Top 10 Tips for Solo Women Travelers

Hello Ladies!

If you have decided (or planning) to take a break from your routine and the only way to treat yourself is to pack up and take off to a far far away land…

We have some important pointers for you to make sure your travel plans fall well into place and you have a blissful holiday…


1. Research about your destination

Once you’ve selected your destination according to your travel agenda and budget, research well on the place – the web, travel guides and even with someone you know who has already been there.
Take suggestions,recommendations – but plan your holiday to suit your needs. It would be wise to make accommodation arrangements before you commence your journey to avoid any last minute glitches. Keep a note of all the spots you may like to visit.
Resources: WikiTravel / / IgoUgo / TravelPod /

2. Know the local culture / dress code 

You don’t want to be in a position where you’re feeling uncomfortable being yourself. Understand which gestures could be accepted to some but offensive in other cultures!

Resources: RoadJunky Culture Guide /

3. Safety first!

Of course, go all out and have your share of the wild fun you have been meaning to, but it doesn’t take too much of an effort to be safe.

The usual applies…
  • Don’t leave your bags unattended anywhere.
  • Do not leave your drink unguarded at a bar at any cost
    – even if the bartender seems friendly.
  • Avoid venturing out by yourself in deserted areas esp. after dark.
… Other than that, we know you’ll be fine on your own, after all you have taken up on traveling by yourself - that is in itself quite brave of you!

Resources: / The Women’s Travel Club / Solo Travel

4. Travel light

As a woman traveling solo, it may be rather uncomfortable to pack more weight than you can carry easily. Avoid carrying too many clothes and avail of laundry services instead (or do it yourself if time’s a plenty and the budget isn’t!).
Avoid vanity boxes / make up you may not even use on the trip.
Pack only the essentials – SPF, moisturizer and your favorite lipstick, maybe in the toiletry kit. Short on space? Carry an empty duffel bag or a satchel to put the goodies you bring back from your travels.
Resources: WikiHow / Tim Ferriss / Mark Verber /

5. Do a checklist

Maintain a checklist of all the documents, essentials, medications and valuables that you’ll be carrying. Work on the checklist while planning the trip itself so there is no room for missing out on any.
A good (read ‘easy to use’) Camera is one of the most important buddy for travel, yet the most easily forgotten! Add that in too…

The check list will also assist you screen the room before check out from the hotel – just to make sure you haven’t left anything behind.
Resources: Remember the Milk / Paige Parker

6. Maintain an expense tracker 
... and religiously update it every time you pull out your wallet. Shopping is a must on every woman’s travel agenda… we know :) However, keep it last on the itinerary… this will help you know realistically how much money you are left with to spend.
If you are on a budget travel, do read our 10 recommendations on traveling frugal + put aside a contingency fund aside, that is not to be touched unless absolutely crucial… and never for shopping ;)
Resources: Travel Budgeter / Expense Budget / MoneyStrands / Xpenser

7. Get to know the place like you would know your neighborhood

Easy… keep maps handy! Also, do a recce of the surroundings and make note of important joints, in and around where you’ll be staying. 24 hr pharmacy, nearest hospital, closest café, grocery store, communication centre, taxi stand etc.

Resources: TravelMuse / NileGuide / Google Maps / Bing Maps

8. Explore!

The entire purpose of traveling to a never been before destination would be defeated if you stick to the obvious preferences. Explore and embrace the local culture – their cuisine, local drink. However, do look out for the ingredients and preparation before you order your meal, to negate any allergies or upset tummies.

Traveling by local transport is not only easy on the pocket but also helps you make interesting conversations with a local co-passenger perhaps!

9. When in Rome, parla italiano!

Carry a pocket bilingual dictionary on you to help converse with locals.
+ Brush up on some phrases and golden words in the lingua franca and the local language.

Resources: Exotic Gringo (related blog post)

10. Stay fit 

There is nothing more important than taking good care of your body.

Eat and sleep well – your holiday should be relaxing and fun and not be an unnecessary toll on your stamina. Compliment each meal with a serving of fresh salad and juices so that your system doesn’t let you down. Make sure the water you are consuming is safe… sun protection is also a must.

Resources: Travel Fitness / FitnessFirst / Gold’s Gym

Bon voyage!
Tinaz Daruwala


More Resources 

1. CouchSurfing – Find a local host and make friends around the world!
2. GlobeTrooper / TravBuddy / KoolRed – Find and meet other co-travelers

Further Reading & Inspiration

* The Art of Solo Travel * Wanderlust and Lipstick * Wanderlass Travels 
* Isabelle’s Travel Guide * Ms.Traveling Pants * Adventure Girl * GirlVentures

Finally - ready to fly away? Here's something more!

Word among vagabonds is, even as the movie release of  Eat, Pray, Love is coming soon (August 13) + given the popularity of the book, the movie (starring Julia Roberts) should be a hit as well - and will likely inspire women across the globe to explore their own extended travel dreams.

Meet, Plan, Go! is an interesting endeavor, connecting global-minded women who have made successful travel breaks with women in various stages of career break contemplation. By doing so the ladies will show them that storylines like Elizabeth Gilbert’s are possible and introduce would-be-travelers to women who were once just like them.


South America: Quick tips on Brasil & Colombia

Two of my good friends, Nick and JP are visiting Brasil and Colombia respectively, soon.
Here's some quick tips / advice I shared with them...


Brunch in Salento

'Pollo asado con papas fritas + jugo de naranja' in Salento, Colombia

 1. Don't miss the Zona Cafetaria (Armenia, Salento) - my favorite region!

 2. I loved Medellin city the most. There's something about the city!

 3. Food: Try 'arepas con queso'. Don't miss 'Crepes y Waffles' restaurant - AMAZING!

 4. Cali is salsa capital of the world! Take a crash course in salsa or Spanish lessons

 5. Santa Marta is strictly OK, but I loved Cartagena and of course, Parque Nacional Tayrona.

 6. Cali is a bit commercialized, although I only spent 2 days here so can't judge it so well.

 7. Scuba diving is supposed to be great and cheap, up north in Taganga.

 8. Shop for apparel. The styles, collections and prices are too good to resist.

 9. In Medellin, take the metro which doubles up into a ropeway at no additional cost.


Paulista Ave. - Consolação

(The Street of) Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo

 1. Learn to speak Portuguese - the best advice ever!

 2. Pick up a pre-paid phone card if in the country for 2 weeks+ ... just $5

 3. Eat lotsa acai, Drink Guarana Antarctica and caipirinhas!

 4. The metro in most major cities rocks! Use it everywhere u need to go, besides buses.

 5. Throughout the country, restaurants serve food by the 'qilo' - buy it buffet style and pay by weight...
   - It's great, and you'll save a lot of money + get to taste a wider range of food!

 6. Buy a pair of Havaianas

 7. Always greet women with a single-cheek peck/kiss. How tough is that?! :D On both sides in Rio though!

 8. In Sao Paulo, visit the Santander building for a free panoramic view of the city.

 9. Don't go home without a heli-tour of Rio, around Christ the Redeemer. Costs ~ $100, totally worth it.

10. In Rio de Janeiro, I'd say skip Copacabana and stay in Ipanema/Leblon.