Overcome your solo travel fears

Whether it’s your first solo trip or you are a well-seasoned traveler, it’s important to acknowledge solo female travel fears so you can learn how to overcome them.  With proper preparation, you are hopefully bound to have a good experience with less stress.

Although I am married, I often travel alone for work and I have been doing this since I got my first solo travel work opportunity in 2015.  I used to travel from Denver to Indianapolis a lot. If I am honest, I never felt the need to truly prepare myself as a female solo traveler because I had been fortunate enough to have extremely smooth trips.  It was not until I moved abroad that I needed to take solo traveling more seriously because there were additional factors like language barriers, long haul flights, and different people and cultures that I had to consider. 

If I can be fully transparent, there was an instance where I was assaulted during a solo trip. I was in my 6th year of really traveling.  So, being assaulted was not something I even thought about. I never read a blog post about solo travel or watched videos about traveling alone as a woman before that incident because I did not think something bad could happen to me.  This is not a story I fully will share today but I will definitely give more insight into what happened in a future post. 

This blog post is to help you know the risks of solo female travel and help you feel more confident and comfortable with the fears many women have by sharing the ways you can cope and overcome them. 

Table of Contents

    SAFETY WHILE TRAVELING SOLO AS A WOMAN

    The story I shared may seem a bit jarring but I don’t want it to turn you off of the idea of travel.  I know for myself, I am still just as excited to travel alone as I was before but now I know that there are things I need to be aware of and do differently than I have in the past. 

    The biggest fear women have when it comes to solo female travel is safety.  Fears of being assaulted, mugged, or getting scammed are real concerns.  I want you to know that these things can happen to you while traveling and there is no guarantee that you will be 100 percent safe.  What I can guarantee, however, is that if you do as much research as you can about EVERY aspect of your trip, you will be more prepared for anything that could happen.  Look at possible scams in the area you are traveling to.  Look up places that are recommended for you to travel to and the places that are not.  

    By doing as much research as you can before you arrive at your destination, you are sure to build your confidence and assurance. Also, know that the same safety measures you plan to put in place for your next trip should be applied to your everyday life as well.  Bad things can happen anywhere and it’s important to be prepared. 

    solo female travel in Malaysia
    Bonus Tip: Always take pictures of yourself on your trips! Don’t fear if someone is not there to take photos for you!

    UNWANTED ATTENTION FROM MEN

    Let me start off by saying unwanted attention from men is never okay.  Most women fear that they will be met with aggression from men in other countries due to different cultures and customs and honestly, this can be true in some places. 

    I think the most common form of unwanted attention comes in the form of catcalling and staring.  These actions can definitely make a woman feel uncomfortable.  But there are ways to ‘cope’ with certain actions that may be directed toward you.  I know not all women like to hear the advice about what they ‘should’ and ‘should not wear’ but I believe in certain countries like Morocco and India (two places I have lived in), it is important to dress a bit more conservatively than you would in western countries. 

    Check out this video where I share 10 Female Solo Travel in Morocco Tips. This video will give you more insight as to what conservative dress can look like for foreigners in Morocco.  

    If you feel like you are unsafe or in danger, please let someone know.  Move to a public place like a restaurant, mall, or even go to the police.  It’s always important to use your voice and say no to unwanted behavior.  Also, know that if you feel like you are being followed stay in a safe place and call the authorities.  The number of the police in the country you are traveling to should be included in your itinerary or added to your phone contacts. 

    Empty streets in Sarajevo
    I love going for walks when I travel! – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    FEELING LONELY WHILE TRAVELING

    What always surprises me about traveling alone is how many people I met along the way. I have met so many amazing people on the many different trips I have taken and some have even become friends that I’ve had for over five years.

    I mostly speak to other women or couples when I travel.  They are usually friendly (but not overly friendly) and look out for me.  I know this may sound strange but there are genuine people in this world (local and fellow travelers) that don’t want to see harm come to others.  I see people like this as guardian angels.  

    Staying on the trend of angels, sometimes solo travel is great because you can meet up with others in the places you plan to travel.  I have attended church in other cities and the experiences usually lead to invitations for locals to show me around their neighborhoods, dinner at someone’s home, or a hangout on another day.  Of course, use discernment when it comes to meeting others in a foreign city. But don’t be completely opposed to the idea. 

    I myself am an introvert so I sometimes find the random interactions I have while traveling draining enough so I don’t feel lonely.  However, I know that if I do, I can also call a friend or family member.  Doing this usually fills me up and I am energized to keep traveling. 

    Drinking tea in a Taj hotel in chennai
    Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to pamper yourself when you travel. There are not apologies for living the life or luxury (or not).

    EATING ALONE AS A SOLO FEMALE TRAVELER

    Can we talk about solo meals for a second?  I know this is a huge fear for a lot of people, especially women. It’s important to let go of the notion that you need someone else to eat with when you are out and about (traveling or not).  The notion that you shouldn’t eat alone stems more from a fear of embarrassment more than anything else and let me tell you this, there is nothing to be embarrassed about! 

    The idea of taking myself on dates and truly treating myself is a beautiful thing!  Honestly eating alone gives me an opportunity to slow my life down, get reflective, and thankful for who I am at the stage of life I currently find myself in. Plus there is always an opportunity to meet locals at a cool restaurant or even people-watch. 

    My advice would be to eat out alone in your hometown first, preferably at one of your favorite restaurants before you try doing this alone during your travels.  This will give you a chance to practice and get comfortable with the process… and yourself! 

    Check out this post for tips and tricks to help you overcome female solo travel fears.

    Salad
    Make sure you engage in some good old fashioned people watching while dining! It’s fun.

    LANGUAGE BARRIERS

    The fear of not knowing how to communicate is REAL.  I think language barriers are one of the main reasons why I chose not to do something while traveling because I did not want to look vulnerable or say the wrong thing. My recommendation is to learn a few key phrases before traveling to a new place.  That way you can communicate on a basic level.  

    From my experience, locals are more accommodating when they can see that you are at least trying to make an effort to speak with them in their native language.  So take a few additional steps to learn a little bit of the language for the place you plan to travel to so you can feel more confident and comfortable. 

    If you cannot learn the language or key phrases for the country you plan to travel to or you simply forget the language (like I often do), utilize translation tools. You can even plan out some of the conversations you think you might have through translation apps like: iTranslate, Google Translate, SayHi, TripLingo, Papago, Microsoft Translator, Waygo, Speak and Translate, iTranslate Voice. 

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    FINANCIAL SECURITY FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS

    Saving money before you travel is key!  Honestly, I am not one to travel on an empty budget because I need to have a cushion of funds just in case something happens.  When I solo traveled to Malaysia, I had to pay an exorbitant amount of fees for additional baggage and my seat… it was a mess but I was happy that I had saved up before the trip to be able to afford the charges.  Financial security is so important because it gives you peace of mind. 

    If you are looking to travel for a long period of time (i.e. become a nomad and eventually an expat), look for opportunities that will allow you to work while you travel.  Online jobs are the best opportunities that will allow you to travel and make money at the same time.  

    If you are curious to learn more about different jobs you can do while traveling and living abroad, download this FREE resource.  You can also check out this free training where I help you brainstorm ideas for future employment. 

    shopping in morocco
    Financial freedom means more shopping!

    TRANSPORTATION

    Getting around is one of the most important aspects of traveling and there are many ways to navigate where you want and need to go. 

    FEAR OF FLYING

    When I first started to fly, I had a bit of anxiety.  I had not traveled since I was a child and then I really started flying a lot in my 20s.  Most of the fears I had focused on the action of flying.  For me, my fear went away once I started traveling more frequently.  I think it’s similar to practicing anything.  The more you do something the more comfortable you will get. 

    RIDESHARES

    When I first started traveling, I solely used taxis and the fares were so expensive.  The most expensive taxi ride I took was back in 2015.  I did not have much money at this time but I needed to travel to New York City. I was surprised when I had to pay a taxi fare that was over $70 both ways.  That price on top of everything else I had to pay for gave me so much anxiety.  

    I am happy that rideshare services have become more popular over the past 5 years.  They make planning trips and finances a lot easier to comprehend.  Uber is usually everywhere but make sure you do your research to see what other rideshare services are available (or not) where you plan to travel to. 

    Videos and Posts About Solo Travel

    10 Female Solo Travel in Morocco Tips (Travel Advice)

    8 Solo Travel Tips For Women: Make Your Next Solo Trip Safe And Easy!

    Feeling Unsafe While Solo Traveling, Colorism In India, Adjustment Struggles, and More (Honest Q&A)

    I Went to a Club ALONE in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia // Solo Travel for Women

    Solo Travel To Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: I Can’t Believe I Did This On My Own!

    5 Tips to Make Your First Solo Travel a Success!

    PIN THESE IMAGES

    I hope this post was helpful to you! There are solo travel fears we have as women and they are valid. We all have our struggles when it comes to finances, transportation, safety, and so much more!  However, as you plan your trips also prepare yourself with the ways we discussed about how to overcome them and I think you can do it!

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