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If you’re a girl who hasn’t traveled alone before, you might have no idea where to begin! That’s okay — there are so many options for you.
The ideal first solo trip for female travelers is easy, fun, and low-stress. Give yourself some structure, but don’t plan out every minute of every day. You don’t know what kind of solo traveler you are until you get out and do it, so plan for anything!
For your very first solo trip, choose a popular destination with good travel infrastructure. Once you master your first trip — and you will master it! — feel free to move on to more challenging destinations.
Here are three kinds of trips that are perfect for first-time solo female travelers.
Group Outdoor Adventure
Perfect for: high-energy girls who like the outdoors, love meeting new people, and live for adrenaline rushes!
If you think that spending lots of money just to lie on a beach somewhere is, well, a bit of a waste, then an active vacation is for you! Joining a group is often the only way to do epic treks like the Inca Trail, and it’s one of the easiest ways to travel solo.
There’s nothing like the feeling of diving into a waterfall in the heart of the rainforest, or sandboarding at lightning speed, carving through dunes in the desert. Plus, the pictures will be fantastic.
Best of all, when you travel with a group, it’s easy to meet people who love the outdoors as much as you do! You’ll have new friends within an hour, so you won’t have to worry about spending all your time alone. Just make sure you find a program that gives you time to explore on your own as well!
Suggestions: Try hiking the Inca Trail in Peru, arriving at Machu Picchu by sunrise. Hike, zipline and surf your way through Costa Rica. On New Zealand’s South Island, climb glaciers and bungee jump into rivers!
Sexy City Break
Image: Stephan Geyer
Perfect for: girls who love urban excitement: shopping, museums, restaurants and dancing till dawn!
You’ve always wanted to visit Barcelona. Or Berlin. Or Chicago. Why wait for someone to share your interest when you could go on your own?
When you travel to a city on your own, every decision is left up to you. Spend your days exploring every neighborhood, go see quirky local bands, dine on local specialties, shop until you drop. Change your plans on a whim. Or just sit back in a cafe and try to pass as a local!
Want to meet friends? Consider meeting up with the local Couchsurfing community. Most cities’ Couchsurfing communities plan frequent events and get-togethers! I met up with Couchsurfers nearly every day in Buenos Aires, and it was, by far, the best thing I did on that trip.
Suggestions: Anywhere in Europe! Paris, Rome, and Amsterdam were made for a trip like this. Buenos Aires is a spectacular introduction to South America. Stateside, why not try San Francisco or Miami?
Skill-Learning Solo Sojourn
Image: San Diego Shooter
Perfect for: girls who want to return from their trip with some brag-worthy skills to show off to their friends!
If you’re a midwesterner who’s always dreamed of surfing, why not take the plunge and learn? From Bali to Panama and beyond, surf camps around the world are perfect for solo travelers!
And it doesn’t have to be a physical activity. You could learn an artistic skill, a culinary skill, or even volunteer. Sign up for a course, preferably early in your trip. This way, you’ll meet friends from the course and get to know the surrounding area so you can explore on your own afterward!
This kind of trip rocks for solo female travelers because you get to choose an activity that interests you and you alone, without catering to the needs of your travel companion.
Suggestions: Learn to cook in Tuscany or Chiang Mai, Thailand. Get your PADI diving certification in Roatan, Honduras, or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. And you can learn flamenco dancing in the heart of northeastern Spain or tango in its birthplace, Buenos Aires!
This first solo trip will give you confidence like you’ve never known before. For your next solo trip, the sky’s the limit!
Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed! I’m traveling Southeast Asia alone from October 2010 through May 2011 and will be sharing my adventures and solo travel tips along the way!
28 thoughts on “Great Trips for First-Time Solo Female Travelers”
OK well I admit I’m not a girl but actually I found these tips to be pretty useful as a guy too. Especially with regard to meeting people.
Putting yourself into group settings generally helps introductions go smoothly. I have done several of these types of things but I hadn’t really reflected on how awesome they are for meeting people. Tours, training, anything where you’re stuck together and can form “locationships”. I’ll definitely keep it in mind for my upcoming RTW trip! Thanks Kate!
You’re right, Jack! These trips would work for guys as well!
Great advice! I went to Egypt’s Red Sea as a solo female traveler and did my Advanced Scuba Diver certification there. It was a great way to occupy my time, I got to meet a lot of great people AND I got to learn some new things for a passion and hobby of mine! It was probably one of my better trips because of it!
Perfect, Connie! It’s nice to hear from someone who did the third option!
Great tips! I went to the south of france as a solo female traveler and had a great time… It was my first experience traveling alone and I was terrified, but it prepared me to take on more solo travels 🙂
I feel the same way about Buenos Aires, Emily!
Nice article with some wonderful tips! When we went to Egypt and Jordan we were a little hesitant traveling as two women so decided on the group route. We went with Intrepid travel and would you believe that all the travelers on our trip were women? They had boyfriends/husbands who were not as interested as they were in travel, but that did not stop them! The group setting was a safe alternative for them..
We had a great time, although our trip leader, Ahmed, was not sure what to do with all these “ladies”!
Thanks, Cheryl! It goes to show that you should never let your partner stop you from traveling!
Great tips Kate! Follow her advice and see her in action by following her amazing blog during her 7 month adventure! I know I have “trip envy” and will live vicariously through her – well maybe in my version I am not backpacking but at the Four Seasons, but still…
Whenever I have had to travel alone or ostensibly alone (on business trip w/hubby who is working literally the whole time) I try to put out of my mind any pre-conceived notions or limitations on myself. Just because at home you hate heights doesn’t mean when you are in the Alps you can’t zipline! Think outside your own box and go for it!
For tips on solo travel in Paris check out: http://wp.me/pLv7o-e7
Great tips for any novice traveler. I’ve also considered group tours for some of the more challenging countrys for myself.
I definitely agree that any major European or US city is a great place for a solo gal. They definitely have good infrastructure and so much to do. Paris was my first solo trip, and while the language barrier was rough (I only know about four lines of French!), it was extremely easy to get around. The subway system is way easier to understand than the ones in NYC! I’ve also done NYC solo, and it’s perfect for that since there is just so much to do (and it was helpful that I had already been there a few times with others). I also love the idea of doing a group adventure trip. I went on a Contiki trip once and some of the people in the group were great, but some were just awful, so it can be a bit of a mixed bag! But it’s perfect for a solo person. Awesomeness!
My first solo trip was to Milan. Shopping, sightseeing and food. I visited churches and spent time in parks just enjoying the city by myself. Definitely a good soul searching place. And, you know… when I was done with all that good stuff- I could shop for days! 🙂
Great tips! Doing an adventure group tour is definitely something I’m interested in. I love big cities on my own–but I will admit that I miss traveling with my mom! She’s the most fun to go shopping with–and is always ready to sit down and enjoy a coffee!
Great post! I hope this encourages some chics to get out there and see the world!!!
Cheers! Here’s hoping that this post helps a female traveler get out there!
Great tips, I’m finally planning my first solo trip to Barcelona! The question on my mind is how long was your first solo trip?
Yes! I love this article. I moved to Buenos Aires alone and I love it. Traveling alone is scary but it’s so great to be 100% in charge and not have to worry about what anyone else wants to do.
Hi, I went overseas for the first time as a solo 19 year old to EU, first trip overseas and best. I am now about to head to South AmericA on a Gap adventure tour and them maybe get a work visa to stay in Italy! Surely solo travel is the best genre of travel. I’m also starting a travel blog!
I met with many Indian people during my holiday in India. There was I strange but a very nice feeling of being amid the people who were so much full of life. I saw women enjoying the festival of Gangaur in Jaipur. They made me feel homely and became friends with me as if trancending all the differences that existed between us.
I’m loving your site! I am 22 and just took a teaching job for next year in Milan (yayy!) and am freaking out a little about moving to Europe alone- you have such wonderful ideas and tips, I can’t wait to use them all!!
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I hope your travels are going well! I think it is wonderful what you are doing. I am new to traveling solo. Did a trip to Peru last year and New Zealand. I have time off this December and am having a tough time coming up with a place for that time of you. Any ideas? Thank you!!
Thailand is great in December. 🙂
Hi! You mentioned “learning to cook in Chiang Mai” – do you recommend a program or group? Are there other volunteer or educational groups you would recommend?
I can’t recommend one personally, but there are tons — Googling is the way to go!