Solo female travel has grown in leaps and bounds, with many dedicated female travellers venturing abroad by themselves. We explore five destinations that are perfect for solo female travellers all across the world. From rand-friendly Portugal and sunny Spain to an Italian adventure, here’s where you should be travelling in 2020. Plus, top tips for solo female travellers!
Portugal is possibly the trendiest country to visit this year and a favourite for 2020. With a mild and moderate climate, stunning beaches and a wealth of cultural and historical attractions, it’s a year-round destination. For South African travellers, in particular, it’s possibly the most rand-friendly Western European country.
Locals are friendly and individual female travellers are welcome, although, as with any country anywhere in the world, do your research and know which areas to avoid. Carry those South African street smarts with you!
Ah, Spain… land of sangria and sunshine. You’re sure to bump into many solo female travellers in Spain, so in most of the major cities, you’re unlikely to garner any special attention.
Barcelona is a favourite. Everything is in easy reach if you don’t want to travel far or move around too much. You can, however, go from sunning yourself on one of the nine beaches one day to marvelling at the Sagrada Familia the next.
It’s for good reason that Eat, Pray, Love character, Elizabeth Gilbert, chose Italy as the starting point of her solo adventure. As the ‘eat’ portion of the trio of countries Liz visits in the story, Italy was a grand choice, with more gelato, pizza, pasta and red wine than you could eat (if you don’t come back with tight jeans, you haven’t done Italy justice). It is a foodie’s delight.
However, the culture vulture traveller will also find plenty of history and culture in Italy. The country is extremely used to solo female travellers.
Don’t let the exchange rate put you off. “Now is the time to plan those 2020 holidays and save on inflation, especially useful if you’re travelling to a country such as the UK,” recommends Teresa Richardson, Managing Director of The Travel Corporation in South Africa.
With its network of clean and reliable public transport, the UK is ideal for females travelling alone. Spend days exploring buzzing London, before making your way to the countryside. Bath, Windsor, Edinburgh, the Lake District and the multitude of grand castles and estates are every bit as beautiful and romantic as they appear in all those movies.
Thailand has long been a favourite for solo travellers. Female travellers might want to shop until they drop in Bangkok, relax on the beaches and islands, or eat their way through the foodie and cultural hotspot of Chiang Mai.
Remember to be respectful of local customs. The locals are generally conservative, so it’s best to dress respectfully, especially when visiting temples, and don’t go wandering the street in your bikini. Do some research before departure so you know which areas are especially popular for tourists. You can either avoid them or follow the crowds.
Top tips for solo female travellers
Preparation and research are key, no matter where you are travelling. The Travel Corporation’s Teresa Richardson has travelled to more than 70 countries, many of them solo, and has some advice for other women travelling alone:
- Travel can be stressful, especially if you leave everything to the last minute. Ensure that your travel documents are always valid, and don’t forget important documentation at home. It’s always a good idea to leave a copy of these documents with a trusted friend or family member back home as well.
- Book early. For example, Trafalgar is offering selected 2020 European holidays at 2019 pricing, plus a 10% discount valid for bookings until 3 October. This is the best chance to save on your dream European holiday and beat inflation by getting your 2020 holiday at 2019 rates.
- Pack at least two days before you leave, and never pack for longer than one week, even if you’re travelling for two weeks or more. Find ways to mix and match so that you can travel light. “I always love picking up a few clothing items along the way, so it’s a pleasant surprise when I discover I’ve forgotten a clothing item behind… rather than panic about it,” says Richardson.
- Always carry a change of clothes with you on your flight. If for any reason your baggage is delayed, or you have hours to wait before your hotel check-in, you can freshen up and change the clothes that you travelled in. Again, this helps to take the stress out of travelling.