By: Elaine Kilgore, Greenheart Exchange Work and Travel Program Assistant
Do you want to visit Japan, but your friends can’t commit to a plane ticket? Have you ever dreamt of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, but you’re afraid to spend a week alone in a foreign country? Don’t wait for other people. Commit to yourself and just go. The fear of traveling alone shouldn’t stop you from going where you want and when you want to go. Take advantage of opportunities for personal growth, new friendships, and memorable experiences that are yours alone.
I asked my friends, co-workers, and other travelers in my circles to share tips, tricks, and advice for other solo female travelers. I hope this encourages anyone doubting themselves to get out there and see the world for themselves.
“Be open to new people and experiences. I know that sounds obvious but sometimes I have to remind myself.” – Kristen Woods
Go to the bar with the other girls in your hostel dormitory and meet new people. It could turn out to be the best night of your trip!
“I spent Christmas alone and had an amazing experience hiking up a snowy mountain, visiting the most beautiful cathedral I have ever seen, and going to Christmas markets. Even on Christmas, I was thankful to have the time alone. It can also be a great time to meditate.” – Jennifer Bubel
“Act like you know what you are doing, even if you don’t.” – Lisa Rizzardi
“I got to hike to a hidden waterfall, moto through the way backroads of northern Thailand, and chill out on a nearly deserted island – all things I would not have felt safe enough to do on my own.” – Jill Johnson
“Cut the lid off the top of a sunscreen container but allow for the cap to snap back on. This way, you can keep your room key, money, and ID with you on the beach and no one will think to steal it. You can get robbed while traveling, just like you can get robbed at home, so walk with a purpose and stay alert to your surroundings. Do not wave your money and electronics around and do not drink too much.” – Tara Bush
Bonus tip: “Bring a car freshener to put in your bag. I put a vanilla scented one in my bag, and even with dirty clothes my stuff smelled great!”
“Don’t let others tell you that you can’t travel alone. Don’t be intimidated. Of course be wary and safe, but do not let it hinder where you want to go. If you want to go to Tokyo, then go! Solo travel can be very rewarding and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” – Bridget Bailey