Published 9th November 2020
Now that you’ve decided to take the leap and follow your dreams of becoming a solo traveller, for whatever reason, there are a few things to consider when choosing your destination. Research the spoken language, cultural beliefs, security/ crime rates, religious beliefs, etc. Some of the factors to consider will impact women more than men so do pay attention to this especially if you are a female solo traveller. We will outline our top tips for safe solo travel throughout this piece and although we may sound like your mother giving you an unwanted lecture, do take notes! The experience you gain will make all of the hard planning worthwhile, and there are many benefits of solo travel, which we’ve previously discussed in detail in our blog here.
Choosing a destination
Unfortunately, we live in a world where women face stronger obstacles than men when travelling alone, but don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of resources available to help you choose a destination that is safe (especially for female travellers) and numerous guides to help you feel at ease while travelling alone! Careful planning, completing risk assessment tests, and thorough research of your chosen country will minimize stress and uncertainty, and is key for a hassle-free trip! A top tip for safe solo travel is to research the local laws and the role of women in the society of your chosen country. Remember that wearing a bikini during summer is the norm in places like Ireland or Canada, but could be unacceptable or a fineable offense in some foreign countries such as parts of the UAE. Some of the safest destinations for solo travellers include New Zealand, Iceland, Canada, and Switzerland. Check out our Instagram highlights to hear how some of our teachers are getting on with their solo travel experiences!
Festivals for solo travellers
Solo travel receives great recognition worldwide, and there are many festivals and events held especially for solo travellers and single people in general! Europe’s most famous festival for singles is the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in Ireland. Starting early at 11 am and finishing when the sun comes back up, you can expect to dance the night away with performances from Ireland’s top musicians. It’s a fantastic way for singles from all over the world to meet, from traffic light parties, daily matchmaking sessions with king matchmaker Mr. Willie Daly, and endless sessions in the pubs! Among other fantastic festivals for solo travellers include Soul Circus in the UK, Pitchfork festival in Chicago, and Flow Festival, Helsinki. You can read more about these here.
As experts in the subject of travel, and with many of our graduates setting off to teach solo, we have plenty of safe solo travel tips to share, most of these tips are applicable to group travel too! It’s expected to get caught up in the thrill of adventure, but be wary of your belongings as you snap that perfect sunset for Instagram. Watch out for pick-pockets and be sure to have your wits about you especially if you’re walking home alone at night, it could be as simple as taking the well-lit path home rather than the shadowy shortcut. Other simple yet effective tips to go by to ensure safe solo travel include scanning your personal documents and having multiple hard and soft copies of them, just in case you lose your passport after sampling a few too many local beers or worst case scenario it gets stolen. Update your close friends and family on your whereabouts, whether you’re visiting a friend a few hours away or jetting off on a month-long solo adventure. It’s important to share your itinerary and check in regularly (it’ll put your loved ones’ minds at ease if nothing else). For females especially, don’t leave drinks unattended as spiking is sadly common worldwide, ensure your accommodation has door locks, and avoid easily accessible ground floor accommodation. You can find many more safety tips and planning guidelines on the Government of Canada website, a great resource with insightful information for all nationalities – not just Canadians!
Safe solo travel
Hopefully, you’ve found this piece useful and you’ve learned something new about safe solo travel and how best to prepare for your life-changing adventure! Whether you are a qualified TEFL teacher about to move overseas to fulfill your purpose, or if you’ve taken some time off work to see the world, solo-travel is completely eye-opening and awe-inspiring. While it’s important to be cautious, don’t overthink it – life is for living, enjoy the uncertainty that comes with travelling, and let’s not get caught up in the what-ifs!