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The VAWAA Guide for Fearless Solo Women Travelers

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Wandering the streets in Tel Aviv

You’re ready to travel the world and experience new adventures...but you’re not quite sure where to start. I get it--traveling is always a bit overwhelming, but if you’re a solo female traveler, it can be even more so. My first solo travel experience had me nervous out of my mind and ready to “accidentally” miss my plane. But now, after countless trips by myself, I know that hitting the road on your own is so doable. What’s more, with the unparalleled personal growth and opportunity for adventure that comes from solo travel, it is so worth it.

To help guide you on your journey, I’ve compiled a list of resources for women travelers embarking on journeys by themselves. From beginning your planning to finally being on the ground in a foreign country, the resources in this guide will help you navigate some of the obstacles and anxious moments you might encounter when you travel. 

Disclaimer: All the resources in this article are personal recommendations and not sponsored in any way. 

Exploring waterfalls in Croatia

Planning

Where to begin? Planning your trip can be one of the most difficult parts of the whole travel experience--and you haven’t even left home yet! As a solo female traveler, maybe you’re worried about safety. Which areas are safe to visit? Which countries are more risky? Or it could be affordability that makes you sweat. Flights, accommodation, transportation--it all adds up, and it can get expensive quickly if you don’t plan accordingly. And what about all the other little details, like visas, immunizations, insurance, and more? It’s a lot to handle!

  • Conquering Mountains: How to Solo Travel the World Fearlessly: I suggest using this e-resource to begin your travel planning, which you can download to any device so it can be accessed anywhere in the world. A thorough guide dedicated to helping women travel solo, it’s an empowering resource that will prepare you to go everywhere. The best part about Conquering Mountains is that it doesn’t just provide tips and suggestions, but gives you the confidence to adventure independently and bravely as a woman.

  • On She Goes: Another excellent resource, On She Goes is a digital travel platform that helps women of color travel more confidently, more adventurously, and more often. It’s full of travel tips with advice on everything from long international flights to women’s healthcare resources on the road, as well as stories from female travelers of color to empower you in your travels.  

Packing 

Another huge hurdle you need to clear before you hit the road--packing. Whether you’re a chronic over-packer who brings six different sweaters or the traveler who always forgets something important, like running shoes when you want to go hiking, packing can be stressful and surprisingly difficult. I find it’s my least favorite part of traveling, and I often leave it until the last minute. Which, as you can imagine, is usually a big mistake. 

  • Travel Fashion Girl: This site has packing checklists broken down for countries all over the world. A three week packing list for Thailand, backpacking Europe in the winter, summer in Buenos Aires, the Japan packing list for Kyoto...Travel Fashion Girl has it all. Not to mention, additional packing advice for tons of other different categories, like the best travel walking shoes, toiletry checklist (always so difficult to remember everything), what kind of luggage to use, and more. Their in-depth guides and advice are much more useful than the standard “3 neutral shirts, 2 neutral pants” advice normally listed in packing lists and will help you pack a suitcase that’s just right.

Playing with a baby goat in Iceland

Accommodation

There are, obviously, countless options for accommodation on your travels. From hotels to hostels to Airbnb’s, you can choose to lay your head just about anywhere in the world. But I’ve found that hotels can be impersonal, hostels sometimes overwhelming, and Airbnb’s occasionally hit or miss. Not to mention, none of them are tailored to the experience of female travelers. 

  • Wanderful: A global home-sharing network for women, Wanderful can be an excellent option for international accommodation. Beyond simply a bed and a bathroom, accommodation with Wanderful can help you connect with a local female hostess and find companionship on the other side of the world. Because hosts are part of the network, they’re ready to help you settle into your new surroundings and introduce you to their city. And since safety is such a key point for women traveling alone, each member completes a two-step identity verification process, as well as an optional background check for enhanced safety.

Meeting People 

It’s a fact: solo traveling can get lonely, no matter where you are or how incredible your journey. Being on the road can get isolating, and I’ve found that sometimes all I want is some quality time with people who get me. Finding other women and actually connecting, however, can be a lot harder than you might think. I suggest connecting through female traveler networks while on the road--they’re a great way to meet up with other lady travelers like yourself. 

  • Travel Meetups (Facebook group by The Solo Female Traveler Network): This is a fantastic global network of adventurous female travelers looking to support each other while abroad. Through this group, you can connect with other women travelers while you’re in cities and countries all over the world. It’s a great way to find some companionship on your journey, meet other ladies who might be going through the same things as you, and maybe even make some lasting friendships.

Hiking in Italy

Things to do

So you’re in a new country, taking in the sights and scenes. But besides simply visiting monuments and museums, you’re ready to see the real city or country you’re in. For me, going beyond the tourist route makes my trips deeper, richer, and more memorable. But how to connect with local people and culture? We obviously all know VAWAA is The Best way to immerse yourself in local culture through the eyes of an artist while learning a new skill. But you can also check out a few other options while exploring. 

  • EatwithMeal Sharing, and BonAppetour: Since it can be hard to find authentic local connections abroad, I suggest sharing a meal with members of the local community. Breaking bread also breaks barriers, and food is one of the best entry points into a new culture. These are three great options for meal-sharing abroad. Through these sites, you can find culinary experiences with hosts all over the world, ranging from long, lingering meals to deep dives into a local culinary specialty.

  • United Planet: If you’re looking to make a social impact during your travels, I advise volunteering abroad with United Planet. With the mission to create a united global community, United Planet has opportunities to volunteer around the world. You can even volunteer on specific projects dedicated to women’s empowerment.

  • Workaway: Finally, you can use Workaway to find opportunities for volunteering, working and cultural exchange all over the globe (this option is also great for budget travelers!). You can spend time working during the day in exchange for food and accommodation, while also learning about local culture, lifestyle, and identity.

Ultimately, traveling by yourself as a woman can be daunting and overwhelming. But it can also be one of the most exhilarating and exciting experiences of your life--the ultimate opportunity to discover yourself and the world around you. I hope that with this resource guide, you feel ready to take on the world and go on an epic adventure all by yourself. 


Written by Rossi Anastopoulo