Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
My first trip abroad was as an aupair when I was 19. While I was super nervous at the time, in hindsight I can see that most things were taken care of for me.
Still, leaving your country right after graduation and going to a country where they speak a different language, living with a family that you haven’t met in person before, taking care of kids and doing all this without your friends is scary. Even when your travel arrangements are taken care of…
I’ve learned a lot since that first experience living in a new country. Traveling has become my chosen lifestyle — it’s fun, exciting and I get to experience life from ever-new perspectives.
One of my favorite things to do when I am not busy telling travel stories is to inspire and empower others to travel too.
I decided to collect my resources and honest advice for you in hopes of showing you why traveling alone as a woman is really not that scary.
1. What exactly are you afraid of?
Make a list. Writing down your fears is incredibly powerful. Fears lose much of their intensity when we look them in the eye.
Are you afraid you could get lost? Are you afraid you might get harmed?
Write down all the fears that come to mind, reasonable or unreasonable. This might be uncomfortable at first, but you will see that it is very empowering and gives you a starting point for the next step…
2. Who could help?
Contact friends or travel bloggers and ask for advice. Your best friend Google will have some advice too.
The Traveler’s Mindset community also has plenty of people who have been in your shoes and are willing to support you make your first trip a reality! Nearly everyone who has been interviewed on this site has personally agreed to be a resource to anyone who reaches out to them online!
Book Your Flights and Accommodation
1. First flight ever? Spend a little more $$ for a good airline. It’s worth it.
As a first-time traveler, investing in a good airline that actually knows how to spell the words “customer service” is worth it, especially if it has a direct flight to your destination.
Trust me, once the travel bug bites, overnighters at an airport become an adventure. But this is not something you HAVE to put yourself through when you are nervous about traveling in the first place.
Make it easy for yourself to get to where you want to go. There is enough room for adventure once your luggage is safe at your accommodation.
2. Consider hostels for community & safety
Though you might want to stay in luxurious places or think that hostels are not safe, if you want to travel by yourself and meet people, hostels are a great starting point and nowadays, there are so many places to choose from!
Extraordinary hostels in former chapels or castles, cozy, bamboo-covered huts in the jungle or modern sleeping pods in Hong Kong…the choice is yours.
A good way to get an idea what to expect in a place is to read the reviews on pages like Hostelworld or TripAdvisor. Often you can see the age and the nationality of the reviewer too, which is a good point of reference for how you might experience it.
The advantage of a hostel is not only the community, but also safety and activities. If you are in a city that feels a bit scary at night, it’s great to stay in a hostel where people hang out. You might meet your next travel buddy in the kitchen while making dinner or you might learn about a must-see spot in the place you are traveling to next!
3. Booking pages & resources
Airbnb (New to Airbnb? Get $20 towards your first booking anywhere in the world at this link!)
The Flight Deal
The Points Guy
At the destination
1. Meetups/Couchsurfing Events
One of my favorite platforms to find fellow travelers in a new place – if the hostel proves itself useless – is couchsurfing.com. It is great for much more than finding a couch to sleep on!
You can find events, travel buddies, or sometimes even jobs or future business partners!
2. Stay safe
I have been to destinations where I felt totally safe walking by myself at night and others where I did my exploring during the day instead of wandering around alone at night.
In these cases I enjoy a good night’s sleep or a nice chat with fellow travelers at my hostel or accommodation. While I love the idea of getting uncomfortable and exploring my limits, I do a little research online to see whether it’s common for women to go out at night, and I always trust my gut with these decisions.
Most of the time I have found that you meet people within the first couple of hours at the hostel or cafe and there is no need to walk around alone anyway.
Couchsurfing “Groups” (You’ll need to sign up to access the groups.)
Sandeman Free Walking Tours of Europe
Free Tours By Foot
General Travel (& Life) Advice
- Trust your gut!
- Does a location scare you? Prepare!
- Does it excite you? Wing it! (fun factor: +++)
- Something looks/feels shady? Avoid it!
Your turn. Plan (and go on) your trip!
Let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to get you on the plane to your next adventure!
P.S. If you truly want to become the savvy traveler you know you can be, you’ve got to check out the Travel Savvy eCourse, created by the founder of this site! It’ll take you through the ins and outs of planning, affording, and creating your next travel adventure overseas. It’s on sale from now until the end of 2015, so don’t wait! Become a savvy traveler today!
Jenny Rieger has been described as a hippie with a scientist brain and a business attitude. Equipped only with her laptop, her passion and the desire to connect and learn from inspiring people, Jenny travels the world and lives life on her own terms as a world citizen.
She runs a web development business for coaches and Synnection, a community for contrarian learning and living. Jenny shares alternative ways of living and provides tools that help you to figure out what you really want in life, and how to get you there.