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The Ultimate Guide to Solo Female Travel: Best Destinations and Essential Tips

My first solo female backpacking trip took me across Thailand for several months. I was 20, terrified and had booked the trip fairly last minute with minimal research. Looking back, I’m so proud I took the leap despite being scared. Plus doing it without a smartphone, no apps or google maps and relying on dodgy hostel computers to plan most things. This was in 2013, but I still had a small blackberry phone and Thailand didn’t have the same infrastructure back then for travellers. I ended up having the time of my life. Since then, I’ve travelled to more than 50+ countries, with around 30 of those being solo backing trips.

Travelling solo can seem daunting, but there are a number of perks for going somewhere alone. Having the complete freedom to choose your schedule, pick the destinations you want to see and go at your own pace, is liberating. It forces you outside your comfort zones, opens you up to more people and builds an extra layer of confidence in yourself. To anyone thinking of doing it, go!! Book that trip!

As someone who loves to travel independently, here are my thoughts and tips on navigating the world solo.

Advice for Solo Female Travellers

Travelling solo as a female can be an empowering and enriching experience, but it’s essential to prioritise safety and preparedness. I hope to share some tips I’ve learnt along the way during my solo backpacking trips as a woman. From navigating cultural nuances to staying safe in unfamiliar environments, these tips aim to empower you to embark on unforgettable journeys with confidence and peace of mind

1. Research & Planning

The research and planning stage of a solo backpacking trip is crucial for a safe and fulfilling adventure, and helping to determine where you want to go! It involves thorough investigation into destination terrain, typically weather, necessary visas, initial costs and local regulations. My go-to for helping my planning stage includes;

  • Travel blogs
  • Travel Sites; Expedia, Trip Adviser, Lonely Planet
  • Word of Mouth
  • Social Media Researching accommodation options, transportation, and emergency contacts will help you be prepared for when you arrive.

This research is important as it’ll help determining what to pack; factoring in the trip’s duration, climate, and planned activities. Hopefully leading to minimising any unnecessary weight along the way. Some things to keep in mind when researching:

  • Have a think of your dream destinations
  • Get a good idea of your budget, and then add more. Things are always more epxensive..
  • Be aware of school holidays, public holidays and other more expensive times of year for travel
  • Search for deals for flights, hotels and activities
  • Build your ideal itinerary
  • Create a packing list
  • Have the appropriate suitcases/bags
  • Research local customs, clothing, rules
  • Check your visa status

2. Packing Essentials and Tips

Once you know where you’re going, and for how long, it’s time to pack! Outside of the appropriate clothing you’ll need for your specific destination (i.e. swimwear if going to a beach area, hiking gear if going up into the mountains), here are a few other things to keep in mind;

  • Power Adapters – I usually bring a universal adapters than can be used in multiple regions – particularly if your trip takes you to multiple countries.
  • Medication – I always take a small first aid kit with OTC medications i’m familiar with. This typically includes paracetamol, ibuprofen, travel sickness and Imodium. Be sure to have enough supplies of any prescription medications and to have relevant doctor notes if needed. Some countries will only let you bring in a limited supply of pills (particularly if you’re going long term somewhere). In this case, either see whether a medical note provides exemptions or whether you can get hold of the prescription from within your destination.
  • Toiletries and products – depending on where you’re going, it might be worth taking toiletries for your whole trip. This is easy to do on short trips. On longer trips, it might be worth taking a couple of your favourite products.

I will be writing a full packing guide to add to this list.

3. Backup Important Documents and Passport

I always have hard copies of important documents and screenshots. I have a photo album on my phone dedicated to these documents, so they can be easily found if needed. This include;

  • Passport Copy
  • Relevant Visas
  • Drivers License
  • Covid Records
  • Travel Insurance Details
  • Airbnb/Accomodation Confirmation & Address – particularly if you’re arriving somewhere where you won’t have wifi/data immediately
  • Any Pre-Arrival Online Forms – e.g. Singapore, Bali

4. Bring a Rechargeable Power Bank

It’s always wise to have a charged power bank with you when solo travelling. The last thing you want is a dead phone and being stranded on your own. I opt for power banks that can charge a phone 3-4 times before needing to be charged again. Ensures uninterrupted access to essential devices like GPS, emergency communication, and lighting with rechargeable power banks.

