We know what you’re thinking as you scroll through the Insta feeds of your favorite travel photographers as they venture solo through far-flung lands. I could never do that. I was thinking the same way, until I found myself walking around Madrid sans companion earlier this year. Two years ago, I wouldn’t eat dinner alone much less get on a plane to a foreign country by myself. But I’ve come to find that traveling on your own is kind of like living on your own: It sounds scary and sad but mostly it’s just doing whatever you want whenever you want. Therefore it’s awesome.
So next time you’re looking up flights to Scotland or Ecuador and you’re wondering if you can convince your sister to take off work or whether your relationship is ready for such a big step, be like these seven ladies and just book a ticket for one.
Read on for 22 tips to become a badass solo traveler. Tip #1 Book the flight!
Madison Perrins: Artist & She Explores Writer
Start with a Domestic Trip
“The national parks here in the U.S. are great for solo female travelers. There aren’t a lot of people, and no matter what your flavor is — beach, forest, desert — there’s something for everyone. It usually means taking a road trip, too, which is good for us women because you are literally in the driver’s seat!
“Take any detour you want, stop and take a hike up into the hills if you want, drive all night if it’s what you need.”
Ignore the Haters
“The number one myth about women traveling solo is simply that they shouldn’t do it. But I raise a fist in solidarity with all the lovely, adventurous women who know better than to fall into that trap. We can’t be expected to always play it safe for others’ comfort.”
Show Up For Yourself
“My first solo trip was inspired by an urgent need to get back in touch with myself. I had stopped being able to identify if I was doing things because I truly wanted to or if I was going with the flow too much. The most unexpected thing for me are the parts of myself that resurface, that I hadn’t realized I’d lost touch with. Being alone while traveling reveals if there’s something I’ve been neglecting and need to nurture. Traveling alone asks a lot of a person, and you’ve really gotta show up for yourself.”
Mickela Mallozzi: Host and Producer of PBS and web series Bare Feet
Everybody #dance! A brand, new episode of #BareFeetNYC airs TONIGHT at 9:30pm, only on NYC Life! Join me as I celebrate the beautiful dances, music, and food that have made their way from India to New York City! 🇮🇳 Featuring @sarinajain and @masalabhangra, @djrekha and @basementbhangra, Garba In The City, @aalokam, Bollywood Axion, #Diwali, and so much more! #itsinqueens #madeinnewyork
Expand Your Idea of Community
“The #1 myth about women traveling solo is that it’s lonely – on the contrary, you are forced to become more social even just to get simple things done every day (ask for directions, buy food from the local market, celebrate at a town’s festival, etc.).
“In those interactions, you automatically make new friends and acquaintances, learn the language, and feel more like a local than a tourist. The most unexpected parts of traveling solo are the communities you can connect with.”
This week's #BareFeetSeries on NYC Media heads to #MusicCity 🎼 where I learn some buck dancing from the legendary Thomas Maupin and his champion banjo-playing grandson, Daniel Rothwell. I also stuff my face with delicious food from @monellstn, speak with the dancers of @nashvilleballet about their Johnny Cash-inspired ballet, and experience so much more in #Nashville! Tune in TONIGHT at 9pm for the full episode or watch it on the NYC Media App
Dance with Strangers
“I love to make new friends by dancing. When I jump in and gesture that I want to learn the dances, whether at a street festival, holiday celebration or a family gathering, the people I am approaching love that I am genuinely curious about something that’s important to them. If I can’t speak the language, which is usually the case, dance becomes our language to connect through – I am able to share smiles and joy with these strangers, and usually other doors open from these simple exchanges. “
What an incredible weekend – so many reasons to be overwhelmed with joy and love! 1. I’m officially a Zia (an aunt!) – welcome to this amazing world, Hania! 2. THANK YOU to all of our new #BareFeetSeries fans joining us on this #dance journey – this weekend was the Season 1 Marathon on Create TV, and we’ve had an outpouring of love, heartfelt messages, and incredible responses on the series from a huge number of new fans!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! 💓 3. I’ve made it to beautiful #London to spend some much needed time with my husband on our anniversary. He likes to joke that I get excited about every aspect travel, including the ones that may seem monotonous: from the research to travel logistics to even the time waiting at the airports – I truly enjoy the entire journey it takes for me to end up wherever I end up…and this weekend just keeps reminding me of that. Seriously, the amount of love that has come through from our Bare Feet Season 1 airings reminds me of my 6+ year-long journey (prepping, digging, sweating, painstakingly trying to make this happen…), and that the journey to get to this point is just as beautiful as what has become the outcome. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! ❤️💛💚💙💜
Do What You Want
“If I want to spend the entire day running around and seeing everything I possibly can, I can do that. If I get tired, I can stop at a café and take it in as calmly as I like. If I see a park or a museum that piques my interest along the way, I can make that decision to go and see these places that hadn’t been on my list initially.
“It is extremely empowering to travel solo, especially as a woman and those experiences of having the authority to make my own decisions has helped me become my own boss in my career – and taught me to listen to my inner voice.”
