Safe Solo Travel for Women
Before I worked in travel, I didn’t travel as much as I would like to. It wasn’t because of finances or time; it was because I didn’t have anyone to come with me. My friends weren’t available to come with me, and I was scared to travel solo as a woman. The thought of feeling unsafe in an unfamiliar location without a support network was daunting.
Despite my fears, I took the plunge and decided to try solo travel.
Solo Trip #1 Majorca
My first solo trip was a short break in Majorca. I booked a single hotel room in Palma Nova for a little bit of sunshine.
I wish I could tell you that the trip was a success and changed my perspective on solo travel, but it did not. I felt awkward the whole time I was away. At the airport, I looked like a Billy No Mates. I felt incredibly alone while exploring.
I hated eating out the most; I felt very self-conscious eating and drinking alone. At the bar, it felt like everyone was staring at me, thinking that I was looking to meet someone – I was not!
Solo Trip #2 Organised Italy Tour
I was a little hesitant to travel solo again after my Majorca trip, but after a while, I was desperate for another holiday. So, I decided to book an organised tour. Having other people around would surely make me feel less awkward. And if all else failed, at least the wine would be good!
I was relieved to see that my fellow passengers were a mix of couples and other solo travellers. I had been worried that I would be the 11th wheel on an incredibly romantic Italy tour. But I had a great group. We ate meals and explored together. Even during free time, we would break off into smaller groups for sightseeing.
Solo Trip #3 Everest Base Camp
Following the success of the Italy tour, I decided to book my next tour adventure; Everest Base Camp. This is something that has always been on my bucket list, so I was excited. I got really lucky because all 10 of my group were solo travellers. Supporting each other through the physical and mental hardships of the trek created a fast and solid bond. I’m still friends with many of the group.
Solo Trip #4 Mt Kinabalu Trek – Borneo
After Everest, I had the adventure bug! My next solo trip was a Mount Kinabalu trip with a group of travel agents.
All 12 of us were strangers, but we soon got to know each other well. It was a 48-hour trip climbing to the peak of Mount Kinabalu in Borneo. We started climbing in complete darkness at 1 am, wearing head torches. When we finally reached the summit at sunrise, after an exhausting climb, the shared accomplishment deepened the sense of camaraderie we built while climbing.
I love doing these adventure trips as part of a solo travel group because there are no expectations. There is a lot less pressure to be social, which is a relief when you are physically and mentally exhausted.
Tips For Solo Travelling Women
· Find an organised tour that matches your hobbies. There are themed tours for cooking, cycling, yoga, and much more. Themed tours offer really unique experiences that would be hard to book yourself otherwise.
· Keep an open mind. Most organised tours attract a mix of travellers. There will be couples, groups, and solo travellers. You will not get along with every single person, but you will find kindred spirits on every tour. As a solo female traveller, I found that the other group members looked out for me.
· Save money by sharing. Many organised tours offer a single share option that pairs you with another solo female traveller. This is a great way to avoid paying the single supplement if you don’t mind sharing a room. Personally, I like my own room, so I don’t mind paying a single supplement.
· Try a cruise. Most cruises have formal dining options where you are seated with other passengers at dinner. I recommend choosing a table of 6-8, so you have a selection of people to talk to. It is very relaxed, and you can join in the conversation or just people-watch, depending on your preferences.
· Try specialist solo tours. There are a number of operators that offer tours for solo travellers. Just You Holidays is one of these, and their range is fantastic. They offer women-only tours, walking tours, river cruises, and short breaks. I love that they offer a community chat feature so you can get to know your fellow travellers before you depart.
· Stay safe. Always book with a reputable, ABTA and ATOL- bonded travel agent. Ask about how they support solo travellers. I tell my solo travelling clients that they can send me WhatsApp messages anytime. Having expert support while you are travelling alone provides extra peace of mind.