Tips for Girls Travelling on Their Own

I’m often asked what it’s like to travel on my own to Ten Tips for Girls Travelling on Their Ownforeign cities where English isn’t the lingua franca; I just have one word for it – liberating. I’ll try not to romanticize the idea for you because it certainly isn’t an Eat, Pray, Love situation where you book your one-way ticket to spiritual and emotional fulfillment but rather a way to understand who you truly are as an independent woman (or maybe not). Travelling alone isn’t for everyone but I am a strong believer that every woman should try at some stage in her life; after all, you never know until you try right? Think of it as vegemite.

I’ve done enough solo trips now to say that I’m fairly comfortable to pack up my things at a moments notice and jet off to a far away land where people drive on opposite sides of the road and make fun of my accent. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had these experiences and feel I need to share some of my stories with you all.  If you are thinking of taking the plunge and travelling solo here are some of my tips to young girls and women out there on  how to stay safe, be smart and above all else – have fun.

Tip 1: Check-In on Social Media

Mother dearest always tells me that seeing an Instagram post or Snapchat story pop up on her feed indicates to her that I’m still alive and causing mischief. Never underestimate the power of social media or technology because it’s the most efficient way to keep you connected to your loved ones. You may be in search for a digital detox but taking just five minutes each day to let somebody know what your plans are ensures that your red pin doesn’t just mysteriously drop off Google maps. After all, we don’t all have dads like Liam Neeson. Though I do think my dad bears uncanny resemblance to Jackie Chan… here’s hoping. 

Tip 2: Scan All Important DocumentsTips for Solo Female Travellers

Let’s face it – in between rushing from your hotel to the airport through peak hour traffic and then battling the queues to check-in for your flight only to realize that your passport isn’t where you left it – it happens to all of us. Having a photocopy of all your documents and a digital scan can make your life a lot easier when you need to replace your travel documents.

Whenever you find that you need to rent a vehicle or anything of high value; some questionable operators may ask to hold some form of your identity and under no circumstance should you leave any of your original documents with them but having a photocopy quickly becomes a happy compromise.

True Story – on a trip to Phuket with my ex-husband, we tried to rent scooters from a local vendor who insisted that we needed to leave our passports with him and that it was common practice. We tried to explain to him that we had provided photocopies to another vendor only a few days ago but they refused. I did a little research and then found out in the news that one of the passports used by a passenger on the missing MH370 flight was found to have been traced to one reported stolen by an Italian man who’d left it at a motorbike shop in Phuket. Identity theft is so common and we shouldn’t make it easy for them.

Travel Tips for Solo Female TravellersTip 3: Always Buy Travel Insurance

This is not limited to just female travellers and I don’t know how some people travel without it. Spending $100-$250 now buys the peace of mind you need in the event that your brand new camera gets stolen, you fall incredibly ill from bad fried chicken served by a street vendor or you get bitten by a monkey and require a $6,000 rabies shot. Sh*t happens and you want to be as prepared as you can be for when it does.

Tip 4: Trust Your Gut

…Not to digest the questionable burrito you got from the corner shop but to sense when something doesn’t feel right then kindly decline or walk away from the situation. Listen to that built-in radar more commonly known as women’s intuition.

Tip 5: Have a Reliable Service Provider

Having cell service when you’re lost in the middle of no where can be so useful when you need a map, a translator, the police or all of the above (let’s hope not the latter).

Tip 6: Travel with the Essentials & Dress Appropriately

There are a few things I never leave the house/hotel without – my phone, my portable charger (because having a flat battery is the last thing anyone wants), always pack a pair of comfortable sneakers, a whistle (I’ll elaborate why below) and bring a diary to record key memories and details that you don’t want to forget at each stop! Dressing appropriately is also incredibly important because you don’t want to have a figurative neon sign above your head that screams I’m a foreigner. Don’t dress provocatively as it invites unwanted attention and of course observe what the locals are wearing and follow suit. 

