30 of the Best Solo Travel Tips from Readers (February 2024)

by | Mar 17, 2024

Woman passenger waiting for the train at station outdoor platform
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Last updated on March 20th, 2024

Featured image: Get ready for your next adventure with these solo travel tips from JourneyWoman readers | Photo by valeriygoncharukphoto on Envato

Solo travel tips from women

Curated from our Facebook Group and Email Tips 

This month’s reader tips are all about safety, packing light and being practical when we travel  — no doubt to avoid hefty checked bag fees.  Culled from inbound emails and our private Solo Travel Wisdom Facebook group, we love to share these first-hand solo travel tips with everyone to help you travel safely and well. If you a solo travel tip share please do so!  (You can do that here!) 

Tip: You can download these tips as a PDF or print them using the icons above!

30 Solo Travel Tips to help you travel safely and well

1. I never wear a backpack. It targets you as a tourist, huge red flag. I was once grabbed and held down by my backpack straps. Unfortunate thug had no idea I was raised by a soldier and able to react fast and defend myself. My size 13 boot knocked his jaw sideways. I dress as women dress at my destination. I never wear western athleisure or chunky sneakers or backpack or baseball hat or anything which red flags me as a tourist.  — Jeanne F., USA

2. I take whatever bag I am using at home. Those Bagallini and Pacsafe bags are easy for felons to spot. The less touristy I look, the less I think I’m a target. I do wear my high tops though as they are all over the place, even with dresses. — Kitty P.

3. I live in Europe in a touristy city. My Monday-Friday frustration is trying to get to work, transiting through the main train station where I and literally thousands of people need to transfer on our daily commute. Please for the love of God stand on the RIGHT on escalators as the left side of the stairs is the walking (and/or dashing in panic to make a connection!) side. This is less of a big deal outside of rush hour but it can literally make a lot of people late for work if you cut them off in traffic and then slow to a crawl for no good reason, blocking their path. You sure would never do that in your car on your commute to work, so please don’t do it on other people’s commute to work! — Debra K.

4.  I would add learning to take public transportation at home too. Even learning how to read a timetable & buy a ticket in your first language in your own village/town/city will be educational and useful if you plan to do it elsewhere. Each city system/country is different of course, but spending a day out on your own in another suburb or town where you live, and managing public transport is good practice. I currently live in my third country and see a lot of tourists becoming quite stressed about how to manage transportation. So many North Americans live in their cars and have no clue how to navigate without one. — Debra K.

5. I did a last wander around Hanoi today and visited the Vietnam Women’s Museum.  It’s one of those places you should actually visit at the beginning of a new country, rather than the end.  It was nice to see photos by Rehahn (the photographer I posted about from Hoi An) in the foyer.  There are several floors and galleries focusing on Marriage and courtship, pregnancy and birth, clothing, women’s many roles during wars (they are fearless leaders and fighters) and a special display on Mother Goddess.  In Vietnam, the Pagoda is where you go to worship Buddha, but to Temple to give thanks and make wishes for ancestors, past revered persons (like Confucius, revered war generals) and Mother Goddess. For some, this is Quan Yim, a Chinese deity, and for others it is the multiple Mother Goddesses derived from the 4 elements. The films of the performances and costumes were very interesting. There was an area of photos of women who were recognized as Heroic Mothers due to their family losses to the Civil and American wars of the 60’s and 70’s. There is a small film of a woman who used her small motorbike to find these Mothers and sketch them for posterity.  I found it well presented and thought-provoking…a definite ‘must see when you are in Hanoi. – Maria F.

The Vietnam Women’s Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam / Photo credit Maria F.

6.  I wear weather-appropriate vests. I sew pockets into both sides. They hold passports, cash, credit cards, and iPhones. I zip it at least halfway up. I also sew pockets inside shorts/slacks. Works for me. And I wear a police whistle on a lanyard. I make sure it’s visible. — Fran C.

7.  Sew pockets into the interior waistband of your pants- one on each side – just big enough for passport /id on one side & cash/credit cards on the other. — Mary Jo L.

8. I bring a Google Chromecast when I travel so I can plug it into any Smart TV and watch Netflix, AppleTV, etc and have access to all my usual shows no matter where in the world I am. — Esther F.

