Last updated on September 24th, 2023
Featured image: Get ready for travel with these solo travel tips from JourneyWoman readers | Photo by nualaimages on Envato
Best Solo Travel Tips for February 2023
Curated by Marion Broverman, Facebook Group Moderator
This month we received some of our best solo travel tips yet! These tips include savvy packing ideas, affordable places to stay, safety tips and advice on saving money. Here is the shortlist of the best solo travel tips, culled from inbound emails and our private Solo Travel Wisdom Facebook group. We rely on first-hand solo travel tips from you — our readers — if you have one to share please do so! (You can do that here!)
1. Flight attendants are required to have a small flashlight when working. Mostly this is used to check seatbelts at night. But for passengers, it is good for lighting your way through the aisles for others who may have their feet or heads sticking out into the aisles while trying to sleep. — Linda S. (Look for a flashlight or headlamp here).
2. Wear layers if it’s cold in the morning, peel as it gets warmer. — Marion B.
3. Buy a sleeveless cashmere top as one of the layers. — Jane C.
4. Always bring a supply of Scholl’s moleskin for those sore spots and blisters on your feet. — Noreen L.
5. It isn’t just travel and outdoor stores that have cool travel clothes. I found a very cute floral print multi-pocket “gardening” vest at Duluth Trading Co. Everything I need on the plane goes in it. — Marti S. (Try this vest here)
6. Thrift shops are another great place to shop for travel clothing and gear. — Toni K.
Thrift stores are a great place to buy travel clothes and recycle your clothes / Photo by IrynaKhabliuk
Read More: Downsizing for Travel: Tips and Advice
7. When calling an airline whose first language is not English, always have the phonetic alphabet handy. Assuming like me you speak English (with an Australian accent). I could not get the Avianca call centre person to understand but the minute I said “echo, alpha etc” he understood’. We both laughed! — Megan D.
8. Magnetic hooks and clips are very useful on a cruise boat as the walls are usually metal. Get the really powerful ones and hang your hat, bag, lanyard, necklaces etc. The clips can hold your programmes and notices. — Margaret B.
9. When you go to Ireland there is a must-do near Galway. It’s called Brigit’s Garden. The central garden highlights the four seasons. It’s peaceful and beautiful with great walking paths and a very good cafe. I go on every trip. — Beth H.
10. Always carry tiger balm for under your nose when you are going into unsavoury toilets. — Fiona N.
11. Don’t despair if your hotel cancels your booking the night before. I was heading to stay in Genoa from Naples when this happened. Not impressed but looked at other hotel options. Not wishing to pay the hike in price I said to myself think Karen, think. I decided to stay in a town closer to Cinque Terra and found a single bedroom in Levanto. What a good move and just what I needed. A town with a train station, beach and beautiful hills neighbouring Monterossa al Mare. I missed out on Genoa but saw so much more at a leisurely pace. I loved Levanto, its culture, location and residents. I could live here. Some good came out of the hotel cancellation. — Karen G.
12. A Charles Schwab checking account gets you a debit card that reimburses all ATM fees around the world. Makes getting local currency easy and low-cost. — Corinne C.
13. I live in Mexico so have a Mx phone. Does anyone know how I can get an American number without having to buy a phone plan I don’t need? — Jordan M. Get a free Google voice number. — Debby B.
14. When doing long slow travel, look at ‘free’ travel insurance provided with credit cards. Some will include up to six months’ cover. The card usually comes with an annual fee, so technically not free. So shop around, and do read the fine print to see if it suits you. — Terri M. (Check Insuremytrip.com here to compare insurance rates)
15. If the tap water is not potable I travel with a supply of hair elastics and put one on the hotel tap to remind me not to use the water when brushing my teeth. — Bonnie H.
16. Many European hotels don’t provide washcloths. As an American going to Europe, I take old washcloths (or I buy cheap ones) and after using one for a few days of travel, I throw it away. — Carole V.
17. Use a travel agent – so glad I did this when my Christmas getaway didn’t happen. She has handled all the fallout and insurance claims. Never travel without insurance. First time in my life I have had to claim on cancellation insurance. — Joy F.
Read More: Six Reasons To Use a Travel Advisor
19. Put some spare emergency cash under your insoles in your hiking boots – if you get robbed or separated from your valuables, you will still have a stash of cash as they never check your boots. — Fiona N.
20. I learned from a detective to always wear sunglasses. I even do this locally. Criminals rely on reading your eyes. I learned from a police officer in Chicago to always sit in the first car of a train closest to the driver. Once while there, a gang jumped on the center car while stopped and demanded money. It was early afternoon and only a few people were on the train. It happened quickly, was frightening and anything could have happened. It was great advice given when I shared with him what happened. Previously, I always went to the car with fewer people. Also, after this incident, I never wear headphones or spend time on my phone while on a train. Criminals are bolder. — Kathleen M.
21. Two things always in my cosmetic bag— an extra large black binder clip, useful for holding together the curtains that don’t quite close, and an old toothbrush, useful for cleaning the not-so-clean bathroom or your boots/shoes when you’ve walked through mud. I always put a piece of duct tape on it so I don’t brush my teeth with it by mistake. — Marsha M.
