Although I’m not a solo traveller myself, I have a great respect for women who choose this path and I think we can learn a thing or two from them – about courage, self esteem and get inspired by their stories.
Whether you’re an aspiring solo traveller yourself, a female digital nomad, mother of a travelling family or just travel enthusiast I hope you’ll find a new stream of inspiration among my picks.
Here are ten female solo travel blogs that I think are worth following and as a bonus, each author shares with us her personal travel tip.
You could have read about them on CNN, in Washington Post, Toronto Star or LA Times. Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt are two solo travellers behind the blog Solo Traveler. Among other things, they show you that travelling solo can be a ticket to freedom at any age and also that poetry can be as inspiring as travel photos.
Personal advice from Tracey Nesbitt:
A great way to discover the cuisine of a destination – and to meet new people at the same time – is to take a cooking class. Many will include a market tour, so you can see what is grown and produced in the area, and pick up tips on where to shop. You will learn to prepare a new dish or two, sit down to enjoy a meal with both travellers and locals, and have the opportunity to get inside information from the chef on where to eat in their city.
Personal advice from Janice Waugh:
We recommend choosing accommodations based on 3 criteria: they should be safe, central, and social. Typically, you will find this experience at hostels, B&Bs, or small inns, rather than impersonal large hotels or vacation rental apartments. Travel bloggers and members of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook joined us in creating the Solo Traveler Accommodation Guide, which lists 159 such accommodations around the world, personally recommended by solo travellers who have stayed there.
Born Vermonter, Gray Cargill started to travel solo when there was no one to join her in her passion. 15 years later she still loves it and helps other solo travellers providing them tips and reviews. She thinks that visiting tourist attractions isn’t necessarily a bad thing, similarly as having fear on solo travels.
My advice is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. It’s easy when traveling to get caught up in the foreign sights and smells and sounds and get distracted, but it’s really important for women to always be aware of who is around them at all times and especially if anyone is invading their personal space.
Leyla seems to be that kind of a traveller who was destined to be a nomad – she was born in France, grew up in five different countries and moved again in her early thirties. After years of travelling through several continents she now works for an international development agency but still pursues her nomad urges.
Use guidebooks – but not religiously. Get your travel inspiration from novels, essays, poetry, radio, films, music or even foreign TV before you go. Learn to wander and let the guidebooks be your backup, not your guide.
Personal advice from Rebekah:
Make friends with the locals. It can be really tempting to latch on to a group of travellers from your own country and traipse around the planet surrounded by the exact same kinds of people and ideas that surrounded you at home. But that’s not really traveling, at least not in a way that will expand your mind or change you for the better.
Skip the hostel happy hour and plunk yourself down in a local restaurant instead. Make friends with the staff. Go to the same place every day. There’s no better way I’ve found to immerse yourself in another culture than by making friends with the waitstaff. Before you know it, you’ll be invited into their homes, asked to attend weddings, and become intimate with the culture in ways that typical sight-seeing just can’t compete with.
Born Hawaiian Sarah loves old school road trips without GPS and with a map in hand instead. She’s happy to show you around her homeland as well as on her travels abroad. Wanna join her in the ride? Click on the name of the blog above!
Sarah’s personal advice (actually, two of them):
Don’t hesitate to dine alone. Ease yourself into it by bringing a book or local paper to read or perhaps a notebook to write in. You can also go before or after the breakfast/lunch/dinner rush so it’s not as crowded (I do this a bit, especially for dinner). If there’s a bar, eat there and strike up a conversation with the bartender or fellow patrons. After a while, it gets easier, and even fun since it could lead to friendly conversation. I also use the time waiting for my meal to catch up on social media stuff, jot down ideas for posts, make a quick list of things I want to do for the next day, and most interesting — people watch! Just a note: when talking to someone, never let them know you’re traveling alone, or if it slips, just mention you’ll be meeting someone the next morning to go hiking or whatever.
Safety guidelines always call for letting someone know where you are, especially if you go hiking, swimming or snorkelling, etc. This is especially true if you travel alone in an unfamiliar area. But therein lies the problem — who do you notify if you ARE traveling solo? I always leave an itinerary with my mom, a trusted friend back home and on my laptop. I also let the front desk know where I’m headed for the day. If the time difference isn’t a problem, I’ll call a friend at home, let her know where I’m headed, and tell her I’ll call back by a certain time. If she doesn’t hear from me, she’s to call me on my cell by the appointed time, and if she can’t reach me, contact the local authority. I know it sounds a bit extreme, but better to be safe than sorry. Fortunately, I’ve always been able to call.
Elena, the girl behind Gone with the backpack, can be a great example for everyone who is afraid to fly and wants to travel the world – as she travelled from Europe to Hong Kong by land and from Central America to New Zealand by water, she has something to tell about it and her sailing stories will make you want to hop on a boat in a second!
Personal advice from Elena:
If you are a girl and wanna see the world, just go! Drop everything and go without analyzing too much and being afraid! You are never ready to go, there always will be reasons and excuses not to go, many of them… But once you are on the road, all the fears and worries will disappear, it is much easier than it looks while reading about other’s adventures. You realize that there are many like you and you are never alone 🙂
Fran Reisner tells her stories not only using words but also beautiful pictures (and she’s been good at it for more than 25 years). She travels through the US in a Winnebago with her two dogs, assuring readers that United States might be with its beautiful nature the perfect travel destination.
There’s no doubt that traveling with two dogs makes me feel safer. Keeping the RV in good running condition and an eye on the gas tank in more remote areas is important as well.
Aleah was 11 when she travelled solo for the first time, but she still hasn’t had enough of it. Either it’s exploring local cuisine or solving out practical issues like applying for a visa, Aleah is happy to share her views with you!
A common concern among solo traveler wannabes is that they might feel lonely. Here’s my advice. Stay in a hostel dorm. Even if you’re not the hostel type, just stay there a couple of days when you first arrive in a new destination. A lot of people who stay there are also solo travellers. You will definitely meet someone there that you can travel with.
Freelance journalist Lisa took her divorce as an opportunity to explore the world, find her new self and experience things like dancing with a witch doctor or starring in a Thai soap opera. If you’re after eco and responsible travelling, she’s a girl to follow!
Personal advice from Lisa:
Travelling solo does have its challenges. Be prepared that not everything will run on time or go as smoothly as you want, and know that you will miss a bus or train but that in the big scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter and it is all part of the experience. The secret is to have no expectations, allow more than enough time for everything and be as open as you can to other’s cultures, no matter how different they are from your own.
Anna, walking in her mother’s footsteps, might be travelling frugally but this doesn’t mean she would compromise adventure for budget. Either it’s quad riding in Iceland or exploring chocolate plantations in Dominican Republic, her well documenting photos and contagious enthusiasm might left some marks on you, so beware!
Be open to letting go of your plans and joining new friends for an adventure! I met Sarah through her incredible Instagram featuring her vibrant hiking and beach adventures in Oahu, Hawaii. She invited me to visit her, I took a chance and it was amazing. She showed me rainforest waterfalls, the best (and cheapest) sushi, beautiful hikes and so much about local Hawaiian culture. I would have missed so much had I not been open to meeting a new friend and letting her plan our daily excursions around the island. Sometimes to have unique travel experiences you have to trust someone else and be open to the possibilities!
So what do you think about these female travellers? Do you have tips for other interesting solo travel blogs?