5. Share Your Location with Friends and Family

Provide your family and friends with peace of mind by staying connected throughout your trip. If you have pre-planned your travels, or have a detailed itinerary, consider sharing it with people close to you. Alternatively, there are some great apps out there to help stay connected. From the obvious social media/communication apps (whatsapp) to more geo-location specific apps like Find My Friends. On longer trips, I’d send postcards where possible to family as an added keep-sake.

6. Split Up Packing

Cards & Money

It’s always best to split up bank cards and cash across multiple bags. For me, I typically have an emergency credit card in my main backpack, my debit card in my day bag and then primary card (Wise) on me. This is to ensure I have access to a card if something happens to one of my bags.

During my first trip to Bali in 2018, I had my little handbag stolen which stupidly had all my cards. I was stranded solo without any access to cash. This unfortunately happened on a travel day where I was moving from Seminyak to Ubud and I couldn’t check into my hostel in Ubud without paying. As I was scared of travelling with large amounts of cash, I relied on ATM visits every few days, meaning I didn’t have enough money to pay the hostel upfront and they weren’t too forgiving. Luckily, two amazing guys from the US let me transfer money through PayPal and then withdrew from an ATM. I was able to cancel my cards easily through online banking apps. This was a nightmare situation that could have been avoided if I split my cards across my various bags.


Consider packing a few outfits in your hand luggage when travelling, in the instance your bag gets lost on the way. This will always be a pain to deal with, but I think particularly annoying when you’re on your own and can’t borrow off someone you’re with. My bag got left in Bangkok during my transit to Bali. After a 20+ hour journey, the last thing I wanted to do was find new clothes in a place I’d never been to before. I ended up having to buy several bikini bottoms, from a cheap market stall, as substitute for underwear. Now I always pack a few items of clothing in my day bag, in the off chance something happens to my main suitcase. In the Bali incidence, my bag luckily got sent from Bangkok a few days later.

7. Get Good Travel Insurance

Getting adequate travel insurance is an essential aspect of any trip, no matter how short or long you’re going away for. Offering peace of mind and financial protection against unforeseen circumstances, it covers a wide range of emergencies. From lost luggage, unexpected delays, cancelled flights, medical costs and more.

One of my biggest travel regrets was forgetting to get travel insurance ahead of a 10 day trip from London to Southern Italy. Upon arrival at Standard Airport, we were held in the train station for several hours, before finding out a suspected bomb was being investigated in the arrival terminal. We missed the flight and couldn’t book onto another one flight to Bari until the end of the week, meaning we lost around £1,000 for the non-refundable hotels, original flights etc. Lesson learned the hard way. Have a worry-free journey and take out insurance.

8. Learn About the Local Culture

It’s paramount that educate yourself on the local culture and customs, especially on the appropriate dress codes. Many countries have certain dress codes for being in places of worship or in public places in general. Some popular tourist places, like Temples in Thailand or the Vatican, might hand out clothing to cover up your legs and shoulders. However, it’s best not to risk it and just wear the appropriate clothing in the first place.

Engaging with local customs, traditions, and language enriches your journey, deepening connections with people and places. It also promotes respect and sensitivity towards different cultures, enriching your travel experiences and broadening your perspectives.

It can also be a good idea to spend some time learning a few basic phrases in the local language to help with communication and to show appreciation.

9. Consider Staying in Hostels to Meet People

Just because you’re travelling solo doesn’t mean you have to be alone. A great way to meet people is by staying in a hostel. Whether you choose to stay in a private room, or a shared dorm space, you’ll be sure to meet people in the social areas. Hostel World and Booking.com are great sites to explore hostels in your destination. Be sure to look into some of the famous hostel party chains like ‘Selina’ and ‘Mad Monkey’ that are renowned for putting on big events each night to help people get connected. However, most hostels have some form of organised activity, night out or way to facilitate easy ways to break the ice with fellow backpackers.

I used to find going to these incredibly daunting, until I realised most people were in the same boat. One of my best nights out was joining a bar crawl in Prague, which ended at the famous Karlovy Lázně 5-storey night club. I went solo, and was terrified, but quickly made friends with other solo backpackers and had an unforgettable night.

