Are you scared to travel alone? That’s completely normal.

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

Here’s me in Rome — in 2014 my first solo trip as I left to study abroad there without knowing anyone. I went back in September 2017.

We typically think of vacations as social activities, so the idea of a solo holiday might seem weird or even a little scary. You might think about if you’ll get lonely, or maybe even bored since you won’t have friends to chat to. As women, we might wonder “is solo female travel safe?”

It totally is. But that doesn’t make the idea of flying somewhere new and exploring all day on your own any less stress inducing.

The key is to work up to it. If you’re used to spending time alone, then traveling alone for the first time will be a breeze.

Here’s how to practice for your first solo trip:

Scared to Travel alone? Go to a Movie

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

I took a “solo trip to Morocco” by linking up with a tour group. This was back in 2014.

This movies is an easy place to start if you’re scared to travel alone, as one of the biggest obstacles to get over is to stop waiting around for people to come with you and just go.

Is there a movie out that you want to see, but you can’t match your friends’ schedules? Perfect. Buy your ticket and your popcorn and go anyway.

Skills acquired:

  • Enjoying your own company.
  • Having memories of an event that belong completely to you.

Eat by yourself at Fast Food Place

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

All solo female travelers must be cat ladies, right? haha. Here I am at the Cat Sanctuary in Rome in 2014.

Having the courage to eat alone is surprisingly a big deal. I think we associate eating alone with being alone, like…completely. What kind of person can’t find someone to eat with them?

Breaking through this stigma is a big part of having the courage to take your first solo trip. You’re a human being. You need food for nourishment. Eat.

Starting at a fast food place makes things easier because there might be more people there on the go. You pay, you sit down, and scarf your food while looking at memes.

Easy enough.

Skills acquired:

  • Breaking through the stigma of eating alone.

How to Start Traveling Alone: Go to a Museum Solo

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

I recently joined a tour of all the “Sound of Music” filming locations in and around Salzburg, Austria

When you’re traveling on your own for the first time, one of the things you’ll likely do is visit a museum. Why not take a dry run at home?

You can get a feel for your pace and decision making process. For example, if you can choose any museum in your entire city, and no one else’s opinion matters…which one will you go to?

Once you get there, how much time will you spend? When you’re on your first solo trip, you won’t have to rush through an activity because your boyfriend is hungry or linger somewhere that bores you because your sister is having a good time.

The freedom to make selfish decisions is one of the best parts of traveling alone for the first time.

Going to concerts or events alone is also good practice. I went to a George Ezra concert alone for this step.

Skills acquired:

  • Learning about your actual interests.
  • Discovering your how to pace yourself.
  • Making choices without anyone else’s input.

Eat Alone at a Sit Down Restaurant

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

a littler Kam trying to take in the Cliffs of Dover by herself in 2015. One of the irritating parts of solo travel — people who cut you off at the ankles.

This one might be the hardest step. I still struggle with it, actually! I think it’s because the wait staff I’ve encountered on my solo travels thus far have just amplified the stigma of eating alone, rather than just treating me like a normal person who happens to be hungry and didn’t want to wait for someone to come eat with her.

While fast food places abroad (think: McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.) will have wifi, the kinds of places you actually want to eat while traveling alone will most likely not. So, if you’re like me and don’t have an international data plan, your biggest crutch, your phone, will be gone.

What’s a girl to do?

Practice!

You won’t be as scared to travel alone if you’ve done a dry run. So, if you’ve already eaten alone at a fancy place in your hometown, when you do it abroad, you’ll know what to expect. You’ll be aware of your stressors, how they make you feel, and how you prefer to pass the time.

You might want to:

  • Read a book.
  • Write in your travel journal.
  • Keep the menu at your table to practice your language skills.
  • People watch.
  • Read the ketchup bottle 50 times.