9. In late Nov 2022, my friends and I stayed a week at a small 3-star hotel in Rome near Piazza Quinerale on Via XXIV Maggio. Hotel Hiberia was clean and comfortable, with easy, walkable access to many of Rome’s landmarks. But the nicest thing we found was the attached (off the hotel lobby) Ristorante Petrucci..as we were finishing our meal out steps the fellow from the kitchen (he made pizzas on Tuesdays & Thursday evenings) who began singing opera for about 20 minutes.. what a treat!! And every dish we had, including the arosto carciofi (roasted artichokes) and our nightly 2 bottles of Prosecco made our stay even more delightful!! —  Sue W.

10. Buy compartment bags. It makes it so much easier for unpacking and repacking to have separated items in separate compartments. — Marion B.

11. I came across something called the Trolly Strap on TikTok and I think it’s genius! It allows you to strap any bag you use onto the handles of your carry-on suitcase so you don’t have to carry two bags and hold the weight while at the airport. Find it here! — Stephanie C

12. When in Sorrento go to La Pergola Restaurant in Hotel Syrene for lunch or coffee and luxuriate in the fabulous view of the Bay of Naples from 100 ft cliffs. Sit on their majolica tile benches in the garden. – Gail M.

photograph of patio in sorrento italy solo travel tips

Gail recommends La Pergola Restaurant in Hotel Syrene in Sorrento, Italy/ Photo provided by Gail M. 

13. For those visiting Marrakech: First, this is a country worth visiting! I wish I had scheduled more time in Marrakech. But the airport can be a bit of a patience tester.  Bring toilet paper! There was none to be had in Departures and if you have it, don’t flush it. And if you do have it, share it if there is another in need.  Be prepared for lineups. First, your bags are scanned at entry. Then determine which line you need to get to to get a boarding pass. E-pass is not sufficient, even if you going carry-on. Then a line up for a manual custom check. The next lineup is security scanning. Finally, you go through the passport check. There, you will be directed to a lineup for each security agent’s booth. You know how it feels like whatever lineup you get into, it ends up being the slowest? That is #12.  I decided to take a taxi to the airport. If you flag one down yourself, it will be about 70 to 100 MAD (Moroccan Dirham) It will be 150 MAD if the hotel orders a cab for you and you pay at reception. Don’t be surprised if the driver picks up another fare along the way. Happy (and safe!) Travels! – Niina N

14. I use Airalo eSIM and WhatsApp because I have Verizon and they are expensive for international travel (10 dollars a day). I shut off Verizon and turned on the eSIM when I arrived. – Lori W.

15. I also exclusively use Airalo eSIM cards when I travel now. I used them in South Africa, Bali, Singapore, the UK, Canada, and the USA. After using 10+ eSIM cards, I’ve learned to install them on your phone BEFORE you leave for your trip! You need to have a stable internet connection and have to scan a QR code on another device to add the eSIM to your phone. I now purchase the eSIM before I leave on my laptop and scan the QR code from there. Then I switch the eSIM on in my phone settings the moment I touch down in a new country. It works great and I’m never without data! – Stephanie C.

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16. If you’re going to Chiang Mai, Thailand, Lila Massage has six locations in the Old City. The women giving massages were all inmates of the women’s prison in CM and were trained to provide a skill so they had a job once they were released. Many of these women were victims of domestic abuse. I’ve always had amazing massages there. I go to the location on Ratchedaemon Road near the moat on Moon Muang Road. —  Alison L.

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17. I always take a few souvenirs from Canada to share with people I want to thank and I also take a few gift bags, tissue and thank you cards. No extra weight and saves trying to locate said in a new environment. – Linda P.

18. I have three black, white and beige tank tops that have hidden pockets sewn into them. I’d never wear them alone but they’re terrific, totally undetectable under a shirt, sweater or casual dress. Found them on Amazon. Love my Scottevest pieces, especially the black hoodies that look just like any other hoodie but have oodles of hidden pockets, some with zippers. Have one in lightweight fleece and one that’s a heavier cotton knit. The lightweight fleece with my Patagonia Nano Loft vest over it is an ideal travel combo for chilly places. – Bonnie R.

19. Take trains if you are traveling from Rome to other cities. If you want to see the countryside, you might benefit from a car. However, I lived in Umbria and public transportation is also doable, especially, on the line from Rome to Perugia (stops in Spello (my town), Spoleto, Assisi). Rome is a good base. I did a day trip from Rome to Bologna to have dinner with a friend, back in Rome by 11PM. Trains are very good in Italy. Use the Trainline app. It’s a lifesaver and in English and covers Europe. Have a great trip. – Joanne K.

