The world is an amazing place, with countries and cities that have their own unique story to tell. Often, it’s tough to find a suitable travel partner that can accompany you for all or some of your travel, meaning you have the dilemma of either going it alone or putting your dreams on hold. Here at Untravelled Paths, we’re big advocates for chasing down a dream and not letting it slip away. Travelling solo, although intimidating at first, can be an absolute blast! Many people swear by it and would choose travelling solo over travelling with friends or family. The reason being is that the world is quite literally for the taking, with no limitations. So if you’re a female traveller, looking to take the bull by the horns, then read on as we dish out some top tips for travelling par toi-même (on your own).
Leap Over the Language Barrier
One of the greatest difficulties travellers face when heading to foreign lands is the language barrier. Unfortunately, as many Brits like to think, shouting and pointing doesn’t quite do the trick, meaning a little more finesse is required. Take the time to learn a bit of the language, ideally some key phrases that will help you get by in a pinch. ‘Hello’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ should be a breeze in any language, but phrases such as ‘where is the…?’ or ‘can I have…?’ will show the locals that you’ve put more effort into your trip and aren’t ‘just another’ tourist.
Try to Blend In
Wandering down a quiet street looking like a rabbit caught in the headlights will scream ‘lost tourist’ and highlight you as a potential target. When walking around a new city, try to emulate an air of confidence (even if you’re not) so that others will assume you know what you’re doing and where you’re heading. Staring at a map on your phone is also a big red flag, so instead, punch in your destination and pop in your headphones as you’re guided to your destination.
Blending in also goes for clothing too. If you’re visiting a country in which women dress conservatively, you should look to cover up. If someone else asks you for directions, you know you’re on the right track because you must look like a local!
Go Easy on the Margaritas
Common sense should prevail here. Getting smashed while in a foreign country on your own is never a good idea. Alcohol is a great ice breaker if you’ve met a group of fellow travellers but should only be consumed in moderation.
Hop on a Group Tour
There are numerous reasons why a group tour should be on your list for a new country. Firstly, you’ll likely be mixing with other travellers, either solo or otherwise, and will give you a chance to make a few pals in the place you’re staying. Group tours are also (typically) run by people that know the area well, so you’ll have access to a fountain of knowledge that you can use to your advantage. They can also allow you to get to know your new home without having to go exploring on your own, so you can get an idea in your mind of where things are before you head out on a solo adventure.
Self Preservation Should Always Win Out
If you hate being rude or abrupt, then this may take a little bit of getting used to. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, then you need to make sure you get out of it ASAP. Don’t worry about offending people, the biggest priority is staying safe. If you’re chatting to someone at a bar and something doesn’t seem quite right, listen to your instincts, make your excuses and go!
Build a Solo Travel Kit
As you travel, you’ll likely pick up some great tips from other solo travellers about things they do to stay happy and safe on the road. We’d suggest you take these pieces of advice and start building a solo travel kit that you always have with you. Here are some of our favourites:– Travel safety whistle: great for attracting the attention of others and warning off any threats.– Doorstop: Sticking one of these under a flimsy hotel door will make it much more secure.– Padlocks: You should never be travelling without them, ideal for securing your luggage in your accommodation or while flying.– Head torch: Although most phones have torches, having your hands free is a bonus. Ideal for evening walks through the city.
Keeping up with friends and family back home is a great way to bridge the gap and keep their minds at rest. With apps like TripIt, you can schedule your next day, week or month and send your nearest and dearest the itinerary, so they know where you are and what you’re doing on each day. Checking in will also help to alleviate some of the loneliness that can come with travelling solo, which leads us to our next and final point.
It’s Not Easy Flying Solo
Travelling solo can be hard, both mentally and physically. Quite literally, you have your life on your back, and if this is your first long trip, it can start to weigh heavy. It’s important to manage your own expectations about what your trip will be like and to pace yourself during your time away. Don’t be afraid to have a ‘quiet day’, book a private room and watch some Netflix, recharge those batteries for the next adventure!
If you’re looking to dip your toe into the pool of solo travel, then our group tours are a great way to get you started! We offer small groups that are led by local guides who know their country inside out. A tour such as our Ice Hotel, Romania experience would be a great choice, as you’ll have a mixture of city travel and adventure, all while discovering beautiful Romania! If you have any great tips for travelling solo as a woman, let us know in the comments on Facebook and Twitter!