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A Few Not-So-Solo Travel Tips From A Female Solo Traveler (updated August 2023)

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Affiliate disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and will deliver a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase through the links presented. Meredith San Diego only recommends products and services, however, which she genuinely supports and utilizes for her travels.

Traveling solo shouldn’t have to translate to being alone, especially in the information age. These days it seems as if anywhere and anyone is accessible with a few clicks of a keyboard. Leaning on this fact alongside my personal experience as a solo female backpacker, I’ve decided to share a few obvious (but maybe not so obvious) facts about how one can travel solo, but not really. 

There are a handful of ways solo travelers (like myself) can adapt when the novelties of planning logistics, budgeting for solo accommodations, or being selective with destinations strictly because they’re affordable wears out. Here are three tried and true tips for traveling solo, while not so solo at all.

Solo Travel Tip No. 1: Social Media Connections

When used the correct way, social media outlets such as Facebook or Instagram serve as primo starting points for making travel connections. Network groups are available by the dozen, some even specific to a destination. When planning to piggyback on a friend’s birthday trip to Taiwan I reached out to a Facebook network group specifically for travelers (expats) in Taiwan. I was elated to find five other women traveling through the country at similar times, and we successfully arranged more than one meet-up and even day trips together. 

If you’re new to social media or unaware of where to start, try these solo traveling communities:

Outside of social media, word-of-mouth serves as a default networking tactic that still packs a solid punch. While visiting Poland with some Macedonian friends I mentioned my future travel plans to Portugal during casual conversation. One of the members of our entourage had a friend (met in college years earlier) born and raised in Lisbon whom they could connect me with.

Hospitable people are my favorite kind of people. Not only was this person a gem, inviting me to her home for lunch with her family (originally from Africa), but she also selflessly showed me around town during her downtime. These connections are truly priceless to me.

Not=so=solo traveling in Taiwan in 2018.
Location: Jiufen Teahouse in Jiufen, Taiwan (2019)
Female travelers, as found on a Facebook network group, met for a day trip in Jiufen (Taiwan) where we met two other female travelers along the way.
Not-so-solo traveling my way through Lisbon, Portugal.
Location: Pensão Amor, Lisbon, Portugal (2018)
With a local friend(s) as introduced to me by another friend in Poland.

Solo Travel Tip No. 2: Planned Small Group Tours 

Arranged tours are the best solo travel tip around because it takes the hassle out of planning every detail of your adventure. As a solo traveler, I’ve joined at least a dozen group tours during my travels. Because most people reserve these tours in sets of two or three persons, as a solo traveler I’m often the odd woman out.

That considered, I was often gifted my own room without needing to pay the additional solo charges linked to such journeys. More often than not, however, I am assigned a roommate (of the same gender). Not all roommates are created equal, and admittedly, I’m not always a cakewalk myself, but the majority of them I befriend instantly.

These connections are priceless in more ways than one; traveling alone makes executing decisions quick and easy, but experiencing a culture with someone creates a bond like no other. Further, these connections can serve as an opportunity for future travel with like-minded people. It also opens the door to new destinations where you now have a buddy and, depending on the circumstances, a place to crash when you do.

A great place to begin when considering planned tours is TourRadar. Compare tours by cost per day, destination, or by length of stay. I’ve made countless good friends on adventure tours like those featured on this site. 

Solo traveling tip, travel in small group tours for lasting connections.
Location: New Year’s Eve somewhere in Rajasthan, India (2016)
A few amazing human beings I had the pleasure of befriending on a 3-week+ journey (via train) through India.
Solo traveling tip for female travelers, befriend like-minded female baddies along the way.
Location: Central Coast, Australia (2018)
These beauties, as seen in the image above, I was reunited on their home turf in New South Wales. The other two in the aforementioned photograph, I’d reunite on their home turf in Switzerland in the Fall of 2019.
When you make friends solo traveling and then visit other countries together.
Location: Outside Rotorua, New Zealand (2017)
These beautiful souls and I clicked instantly on the first day of our 2-week adventure tour through New Zealand; one is from Holland, and the other from Denmark.
Not=so=solo traveling in Denmark with friends made on small group tours in New Zealand.
Location: Viborg, Denmark (2018)
We reunited in Denmark a year later. Still posing in the same positions, but at least in the sunshine and tank tops!

Solo Travel Tip No. 3: Choose Hostel Stays 

Hostels have a bad rap, but as a solo traveler on a budget, these types of accommodations are next to impossible to avoid. It’s solo travel tip number three for new solo travelers. I’ve both lived through and heard many horror stories (bedbugs, theft, sexual assault), but overall my experiences have been quite pleasant. In fact, the friends I’ve made from hostel stays go on to become consistent travel companions. Not to mention the money I’ve saved sharing transport costs or piggybacking on to-day tours.

Hostels nowadays can be tricky, especially for more experienced individuals. Age limitations, along with the implementation of night minimums, can make them tough to navigate. Always be sure to read the fine print, though, because the devil is hiding in those details.

Booking accommodations can be easy when using websites such as booking.com. Take your travel plans the extra step towards humanitarianism by using that same platform via Hotels That Help. This volunteer-run organization partners with companies like booking.com to help stamp out homelessness. You were going to reserve a room anyway, so why not allow ten percent of that cost to go toward helping someone in need? Vacation and/or solo travel with a purpose.

Solo travel tip number three, befriend folks from hostel stays.
Location: Loboc, Bohol, Philippines 2018
Two road friends I met in a hostel in one city in the Philippines, clicked with, then traveled the rest of our trip in hostels together. One is from Holland, and the other a Filipina.
Celebrating solo travel with friends made on one island on another.
Location: Sam Roi Yat National Park, Hua Hin Thailand (2019)
The Hollander backpacked from the Philippines to Thailand, where we adventured around town for a month.

Solo Travel Tip No. 4: International Travel Insurance

The final solo travel tip on this short list is travel insurance. None of us want something bad to happen when a trip comes around. But people get sick, plans change, and flights can be canceled. That leaves more than a few of us out a decent bit of money if it means we can’t go on the trip. It’s worth protecting yourself from that with trustworthy travel insurance options.

You’ll be reimbursed most, if not all, of the cost of any canceled flights and other expenses. If you get sick on vacation, you should have your healthcare covered. I recommended looking into a few travel insurance options before making a decision. While nothing might happen, an emergency can, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Register for the Bag Lady Monthly Newsletter and get a FREE download of the Global Emergency numbers for this exact reason! Travel as ready for anything as possible.

Best kept solo travel tip: Teaser.Main .LeadMagnet

And grab plenty more solo travel tips by revisiting the blog titles categorized as Solo Travel Guides right here on Bag Lady Meredith San Diego. Adventure on!

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2 Responses

  1. I love hostel life! Every time I travel on my own or with friends, I do my best to always choose hostels! They are great places to meet beautiful people 🧡
    Loved this post! It reminds me that there is nothing to fear, that we women have to just ride on!
    Love ya! 🧡

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bagLady Meredith SanDiego in front of wooden fence painted with a sign Sandiego

Welcome to Bag Lady Meredith San Diego!

As a global citizen with more than 57 passport stamps, my adventure mandatory, serial-expat existence offers intuitive insight into globetrotting as a solo Black, female.

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Bag Lady Meredith San Diego is always on the move! Completing her 57th country in 2022, where can you spot Meredith San Diego adventuring in 2023? Stay tuned to find out just where in the world is Meredith San Diego!