22. Sprint (T-mobile) has free international texting and a decent amount of free data roaming. Spent 3 months overseas and did not have to buy data. Just paid a few bucks here and there for a telephone call or two. Stayed in touch with friends and family using WhatsApp calling which you can use with data- you don’t need wifi but works best when you do. — Corinne C.
23. I recommend that you don’t overlook Google Fi for calling and internet. Not only is it very reasonable in the US but overseas calls are only $.20 per minute! I never buy a SIM card but use WhatsApp, Zoom, or Google Meet when I can and use my Google Fi calling when other options are not available. I mean you can talk for a whole hour within another country or back to the US for $12! And no daily fees as some US carriers charge. And nothing to cancel when you get home. And text messages are free worldwide. I’ve used my Google Fi phone in many countries in Europe, the Middle East, and India with no problems.— Elie L.
24. When travelling to a foreign country, take an extra small money purse (or at least a ziplock bag). Keep your native currency in one and your active currency in the other. Makes it easier when you are arriving home – just swap wallets. — Terri M.
26. I love my Clever Travel Companion boxer shorts with metal zippers for passport/credit cards. —Grace Gormley
27. Always bring a small battery-powered or rechargeable fan that can sit on your nightstand or be held in your hand. You can use it to cool off a stuffy hotel room often windows don’t open and AC is minimal, to make yourself comfortable after a hike or as a white noise machine in a loud hotel. — Emilie F.
28. Pack a portable carbon monoxide detector, especially if staying at apartments with fireplaces. — Carolyn R.
Read More: Best Safety Products for Solo Women.
29. I love Jasper Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. Staying at the top of the Glass House B&B was a special treat, with all the windows and skylights showing the surrounding mountain views. Well run and situated. A visit resets my frame of mind from life’s minor issues. — Jan M.
30. I stayed in an Air B&B within walking distance of the main square of Bologna at the end of a trip when I wanted some downtime. It was an easy walk to restaurants, food markets, bakeries, the library (awesome), some touristy stuff, etc. There was a bar right at one corner where you could sit at a table, order an Aperol Spritz, get amazing olives with it (have not been able to find these at home) and potato chips (if you like them – I don’t) and people watch for hours without being shooed away. — Lois R
31. I can recommend the Beqa Island Resort off the coast of the main Fiji Island. Cute bungalows, great food and spectacular scenery. It’s a dive resort so it’s very quiet when the divers are off doing their thing. Beqa is where fire walking was invented and you can see a demo at the resort. Also, Fiji lifted all Covid restrictions today. — Beth H.
32. In Saigon I really liked the Hammock Hotel. There are two, one in a better neighbourhood than the other near a very large traffic circle. Also, love Barcelona. Great place for solo travelers. Spent a lot of time in the Born area. Nice hotel just west of the Arc de Triumph Newer Hotel. Catalonia Born Hotel. I use Agoda a lot for booking and Booking.com because of their cancellation policies. Have traveled often in Japan and Southeast Asia. Does anyone know good places in Japan to see people dyeing indigo and weaving Kasuri or Ikat? Also, what is your favourite onsen towns in Japan? Go see Luang Prabang, Laos if you can. There is a great non-profit there called Big Brother Mouse. You can do drop-in volunteering just doing conversational English with those who come to talk with English speakers. A fast train now comes from China and goes right by this beautiful old capital of Laos with its beautiful temples. Many people will likely be coming soon and Mandarin will be needed too. Happy travels! —Vwnita L.
33. When staying at a hotel or lodging in an unfamiliar city, be sure to take a card with the name and street address of your hotel from reception when checking in. Later when you’re out and need a taxi, you can hand the driver the card with the hotel’s name and address. This will be helpful for the driver (especially if your driver does not speak your language). In my excitement at exploring a new city, one time I was negligent about remembering my hotel’s street address. Unfortunately, there were several hotels in the city by the same name. An embarrassing and expensive mistake on my part. Lesson learned! — Roseann W.
34. Book refundable hotel rooms — Marion B.
35. If you rent economy cars in other countries with lots of sunshine, you’ll want to bring a black piece of material the width and length of an average dashboard and preferably, not a slippery fabric. The glare of the sun reflected from the dashboard on the windshield blinded us many a time until we started using this cloth. — Tam A.
36. I was in Costa Rica in January 2023. In Costa Rica, at the airport immigration or security lines if you are over 65 years old they will put you at the front of the line. Sometimes you do have to ask. Worked great, we saved a lot of time getting through the long lineups. — Julie W.
37. While in Sucré Bolivia I had a wonderful experience taking private Spanish lessons from a delightful and highly competent woman named Tatiana. She came to my hotel, and was positive, energetic, patient and supportive. She has a university degree in languages. She had a good lesson plan and incorporated new words into usable sentences. Perhaps the most interesting aspect was that she told stories in Spanish about the Bolivian culture, the status of women and personal stories as well so these classes were an immersion in life in Bolivia. Tatiana was also a brilliant tour guide and we went out to markets and her favourite spots while using the Spanish we had learned. She does online classes that are also highly effective so of course you can take her classes from anywhere in the world. Tatiana is not only an excellent teacher but she is a kind and caring person, a pleasure to have met. Her email is [email protected] — Yvonne L.
Female friendly accommodations: Most solo women recommend bed and breakfasts, homestays and small resorts. Get more ideas here.
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