Tips on Solo Female Travel
After visiting ten countries in the ten months, I can say that I have a fairly good system on how to solo female travel. Here are a few things that I always do to feel safe, get around with ease, and have a memorable time.
Every adventure that I embark on, I always send the details of my stay to my family back home and a friend that is in Europe . This includes flight information and lodging. Despite generally feeling very safe while traveling in Europe, I still chose to share where I would be staying. While traveling, I rarely tell people that I am traveling alone. Even while taking a taxi or Uber, I screenshot or write down the license and the information of the driver. I also rarely stay out late while traveling alone. My general rule of thumb is to wake up early and to return early. When I say early, I mean by 9pm. If I am with company, I will stay out as late as I want. There is always safety in numbers.
Most major European cities have tourist friendly public transportation. Often, they will have bundle deals where you can buy a pass for multiple days to save yourself the headache of always trying to figure out a way to get around. I try to stay away from taxis and Ubers as much as possible, because they will eat your wallet. In Copenhagen, I was able to download an app called DOT and I bought a two day travel-pass which cost me around 20 euros. In Paris, they tend to stick to the paper transport passes, which can be a hassle if you lose things easily. But they do offer bundle transportation passes, which allows you to travel via bus, subway, or train. In general, I try to research how I will get around before arriving at my destination. I also map out the distance things are from my lodging.
How to Have Fun
Free walking tours are the way to go! I did a free walking tour in Dublin, Madrid, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Paris and Mallorca. On all these tours, I was able to learn from a local the history of the city, hidden gems that I may not have found on my own and got a chance to walk through a part of the city that I never would have done on my own. This also is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people.
If you enjoy museums like I do, it’s beneficial to look up museum tickets in advance or see if they have hours when it's free for the public. Most European cities offer discounts to students. I still have my college ID just for this reason! Or if you are under 26 you can get in for free as well. If there is a museum you really want to see, try and get tickets online beforehand. In a city like Paris, waking up early to get to a museum will leave you waiting in line for hours.
Festivals or Outdoor Markets
As an English assistant, I mostly traveled on the weekends so there were often festivals or outdoor markets going on. If you look up the city you're visiting beforehand, you may find some free activities going on. I was fortunate to learn about a food festival in Amsterdam, a vintage market in Milan, an artisan market in Mallorca, and a vintage market in Paris.
When traveling, comfort should always come before fashion. If you can have both, that's great. But if you are in a city for just a few days and want to see the most it can offer, you will be walking a lot. I always opt for sneakers that can pair with anything in the warmer months, and sturdy, warm boots for the wintertime. In the wintertime, layers are your friend. You can always remove layers when it gets too hot, but you can't add layers if you never brought any to begin with!
Traveling in Europe can be inexpensive if you want it to be. The first way to save money is to not bring a carry-on or a checked bag. Carry-ons will make your flight 30-60 euros more expensive. Practice rolling and folding your clothes into your personal item which could be a backpack or duffel bag, either way as long as it fits under your seat its good to go! One personal item is allowed for all flights. For budget friendly airlines like Ryanair or EasyJet, if your personal item is too big, they will charge you at the gate.
For food, my method is to have a big breakfast, snacks for lunch and a big dinner. I am not really a foodie, so I tend to buy meals that will leave me satisfied over what will look the best on Instagram. Unless of course, it’s a country's signature dish, which I will then gladly break the bank, for example; salmon from Sweden or pizza in Milan and Poffertjes in Amsterdam !
Hope you guys enjoyed some of my tips!
What do you miss the most while being abroad? Most people say peanut butter, flu medicine, or pancakes. The thing I miss the most while being overseas are my dogs! This blog post is how I try to see the positives while missing my furry friends back in the states, and making some new ones here in Spain!