After years of traveling alone as a woman, I’ve collected a few tips and tricks. I share some special secrets in my E-book, Breaking The Chains, but I wanted to give you some additional insight here today.
Many of you may know that I am currently more sedentary than usual, hunkered down in a homestead in the middle of a national forest. But folks, solo-travel tips carry you along as you wander the winding roads of the world, and they also serve great purpose when you find yourself alone in a cabin with a bat flying around and the power flickering out.
So here’s what I have to say to you, whether you’re living alone for the first time, taking a weekend trip to the Eastern Sierra’s solo, or trekking around the world without a companion, these tips are FOR YOU.
May this journey bring you closer to yourself, may it introduce you to your unmatchable strength and unending power. You will learn incredible lessons on this trek, you will understand what you need and when you need it, you will discover how to keep yourself safe, and you will cultivate both the greatest joy and the deepest sadness you have ever known. It is a gift, this solo journey, and I am here to get you started.
Know Before You Go
You can never anticipate how alone you’ll be. Some days you’ll find yourself at campsites or in hostels that overwhelm you with socialization. Other days you’ll drive or hike roads without even a whisper of another soul. Find your balance. Embrace the freedom of being alone when you can, and the comfort of new friends when they come your way.
Traveling Alone = FREEDOM. Who doesn’t love freedom? You are in control, maybe for the first time in your life you are not required to answer to anyone but yourself. It may be tricky at first, but slowly you will learn to go where you are called, eat when you body asks for nourishment, and dance when the music moves you.
Get Right With Yourself (as much as you can). Practice being alone before you hit the road, no matter how long you plan to be gone. Give yourself a few hours to go for a solo hike, or journal at the beach. Learn what it feels like, lean into it as much as you can when you still have resources and people near by.
You always have yourself. Chances are, traveling solo will introduce you to someone new…yourself. A part of you you’ve never known. Get to know this person. I bet you’ll fall head over heels in love with them, have rad sing alongs, and cry soul-shaking tears on mountain tops together.
Blend in with the locals. On a basic level, avoid holding google maps up in the air as you traipse through new towns. Additionally, if you’re going somewhere with entirely different customs, do your research, learn about barter, religious respect and restrictions and any unique customs and cultures.
Be smart with your social media. If your Instagram is public and you have followers around the country and/or world you don’t know personally, think before you post. There is no harm in rolling out your photos after you leave your destination. You can still share amazing stories without geotagging your exact location in live time.
Create a cover story. I know, lying isn’t the best habit to get into. But if I’m ever approached by someone I can’t entirely read, or don’t feel comfortable with my cover story always comes out. “Oh my boyfriend is just checking us into the hotel down the road while I get some fresh air” or “My girl friend and I are having a weekend away, I meet her for brunch in 20 minutes.” Trust your gut and think about reading The Gift Of Fear (it’ll cut the guilt and give you some great insight).
Share your location with friends and family. Smartphones make it super easy. Drop a pin and send it to your parents. Text a girl friend and share your plan for the day. Spending a few minutes updating someone you trust is worth it. Otherwise no one has any idea where you are, and while that might feel amazing, it can be a little risky.
Conceal your money and valuables. Don’t bring your dimond studs with you, leave the designer jeans at home (even if they are from a thrift store), and store your cash in a money belt.
If you must bring your valuables, lock them. Car or van living? Invest in a good alarm system, park in well lit places and lock your car. Backpacking? Bring a sturdy lock with you and bury your laptop deep in your bag out of sight.
Grab travel insurance. It really is worth it. A trip to a local doctor is all too common, and you don’t want to be stuck turning right around to come home because you blew all your travel money on medical bills. You can also insure your bags, flights and belongings. I don’t go to this length but I also purchase super cheap flights and brings a small amount of luggage - so pick your poison.
Exhibit Confidence - even if you don’t have it. Walk the walk babes! Folks want easy targets and if you show people that you won’t be easy to push around, then they won’t waste their time and energy. You are strong, embrace that strength and exude it ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE.
Favorite Beginner Destinations
National Parks. They are super well maintained, filled with people and resources and if you go off season you won’t be flooded with crowds.
The Southwest is my favorite solo travel destination. You will find, climbing camps, well- frequented BLM land and neighboring hot springs. You can find solitude and maintain cell reception all at the same time. It’s a rad place to drift in and out of connection.
England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia or New Zealand. You wan’t to hop on a plane but you’re stressed about the language barrier? Go to English speaking countries and enjoy the incredible scenery or abundant history. Honestly though ya’ll, if you’re an English-speaker you can go almost anywhere — this is not something you should take for granted, and while you’re at it maybe learn another language anyway.
Wherever your passion calls you. I love to travel around and hop from one Ecstatic Dance community to the other. Follow your own spanning community, whether it’s yoga, painting or jamming on the guitar.
I am jazzed continue my own solo travel journey and collect more tips to share with you. In the meantime, comment with your own tips and tricks so we can build our community of empowered wanderers!
Sending love and wishes for safe solo journeys!