Skills acquired:

  • Being comfortable with silence
  • Feeling at peace with your own thoughts
  • Completely breaking through the stigma of eating alone

Scared to Travel Alone? Take a Solo Flight

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

My flight to my solo trip to Berlin was delayed, making me run as fast as my little legs would take me. Good thing I’d already flown alone many times so I knew what to do!

If you’ve ever said “I want to travel alone” then being comfortable flying by yourself is a big step towards successful solo travel.

Embarrassingly enough, I had no idea how airports worked until I was 16 and went to Florida with my friend. We paid extra for direct flights from Houston because I wasn’t comfortable taking a connecting flight…because I literally had no idea how I would even find it. Until then, I had always just followed my mom or youth leader and magically found my gate.

So before traveling alone for the first time, take a flight to visit family or meet up with friends alone. This way, you can get comfortable with the check in process, security screenings, and overall airport atmosphere knowing that someone friendly and familiar is waiting for you when you land.

Skills acquired:

  • Understanding airports
  • Navigating potential problems like delays, lost luggage, and running for connections alone

The Final Step towards Traveling Alone for the First Time: Take a Solo Day Trip

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas is a great day trip from Houston or Austin.

So you’ve flown alone, eaten alone, and had a blast at the movies and a museum alone. Now what? Combine them by taking a solo day trip! Well, maybe not the flying part.

Get over your fear of traveling alone by taking a mini first solo trip.

I’m from Houston, so great day trip ideas might be to Austin or Galveston, Texas. I practiced this bit a lot when I was studying in Rome and visiting my sister when she lived in London. I’d just wander around all day and see things that *I* wanted to see.

You can try your hand at itinerary planning and pin point any other areas about solo travel that stress you out.

The best part?

At the end of the day, you’ll have basically traveled alone. You’re a pro.

Skills acquired:

  • Planning a personalized itinerary
  • Setting your own pace

Optional Step: Stay in a Hotel Alone

scared to travel alone first solo trip first time traveling alone

With Elvis’ microphone in sun studios.

This is the final hurdle that I overcame on my journey to no longer be scared to travel alone. I’d flown alone. I’d eaten alone. I’d gone all day exploring alone. But I’d always had someone to come chat to at the end of the day.

So when I took my very first solo trip to Memphis, Tennessee, the only part that was new and scary was not having a friend in the city.

For many, staying in a hotel alone is the opposite of lonely – it’s glorious. Sleeping in a huge, plushy bed and taking a ridiculously long shower without needing to worry about the water bill come to mind.

But the great thing about solo travel is that you don’t actually need to stay alone. Between hostels and homestays like AirBnb, if you want to come home for the day and be around other humans, it’s super easy.

If you’d still like to practice, consider booking a local homestay or hostel.

Hopefully these practice steps make you less scared to travel alone.

Good luck!

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Wondering what to get the girl on the go in your life for the holidays? Look no farther. I’ve specially curated this list of the best travel gadgets to make sure her next solo adventure, girls trip, or romantic getaway is her best one yet. Or, if you’re looking to #TreatYoSelf instead, then go right ahead, girl.

This is a guilt free zone.

Here are the top 12 best travel gifts for women. There’s one for each day of Christmas 😉

Anti-theft Backpack 
best travel backpack theft proof

Ain’t no body trying to get their stuff stolen. This super chic anti-theft backpack is sure to keep valuables secure and WITH YOU so you can enjoy the views instead of keeping your eyes out for shady people at all times.

NOTE: the super cool anti-theft features of this backpack (like duel zippers and slash-proof fabric) are not a substitute for common sense. Please continue to use yours.

 Compression Shorts                                                   

compression shorts for girls

Compression shorts for women are like literal manna from heaven okay. If you’re a normal human woman and your thighs rub together when you walk (like mine do) these lovely things will save you from raw thighs. Seriously. Compression shorts are one of the best ways to prevent chafing.

Just pop them on under your sundress (so you can still get cute Instagrams obviously) and you’re all set for hours of pain-free walking.