10. Join Group Activities, Excursions or Tours

Similarly with the hostels, joining a group activity, excursion or tour group can be a fantastic way to easily meet people. This is also a pretty good way to ensure meeting people with similar interests, if they’re signing up to the same tours as you. Whether it’s a cooking class of the local cuisine, a full day trip or an extended adventure, this is a great way to ease into solo travelling or mitigate any loneliness on an existing trip. Good starting points for this are TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide and Viatour. Additionally, i’ll typically reach out to my accomodation or local tour centres in the area, to get inspiration or help with booking trips. For longer adventures, look into G Adventures and Intrepid Travel, for tours they have available.

Joining these is also a great idea if you’re travelling somewhere that isn’t easy to get round. For example, parts of Australia or Island hopping in the Philippines can take some planning. Joining a group will take the stress out of it for you.

Another thing I love to do in when i’m travelling solo in a city, is to join free walking tours. It’s not only a great way to see a city, and get insider tips, but you tend to meet other solo travellers this way too. I did great walking tours in both Lisbon and Porto and met a people I ended up travelling with.

11. Meet Other Women To Travel With

Although you’re likely to meet a lot of great people whilst travelling, there’s nothing quite like bonding with other female solo travellers, who are going through the same thing you are. A great way to do this is via female-only dorms in hostels. Outside of hostels, another great way to meet like-minded women is through FaceBook groups and travel forums.

I also always look for specific female travel groups on social media. A famous one worth looking at is Gone Girl International (these operate in many countries) and Host a Sister. The best way to find these groups on FB is to type in things like: expats in *country*, travel to *country*. *country* travel tips etc for your specific region. Some i’ve joined over the years include ‘Girlies in Bali’, ‘making female friends in Melbourne’, ‘Brits in Singapore’. From here you’ll typically see people post what they’re interested in, the area they’re staying in and for how long. I’ve met some amazing people from around the world doing this.

12. Invest in High Quality Locks

High-quality locks for bags and lockers are vital when backpacking to deter theft and protect valuables. They offer a layer of security in hostels, trains, airports and other crowded areas, reducing the risk of theft. By securing belongings, you can enjoy peace of mind and focus on exploring without worrying about losing their possessions.

13. Plan Chill Days In Your Itinerary

I always recommend incorporating chill days into your itinerary to maintain mental and physical well-being. Particularly if you’re doing a long trip! Constant exploring, moving around and planning can be fun, but also very tiring after a while. Chill days offer valuable time for rest, reflection, and relaxation, helping recharge energy levels and prevent travel fatigue. These breaks allow solo travellers to savour moments, immerse in local culture, and rejuvenate, ensuring a balanced and fulfilling travel experience without succumbing to stress or fatigue.

I also find trying to meet new people and always ‘being on my game’ can get a bit emotionally draining too. Having an afternoon or day on my own gives me time to recharge my social battery and get a new energy again.

Chill days for me typically include reading on a beach, people watching in a cafe, walking around my new surroundings, an indulgent spa session or relaxing in the hostel shared space.

14. Remember it’s Normal to Have Down or Sad Moments

As much as travelling is incredible, it’s unrealistic to think it’ll be all fun and games throughout the trip. It’s easy to look at travelling on social media and just see the highlights. However, any type of travel involves an element of stress and unforeseen circumstances. Whether that’s lost luggage, illness, difficulty with language barriers, or just being homesick, it’s normal to have down moments during a trip. I always say to myself, – I would expect to be happy 100% of the time during a 1 month period at home, so how can I expect that whilst being somewhere totally new, alone and trying to navigate everything solo. It’s normal to have moments of panic when you first arrive somewhere new, to feel homesick, to feel alone, to question your choices. Stick with it and let those feelings pass. Reach out to other travellers, they’ll likely have experienced the same thoughts and feelings at some point too. You’ll thank yourself for not giving up in the hard times. And in the very worst case scenario, home will be there for you if a trip needs to be ended early.

15. Use Reliable Transport

Use reliable transportation options such as licensed taxis or ‘ride-hailing’ services, like Uber or Grab, particularly at night. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in unfamiliar or poorly lit areas, as this can increase your vulnerability to potential dangers. Licensed taxis and reputable ride-hailing services provide a safer means of transportation, offering you a reliable way to reach your destination while minimising the risk of encountering unsafe situations. Always verify the identity of your driver and ensure that the vehicle matches the details provided by the transportation service app before getting in. I like to use apps like Uber, GoJet, Grab etc as the trip is documented in the App. These often also have the option to share the journey with someone, so friends/family can see you got home safely.

