!

In life, and especially into adulthood, people are busy and get pulled in different directions. Your life will pass by regardless. I always remind people that if you wait for someone to travel with you, you could be waiting a very long time. There’s a lot of risks in solo travel, but there are also a lot of risks in playing it safe.

I encourage you to take this leap of faith with confidence. Developing a “whatever goes wrong, I can handle it” mindset will get you far – not only in solo travel, but in life. Now…go have an epic adventure ;).

  • For even more solo travel inspo, read my story about how I got started as a solo traveler and travel blogger on my About Me page!

Thank You for Visiting!

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have questions, please comment below & I will respond. If you found this post helpful, please share with your friends or on social media. For more photo inspo, follow my Instagram!

Lastly, if you’re reading this, you’re the reason I get to live my dream. Thanks for letting me show you the world 💕

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