True Story – my mother use to hang a whistle around my neck as a child whenever she took me to the park and was told to blow on it if anyone bullied me or tried to take me somewhere away from the playground. Little did I know that this is still something I would advise until today for women to have handy in case someone has wandering hands. 

Tip 7: Avoid Carrying Bags with No ZipsTravel Tips for Solo Female Travellers

Every major city that’s worth seeing will have pickpockets so don’t make it easy for them and have open bags where anyone can just reach in. Always make sure to carry your bag towards the front in crowds and never keep anything of value in your back pockets. Always have small change handy on your person and keep large bills hidden or in the safe at the hotel. 

Tip 8: Be Nice. Be Confident.

Good things come to those who smile and I’ve met so many lovely people on my travels because I gave them a friendly smile. Be confident in everything you do even when you have no idea where you are because those of the shady nature sense vulnerability and prey on this.

Ik Kil Cenote MexicoTip 9: Have a Fictional Prince Charming ‘On Call’

To deter unwanted advances from men I generally have a fictional ‘boyfriend’ (in my case, my prince charming isn’t so fictional anymore) invented – complete with name, career and our future plans to make kidlets together. Some women wear fake wedding bands too but I personally enjoyed inventing new characters each city I went to… there was Lorenzo from Italy… and Javier from Spain…

Tip 10: Plan Ahead

Try to plan at least the first three days of your trip so that you’re not stressed right from the get go; trying to find accommodation late at night or trying to lock in a tour when you only have a short time in a city but nothing is available – these can be avoided with a little preparation. Read about experiences that others have had and any known scams of the areas so that you can take precautions. 

Last but not least – remember, who run the world? Girls.

What are your tips?

Travel Tips for Solo Female Travellers

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Helen

Helen Chik is a Sydney based fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle digital content creator and influencer sharing everything from unique style to her adventures around the world through her rainbow tinted lenses.

  • Christine

    What excellent tips for traveling alone but even if you are traveling with someone else. To be honest I have never gone on a major trip by myself without knowing anyone. I am sure it is something one has to do to fully experience life and figure out who they are, but I haven’t yet had that opportunity or created one for myself. I love the whistle idea and think it is too cute that something your mom taught you as a child still stays with you. And I am not above carrying a fanny pack (a hip one at least) to protect my valuables and money while traveling and keeping those close to me so that they can’t be pick pocketed. =) Thanks for these great tips! xoxo, Christine
    http://dailykongfidence.com/

  • Candace

    I definitely need to get better at scanning documents. I never do this and always rely on the originals…such a risky idea! I once lost my boarding pass I printed out; luckily they had a kiosk where I reprinted it. I honestly should have learned then. Great tips on traveling solo. You are such an inspiration to the rest of us girl bosses!

    http://www.thebeautybeau.com

  • Jennifer Quattrucci

    Oh my goodness ! This is such an amazing comphrenhensive list of traveling tips ! I absolutely love the idea of an imaginary Prince Charming! I’m like you , I have a real one but like to create stories. It’s so true to trust your instincts and I had similar experiences with having kids wear whistles. I totally agree with being nice and being prepared always.

  • Marcy Yu

    YES absolutely love this 10 tips babe!!! Definitely one of my favourite post. I must say I started fully traveling just 4 months ago and easily this are the best and more practical trip every traveler should do. Love the #9 and it definitely works my last one was Francisco from Argentina hahaha

    xoxo
    Marcy

  • @queenhorsfall

    what a great tips,my dear! I have travelled on my own to other countries and I keep continuing traveling by myself in United States. I can’t tell that I love so much of solo trips, but you do learn a lot how to be independent and trust more yourself. My first trip solo was to Russia when I was 18, and by this time, we had no social media, thanks god, we have a such powerful tool today to stay in touch with people!

    http://www.queenhorsfall.com/

  • Ok this is by far one of the best reads I’ve had in a while! You are actually motivating me to travel solo! I’ve never done it and I’m almost 30! That’s just crazy!
    If I end up doing it this year I will definitely keep this post handy girl. Your pics are gorgeous and thank you so much for sharing!!
    XO
    Aimara
    http://www.waysofstyle.com

