When people ask me with whom I travel, and I say “with no one, I travel alone”, people always tell me that they think I’m brave. Well, I don’t feel brave at all. I’m just driven by an irresistible urge/addiction to travel and find waves. To be honest, I was quite anxious to travel by myself for the first time (which is now more than 10 years ago). Which, actually now I think about it, does make me brave, doesn’t it!
But every year, I meet more and more solo female travelers. In fact, two-thirds of today’s travelers are women. The number of women traveling by themselves increases every year, and you can certainly see that once you hit the road. In this article, I share some solo female travel tips & trips, based on my own experience of traveling the world for the last 15 years.
Why should you travel alone?
If you have a bit of a gypsy heart and just love to travel, then I can highly recommend traveling alone. When you travel alone, you meet many more, different people than when you travel as a couple or with friends. You do completely different things, which might suit you way better. You don’t have to take anyone into account, so you can do whatever you feel like doing.
Traveling alone also forces you to step outside your comfort zone, which is where the magic happens. This makes you learn a lot about yourself and about others. You improve your social skills, your organizational skills, and your self-confidence.
5 Solo Female Travel Tips & Destinations
What are the best countries to go to for first-time female solo travelers? Here’s what worked for me.
Indonesia, and Bali, in particular, is a popular country for solo female travelers. Women come here en masse in search of new experiences and new, better, versions of themselves (sometimes I think that Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, was paid by the Bali Tourism Board).
And for good reason! Bali is a super safe island to travel to, there are countless fun, soul-enriching activities to do and you meet new people easier than you can say hello. Just go to a warung (local restaurant) and you’ll see that it’s quite impossible to eat alone.
The transport in Bali is quite hectic compared to western countries, but you’ll get used to that. You can rent a scooter yourself or grab an Uber or a taxi. An incredibly useful app for traveling around Indonesia is GO-JEK. With GO-JEK, you can order everything, from transport to lunch.
In Bali, the fitness retreats and studios are popping up everywhere. Stretch your mind + body with yoga, dive into a Crossfit box or the underwater world, join a Jiu-Jitsu lesson, learn to surf, do a workout on the beach or enjoy a delicious superfood smoothie while you watch yet another magical sunset.
Best places to stay for solo female travelers in Bali
- Canggu: Serenity Eco Guesthouse. If you’re into yoga, surf, and healthy food, this is a perfect place to stay and meet people.
- Ubud: Ala’s Green Lagoon. Most beautiful and serene place I’ve ever stayed in Ubud.
- Uluwatu: Padang Padang Breeze. Perfect location in between Padang Padang and Uluwatu. Beautiful rooms!
Tip: Don’t take a taxi from the airport, but walk towards the main road to catch a Blue Bird taxi and ask for the meter. Airport taxis easily ask double!
A three-hour flight from Bali and you find yourself in Australia, one of the most popular destinations for solo travelers. If you apply for a Working Holiday Visa before your 31st birthday (this applies to the Netherlands, check the policies for your country), you can make good money and save up for an even longer trip.
The beaches are incredibly beautiful, so wide, pristine and immense… The outback with Ayers Rock and the national parks everywhere are beautiful. And the animals! Kangaroo’s, koalas, crocodiles, the platypus, cockatoo’s, dingo’s, etc. If you like flora and fauna, then Australia is the place to be. Sydney is also a buzzing city that you just need to see.
(Just be careful of those land-locked male sharks everywhere… 😉 )
Best places to stay for solo female travelers in Australia
- Brisbane: Definitely Aussie Way Hostel. Especially if you’re looking for a quiet place. Highly recommended!
- Sydney: Bondi Backpackers. When you prefer staying close to the beach. 🙂
- Noosa: Noosa Backpackers Resort. I stayed here last year. Quiet, but big and plenty of friendly people around.
Tip: Australia is a fairly large country, twice as big as Europe, so the distances are enormous. Keep that in mind. Check the hostels for people willing to share a ride. Or rent a car yourself and find people with whom you can share the petrol costs. Much cheaper and much more fun!
3. New Zealand
New Zealand is a perfect destination for a solo trip, especially when it’s your first time. It’s smaller than Australia, cheaper and super safe to travel around. There aren’t as many animals that want to put their teeth into you as there are in Australia, the nature is breathtakingly beautiful and the people are hospitable and mega friendly.
You can skydive, go rafting, bungee jump, surf, snowboard, hike or just enjoy a typical New Zealand pie.
Just like Australia, New Zealand is a popular country to stay for a while and work using a Working Holiday Visa. You can also easily go to Fiji or Samoa, which is seriously worth it.
Best places to stay for solo female travelers in New Zealand
- Queenstown: Nomads Queenstown Backpackers. Clean, good price and fun place to meet people.
- Auckland: Nomads Auckland Backpackers. Nomads are popular and for good reason.
- Raglan: Solscape. Seriously, the most beautiful place to stay. Kind of a hippie vibe and artistry houses. LOVED this place.
Tip: This applies to every country, but don’t put all your cash and bank cards in one place. You should preferably bring two bank cards (possibly from two different banks) and two credit cards. You never know whether an ATM swallows your card or whether you accidentally forget it in the ATM…twice in a row.
From mountains, traditional villages and jungle to white beaches and underwater paradises, Thailand has it all. It’s cheap, the people are super friendly, the food is the best in the world (green curry!), and it’s incredibly easy to get around. I’ve been there three times and I’m considering a fourth.
You can take the train to the south or north, hop on a ferry or grab a tuk-tuk. Whatever route you take, there are always a couple of the same backpackers that you will meet everywhere you go. Sometimes you travel together for a while, sometimes you go your own way again.
Best places to stay for solo female travelers in Thailand
- Bangkok: The Yard Hostel. Beautiful green hostel, rated #1 at Hostelworld.
- Pai: Baan Aomsin Resort. If you love to be in nature and have a peaceful stay, this is it!
- Ko Tao: #1 on TripAdvisor is Ban’s Diving Resort. Wanna get your PADI? This is the place to do it.
Tip: Although Thailand is generally very safe to travel to as a woman, every tourist should read up about Thailand before they go. It’s easy to get ripped off (even if they do so with the greatest possible smile), so just try to know what to expect.
Europe is amazing and Spain is one of the safest countries to travel to as a woman. I was 23 when I first went to Barcelona on my own and I lived there for six months without any problems.
Spain is bursting with culture, music, and liveliness, and there is plenty to discover. You can go into the mountains, surf, eat tapas, dance, dive into museums and admire the incredibly beautiful architecture.
Best places to stay for solo female travelers in Spain
- Barcelona: Casa Gracia. This is close to where I lived, one of the most beautiful parts of Barcelona. Casa Gracia gets a 9.1 on Hostelworld.
- Madrid: The Hat is one of the most popular new places to stay in Madrid. A boutique hostel with the vibe of a design hotel.
- San Sebastian: Surfing Etxea is just 200m from the beach, perfect for those wanting to roll out of bed and jump into the sea.
Tip: As with any big city; of course you should pay attention to your stuff and know where you shouldn’t walk at night on your own. You should also keep an eye out when you’re standing or sitting in the metro.
What do you think of my solo female travel tips? Do you have anything more to add? Let me know below in the comments.