As a woman, you may not be comfortable travelling alone. But believe me, once you take your first solo vacation, you’ll be yearning for more. Not only do you have the freedom to make your own decisions but even your own travel plans. When we travel with others, be it, family or friends, we need to take into account their likes and dislikes and interests. But when you take off on your own, it’s all about you and your interests. I have travelled to many countries solo and it’s been delightful. Here are my top 5 tips for women travelling alone.

Research, research, research

Always do extensive research about a country before you travel – and Google is your best friend in this case. Read up on numerous places, their culture and note down your points of interest. You may be interested in history or adventure sports or just nature. Pick a country based on your interest and how much of it the place offers. Most importantly, check out others travellers’ reviews as to how safe the country is for solo woman travellers. Some cultures may take offence to certain kind of clothes a woman wears. Be aware of all this.

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As for any traveller, the accommodation depends on the budget you have allocated. If you have friends in the place you’re visiting then see if you can crash with them. Else check out bed and breakfasts and hotels or even homestays. I’ve never opted for hostels as I’m not comfortable sharing a room with numerous strangers. If you book a place and walk into it and feel uncomfortable, don’t stay there. At the end of the day, peace of mind is important as is a relaxing holiday. Paying a little more can get us both.

What to pack

Travel light. That’s the best advice anyone can give you. Just carry one bag (maybe backpack) and one small suitcase. Lugging around large bags won’t help you on a vacation especially when there’s no one to carry it for you! On the other hand, if you lose your luggage, you won’t feel bad about it either. If I travel anywhere cold, my suitcase is usually packed with 2 jeans, 5 tees, a sweater, a pullover, an all-weather jacket, an umbrella, a pair of flipflops and 2 pairs of socks. I wear a pair of sturdy walking shoes. If it’s a tropical place, then you can throw in several shorts and tees and just stick to flip-flops. Always carry sunscreen lotion and moisturizer. And yes, your camera, etc, is par for the course.

Be smart and safe

As a solo woman traveller, my advice is exercise caution at all times. Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t head into a shady area on your own or venture out late at night by yourself. Don’t be adventurous. Sometimes you’ll get unwanted attention from men, leave the place if you feel uncomfortable. Don’t attract attention to yourself unnecessarily. Common sense should prevail at all times. Get a local sim card or activate roaming on your mobile phone. And finally, carry a small purse with some cash and carry a debit card.

Enjoy the experience

Lastly, learn to enjoy the experience. You’ll discover a lot of things not just about the place you are visiting, but even about yourself. Do things that you wouldn’t do otherwise like scuba diving or whale watching or river rafting. The journey of self-discovery on every solo trip is exhilarating and unforgettable.

Also Read: Travel: 10 must-do things in New Zealand

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