  • Amy Maree Comber (AMC)

    HAHAHA i love that your mum required a social media check in over a phone call! My parents are the same haha omg and the fictional BF idea. Sooo many amazings tips lovely! Thanks for posting this. xx

  • Amy Maree Comber (AMC)

    HAHAHA i love that your mum requires a social media check in over a phone call! My parents are the same haha omg and the fictional BF idea. I’ve only ever travelled on my own to Melb.. hihi I can’t imagine going to another country! Sooo many amazing tips lovely and incredible read. xx

  • First of all, let me tell you that I loved your images! They are amazing and very well taken. Thanks for sharing all of these tips, they are very helpful. I love traveling alone for a few days. It’s amazing having your own moment.

    Enjoy your week!
    Vanessa

    http://thefashionstatement.net

  • I plan to travel alone nest week!
    And this is what I MUST read!
    Thank you for this useful post! Tips are veryyyyy helpful!!!

  • Lisa Mao

    I’ve actually never traveled on my own before – I’m way too scared because I don’t think I’m capable enough and would definitely get lost haha. But I do love and appreciate this list you put up for us. It’s definitely a useful reminder if I ever do get the chance to go somewhere on my own. Especially love the fictional price charming tip – you must have to use it a lot because you’re so gorgeous babe hehe

    Wanderlustts
    http://www.wanderlustts.com

  • Aurela Fashionista

    Thank you so much for sharing all those tips! I love the idea of having a made-up husband or boyfriend, I will definitely use that tip next time I travel on my own ha ha! All your pictures are amazing by the way!

    Aurela XOXO
    http://www.aurelafashionista.com

  • Those are great tips! I also photocopy everything and I won’t even go into NYC without a bag that closes securely. I’ve had many a friend pickpocketed (never me). While I like the idea of traveling solo (and done it a few times) it’s still more fun with a friend. And I need someone to take my pictures 🙂

    Your dad looking like Jackie Chan totally cracked me up LOL. You’re too cute!
    XO
    http://www.lehoarder.com/

  • Helen, these tips are amazing. I’ve never thought of these before, like travel insurance, wearing a whistle around my neck haha, or carrying bags with zips and to the front of the crowds. I don’t have the fortunate opportunities to travel to a foreign country that often if at all, but I do a have a dream trip I want to go hopefully soon. I’ll be sure to bookmark your post for when that trip happens!

    -Lily from With Love Lily Rose

  • Hey Darling
    How are you?
    Ohhh it was so Great to read your Tips and personal experiences, I think this is something soooo Important and we all take care much more if we read a true Story.
    Really, I learned a lot from your Tips and I will be much careful cause I travel a lot like you:)
    Travel insurance I always do and With my Bags super super careful too:)
    Love Open Kloset By Karina
    Happy Tuesday

  • Sarah Atiq

    I really loved reading these tips Helen. You raised such an important point about scanning documents, it is something I forget but I will always remember to do this from now on. I think dressing appropriately is so important as well, its best not to ask for unwanted attention, especially if you are travelling alone. But my favourite tip is wearing a whistle, that’s such a clever idea :). I am always so inspired by your travels, thanks for sharing these tips to help us become more confident to travel solo.

    xxx
    Sarah
    http://sarahatiq.com/

  • This is such an interesting post. Ice always wanted to travel solo but I’m been too afraid to try it. You are so brace to travel all by your self and it’s inspiring. Thank you for sharing these tips.

    xo, Maryam
    http://www.glamandposh.com

  • Amanda Smith

    I LOVED this post it made me LOL a couple times! I’m always SO hesitant to travel alone but every time I do I end up feeling really accomplished and proud of myself for being a big girl! lol. For me, I learn so much about myself when I travel alone! These are GREAT tips and honestly some I’d never thought of at all! Perfect post honey!