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20. In Reykjavík, don’t miss the National Museum of Iceland. Great visit, with lots of information. Second trip to the hot dog stand for dinner and ice cold cola.  Sandholt for coffee, breakfast and delicious pastries, then more coffee at Baka Baka.  The Icelandic Punk Museum is next door to Baka Baka. Well worth the visit. Lots of fun, uniquely well organized, and documented the punk scene in Ísland (pronounced “E-sland”). – MaKoa N.

21. I have so many photos of my adventures and I’ve always wanted to do a grouping or gallery wall and didn’t know how. These pictures are really lightweight and stick to the wall with sticky magnets! Now my dilemma is whether to add to this grouping with additional trips or start another one elsewhere. With these magnetic squares on the back, you peel off a cover and it’s sticky underneath and that sticks to the wall. Then you can easily adjust the picture in any direction. – Kristine H.

Why not make your own gallery wall of your adventures / Photo credit Kristine H.

22. Completing my 850-piece winter jigsaw puzzle project has given me a chance to plot new places to travel. It’s made by Remarks Puzzles.  It’s been a great educational tool, along with a good way to spend the winter. – Nancy T.

23. Tourism brochures brought my attention to Ninh Binh a few years ago and it was on my current Vietnam itinerary. It’s about 2.5 hours from Hanoi. The brochures show little boats being rowed on a river winding through rice paddies with scenic mountains. One forgets you need a place to board the boats…so a touristy, built-up place clogged with scooters and tourist buses, and people hawking trinkets. Once you get past that, it doesn’t disappoint. Kilometers of hills and greenery, some rice paddies, temples and grave sites, and 3 caves to boat through. Be prepared though, as it is a metal skiff with no seat padding nor a seat back. After a 1.5-hour return trip, and then the 2.5-hour bus ride each way, pack Advil, or book a massage. A curiosity is that they row with their feet….it doesn’t look like a natural movement, but it seems easier than normal rowing for long periods. – Maria F

24. I stayed in 2021 at Destiny Scotland on Market Street across the street from the main rail station and down the hill from the castle. Super close to the Royal Mile. Very reasonably priced, nice suite, and super convenient to everything. – Trina D.

25. I always bring a small make-up bag full of plane goodies that I put in the front seat pocket so I can have quick access to things I need during a long-haul flight instead of having to reach down into my handbag or my carry-on in the overhead locker. My make-up bag normally includes Vicks Rub to stop my nose from drying out, lip balm, sleeping mask, ear plugs, headphones, chewing gum (to help ears pop when descending), tissues, and anything else I might need! – Esther F.

26. I finally invested in a high-quality carry-on and I am blown away by the difference it makes compared to the cheap ones! I have the Rose Quartz carry-on from Monos and I love it. It fits so much more than I thought possible, has extremely durable zippers, and glides so smoothly through the airport. – Stephanie C.

27.  If you’re trying to decide on which tour company to use for day trips in any destination, it’s important to note that all of them are generally resellers of tours created by local entities. Examples of these resellers are Viator, Get Your Guide, etc. I always recommend that you read the inclusions and exclusions very carefully as well as the itinerary. Generally these resellers can’t really answer your questions about specifics because they are not creating the tours themselves. Read the tour reviews on multiple sites to be sure it’s what you want. – Stacey R. 

28. Suddenly, I am in Krakow! Interrailing (Eurail for non-European ladies) can take you places at a whim – with train schedules that fit your mood (or fit around German transit strikes) It gives a sense of freedom to plan one train journey at a time. Yeah, the first few times are a bit nerve racking but it doesn’t take long to feel like an amateur pro. So here I am, in Krakow, thanks to a pending strike! Right now I am in the main square of Old Town Krakow, enjoying a meal at Piano Rouge, in a heated tent. Yes, I am the only solo woman, but I don’t care and my enjoyment of my meal is pretty apparent. I used to be terrified of eating alone. Now I love it. I look for the ambiance, a menu that intrigues me and, of course, Google reviews … and then, with a huge smile, ask if there is a nice table for one. Rarely am I refused and never am I shoved into a corner. Remember, when you recognize how special you are, others will too. — Niina N. 

29. I have almost completely replaced my cotton t-shirts with merino (long and short sleeve) as they are wonderful for travel and also to wear under cashmere sweaters during the winter months. Most of my pieces are Icebreaker. Unbound Merino (a Canadian company) is a new purchase and I am looking to compare it with the Icebreaker tops. — Penny S. 

30. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s, if you are traveling in the US or abroad and get in a jam, find the nearest Irish pub. Always folks who speak English and are more than willing to help out. This saved me in Frankfurt, and here in the States! 🍀💕 — Heather R. 

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