That one girl that goes to the other side of the globe, takes breathtaking pictures and makes friends from all over the world. You secretly want to be her, but there is something holding you back. If five years ago someone would tell me that I would be that girl, I wouldn’t believe it. “Me? I’m not brave enough”. I always traveled with a friend, it just seemed safer. Until the moment I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to join me. Without really thinking about it, I booked my ticket. I was going to Bali for three weeks. Just me and my backpack, on the other side of the world, I couldn’t believe what I’ve done.
I wanted to be prepared for everything, so I looked up as many tips as possible. What I know now is that you can’t be fully prepared for it. You will make plenty of mistakes, spend too much money, hook up with the wrong person, believe me I went through it all. I could write a book about all the mistakes I’ve made while traveling. But ain’t nobody got time for that, instead of writing a book I just wrote down a few golden tips every girl can use while traveling alone. You’re welcome.
Do your research
If you’re a beginner, choose a safe and easy country to visit. For all my female travelers I would fully recommend Asia. There are plenty of backpackers everywhere so I never felt unsafe or alone. You can also find some Facebook groups with thousands of people sharing great tips and locations to one another. You can ask anything you want, or even meet up with people who are already backpacking in the country for a long time.
You will thank me for this one. You will be moving around a lot, a heavy backpack is the last thing you will need in a climate that you’re not used to. I always pack some essentials as swimsuits, light pants, jumpsuits. Everything else you can buy there, and everything is cheaper too!
Book a good hotel
Don’t underestimate the long flight. You will be thankful there is a comfortable bed waiting on you at your destination. Choose a good neighbourhood so you can relax and prepare yourself for the big adventure that is ahead of you.
Check the reviews
Always check the reviews. Every booking website has a review section. Photo’s taken by the hotel/hostel can be deceiving. If you prefer not sharing a room with boys, check if they have a girls only dorm. I personally didn’t care if the dorm was shared. To be honest, boys take up less space and time in the bathroom so that was perfect for me.
Don’t be afraid to explore
Rent a scooter on your own and feel as free as a bird. Don’t be afraid, you will find the best locations while driving around. You will get lost, just like everyone who’s traveling. You don’t have a schedule, so don’t worry about missing other things. Download ‘google maps’, you can use it offline too. It helped me a lot to get around on my scooter and not worry much about finding the way back home.
Think and act as a local
Learn a few local phrases, explore the neighbourhoods, go to markets, blend in. The locals in Bali helped me so much. They know the good spots without tourists, they are really the ones with the best tips. And you will make great friends too! Next time you’re there you won’t have to worry about being alone.
Talk to other female travelers
A lot of them will be more experienced, so you can always ask for next locations to go to! Other female travelers boosted my confidence. I knew I could do all the things they’ve already done. Like surfing for example! And besides, I made so many cool girlfriends from all over the world.
Let your hostel/hotel know where you’re going
ALWAYS let someone know where you’re going. Yes i know I’ve said be free as a bird, BUT safety first! Take your phone with you and update someone on your next location. Give your number to your next hostel, so they can call you if you would get lost.
Buy a local simcard
One of the best decisions of my whole trip. It costs almost nothing and you will be able to call people the whole day. I exchanged numbers with my surfing instructor, hostel staff, friends I’ve met there and I felt just like a local. Also, I’m a social media addict, so being able to post pictures and update snapchat all day long was perfect for me.
A lot of girls have asked me, what about all the men “harassing” you while you’re traveling alone. Well, the only answer to that is BE CONFIDENT. Don’t let them intimidate you. Even when you’re going out, if you’re not interested just let them know. Or make an alter ego, you’re a married woman and your husband is waiting on you in the hotel. Worked for me every time, I even wore a ring around my finger and changed my name. A little alter ego never hurt nobody.
Those are just a few tips I can give all the awesome girls that are planning to explore the world for the first time. The most important thing is to get yourself out there and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You could even read a whole book about solo travel and still you have to experience the whole thing yourself to fully understand what it means. For me it was one of the best experiences in my whole life, I never felt more alive than out there on my own in Bali. The freedom that comes with it is liberating yet so life changing. You don’t only get to know new people, you get to know yourself. So just buy the ticket, believe me you won’t regret it.
Photo credits: Sushi for ENFNTS TERRIBLES