Compression Shorts (Bermuda Style)

compression shorts for girls

If you’re looking for a chafing solution that’s a little more LONG term (see what I did there), then you’ll want to go for these Bermuda style compression shorts for better coverage. Traveling involves so much walking that there have been times even my knees started to chafe. These always come in handy.

Diva Cup

Travel with Diva cup

Okay y’all: the Diva cup is one of the best travel gifts for women out there. Seriously. You might think it’s a little weird to give a period product as a present. But trust me, dealing with your period on vacation is the WORST and this thing is an absolute life saver.

All the Diva Cup reviews are pretty much amazing and it will make that time of the month the best time to travel. I’ve been using mine for nearly nine months now and have zero, ZERO complaints. It keeps you free to do things like Meet Eddie Redmayne or stand in line at Wimbledon all day without having to worry about bleeding all over yourself.

A++ would recommend.

Go Girl Portable Urinary Bathroom Device

peeing while camping

Do you or you girlfriend hate camping? I do…because peeing in the woods is number 3 on my top 10 things I hate doing list. BUT, camping is essentially free accommodation, so the Go Girl stand to pee device can help everyone face their fears and pee freely. The cool travel gadget also comes in handy when you’re faced with a dread squat toilet. 

It does take some practice to get used to, so don’t bust it out for the first time in a life or death situation.

Literally the Coolest Shoes Ever 

shoe travel wallet

 I don’t usually carry a purse, which leaves me wide open to set something important down (like my wallet) and never pick it up again. Luckily, these shoes literally have a WALLET INSIDE OF THEM. How cool is that? It makes them one of the best travel gifts for women because it gives us one less thing to worry about.

If pink isn’t your thing, no worries. They come in different colors, too.

Portable iPhone Charger 

portable iphone charger cheap

I have the iPhone 5, so my battery life is like ZERO, so this portable charger is a life-saver. It’s a great travel gift idea because your jetsetter can Snapchat her adventures to her heart’s content without needing to worry about finding a wall plug to charge her phone.

I use this one, and I can usually get a full charge, sometimes a charge and half, out of it.

Quick Dry Towel 

best travel gifts

I’ve been using quick dry towels since high school. They hardly take up any space in your luggage (#TeamCarryOn) and function exactly as advertised. They seem to dry instantly, so you’ll never have to stuff a wet towel into your backpack again. Woo woooooo.

RFID Blocking Wallet

cute theft proof wallet

This is the ideal gift for moms who travel. You know, the ones who are up on all the latest scams. APPARENTLY, there are bad men out there who will stand behind you at the museum and scan your credit cards through your normal, flimsy wallet to steal the $5.90 in your account that you were hoping to buy dinner with.

Don’t go hungry. Get this wallet. 

Selfie Stick

best selfie stick

Every solo female traveler needs a selfie stick. Judge all you want, but how can you get cute Instagrams like my girl Alyssa over at MyLifesATravelMovie without a selfie stick? Always relying on other people to take your photo is a no go, because they usually won’t turn out how you want them.

Just you know…be careful with it.

Don’t be this guy. 

Slash-proof purse

cute theft proof purse

Getting your purse stolen is a major downer. You’ve heard the horror stories: a man on a motorcycle yanks your purse off your shoulder and rides away into the sunset cackling. Things like that do happen. You wanna invest in a cross-body, slash-proof purse to protect your valuables abroad.

Luckily, this one comes in different colors and is actually cute. A lot of bags like this can be P ugly. Avoid those.

TSA-approved Shampoo Holders 

cheap TSA liquids bag

This cheap TSA liquids bag is probably one of the best travel gadgets you can get because it will actually save you money in the long run. Instead of buying travel sized toiletries for each trip you take, you can just use these containers to bring what you already own with you. Just don’t leave yours at a friend’s house in Germany like I did. Or you’ll be sad. And have greasy hair.

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