I am a woman traveling solo, what do I need to know?

Traveling solo can be one of the most thrilling experiences you encounter. It takes a little bit of courage and a little bit of planning to ensure you are both safe and able to navigate your way through a new country.

What can be scary (or even a little daunting) is taking that leap of faith and seeing the world through your own lens. Of course these days, we can support our travels by keeping connected with our loved ones and checking in at each stop. When you’re traveling solo, keep these tips in mind:

1.     Make sure you plan ahead

We’ve all heard our parents tell us to have a Plan A, B and C, so why not apply this to our travel itineraries? Planning ahead of time will help account for any bumps you encounter along the way. Check out resources such as Approach Guides, which will come in handy when you’re researching what attractions you want to visit. Insprirock allows you to plan your entire itinerary at the click of a button. You can even get a personalized itinerary that will customize your likes and dislikes to ensure you are making the most of your trip – all with one click. Along the way, ensure you are managing your trip by checking in on time, saving all receipts and boarding passes. This will come in handy if you encounter lost luggage or unexpected fees.

2.     Check in with loved ones at home

This is probably the most important thing to remember! Remember to tell your family and friends when and where you’ll be traveling. Plan to check in with your loved ones at a specific time each week, or each day, if you are taking multiple day trips. This ensures your family knows your location at each move. Make sure you are looking out for your personal safety, especially as a first time solo traveler. Keep in the loop with the Department of State and check in often to ensure you aren’t missing out on critical and real time updates back home. You may also consider registering with the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers so that you have access to medical care in the event of an emergency. Make sure to let your family know you’ve done so in the event they need to reach out to emergency services.

3.     Exchange money wisely

While it may seem like an instinct to exchange currencies at the airport, make sure you aren’t going too overboard! Airports will often overcharge you to exchange currency. Instead, try applying for a low-interest or no foreign transaction fee credit card. Always keep a little bit of money on you, but don’t feel like you need to exchange your entire wallet.

4.     Book a variety of hotel/hostel arrangements

Make the most of your trip. Hostels are made specifically for solo travelers, but there are also other options such as a homestay or a more traditional hotel stay. Enjoy your own company when you bounce from location to location and utilize the advice of locals you meet up with at each arrangement. Use their expertise to help guide your travels.

Traveling solo can sound a little scary at first, but finding yourself and breathing through a different lens as you travel can dramatically help push the much-needed reset button. Learn to say no while also experiencing everything your chosen country has to offer. “Absolutely not” also works. You are in the driver’s seat.