Beginner Guide to Travel Solo For The First Time at Any Age
Travel solo for the first time
Before you travel solo for the first time, you’re likely to be wrestling with yourself travelling on where, why, when to go next in 2021 and beyond.
Time to start dreaming about travel in the coming year or gather inspiration for your next travel adventure when you can fly.
While you may be excited and anxious to travel solo for the first time, you will need to decide where to go, address safety concerns and if you’ll feel lonely on your own.
Travel solo for the first time is an adventure.
You get to see the world on your own term.
Decide your own itinerary and get to like your own company.
It is exciting, exhilarating, and can be amusing all at the same time.
Learning a new language is one!
For someone who has travelled solo since my 20s, I have friends who ask me all sorts of first-timer questions – the same questions I had when I first headed out on my own.
Tips for Travel Solo for The First Time
I will answer the 10 most common questions female travellers have to help you get on the road quicker. I aim to inspire and encourage. Feel free to share your other concerns if I didn’t cover these.
#1 Solo Female Travel Question – What’s My Bucket List And Where To Go?
A valid question if you are travelling with a group – deciding where to go unanimously.
I started travelling at 17 with a friend who decided that going to Singapore for the Christmas decorations was the best time to experience the tropics.
After that, I would travel on my own to other states in Malaysia for my holidays.
One of the best confidence-building trips was to Club Med Cherating – I didn’t have to worry about what to eat, where to go, what to do and how to make new friends!
Some women may stress out about meeting people.
Quick friendships are easy to build with fellow travellers.
You can share travel tips and talk about food is a good neutral subject for people to open.
Even if you’re socially awkward, ask about what is good to eat, and the conversation will work out easily.
Travel Safety Tips: Stay away from probing personal questions without being boorish, and you will do fine.
#2 Solo Female Travel Question – Have you ever felt that a place you are at could become dangerous?
The best thing to do is to make good logical choices of where to travel to.
While many may not think that some places can be dangerous, keep in mind not wander out by yourself alone late at night in unknown cities.
Even when you travel by Grab, take precautions like screenshot the driver’s ID and send it to a friend back home.
However, many community places are safe, depending on the severity of the local situations. If you see reports of civil unrest and destructions in the news, you may want to defer your solo trip until the situation is calmer.
Many places are perfect for solo female travellers that are safe than what is portrayed in the media.
#3 Solo Female Travel Question – How do you deflect unwanted attention as a single woman traveller on the road alone?
The most effective strategy is to learn about modesty requirements.
On the East coast of Malaysia, the outskirts of Indonesia and small towns, it is important for women to cover their knees, backs, and shoulders.
Plunging necklines, barebacks and spaghetti tops are frowned upon together with short shorts.
Some places require a woman to cover their hair in public and wear long sleeves tops, long skirts, and trousers.
If you don’t want stares, you may want to dress like the local women and blend in with the community.
#4 Solo Female Travel Question – For a newbie to “conquer the world”, what is the most important advice?
Be as prepared.
In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”
It doesn’t mean planning out every minute detail of your trip.
Rather it means to be financially secure – do you have your travel visas, a valid passport, travel insurances, and a strategy for earning an income on the road.
Read all you can about local customs and cultures before you visit that country.
Find out about scams, so you are aware of what is real and what is not.
It also means tying up loose ends at work and home before you go.
Apply and get your annual leave approved and come back on time – you wouldn’t want your boss to hire someone else to do your job in your absence, right?
Let your family and friends know where you will be at and check in on social media – so everyone back home knows that you are fine.
With that, you can be present to enjoy your solo trip and have an amazing time.
#5 Solo Female Travel Question – Find a female travelling buddy.
With your own personal circle, you can find another like-minded friend to travel together.
You get to share the cost when you travel in twos.
You could also put up a Facebook post to see if your friends know anyone in new places your heading to – I have hosted some travellers that some friends send over my way.
Sometimes it is good to meet a friendly face to warm up to in a city of strangers.
Even if your friends and realities aren’t the travelling types, you may be surprised with who they know in other parts of the world.
#6 Solo Female Travel Question – What if I get homesick when travelling?
It depends on where you are and how far you are away from home.
On a trip to Europe for 2 weeks, I was terribly homesick for soya sauce.
I remember I was in London and met a classmate who had me sorted out – she took me to a restaurant called Bali, where I have some Ee Fu Noodles.
That was the best meal in a long time – I had pickled green chillies drowned in soya sauce with my spongy noodles.
A taste of home.
Loneliness gets to me sometimes, but I get used to it once I start travelling with a timeline that I’ll be home before the month is out.
#7 Solo Female Travel Question – Do you find it difficult to learn a new language or speak to locals?
Speaking to locals is one of the safest things you can do to find out where to eat, shop and sightsee.
Most will tell you where to visit and where to stay away from.
The best tip is asking locals what to eat or if you will like a particular local dish.
I remember walking up and down checking the food court stall in Manila – I just wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the food.
Finally, I asked a local man who recommends Angus Pares – and the best Java Rice.
#8 Solo Female Travel Question – Are You Worried About Your Career If You Travel All The Time?
Are you in the office who book all your annual leave in advance at the start of the year?
Do you know the long weekends in your country by hard without looking at the calendar?
If you answer yes to both questions – while you have the Flight Alert Setup to track price changes and score cheap flights; then you are seriously addicted to travel.
There is nothing you rather do than spend all your time on the road like a nomad.
In fact, you have even scribbled your design for a calling card with your name above the designation “Digital Nomad”.
Since you have answered yes to the questions above and probably a few dozen others I have not asked, would you consider leaving your current job and travel full time to another county?
Let’s check out all the other jobs you can do to earn your keep while you travel.
#9 Solo Female travel Question – Is there any specific age (or age group) you would recommend travelling solo?
I started in my 20s, almost 40 years ago, in a world with folded maps, without the internet, and writing physical letters and sending postcards.
There is no magic number.
Women of all ages and walks of life can and have travelled solo before.
I was 23 when I met an American woman traveller; we were queuing to buy train tickets.
I remember her telling me to save my money to see the world.
Her best and only advice – Get good leather ankle boots.
They protect your feet on the road.
You should do it when the opportunity arises and go off to see the world.
If you are an open, curious, and friendly person, your age doesn’t matter.
#10 Solo Female Travel Question – How can I travel solo for the first time, travel free and get paid for travelling the world?
Travel for free and getting paid for travelling the world seems like a dream come true.
You may want to ditch the idea of ever owning your own property or even an apartment in exchange for a hotel room.
If I’ve learned anything, my journey is a lot different from yours.
Staying in one place when you are young and fit and then travelling the world after I retire from my full-time job to write is ideal – for me.
If you plan on doing the reverse, you may not head down the same road as your childhood friends, university mates and work colleagues.
You may have a wealth of experience living in many countries, cultures, speak a multitude of languages and be a citizen of the world.
You will have that faraway look in your eyes – that wanderlust of not taking root in one place, and that is alright too.
As for me, I’m just happy I found a way to get around that by getting work online that pays for my travel, food, and lodging.
Life is still life, and there are up days, and there are down days.
Nothing is perfect all the time, and travelling won’t change the nature of being alive.
It’s a great chance to get to love the time spent with yourself, and that’s a benefit of solo travelling at times.
And that’s the best life!