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Wanderlust … but solo

Traveling abroad alone can be the greatest adventure of your life.

Entrepreneur listening to a virtual conference via webcam

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien

When it comes to solo international travel, some bristle at the thought of taking a journey alone – and others can’t wait to strap into their overnight flight and step into a new adventure.

Pre-pandemic, only 14% of travelers were going solo, but that number almost doubled mid-2021, according to Even before COVID-19, Google searches for “solo female travel” increased – 230% in 2019 per And most of the world is now open for travel, at least for vaccinated travelers and those who pass pre-arrival COVID-19 tests in some destinations.

A whole new world

The pandemic left us more self-aware … ready to get out of our heads and into new experiences. Whether you’re tired of waiting for a travel buddy or are ready to check out a new destination that includes me time, a solo journey is an act of self-love worth pursuing.

Choose your destination with the intent to let go of worries and go all in on your new surroundings. Last fall, Travel & Leisure named these 12 international destinations as the best trips for solo female travelers:

  • Iceland
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Munich, Germany
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Salzburg, Austria
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Norway’s Fjords
  • London, England

Playing it safe

No matter where you jet off to, be prepared and have a plan – even if that means a framework with room for spontaneity. Nobody wants unexpected adventures to take a dark turn, so in addition to following basic travel safety, these tips can help when you’re on your own:

  • Carry identification and store it in more than one place.
  • Stay in open, public places, especially at night.
  • Walk confidently and with purpose.
  • Avoid drawing attention to yourself with tourist materials, by your clothing or demeanor.
  • Be smart when speaking with strangers – if asking for directions, imply someone is waiting for you. Don’t offer personal details that could put you at risk.
  • If a situation doesn’t feel right, leave.
  • Keep a copy of your itinerary with someone at home; stay in contact via phone or email.

And it’s still a good idea to bring a mask in your carry-on since some locations still have indoor mask mandates.

So, book that flight. You may find that even though you started this journey alone, you come home with a new sense of confidence and contacts in your phone from like-minded solo travelers to plan your next adventure with.

Next steps

  • Research your trip destination in advance to understand social norms.
  • Make sure your cell is optimized for a temporary international plan; some even engage that option when you step off the plane.
  • Identify a “tap to pay” credit card for easy public transportation travel.
  • Talk to your financial advisor to help you financially plan for your trip of a lifetime.