Guide to Solo Travel for Women

This lesson is intended for women who had some experience traveling with friends, family or in a group but now desire to get out of their comfort zone to travel solo. The lesson is divided into several sections, with each section discussing a sub-topic, followed by a quiz. Explore links to websites, videos and blogs on solo traveling. There will be a checking your knowledge section at the end of the lesson.

Traveling Solo

What is Solo Travel?

Solo travel means many things to many people. To travel solo means you are going somewhere alone for considerable amount of time by yourself with confidence. Check out the links below on solo women traveler.

https://vimeo.com/93001562

https://vimeo.com/10103694

 

To travel solo means

  • You are going somewhere alone for a considerable amount of time by yourself with confidence.
  • To travel in a group or with a companion.

Principles of Magical Travel

  • Follow your intuition. Use your intuition as your travel guide.
  • Travel spontaneously. Go from place to place according to what feels right.
  • Go local. Leave the beaten track. Go local, traveling cheaply and ethically.
  • Allow for the sacred. Prepare for mystical experience in sacred places and elsewhere.
  • Integrate your journey into your life.

 

Preparing for the Trip

Pre-travel Planning

1. Where in the world you want to go, when and how long you intend to travel? Do you want to travel to Europe, Africa, Asia or Australia?

2. Ensure your travel documents (passport and visas are valid and current). Check online if the country of destination requires a visa. If it does, call up the embassy or consulate to start the visa application process. It can take up to a month for a visa to be approved.

3. Book for your flight at least 2-3 months in advance. Good websites include skyscanner  http://www.skyscanner.com or flightnetwork http://flightnetwork.com. Sign up for a price drop on these sites to alert you for good travel deals. Plan to arrive in a new city during the day to avoid a lot of confusion and frustration when you first arrive in a new city.

4. Book accommodation in the destination city. It's not for everyone but sharing accommodation in a hostel can be safe and secure as you are in the company of fellow travelers. There are many good luxury hostels that cater to travelers of all ages and also budget-friendly for solo travelers. A good site is http://hostelworld.com. Most of these hostels have breakfast included in their prices. Bring a padlock if staying in a hostel. If hosteling is not for you, try staying at Airbnb or a rental home or even a monastery.

5. Research the places you plan to visit. Read blogs http://budgettraveller.org/ , http://www.solotravelerblog.com or  watch any Youtube or vimeo videos of the cities and attractions you plan to see.

6. Consider how you plan to get around the city and outskirts of the area. Buy train tickets and long-distance travel tickets in advance. Metro tend to be the cheapest for getting into the city from the airport. Know how long it takes and how much it costs to get from the airport to your hotel or to the city center. Check at the airport tourist information desk for advice. Solo travelers are more likely to be "taken for a ride" if you are riding the taxi on your own.

7. Carry a combination of debit and credit cards and cash. Cash is still "king" in most places around the world. Most smaller cities in Europe and Asia would prefer cash instead of credit cards.

8. Travel light if possible. You won't want to be dragging a heavy bag on the street or into public transport. Remember to pack good walking shoes.

 

Fill in the blanks with the correct answer.

Once I have decided on where I want to go, I would To ensure I would not have any problems with my travel documents, I need to It is always safer to arrive in a new cityto avoid confusion. If I intend to travel or move around a country a lot, it is always wise to
 

At your Destination

Some Things you can do at your Destination

1. Upon arrival in the city, locate the tourist information center for city and metro maps. Check yours maps and memorize where you are going before leaving the airport. It helps if you know where you are going especially at night. Try not to look your map or your phone app to avoid being a mark for unsavory types. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

 

2. If you are staying in a hostel, most hostel staff are very helpful in giving you information about the city and its neighborhood. Get tips on places to see, the local restaurants, join in hostel activities or hang out in the lobby to meet fellow solo travelers. Be friendly but not be too trustful of anyone you meet.

3.  Take advantage of free daily walking city tours run by knowledgeable freelancers. They know the city well and will show you places not covered in any organized tours. Its also a good orientation to the city.  Walk or use public transport as much as possible and immerse yourself in the local flavors. You could also try meeting up with a city greeter, who is a local volunteer and more than willing to show you their knowledge of the city. Check out http://globalgreeternetwork.com. You might email the coordinator in the city you going to first before arriving.

4. Buy entrance tickets to major attractions in advance so as to avoid long lines at the ticket office. If you happen to be in a major city on a day when entrances to major museums are free, take advantage of it.

5. As much as possible, visit lesser known local attractions as most are free or charge a very small entrance fee. Your money will go a long way to restore some of the artworks there and you avoid big crowds, pickpockets and scam artists.

6. Ask hostel staff to recommend local restaurants frequent by locals. Not only do you support the local economy but you are unlikely to be  ripped off. The image on the right is a tapas bar in Bilboa, Spain.

7. Venture out of the city to visit lesser known towns and smaller cities. Some have direct fast train services. There are tons of attractions in smaller towns and exploring is a breeze. Locals also tend to be helpful with directions and other information.

Pick some of the things you could do at your destination.

  • Explore the neighborhood.
  • Have breakfast at the local cafe.
  • Stay in bed all day.
  • Join a free daily city walking tour.
  • Visit the market to savor the daily life of the locals.
  • Rent a bike or use public transport to explore.
  • Pair up with another solo traveler if going out at night.

Lesson Conclusion

Conclusion

Solo travel can be exciting, lonely and stressful at the same time. However, with proper planning and a relaxed attitude, you have a chance to indulge in yourself fully without being bogged down by another person prejudices. The most valuable thing about solo travel is the confidence it will bring you.

While everyone's travel experiences are personal and different, you too can travel on your own using the same judgement you use at home while following shared tips from those who had traveled solo. Happy travel!

I closed my eyes and told God that it was up to him to find me a new road to travel                                                                                               (Immaculée Ilibagiza)

Checking your Knowledge

What are some of the pre-planning things you can do to plan for a trip?

  • Determine if you want to travel during the peak or off travel season.
  • Remember to pack your jewellery as you want to look good.
  • Ensure that your travel documents are current.
  • Carry a combination of cash, debit and credit cards.
  • Do not book accommodation on your first night stay at a city.
  • Prepare yourself by reading up and researching places you intend to visit.

You are planning a solo trip to Portugal in December. Based on what you have learned in the lesson, answer the questions in each step to begin preparation for the trip.

Fill in the blanks with the correct answers.

Solo traveling means to travel

What valuable things can you learn from solo traveling?

  • Self-confidence.
  • Ability to solve problems when you are in a vulnerable situation.
  • Independence.
  • Budgeting your time and money.
  • Nothing is learned when you travel on your own.