Tips To Solo Travel From A Female Traveller Who Has Been To 18 Countries


Farah Fazanna •  Aug 05, 2022

Sure, travelling with your family or friends is fun, but travelling alone poses far more adventures and experiences. Have you always wanted to travel on your own but did not have the courage to do so yet? Well, here’s your chance! We’ve interviewed Nashua, a 34-year-old UI/UX designer who has travelled to 18 countries on her own. She shared her tips with Have Halal, Will Travel about her journeys, destinations and challenges. Read on!

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1. Where was your first destination that you travelled to alone?

My first solo destination was Siem Reap, Cambodia, in 2015.

2. What makes you want to travel on your own?

I have the freedom to make decisions based on my own needs (accommodation, food, location, budget, time, activity) and in my free time I like to hunt for cheap flight tickets. This way, I have the time flexibility to travel at any time, without relying on a friend’s schedule/availability. I am also a very spontaneous person when I travel. I don’t do a solid plan. That means, I don’t book everything in advance and I have no specific location or activity plan ahead, so not many people can cope with this style of travel. Another reason is, when travelling solo, it encourages me to communicate more with new people & from there I can also make a lot of new friends from all over the world :)

3. How do you choose your destination? Is it based on safety, attractions or activities?

I used to choose my destination based on what cheap flight ticket I can find based on my schedule. I like to do outdoor activities, so I will find a way I can at least do some activities at the destination, such as hiking, cycling and skiing. Recently, I discovered another new hobby, which is surfing! So I took a two-week trip to Bali, Indonesia to practise my surfing skills!

4. How do you build confidence to travel alone?

To be honest, every time when I’m going to a new place, I will still have my own self-doubt if I could make it or not. So, I will try not to think too much because I believe every problem will have a solution, so I will just go with the flow of my journey. But, I’d make sure I prepared the essentials such as saving a copy of my passport in my email and buying travel insurance.

I’m also an introvert, so the advantage of being one is that I enjoy my ‘me’ time. I would say it feels more peaceful to travel alone most of the time. Staying at a hostel instead of a hotel, you will always meet other solo travellers (sometimes when lucky you make friends with locals who run/work at the hostel too) and you will never feel alone! Another tip is that always talk to the locals, they are very helpful when you approach them nicely.

5. Have you ever faced any challenges during your travels? What was it and how did you overcome it?

There were a few places that I’ve travelled to where there is no public transportation. There were also times when I planned to go to a specific location that requires a long journey — if I’m lucky enough — I’d find other travellers to share the transportation cost. Otherwise. I’d have to pay for the whole car by myself. The same goes for the accommodation as some places don’t have hostels, so I have to spend extra money on a hotel room that’s supposed to be for two people. Also, it may not be a big deal, but going to the toilet with all your stuff is very annoying, especially when I’m at the airport or heading to my hostel to check-in.

The most unforgettable challenge is when I lost my phone when I’m about to onboard my flight to Siem Reap. The first thing I did was I approached a stranger and borrowed his laptop to e-mail my family in case they couldn’t reach me because I don’t want them to worry. After I touched down, I went straight to my hostel that I already booked in advance (Pro tip: always have a hard copy of everything that you book and research!). I make new friends at the hostel, and I borrowed their phones when I need to update my family. Luckily, I brought a digital camera, so I managed to capture my journey. I was still smiling during the whole journey because, hey, I am still breathing without my phone so why should I spoil my trip :)

6. What are your safety tips for women who want to travel alone?

  • Update your family and close friends about where you going and how long is your trip.
  • Always keep a copy of your passport in your e-mail.
  • Buy travel insurance!!
  • Don’t post the exact location in real-time on your social media. Give at least a day or two days before posting.
  • Don’t wear fancy outfits, don’t wear jewellery, and don’t look like a typical tourist to avoid the extra attention.
  • Try to travel as light as possible, so it’s easier for you to move around (or run away, I don’t know haha), so you feel less worried about your belonging safety.
  • I always carry a whistle (like a necklace), in case anything happens when you are in a less crowded place or in a forest.

7. How do you usually prepare to travel alone?

As much as I am spontaneous, I like to be realistic. I will study the average cost of accommodation, transportation, food, and activities, so I can have a rough budget allocation based on how long my trip is. The more you travel, the more you realised you don’t need much. I try to pack as light as possible so it’s easy for me (and save my energy too) to hop from one place to another. Usually, I will book my first few nights of accommodation, so I can have the flexibility to change the plan for the rest of the trip. I always prioritise nearby attractions when considering my accommodation. This way, I can save time and the transportation cost. I will also study the country's transportation by doing online research and asking friends who have been to that destination. I don’t like to have a solid plan because I still like to keep the flexibility, but I will still do rough research before arriving at a destination, like what can I do or see. At least I know what to expect.

8. From all the places you’ve been, what is the safest country/city for a solo female traveller? Why is that?

That would be New Zealand! I can walk alone at 10PM and still feel safe. Even in mountain areas (for example Mount Cook), there’s a proper trail and walking path, so it’s totally safe to explore by yourself. The country also has easy access to tourist information and they will guide your public transportation from A to Z if you want to travel to a specific location. Based on Google, the violent crime rate is also minimal compared to many other countries. So, if you want to start your own solo female traveller journey, New Zealand is a good place to start!

To summarise, the top tip to solo travel as a woman is to keep your schedule open but also be prepared! If you need more reason to travel on your own, here is more travel inspiration for you: