Apr 24


Rosie B.

filed: Travel

from the desk of


Apr 24

“Travel far enough to meet yourself”

– David Mitchell

I met myself speeding down a steep rocky hill on a moped after a wrong turn to the beach. I was terrified, absolutely positive I’d soon be flying over the handlebars. Somehow, both the moped and I escaped unscathed, but I’m pretty sure that was one of the most frightening moments I’ve ever experienced.

I don’t remember being afraid went I set out for that solo adventure to Greece. I was 23 and soon to start law school, and all I remember was the excitement about experiencing a new country for the first time.

I’m sure part of the reason I felt secure is that my dad’s colleague at his school had been taking students to Greece for years and had set me up with his Athens-based travel agent who relished every opportunity to take care of me during my trip. I even went to her house one night for a traditional Greek meal that included kokoretsi, an experience unto itself. I knew that if I got into a jam during the three weeks before my friends joined me, that she’d be just a phone call away. Plus, Ralph had relationships with all of the hotel owners where I stayed, so they were looking out for me, too.

I’m laughing at myself as I write this, because by the time I traveled to Greece, I’d already studied abroad in Italy for a year. Although I don’t recall traveling much alone that year beyond short train rides, I certainly was comfortable and confident when it came to navigating the world, whether or not I was fluent in the language. Ahhh, youth!

That’s not to say I didn’t have experiences on that trip that made me uncomfortable. Every single man I rented a moped from tried to kiss me. What was that all about?

Every single man I rented a moped from tried to kiss me.
What was that all about?

There were also times when I felt a bit lonely, but that’s where writing postcards home or reading a good book came in handy. This was 2000, so it’s not like I had a smartphone to keep me entertained! These were also the moments David Mitchell spoke about, moments where I had to get comfortable being with myself.

What I felt more than fear or anything else was freedom: freedom to spend my days exactly as I chose. Isn’t this what many of us wish for in adulthood?

photo of the Acropolis in Athen

Solo travel is an opportunity to build self-awareness and to feel the pride of stepping outside of your comfort zone. I want to bust some myths and share some travel tips for your solo adventure.

Let’s Bust Some Myths

Myth #1: Solo Travel is inherently dangerous for women

Counter-argument: With common-sense precautions and destination research, solo travel can be safe. Most places are welcoming and friendly towards travelers. It’s a good idea to review a safety index like this one from the US government. A travel advisor can provide more insight into what the ratings mean and which parts of a country would be the best option for you.

Myth #2: You’ll get lonely and bored

Counter-argument: Look, you might! But that’s also part of the experience and the opportunity for growth. Solo travel empowers you to make connections based on your interests and strike up conversations when you want to. You aren’t beholden to anyone else. In my experience, there are always friends to be made if and when you want them (and I don’t mean the moped men!) On Paros, I met a wonderful Dutch girl who had been living there and she invited me for a night out and for the best grilled octopus lunch by the beach made by her chef boyfriend.

The Pros (And Let’s Be Honest, Some Cons)

Pros of Solo Travel

  • Ultimate Freedom: Design your ideal trip without compromises. Eat when you want, sleep in, change your plans last minute – it’s all your call.
  • Self-discovery: Facing challenges and navigating new places builds immense confidence and self-reliance.
  • Meeting New People: Solo travel can lead to deep connections with locals and other travelers since you’re more approachable.

Cons of Solo Travel

  • Moments of loneliness: It’s normal, especially in the beginning. Joining day tours is a great way to enjoy some time with new friends then part ways.
  • Cost: Often single supplements for accommodations exist. If you need to watch your budget, there are many affordable yet safe options across the world. Plus, now there are a lot of resources for solo women travelers that will connect people going to the same location.

Staying Safe and Savvy

  • Travel smarts: Dress with cultural sensitivity, don’t flash valuables, be aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts.
  • Communication is key: Inform a trusted person of your itinerary, share locations occasionally, consider a local SIM card.
  • Accommodation: Research well-rated hostels/hotels in safe areas. Consider female-only dorm options or single rooms in your budget. Your travel advisor can help with this, particularly because some of this requires research. I remember when I was studying in Italy I took an overnight train somewhere to meet someone. I was in 2nd class in a sleeping car with three men. 21-year-old me didn’t get much sleep that night! Conversely, I took an overnight train in Spain, 2nd class, and it was divided by gender so I was placed with a mom and her two daughters. I slept a LOT better than night.
  • Travel Insurance: A vital safety net for health emergencies or theft. (I can help you with this!)