16. Beware of Local Scams & Tourist Traps

Be aware of local scams and tourist traps, and research common scams in your destination beforehand. Scammers often target tourists, especially solo travellers, with schemes ranging from overcharging for goods and services to elaborate schemes designed to steal money or personal information. By familiarising yourself with common scams and staying vigilant, you can better protect yourself from falling victim to them. Additionally, if something seems too good to be true or feels suspicious, trust your instincts and proceed with caution.

17. Avoid Getting Wasted

Might seem like an obvious but it can be easy getting swept up in hostel pre-drinks or cocktails on a meet & greet night out. However, if you’re solo, it’s best to be careful not to get too drunk on a night out. Getting drunk iimpairs judgment, makes you vulnerable to scams, accidents, and dangerous situations. It also increases the risk of losing control and can hinder your ability to navigate unfamiliar environments, compromising your overall safety and well-being.

18. Don’t Be Afraid of Being Alone

Don’t be afraid to go to places, restaurants, excursions alone. It might feel scary and that everyone’s looking at you, but in reality they’re in their own world. Be brave and own it. It’s empowering to walk into any restaurant and enjoy your food alone. I often take a book or have a podcast or tv show downloaded on my phone. Other times, I just sit and enjoy the peace.

You can also meet people this way….when I was in Cartagena, Colombia, the hostel I stayed at was quite anti social. I walked into the Selina hostel across the road (fully booked out so I couldn’t stay) and went up to their roof bar alone. It was terrifying but I ended up meeting a few different people, and before long, we formed a big group and went on a great night of bar crawling. It was one of my best memories from that 6 month trip. In my head, the worst case scenario is that I put myself out there and don’t meet anyone. The alternative of staying alone in my accommodation, where I haven’t met anyone anyway, so what’s to lose?

19. Trust Your Gut & Lie If You Need

As a solo female traveler, it’s important to trust your gut and take precautions to stay safe. If a situation doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore that instinct – leave and find a safer place. It’s okay to lie or make up an excuse to get out of uncomfortable encounters if needed. For example, I would say i’m meeting friends soon or a boyfriend is waiting for me, giving me a smoother exit. I’m also careful with sharing the fact i’m solo travelling, depending on the situation. Safety should be your top concern. Listen to your intuition and don’t feel pressured to be overly friendly or give out personal details. Trust your gut and do what’s needed to protect yourself. You can still be open to new experiences while putting your well-being first.

20. Age Doesn’t Matter!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard or seen people say, ‘oh I’d love to go X but i’m too old’ or ‘I should have travelled when I was in my twenties’ etc. Age doesn’t matter! I have met people as young as 18 to people are old as 70+ in hostels and on my adventures. My grandparents are 85 and still going on little travel trips together! You’re never too old. If there’s somewhere you’ve been dreaming of going to, make it happen, n matter what age. There are many tour groups geared at people in a later stage at life; whether that’s 50+ groups or older. You’ll be able to meet people in a similar life stage.

21. Be Present & Have Fun

Finally, have the best time! It’s easy to get caught up with constant planning and not be present in the moment. The saving money, finding time, planning the trip and logistics are the hard bit. So now go and have the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy the journey, embrace the freedom and independence that solo travel offers.

Apps I Use When Travelling

  • Citymapper – brilliant for navigating big cities easily
  • Tripit – Great trip planner app
  • Stippl – great app for planning itineraries in different places
  • Currency Converter – helpful with understanding how much everything costs in your new location
  • Wise Banking App – great for overseas banking with ease
  • Google maps – with your destination downloaded for offline use
  • Getyourguide and Viator are great for booking tours, activities and excursions
  • What3words – gives you an exact location to provide emergency services
  • Waze – live traffic and directions app
  • Translator Apps – iTranslate, Google translate etc

Solo Female Travel Australia

Unless you going to major cities or tourist destinations, solo travel in Australia can be quite tricky. Given the size of the country, you could be driving for days between places and the public transport isn’t great outside of the city centres. For countries like Australia, I’d highly recommend joining a tour group to help facilitate the logistics of the trip. I’ve done several day trips with tour groups, like the Great Ocean Road (link) and The Blue Mountains (link). These were fantastic as they took all the planning out of it and allowed me to meet likeminded people. I’m currently saving up money and annual leave to do a tour group from Perth to Broome.

I hope this helps anyone looking to embark on their first solo backpacking trip, particular the girlies out there!

Happy Travels