    Manda | http://EvocaitvelyChosen.com

  • Gina Diaz

    I love this beautiful post and wonderful tips when traveling!! What I’m needing next is the portable charger. You look so stunning in the blue dress, just love it!!! thank you for sharing your great ideas. Xx, Gina

  • jacqueline

    I think it’s so awesome that you’ve solo traveled. I haven’t really done that ever. I mean I’ve traveled to visit friends but never to other countries. I love all of these tips and they’re so good to consider. I wouldn’t think of some of these things to be honest

  • You always amaze me with your jet setting lifestyle and I enviously live through your social media photos for world exploring and domination! Such great tips for traveling alone, I haven’t done solo traveling in a while but it was fun when I did in my younger days. Some of the most memorable and best experiences ever!

    ~ xo Sheree
    Posh Classy Mom
    Instagram

  • LAKO EVA

    Lovely post as always. Great tips and I have also the wardrobe and little essentials list when I’m go in vacatons.
    Nice how you travel often and share beautiful pictures for us.
    xx
    Eva
    http://www.themermaidfashion.com.

  • Thomas Falkenstedt

    I totally agree that girls run the world, but all these tips (including having a fictional bf) were applicable to me too and I think everyone should try to travel solo at least once in their lifetime. I do it all the time and enjoy it immensely as I need to have a lot of me time and living surrounded by people all the time always doesn’t do the trick unfortunately. So thanks for all the tips and photo copying your documents was actually something I hadn’t thought of before, but will do henceforth. 🙂
    xoxo
    Thomas

    http://thomasfalkenstedt.com

  • This is such an inspiring post, dear! Thank for sharing all there very useful tips. To be honest, I’ve never traveled alone, I always has my boyfriend near me, because I like to share memories and emotions! But maybe someday I will have that chance (still not sure how I feel about that one though).

    Cheers, Eliza | http://www.fashion-confession.com

  • I absolutely adore this post! I have traveled alone too and I have to agree that it is so liberating! Haha I love that your Mum used to put a whistle around your neck at the park- that is the cutest! So scary about the identify theft in Thailand too- you have to be so so careful and follow your gut, as you suggested 🙂 The fictional boyfriend is a great idea, I also know girls who wear fake wedding rings to stop unwanted attention.

    Rachel xx
    http://www.thedailyluxe.net

  • Just what I needed to hear! I am traveling alone in 3 weeks bound for Asia for 9 weeks! I am terrified as my husband is not coming with me. tho I am not wearing my engagement ring or wedding band to avoid attention to it. I am hiring an assistant (just in case) as I need someone to take my photos and someone local. hahahaha I am beyond excited tho to create contents. would you know how to collaborate with hotels? I would love to hear advice on that as I’m traveling on a budget. THis is a great read Helen! thank you

    xxx

  • Tandya

    Okay WOOOW! You are so amazing! Honestly I wish I could just pack my bags and travel by myself. That takes so much confidence, so you GO GIRL! I’ve traveled by myself, but always met up with people. One year I would like to explore the world by myself and just go with the flow. Very admirable. Thank you for sharing these tips!

  • Elif kadioglu

    Amazing post & beautiful tarvel pictures! I also love to travel by myself! You meet new people and it’s more adventures! My next trip is to Bali! Thank you for the suitcase tip. I’m looking for a new one. Xoxo Elif

  • Ravayna Coe

    I’ve done most of my traveling with my husband but I love a good girls trip! My next one is with my mom- we are headed to Dubai and I’m so looking forward- will keep all your great advice in mind!

  • Thank you for sharing these tips! I am thinking of taking a solo trip in the next few months. I have to say I really enjoyed traveling alone the few times I’ve tried it and want to go somewhere new. I love the idea of carrying a whistle with me, genius! I still sometimes carry pepper spray with me as well when I travel or am going somewhere alone.

    dreamofadventures.com

  • Your tips were so useful to me! I’ve been thinking of traveling solo for quite a while, but I never found the guts yet! Planning on going to Asia or Europe on my own, but I am still not sure! As you mentioned, an insurance, external power banks and dressing appropriate are the most important things! Besides that, we should always keep copies of our documents on our phones, you never know when they are needed. Have a lovely week! <3

    Andreea,
    http://couturezilla.com/

  • unas foto spreciosas, me encanta viajar

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