Cover Photo: Taryn Elliott/Pexels

The Tatler team draws on their own experiences to share their biggest tips on being prepared, staying safe, and having fun while travelling alone as a woman

1. Be comfortable with where you're going

"Traveling solo is such an enriching experience! I’ve done it myself in Hawaii and Japan—and I’m excited to visit more places alone. I think the best tip is to make sure that you’re comfortable with where you’re going.

Staying safe is always key to making memorable experiences you can grow from. I always try to target countries that I feel are safe and have efficient public transportation, especially trains so I never have to take a cab alone at night. It helps if the country or city is nearby too. For me in the Philippines, places like Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea are perfect candidates. Keeping these criteria in mind takes away the anxiety I have about being a solo female traveller. 

My other tips are: Never ever go swimming alone, make friends, always trust your gut and constantly update loved ones with what you’re doing and your plans."

—Ryanne Co, Features Writer, Tatler Philippines

2. Make a plan but don't be afraid to deviate from it

"I feel better travelling alone when I have some level of knowledge and certainty about where I’m going, but I also enjoy finding unexpected gems, so I’ll make a plan ahead of time but be flexible and make changes on the go. That’s what I did when I went to New York in 2018, and why it’s still one of my top three trips.

I researched restaurants, shops and sights I wanted to visit. Then, I made a rough itinerary for each day of my trip, and grouped the places into districts so I could spend a good amount of time exploring a particular area. I made sure to check travel routes too, so I felt more comfortable knowing how to arrive and leave.

During my trip, I’d go to the planned destinations but I often came across other places that I wouldn’t have been able to find online, and would change my plan depending on how I felt. When I was in different shops and restaurants, I’d also chat to staff and ask for their recommendations, as that kind of knowledge was so useful and led to some of my favourite discoveries, including a fabulous vintage shop in the East Village and the joys of Artichoke Pizza."

—Amalissa Hall, Digital Style Writer, Tatler Hong Kong

Related: How to Stay Calm While Travelling in 2022

3. Pack light

"I learned the hard way that lugging around massive suitcases—and worse, on cobbled streets—can shave off a significant amount of your travel time, which can be better spent sightseeing, exploring cafes, or meeting new people.

Save yourself the workout and travel light. And if you're an anxious over-packer like me, I recommend writing down a realistic list and being firm with yourself when tempted to pack for unlikely scenarios. For example, I will probably not be hiking so the gear can stay at home, under the bed where it belongs!

For day-to-day exploring, I always carry only my essentials—wallet, hotel keys, portable charger, a bottle of water, sunglasses, and SPF—in a small bag with a zip.

On my last trip to Italy, a friend opened my eyes to the neck pouch to keep all my important documents, such as passports and emergency credit cards, on your person at all times. And to make it extra pickpocket-proof, you can wear it under your clothes. I recommend the waterproof neck pouches from North Face and Carhartt WIP!"

—Zue Wei Leong, Digital Writer, Tatler Malaysia

See also: Aman Group CEO Vladislav Doronin Builds on the Past to Create Hotels of the Future

4. Learn from the locals

"It’s been a while since I last travelled solo, but one trip that stands out was back in 2012 when I went to Istanbul for the first time. It was short but absolutely wonderful—an opportunity to relax and re-energise, to reclaim my time, and reclaim myself. Without ties and no one to answer to, I could do as I pleased and in a new place with sights and sounds aplenty to absorb, there was more than enough to keep me busy.

Travelling solo, especially as a woman, helps you grow. It's an opportunity to build confidence and travel better. Being alone opens you up to conversation—whether you are in a restaurant or café, or queueing for a site, you are talked to more, especially in Turkey!

And while it can make for unwanted attention, talking to locals can garner insider knowledge, from topical insights to top tips, such as where to buy the finest carpets, or the best Turkish delight. You can gain a perspective that you may not find from blogs, travel guides, and recommendations from fellow visitors. It’s an easy way to unlock a different side of a place. Just know your own boundaries and keep these conversations to public spaces.

Just like going to a party, make the most of a solo trip and leave while you’re still having fun—understand how long you’ll be happy in your own company and beat a retreat before being alone becomes lonely."

—Rachel Duffell, Regional Content Director, Tatler Dining

5. Stay connected

"You may still end up in a bramble field with a lone black goat for company because you can't read a map but at least with a decent data plan, you'll eventually find your way to get to where you need to be! Don’t be afraid to ask your provider about what’s the best SIM card for your specific travel needs before you go—never get the airport ones, unless you must. And even then, only get a temporary one!" 

—Koyyi Chin, Senior Writer, Tatler Malaysia

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