Getting Started with Solo Travel

Start short! Try a night away somewhere you’ve always wanted to try. Heck, take yourself out to dinner and a movie so you get used to your own company. You don’t need to start with a three week vacation to Japan, unless you’re raring to go.

Here are some great options for your first solo adventure:

For the Nature Enthusiast:

  • National Parks: Choose those with well-established infrastructure. Consider Yellowstone, Yosemite (stick to popular trails), Acadia National Park in Maine, or Olympic National Park for diverse scenery.
  • Pacific Coast Highway: A classic road trip with stunning ocean views, charming towns, and flexibility for stopping as you please. California’s stretch is ideal.
  • Asheville, North Carolina: A vibrant mountain town with hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, independent shops, breweries, and the iconic Biltmore Estate.

For the City Lover:

  • Charleston, South Carolina: Filled with Southern charm, historical sites, fabulous cuisine, walkable downtown, and nearby beaches.
  • Portland, Oregon: Quirky, coffee-loving, exceptionally walkable city with excellent public transport, food markets, and easy day trips to nature.
  • Savannah, Georgia: Beautiful squares draped in Spanish moss, historic architecture, riverfront strolls, and Southern hospitality.

For Island Vibes:

  • Hawaii’s Big Island: Varied landscapes (volcanoes to beaches), less touristy than other islands if you purposely seek out quieter areas. Great if renting a car is comfortable.
  • Mackinac Island, Michigan: No cars allowed, quaint Victorian-era town, biking, horse-drawn carriages, and a slower pace of life.
  • San Juan Islands, Washington: (Ferry accessible from Seattle) Beautiful nature, whale watching, kayaking, and a relaxed atmosphere.


  • Banff, Alberta: Nestled in the Canadian Rockies, Banff offers stunning mountain scenery, turquoise lakes like Lake Louise , world-class hiking trails, and charming town with shops and restaurants.
  • Vancouver Island, British Columbia: Victoria, the capital city, is known for its beautiful Butchart Gardens and afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel . Victoria is very walkable and has a great selection of restaurants and shops.
  • Toronto, Ontario: Canada’s largest city offers a cosmopolitan vibe with a mix of cultures, world-class museums like the Royal Ontario Museum , CN Tower , delicious food scene, and plenty of green spaces like High Park.

Honestly, anywhere in Canada (within reason.) If you’re American, there’s no language barrier, even in French-speaking Canada, and they are so nice there.


  • Lisbon, Portugal: This charming city boasts colorful buildings, delicious food (especially Pasteis de Nata, the custard tarts!), historic trams, and walkable neighborhoods like Alfama. Day trips to Sintra, a fairytale-like town with Pena National Palace and the beaches of Cascais are also popular.
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands: A bike-friendly city with beautiful canals, world-renowned museums like the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House , and a relaxed atmosphere. Don’t forget to try the stroopwafels!
  • Utrecht, Netherlands: A smaller city compared to Amsterdam, Utrecht offers a more relaxed pace with charming canals, a beautiful cathedral, and hidden courtyards. It’s a great starting point to explore other parts of the Netherlands by train.

Factors to Aid Your Decision:

  • Comfort level: Do you feel more at ease in a smaller town or a bustling city?
  • Interests: City culture, nature escapes, specific activities?
  • Season: Some destinations are better suited for specific times of year.
  • Budget: National parks are budget-friendly with camping, while some cities can be pricier.


  • Your Travel Advisor: People like me aren’t just here to book your hotels. We work with you to create a safe and wonderful plan for your solo trip.
  • Websites + Networks Focused on Solo Female Travel
  • Safety Tools: Apps (like GeoSure) and websites offering country-specific safety information like the link earlier in this post can provide you with helpful safety information.

Are you ready for a solo adventure? Let’s talk!

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