Empowering adventures: A complete guide for solo female travellers

  • Eight in 10 Gen Z females want to travel overseas solo
  • 84% are inspired to do so by other solo female travellers
  • Safety is the main concern for those considering travelling alone (71%), followed by concerns about getting lost (65%), unwanted attention from men (56%) and being scammed (46%)

Throwing caution to the wind and heading off on a solo adventure has long-been a popular pastime amongst younger travellers and is now a growing trend amongst Gen Z females.

Recent research by StudentUniverse, the world’s largest youth and student travel agency, reveals that 84% have been inspired by the experiences of other solo female travellers and are keen to enjoy their own solo journey.

Abi Hanks, a travel expert at StudentUniverse, said: “As a female who has travelled solo, I can personally confirm the experience can be truly transformative for young women. Stepping out my comfort zone in such an adventurous way helped me to develop a whole new sense of self-confidence and gave me amazing feelings of freedom and independence.

“That said, one of the main barriers to travelling solo is concerns around general safety (70%). Whilst it’s important to be sensible and remain vigilant when travelling alone, that’s not to say you can’t have an amazing time meeting new people, learning about other cultures, and making lifelong memories.

“A little forward planning and some common sense goes a long way for anyone considering travelling alone.”

Read on for a complete guide for solo female travellers…

Avoid late-night flights

Late-night flights often come with a lower price tag which can be attractive when travelling on a budget, however, arriving in an unfamiliar destination late at night or in the early hours of the morning isn’t something we would advise when travelling alone.

It’s much harder to navigate a new city under the cover of darkness so opt for a daytime arrival instead. And whilst you don’t need to pre-book accommodation for the duration of your stay make sure you’ve secured a room in a nearby hostel or hotel for your first night as a minimum. This will allow you at least one night to get your bearings and work out your next steps.

If a daytime arrival isn’t option, at the very least ensure you pre-arrange transfers, with a reputable company, direct to your accommodation.

Women-only dorms in hostels

Whilst staying in a hotel is undoubtedly a more luxe way to travel, and the preferred option for 67% of solo female travellers, hostels shouldn’t be discounted.

If you’re travelling alone opt for a women-only dorm to ensure you feel more comfortable. Take the opportunity to meet like-minded travellers who will be able to share their own wisdom and experiences with you.

Know where you’re going

Rather than wandering aimlessly looking lost, plan ahead.

Use all of the tools at your disposal to make a plan – social media guides and online travel round-ups – but don’t forget to strike up a conversation with hotel or hostel staff as well as fellow travellers too. They will all have suggestions of the must-see sites, and you may even uncover some hidden gems that the online guides have missed.

If you’re out and about and find yourself standing like a lost lemon in the street, you’re unfortunately more at risk of unwanted attention or a scammer trying to take advantage of you.

So, if in doubt, walking with gumption goes a long way to making you look like you are a local. Even if you feel completely lost, strut like you walk there every day, find a coffee shop, sit down and make a plan.

Look out for local scams

Whether it’s the offer of a group photo by the Eiffel Tower, only for your new photographer friend to sprint away holding your phone or forgetting to ask for a quote for cab journey and being charged five times the going rate in Prague, an unfamiliar location often comes with the risk of scammers and pickpockets.

It’s worth researching the experiences of fellow solo female travellers ahead of time – if there are any destination specific scams to look out for, they will have the best advice on what to watch out for and, crucially, how to avoid being victimised.

And trust your gut, if something doesn’t feel right or sounds too good to be true, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Put your valuables away 

It is so easy to get wrapped up in your own world when walking down the street looking at your phone for directions, casually tucking some fresh notes in your wallet as you leave the cashpoint or leaving your bag open whilst you take a quick photo.

However, being distracted, even if only for a moment, leaves you far more vulnerable to crime. The last thing you want is your phone or wallet being snatched when you’re far from home and may struggle to ask for help in the local language.

There’s a reason groups like the Italian Cittidini Non Distratti, ‘the undistracted citizens’, have gained fame for calling out pickpockets in notorious crime spots – tourists are simply too distracted to realise they are vulnerable.

Be sensible, keep valuables secured out of sight and if you need to open your bag or check your phone, best to pop into a shop or coffee shop.

Don’t be afraid to be vague

Whilst building new friendships is a key part of any adventure, don’t be afraid to be vague about where you’re staying or heading next with people you have just met.

Their interest is likely harmless, however until you’ve built a relationship with them, it’s best to put your safety first and only share this information with trusted friends and family.

Embrace the experience

Whilst it’s important to be safe, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Try new things, chat with the locals and photograph everything! When travelling the important thing is to soak up every experience.