I found this quote from a fellow solo female travelers post:
“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.”-Henry David Thoreau
The main question that I get asked when I tell people that I am going on a solo trip is: “Aren’t you scared?“. And my answer to that question is, ‘not really.’ I actually love traveling by myself. It gives me a sense of… freedom. Freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want, at the pace I want. Now, don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy taking trips with friends, so we can share fun memories together, but when I travel solo, it’s just a whole different experience.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I get about solo traveling.
“What do you do on your own?”
I basically enjoy doing a lot of sightseeing when I travel alone. Visit museums, Historical Monuments, National Landmarks, and of course check out the popular “tourist” places. I also enjoy searching on Instagram for inspiration and ask locals for those “hidden” spots.
“Where do you stay?”
All the solo trips I have taken, I have stayed in hostels. I like that fact that is good place for me to meet new travelers, take group tours, and it is a very affordable way to travel. Also, most of the time hostels are located at a central location and close to public transportation.
Hostelling is a whole new set of questions that I will be writing about on another blog post! But, I will tell you that before I book a hostel, I do a lot of research and read lots of recent reviews. Keep in mind, all hostels I have stayed in, have been in the United States.
“Is it expensive to travel alone?”
I have learned that this is a very “tricky” question, per say. What I consider expensive, may not be the same for another person, so it all depends on everyone’s situation.
My top tips are:
- Stay at places that offer free breakfast
- Check out all those “free” attractions
- Walk or use public transportation
- If you are a student or military, do not forget your ID
- When searching for prices, use your incognito/private window so websites aren’t tracking what you are searching for and prices do not get higher
I would say that before you plan on traveling alone, write down a list of things you want to do and see. Then, write how much it is cost for you to do that specific attraction and so on. What helps me personally is writing down all the places I can visit for free. And for those “must see” attractions, I search on Groupon or even call my hostel to see if they have any discounted rates. Also, I like to get the CityPass that is offered in a lot of major US Cities.
Always compare prices before buying. Check their websites to see if they have any special pricing on certain days or times of the day. And if you are a student, DO NOT FORGET your student ID. Most attractions will have a Student Pricing, and even if its $1-$5 difference, trust me, at the end, it makes a huge difference if you’re trying to stay within a budget!
If you do not have a car to drive around town, explore the city by foot. I usually walk everywhere if its less than a 25 minute walk. But make sure to study the map so you’re not on your phone all the time. You want to try to “blend in” with the locals for many reasons; 1. You save your phone’s battery. 2. You are appreciating the city and its people. 3. You are aware of your surroundings!!! If you think you are lost, or want to double check, just stop and look at your map. What helps me a lot is having my Apple Watch guiding me.
A lot of cities also have bikes or scooters you can rent out. Those are always so much fun! Check out the public transportation before ordering an Uber, Lyft or a Taxi. It will definitely save you lots of money. But if you are ever in a situation where you do not feel safe taking the bus, subway or the rail, go ahead and order an Uber or your preferred shared ride. Always follow your instincts!
If you are able to have a credit card, apply for a rewards credit card. This helps to earn money during your travels buy simply using your card for things you were already going to be paying for anyway. Also, it is safer, in case you misplace or lose your wallet. Do not carry a lot of cash! Just have enough for a small transaction, tips, or as a back up.
But wait, back to the first question…
“Aren’t you scared?”
And like I said, “not really”. I mean, of course I am scared of walking alone in a dark street at night. But I would also be scared doing so back at home. I take the necessary precautions every time I travel.
Share your location with your friends or family member. This should be a must. We have all heard and seen cases of missing people, especially women. Now, I don’t mean to scare you, but we live in a world, that sadly, anything can happen ANYWHERE.
Use social media to your advantage. I use social media a lot. So I am in constant communication with my friends and family through one of the social media outlets. If I am not posting on Instagram, I am sending a video on Snapchat, or Twitting about a random thought, or messaging my friends about something funny that happened. But also – and this is important – if you have a public profile, be mindful when sharing your exact location. You do not want strangers knowing you are traveling alone and where you are at. Again, use social media to your advantage. Be smart about what you share to the public!
Do not walk alone at night. Unless you somewhat know the area, or is a well lit place, use common sense. I tend to always carry my mini flashlight and a whistle.
Don’t overshare information. It is okay to meet new people and make friends, but remember to always be smart about what you share to strangers. And if you do not feel safe or comfortable at any time, you can always just lie or end a conversation.
Other than that, I am not scared. I am not scared of meeting new people. I am not scared of discovering new places. I am not scared of finally seeing in person all those places I’ve only seen in books or on tv. I am not scared of exploring this huge world we all live in. I am not scared of stepping out of my comfort zone and finally doing something I have always wanted to do.
So if you ask me what I think about traveling solo? The first thing I will say is “Do it!” I encourage you to do it at least once in your lifetime. It is not too late.
If you have any other questions about traveling solo, let me know in the comments. And if you are wondering which trip has been my favorite? I will probably say its between Seattle, Washington or San Francisco, California.