Krista Simmons (Snapchat: Krista_Simmons): Food & Travel Writer
Keep Your Wits About You
“No matter your gender, it’s always important to keep your head on a swivel, but it’s especially important as a young woman. I personally try to be very modest about how much I drink. I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge in a glass of wine, but keep your wits about you.”
Nothing makes me happier than wandering a new market, creating a self led food tour while mingling with locals, taking in the sights of vibrant exotic produce, and soaking up the smells and sounds of a new place. Needless to say, Mercado La Corona in Guadalajara did not disappoint. So glad to see it thriving after the fire and revamp! Photo: @mkretovics
Do the Extra Work (It’s Worth It)
“There are things that women have to worry about that men simply don’t: Does the country you’re traveling to sell tampons? (Some don’t!) Will you need to cover your head? What is the general attitude towards women in that culture, and how can you be conscious of that? Should you carry pepper spray at night? But just because there are extra things to consider doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. I think it just requires a bit more research and consideration. The upside is, because of that, it will make you appreciate your experience that much more.”
🍢❤️🍡Grabbing for sticks 🍡❤️🍢 aka my absolute favorite way to eat on the road. If you are ever in Yangon, you MUST visit Chinatown at night and be sure to get plenty of grilled veggies, marinated squid, and a whole herb stuffed fish. Eat with your eyes and follow your nose and you'll be aces. 👍🏼📸: @mkretovics #wearetravelgirls
Don’t Sit on the Sidelines
“I try to take a group workout class — usually zumba or yoga — when I land in a city to learn basics of the language like counting and motion directions. It’s also somewhere where other women come together to commiserate and let their guard down a bit. Even if I don’t end up making a new friend, I worked out, and that means I can enjoy more local food later.”
When Given the Opportunity to Travel- Say Yes!
“I was hesitant to travel to India by myself because I had always heard it was hard work for women in general. However, the opportunity to travel there came at just the right time in my life, I needed an experience to show me that I was made of tougher stuff than I thought. To go to India at that time, I would have to go solo, and it was one of the best experiences of all my travels and one I would do again and again solo.”
Appreciate the Kindness of Strangers
“There is more good in this world than bad, which is sometimes hard to remember these days, but I hold onto the sheer amount of over the top incredible kindness I have experienced while traveling alone in the US and abroad any time I feel fear creep up.”
To Treat Homesickness, Seek Out the Familiar
“I don’t really drink Starbucks in the US anymore but when I was younger I worked there and I’ve been collecting the city mugs since my first trip abroad. Starbucks can be found in so many countries and no matter where you are the drinks and stores are pretty much the same. After my first ten days in India I went into a Starbucks and just the familiar furniture made me feel like home wasn’t that far away.”
Courtney Scott: Travel Blogger, Filmmaker and Host of Girls Meet Globe
Roll with the Punches
“A few years ago in Rome, I hailed a taxi and threw in my luggage. Before I had a chance to get in car, the driver stepped on the gas and hightailed it down the street. At first I thought it was a misunderstanding and that he would stop once he realized I was not in the car. He didn’t. I realized I had been robbed. I went to the nearest police station but there was really nothing I could do at that point. Luckily, had I still had my backpack with my phone and wallet so I hopped on a train to the Amalfi Coast and met up with some friends who had a brand new piece of luggage in-hand when they met me. Southern Italian hospitality at its best!”
You’re Never Too Old
“My mother was initially concerned when I took my first solo trip but since then I have convinced her to also travel solo to Italy and it was one of her most profound travel experiences. No matter what age, traveling solo can be an awakening.”
Indulge Your Curiosity
“I think anywhere that one has the urge to travel to solo is a good place to start. Be sure to travel to a place that intrigues you and keep in mind, the destination need not be a far-off land or foreign country. It could be a simple road-trip or night out in an unfamiliar town, or even seeing a movie solo.”
Don’t Be Afraid of The Feels
“I make sure to allow myself to feel homesick and lonely. And, more often than not, I write about it in my journal. But the best thing you can do while traveling is to make friends along the way. In most cases those friendships will be some of the closest ones you will experience.”
Stay in Hostels
“It’s the easiest way to meet like-minded people who are traveling just like you. Reaching out to people is not always the easiest, but it certainly is the best way to make friends.”
Take this Time to Reflect
“It’s amazing how much of our daily life is taken up by small talk. Having that extra time without it, gives your mind the chance to wander. One of my favorite things about traveling is that it quiets down the superficial chatter and allows me to really survey where I am as a person.”
Jade Moyano: Travel writer and editor
Leave your judgments at the door
“People in other countries will always be very different, try to open up, ask questions. Initiate a conversation if you feel like it. We are always encouraged to have our guard up, but if you let it down just a bit you can discover a whole new world.”
Always let someone know where you are
“I have an insatiable desire to travel and few people can keep up with it. Once I realized that I was waiting around for someone to come and keep me company I felt silly, so I just took off on my own. It hasn’t changed! I go alone normally because I’m really spontaneous and when I get the urge to go I just get up and go. People always say to be careful about traveling alone. I wish they would say “good for you!””